26 March 2015

Culling Memories

When we had the week from hell I had to empty Monica's Closet.  As I did it, I superficially cleaned it out as I went.  Superficially being defined as putting things into proper totes or making a goodwill pile or piling random items into a box. A better definition might be "Organizing it so I'm less embarrassed upon emptying it."

As we were putting it all back, Kevin mentioned (a few times) that there sure was a lot of stuff and what exactly was it all and why were we keeping it.  At one point, he was holding an album of cards and mementos from our wedding. "Like, this! What is this?"  This gave me a chance to redirect and say "Well, that's from our wedding. Thanks though!"

But really...he's right.  Although confined to Monica's closet, there is a lot of stuff in there. It's probably about three feet wide and ten feet long.  That's a lot of big totes full of stuff.

On one side is Christmas stuff, neatly stacked.  This is also something Kevin commented about but I could again deflect with "Half of this is your mothers. So...Nanner."

Right now I'm going through a box of greeting cards.  I really do struggle with throwing these kind of things away. This is not the first time I have culled through them but I've also added to them. 

I try to keep ones with written sentiment or that caused an immediate reaction.  So lots were kept from my bff's, or Kevin (although SWEET BABY JESUS, there are a lot of cards exchanged in this relationship), or if they're from someone who has since passed.

What I've found culling through these:

Sweet cards from Kevin's parents...for our anniversary, our birthdays, etc.  She writes sweet stuff in the margin.  Sometimes random stuff like "this card followed by an air mattress, when I find one."  Or "I better make Santa some cookies soon or I'm afraid he's going to pass us all by this year." (she was in her seventies at the time of writing it, so her kids are in their fifties)

I kept a few get well cards from when Kevin was sick.  I had kind of forgotten about that and the thoughtfulness of the cards were touching to read.

There were a few thank you's from my job at the school.  I kept those too because it's easy to forget those moments sometimes.

A thank you note from my then 100-year-old grandma.  It was startling to see her handwriting, she's been gone twenty years now.  She was blind and if anyone ever wonders where my bluntness comes from, it's genetic.  "Dear Surely and Kevin, Thank you for the picture. I'm glad it's big enough to see it.  You both look well and healthy."  We enjoyed Brother's visit and I really like his lady friend. ((I have no knowledge of who she was. It could have been a stripper for all I know))  I hope you have a great new year."
Her birthday and party was in April so I'm mildly confused with the new year wishes. But: 100 years old.

I found an anniversary card that Kevin had tried to give to me for our anniversary. In his Kevin-like way, it ended up being a Happy 50th Anniversary to Our Parents card.  He had scanned past the title of it, as it were, and just liked the sentiment.

Or the happy birthday card for Kevin from The Nephew signed "Dude, that's funny. Love, Nephew"
And the one to me where there are stick-on numbers for the age so he randomly chose an age then noted it on the inside.

I just found another gem from Kevin's mom: For Christmas: "Hi kids, I am trying real hard to get my cards done (and mailed) I don't know why I never seem to have time for everything. Maybe it's the season of my life if you know what I mean (getting old) Love you both!!"

I like watching the kids signatures change from their parents signing their names to the scrawly handwriting to grown up signatures. Or cards where there weren't kids yet, then one name is added then another. In some cases, five names! :)

Along those same lines, I've a few cards where the spouses have changed. It's funny how that changes over the years.  For example, I was expecting to read Joe and Stephanie and it was Joe and Jennifer instead.  Then I giggled because omg, that was one hundred years ago.

So, I've culled these down to one large zip-lock bag, with the intention of putting them into some sort of a scrapbook.  But this is what is going to recycling:

(glasses added to show scale...so you know it's not a small box and to prove I've not only thrown out, like, ten cards)

Next step to is cull through the actual boxes of memorabilia and make scrapbooks or memory boxes.  

22 March 2015

What Would You Look At?

Kevin and I have had an ongoing debate since we've moved into this house.  So, that's been ten years and clearly we're mature adults.

The way the house is designed, the main entrance is to be via the living room. This is lovely in theory but the way the house is physically situated, it makes using that entrance inconvenient.  Also, we would be tracking dirt into the house across the carpet.

We use the back door which opens into the laundry/mud room.  I have issues (yeah buddy) with the fact that the first thing a person sees is the washer and dryer.  Not very welcoming.  Especially since for years we had an old set from the old house that wasn't even a little attractive.

I hung a curtain tension rod to hide the machines.  For the longest time, I repurposed a queen size flat sheet as a curtain and it hung from the ceiling to the floor.  It looked okay but it was inconvenient and made the cubby space dark.  Now I've bought new curtains and have significantly lowered the rod, which solved some problems but now looks (to me) exactly what it is: covering up a problem.

One solution I'm going to try is to find a valance and buy another tension rod to heighten it a little and to cover up the handles of the broom, etc. that are hanging on the wall.  They weren't visible with the giant curtain but they are now. It's always something.  I've been surfing Pinterest to find a solution but the placement of the water shut-offs and my lack of height automatically eliminates many of the solutions I've found.

