Monday, June 22, 2015

Week 25 - Operation Spare Bedrooom

This week was all about clearing out my spare bedroom. With the clock ticking on my sister’s arrival (now moved up a day to late Thursday – must remember to ask for a vacation day Friday), my dumping ground room had to be functional, which meant clearing the piled high bed as well as the rest of the crap on the floor and ever surface. I had my work cut out for me.

I did get a few other things done in the countdown to the weekend. I had my follow up mammo on Tuesday (clean bill of health – yay!) and had a long day on Wednesday, getting my car to Omaha for 7:00 a.m., driving the loaner to Lincoln for a full work day then back to Omaha after work to pick  it up. $700 later, my AC was back and not a minute too soon because summer arrived with its typical heat and humidity. Add knitting on Monday and swimming on Tuesday and Thursday and it was a busy week. The diet is still going swimmingly and I’m a hair away from another milestone. Stay tuned on that.

This weekend was the annual retreat for my spinning group, which I’ve never attended but I had been considering going up just for Saturday. Andrea was going and I wanted to see Jeanie’s farm but I decided not to take a day out of the weekend, which would surely have stressed me out since I had a firm deadline on the room clear out. It was the right decision. I started on the room first thing on Saturday and chipped away at the piles for the rest of the weekend.

Part of the project involved rethinking all of my upstairs storage. There was a pile of linens and bedspreads on the spare bed because the top shelf of the spare closet was full of huge Creative Memories photo storage boxes with all my pics and my mom’s. Luckily they were shallow enough to fit under the bed so under they went, clearing that shelf up for linens. The new piles of clothes that don’t fit were next and while there’s one basket for Helen and Dottie to go through, there’s another lot of bags headed to Goodwill. And one of the empty drawers in the spare dresser is now full of the gifts that I pulled out of the under the bed box I needed for sock yarn. And now I need to either buy a couple more under the bed boxes or rethink the drawers in the other dresser since I had no spare clothes in storage these days.

So by the end of the day Sunday, the room was completely cleared out, the bed empty and all surfaces cleared and ready for the cleaning lady on Tuesday. And other than a few book bags that I need to find a place for, everything is put away rather than just relocated. I have 3 bags of yarn to take to knitting to share too. Unfortunately I didn’t make time to prep any produce for the week but since I’m going into a 600/900 week, I don’t get to eat much so will do OK. I have some leftover quinoa and kale (made a huge pot of that on Saturday night, which is tasty and so healthy that I feel holier than though with every bite) and thawed some swordfish for Monday and Tuesday night at least.

And I just need to mention that Masterpiece Theatre has remade Poldark, which is the first ever MT that I ever watched back in high school, so almost 40 years ago. I watched it last night and think it’ll be another good series. All good! Stay cool and have a good week everyone.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Week 24 - Falls and Knees

I was looking forward to a fun week with lots of socialization, which is always good. Well, I got all that but with a bunch of other unexpected crap to add to the fun.  

By Tuesday, all was going as planned – I had a nice lunch at Noodles with Connie’s daughter Rachele, who was in town from New Jersey, and then headed to the pool, where I had a fun workout. The weather had finally turned towards summer so it was roasty toasty outside, which wasn’t all bad. Until I turned on the AC and it wasn’t cool. By the time I’d gone a few miles towards home, it was clearly dead so I drove home with all 4 windows wide open and when I got off the highway, I could hear a distinctly different sound coming from under the hood. Not good.

I was at Walker Tire in Wahoo when they opened Wednesday morning and although they don’t do AC repairs, they checked it out and told me it was likely the AC condenser (or was it compressor?) and was OK to drive (who wants to be stranded at the side of the road when it’s nearly 100 and humid?) so I headed home to call around to find someone who could look at it. Well, my only option was Superior Honda in Omaha! They’d fit me in but I had to get there right away so I grabbed my iPad and knitting and ran out the door, ready for some waiting and hopeful they could fix it same day. After streaming and knitting for awhile and test driving my next Honda (the HR-V), they told me they had to order parts. Did I mention it was already in the 90’s? I scheduled the repair for the following Wednesday and headed to Lincoln. I was in play clothes and would arrive hot after an hour of driving 80 on I-80 with all windows open. Oh well. At least it would only be half a vacation day.

I stopped in Gretna to make some phone calls on the way in and when I went to adjust my jeans (can we say hot butt?), I wrenched my knee because the service guys had put my seat further back and I wasn’t prepared for the extra 3”. And yes, it was my bad knee. By the time I got to Lincoln, the pulled muscle had caused my knee to seize up and I couldn’t walk. I pulled my cane out of the back of the car (it’s always there) and hobbled into work, spending the afternoon moving as little as possible. I called my ortho doc immediately and they couldn’t get me in for a shot until next week but put me on a list for cancellations. What more could I do? If they couldn’t get me in, my upcoming weekend in Sioux Falls with Connie wouldn’t be much fun. But then at 4:58, the phone rang with an appointment for the next day. Hallelujah! So I caned down the hallway to head home, stopping at the ladies’ (right next to the elevator) on the way. Well, in the time it took me to pee, whatever floating joint debris was causing the acute pain clearly moved and my knee was much better. But I was keeping that appointment. No doubt. My knee was still sore from the pulled muscle but much better.

I didn’t need the cane Thursday morning but took it with me to work just in case because I was still walking slowly. My plan was to just leave for the shot and go back to work. Right. I had completely forgotten how absolutely painful getting the shot is. Of course it is! They pump a huge amount of liquid into an already swollen joint and you leave with an enormous knee with a walnut sized egg on the top, which will be there until it all absorbs. So I called Nora from the car and headed home to sit until absorption was done. Nancy and I had cancelled our dinner and movie on Wednesday night so I called to see if she could  come for tea and she did. We sat and chatted for a couple of hours and it was lovely. Except for my huge knee that is.

I woke up Thursday feeling like I had a new knee. Love the cortisone shots! Now there was hope for the weekend, which was jam packed with fun, starting with World Wide Knit in Public Day at the library. The Monday Night Knitters were knitting from 9:30 – 11:30 at the library and I had a Friends of the Library meeting at 10:00. Guess where I’d rather be? Yup, in the lobby knitting. I got half an hour of knitting before and after the meeting (they actually had to come and drag me away from knitting) and then headed home for a quick lunch and the 3 hour drive to Sioux Falls to meet Connie, who was there for work. I had tried to rent a car but it was prohibitively expensive and since I’d been assured I would not be stranded at the side of the road, I was chancing it. The weather was cooperating and it was only going to be in the low 80’s for the high so I headed north.

My car made it there but I definitely crossed a line when I had to stop on the way for duct tape to tape down a piece of trim that was adding to the cacophony of noises my car was making. That took care of the extra noise from the back driver’s side but there was something beyond the different engine noise going on at the front too, which I think is the plastic shield under the radiator that I’ve had replaced twice at $300 a pop and was zip tied by Jiffy Lube last time I had an oil change. I think it might be time for the HR-V sooner rather than later. But I digress….

The plan was to stop at Athena Fibers, Sioux Falls’ only yarn shop, and after checking out their yarn, knit on their porch until Connie called to say she was done with her event. Well, they had such a good yarn selection that I was only cashing out when she called so I headed straight to the hotel. While the porch was inviting and there were some nice knitters there to chat with, Connie trumped that. After a big hug and dropping out stuff in the room, we headed out for some shopping because we’d both lost weight and needed clothes. We were on the homogeneous, suburban side of town so it was chain after chain restaurant and when we asked people where we could get good pasta, their only suggestion was Olive Garden. We ended up at an Olive Garden-esque place – Johnny something or other – for decent pasta then hit World Market. When we were done there, I insisted we had to see the falls. We found a sign for Falls Park and took a scenic, non-direct route to get there. It was worth it. They were very pretty and looked like a set from a movie – kinda fake but not. It was a gorgeous night with no bugs so it was a perfect end to the day. We vegged and chatted at the hotel before a good night’s sleep.

Connie’s on mountain time and wanted to sleep in so when I woke up at 6:45, I started steaming Orange is the New Black on Netflix and knitted by the light from the crack in the curtains for almost 2 hours before Connie woke up. We were just grabbing breakfast then heading our separate ways so I wanted something hardy to keep me full for the ride home. I asked where Cracker Barrel was and we didn’t have to wait. I ordered pancakes, eggs and bacon and what came was awful! The food had clearly been left on the grill too long so I struggled to cut through the bottom crust on the pancakes and the eggs were ¼” thick and not fluffy at all. I sent them back and since Connie was almost done eating, just had them bring me a couple of biscuits, which I put the bacon on. The coffee was horribly weak too. BAD MEAL. I had visions of stopping at Starbuck’s, maybe hitting Target and could have knitted at Athena Fibers starting at noon but you know me. I got in the car just after 11:00 and headed home, not stopping at all so walked into my house at 2:00. Nice. There was more rain in the afternoon forecast so after unpacking and starting laundry, I headed right out to mow, which was pretty darn hot to do in mid-afternoon 80’s and humid weather. I also changed the litter boxes, took the trash to the curb and showered before sitting down with a cup of tea at 3:30. I was done!

What a week! It all turned out fine but sheesh. Too much drama! But it feels like summer has finally arrived and I’m ready to continue the fun. Next fun up is Antiques Roadshow in Omaha with Dottie at the end of June then off to NYC then Rhode Island. All good, am I right? Have a good week.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Week 23 - Food and Clothes

First things first. The trash collector took the old chair, no problem. I ran out with a coat over my nightie to ask if they’d take it (I’d already changed the “Free” sign to “Trash”) and he nodded and grabbed it with the big hook that picks up the cans and off it went. Easy peasy. Now to put out the 2 chairs I have in the garage but that’ll wait. I’ll get to my annual garage clear out one early morning this summer when it’ll be too hot for gardening. But on to the week….