Here's where the disagreement comes into play.  Kevin agrees that the view of the washer and dryer aren't optimum.  However, his issue is that you see a toilet as you walk in.  He would prefer to keep that door closed. 

I am not offended by the toilet.  It's rarely used, always clean, and the light is always off in that room. It's not as if it has a disco ball and strobe lights announcing its presence.  Also, I think that people probably don't notice it upon entering because they turn immediately left into the kitchen.  At most, they will notice upon leaving and at that point they've seen the rest of the house so the sight of a toilet shouldn't be the take-away from their visit.  "Gosh, they have a nice house but did you see they have a TOILET in plain view!?!"  It's not as if it's in the middle of the living room for gosh sakes.

By keeping the door closed, it makes our hallway very dark.  I loathe overhead lighting so there is a lamp in the hall.  I want a skylight there but because we live in the Pacific Northwest, skylights are a hassle. (tree needles & leaves, moss, algae, lots of rain) So, in lieu of skylight, the bathroom door remains open and the toilet remains visible. 

You see, these are the life-altering issues that we're currently having.  Very important (to no one) to contemplate and solve.

20 March 2015

The Worse Part

The house is finished now.  It only took less than a week but it feels like it took forever.  The day the carpet went in was rough.  Kevin took the day off and his dad came to help.  By pure luck, Kevin's cousin stopped by and ended up helping as well.

The packing and moving up all the belongings just to put it back while people were waiting for us to finish was brutal.  Add to it that it was supposed to rain so we were trying to do all this without putting anything outside.  This entailed disassembling the living room and storing it in the kitchen and laundry room.  Then once the carpet was finished in there, reassembling everything in the living room then taking everything out of our bedroom and put it into the living room. Then doing all that again to empty the office.

The worse part was moving the World War II era oak desk and the 1980's former waterbed frame. Actually, the worse part was having the entire house turned inside out.  Kevin and I aren't wired to live in clutter.  Having the refrigerator and stove in the living room was actually making me anxious. Two days of that and it nearly drove me mad.

We really tried to be methodical about how we did this. When the kitchen floor was being done, I packed up the two china cupboards full of antiques.  I used every reusable grocery bag that I own to pack up my books.  There was at least twelve bags full of books stacked in our office.  There were also three large totes of stuff from the china cupboards stored in there. Plus I emptied the desk into file boxes because there just wasn't enough boxes in the room.  At one point, there was only a path through the office.

Or the worse part was that Kevin caught a cold a few days prior to this adventure and then thoughtfully shared it with me.  Nothing makes packing and moving furniture more fun than a head cold.

The other worse part is that the new washer and dryer wouldn't be here for another week. The boys didn't put the old ones back into the house for fear of damaging the new floor.  This meant I had to walk next door to do our laundry.  It could be so much worse but I'm still a little peevish about it. (Oh, wait, it is worse. In the time it has taken to write this, their washer has sprung a leak)

Kevin gets an honorable mention here because he bought the washer and dryer for me two days after my surgery, while I was still on the couch.  Unfortunately due to the West Coast longshoreman contract disagreement, we're just now getting them.

Oh, and then there was the time that my father-in-law flooded our kitchen and pantry twice.  Twice.  "Luckily" this was prior to the new flooring. But this meant using a pile of towels to mop everything up.  Remember, I don't have a washer and dryer at this point.  Super happy.

The reason for the flooded kitchen (twice!) is that we bought a new dishwasher.  Even though it was installed before the new flooring, I didn't get to use it until two days after the carpeting went in.  It was just lost in the shuffle of everything.  

Because we're an all-or-nothing pair, we decided that this was the perfect time to replace some of our furniture and buy a new truck.  We bought the new truck from a dealership three hours away, because: of course. We picked it up the day before we were scheduled to pack up the house then we used it to pick up some of the furniture we bought. Because we're multi-taskers!

I didn't spend much on this new furniture so there was some assembly required. Kevin was pretty good about putting everything together and in place.  Right up until the last night when he was surrounded by parts of a four drawer dresser on the floor at 8:00 p.m. the day the carpet was installed.  Sadly, it wasn't a choice to not finish it as we had already loaded the old old console style dresser into the back of the truck and his clothing was all over the closet floor.  Lucky him.

Now it's done.  Our house feels brand-new now but significantly nicer.  We're so happy with how everything has come together that we've almost forgotten about all the hurdles. Almost.

11 March 2015

Breaking Up, Again.

While I was high, I received a friend request from a former boyfriend.  Maybe it was good that I was high at the time, I'm not sure.  I didn't respond immediately, I wanted to wait until I wasn't just out of surgery.

Kevin and I have a "No exes on the facebook" agreement so my response was a no-brainer.  But, because: human, a person wonders "Well, what could it hurt?" or "But it would be nice to see what's happened."

Then a person thinks about the horror stories of past loves reconnecting via social media and No Thank You.  That is a whole lot of drama that I don't want.