After a less then satisfying break week before my last rotation, I was determined to eat all kinds of yummy things during this week off and absolutely succeeded. Maybe too well. I also made big progress on the new clothes front, buoyed by some actual retail price shopping with Darla. All good.

In addition to having ribs, potato salad and 3 bean salad in the frig for dinners, I also ate out. A lot. I brought strawberry rhubarb pie to knitting, which was enjoyed by all. Then the water aerobics crew went out to Leabbelly’s after swimming on Tuesday, where I enjoyed a burger with PB&J plus bacon – candied and smoked. Yum! Layton was back from Europe so we went to Red Fox on Friday then Andrea and I ate at Bahnwich CafĂ© after our Friday night culture (quilt museum and the Hillestadt Gallery) and I finished my eating out with breakfast with Darla on Saturday. All delish.

I went to Wellness Wednesday at the student health center first thing Wednesday for a fasting blood draw to check my cholesterol and sugar. I’ve never had a sugar problem, which is a miracle (I must have gotten my mom’s pancreas), but my cholesterol needed work. Well, my total cholesterol was WAY down to 190 and my HDL went up (good) and my LDL was down. LDL was still a bit above normal but so much less that I was happy, happy, happy.  Yay!

Something different happened on Thursday in the pool. They didn’t send a lifeguard, who unlocks the pool, so we got a late start. It was 6:00 and Jessica had just said she’d stay later when the fire alarms went off, which were blaring announcements to leave the building and blinding strobe lights. There was weather south of us so we wondered if it was a tornado but the loudspeakers were saying to leave the building. Well, we have never moved so fast. I showered, including washing my hair, in less than a minute, threw on clothes and we all walked out to find fire fighters in the hallway. We didn’t see any evidence of fire but what an experience! I hope that doesn’t happen again anytime soon.

Darla and I had planned to meet at 8:00 Saturday morning for breakfast and thrifting but when I woke up early, I called her and we got going earlier. After a nice catch up breakfast at Greenfield’s, we popped into Wal-Mart, which was right across the street, to pick up nail polish remover for Darla and kill the time until Goodwill opened. Encouraged by Darla, I tried on a few clothes and it’s a good thing I did because I’m down 2 sizes for pants and tops. I found a pair of blue capris, 3 shirts, one of which is perfection, and a cami so I can wear a fun, sheer blouse from my ironing pile. Yay! Then we hit Goodwill and although their racks were fun (so full you couldn’t move anything – not good), their prices were nuts. I did find the world’s most perfect summer nightie, a beautiful crocheted lap afghan for the back of my new chair and for $3, a bike for under my desk. I had been looking for one on amazon but they were $35 so I hadn’t bought one. Score! After a stop at the Capital Humane Society to pet puppies and kitties (Darla’s request cuz I stay away from danger zones) I dropped Darla and headed to another Wal-Mart to see if they had the perfect top in another color. They didn’t but I scored a pair of denim capris, which I desperately needed. What a pleasant and productive morning.

I had plenty to do once I got home but first thing on the list was to finish going through clothes. I started with the first shirts I’d tried on 2 weeks ago, which I suspected were too big and they were. I tried on everything and culled a bunch more. Then it was downstairs to iron. By the time I was done, my closet was nearly empty but I had a dozen shirts that FIT hanging and ready to wear. This should go a long way towards removing the stress from my mornings.

Saturday morning brought more rain. It had rained nearly every day that week and the lawn squished when I walked on it. I was hoping the sun that finally arrived Saturday afternoon would dry things out. I had to mow because I hadn’t the previous weekend and the grass was long. I had put the AC on when I got home Saturday so was puttering inside Sunday afternoon, mostly avoiding chores but 5 loads of laundry were done and on the line, when the phone rang. Andrea wanted me to help her reconfigure her furniture in her house. Yeah, love doing that! I headed right over and after looking around and seeing what I had to work with, we completely reorganized her living/dining room, creating a conversation area with her two couches and moving her piano and taking a leaf out of her dining room table to create better flow. We were discussing changes in her kitchen when her friend Mike arrived so I headed home (my clothes weren’t ready for prime time) to buckle down. I finished up some inside things and headed out to mow ~4:00. I had thought I’d heard thunder but there was nothing on the radar. Well, I was just about to finish the lawn when it started raining AGAIN. I practically ran on the last few rows but got it done and made it inside before the skies opened up. It didn’t rain long but sheesh! At least the lawn was mown, albeit badly. Next weekend may require a double mow in multiple directions.

So all in all, it was a fun and productive week. I finished Sunday prepping a bunch of fruit for my next rotation and went to bed with yogurt culturing on the counter. I’m ready for my last rotation before vacation with hopes that I’ll break 50 pounds lost. Wish me luck.