But it's sad too.  It was sweet of him to ask and I hope it means that he's in a good place and not the opposite.   It was kind of like breaking up again, having to say "I'm sorry but you can't be a part of my life anymore", even on a superficial level like social media.

Post-Bionic State

So, the surgery recovery. Yikes, I haven't updated since I've become non-bionic.  I just can't believe how much stuff has been going on during the last few weeks.

I am two weeks away from being able to run, jump, and fall.  This makes Kevin laugh every time I say it.  Running and jumping are unlikely, falling is very likely.  But it's fun to say.  It's fun to think about.  I like this kind of deadline.

The bottom line is that I should have done this two years ago.  I'm trying not to be super-frustrated with myself about this but it's difficult.  I just should have insisted after the first year that things weren't right and they needed to fix it.

But when all you hear is that it takes time, that I'm not twenty anymore, yadda yadda yadda; you get tired of talking about it.  You start to feel like a whiner.

Now, I think I could happily punch the surgeon in the head.  Even on the day of the surgery, he was nonchalant.  Like I was being sensitive about wanting the bionics removed.  I really thought Kevin was going to take his head off.  I guess there was a bit of terse conversation post-surgery.

So, while I'm not 100% back to the original state, I am really close.  The improvement was nearly immediate.  The numbness is gone, I have more flexibility, and significantly less pain.  Now if I have pain, it's because I've overdone it and not just because.

What I believe happened, using my Grey's Anatomy medical degree, is that the plate was binding.  Thus restricting the movement.  I'm trying not to be graphic but I kind of have to.  If I crossed that leg over my knee, the plate pinched.  If I tried to sit cross-legged, the plate moved/bound.  Now I can do all of these things and the only complaint is the muscles saying "Hey, we haven't done this in three years! Ease up."

The surgical nurse was a Roller Betty, which is the local roller derby team.  She was all "Oh totally, you're going to feel so much better!  All my buddies get their plates and screws taken out!"  I loved that she said that.  It made us feel so much better. 

So, in two weeks, I am in the No Excuses world.  I gotta move it, move it.  I don't think I'll ever be a runner (and I still dream that I am, which is weird) but at least I know I won't have any restrictions.  I'm super happy about that.

And finally, if you ever find yourself in a situation like that, speak up until something happens to improve it.  I wasted years feeling like crap and I don't want anyone else to do the same.

Next up: Purple Converse Sneakers! 

08 March 2015

I Need A Cookie

I've been a little bit stuck in If You Give A Mouse A Cookie lately.

We are getting new carpet and wood flooring.  But like always happens when someone is remodeling, a person notices that new paint or new furniture or new curtains or new whatever is needed.

We have had our television about two years.  At the time, we borrowed one of those ugly black, pressed board television stands from Kevin's brother. "Until we find what we want."  Two years later and it's still here, being all ugly and stuff.

Our end tables are mismatched.  One of them I've had forever and the other, well.  I didn't choose it.  Kevin's mom gave it to us because her sister "made" it and she loves it and we needed to have it.

(those are seashells)
I kept it covered with a silk pashmina so the ugliness wasn't very noticeable. But it didn't match.  Also, it is odd shaped so took up a lot of space in a small room.

With all this time on my hands lately, I've been surfing craigslist for end tables.  I kept finding single tables with no mates, ugly cast-offs, or expensive tables. I couldn't find a simple pair of nice end tables.  So frustrating.

I went to a consignment shop to look around the other day.  They post their inventory on craigslist so I was curious.  It was a strange mix of cheap, ugly couches to really high-end furniture.  But even there, I couldn't find two matching end tables that I liked.  I blame Oprah and her "everything doesn't have to match" proclamation.*shaking of my fists*

I did find an old-school console hi-fi stereo like your grandparents/parents probably had.  Oak and complete with AM/FM stereo, turntable, and record storage hutch.  I loved it SO.  It wasn't very expensive and I really had to make myself leave without it.

Fast forward a few days.  Kevin and I went to wally-world to look at cell phones.  We walked past the furniture aisle and there are two night stands the exact color I've been looking for.  For $59.99.  It made a total liar out of me, who kept telling Kevin I couldn't find anything.

This is where I say that Kevin hates the night stands I made when we moved into this house.  I don't mind them but he hates that "Everything is covered up."  Well, yes, because I used television trays and put cloth over them, like a decorator table.  It's not perfect but it's worked.  I like that I can hide things under them and no one knows.

I digress.  Of course there weren't any night stands like we wanted in stock just then.  Because: Wally World.  But I really liked them so I figured I could order them online when we got home. I was happy just to have found something.

Kevin wanted to go to an actual furniture store so we went to Ashley Furniture.  They have a nice inventory but the way the store is "organized" was making me crazy. It's as if they dumped out the inventory and assembled it where it fell.

They didn't have end tables that I really dug or wanted to afford.  But they did have a television stand that Kevin liked.  It was $400, so not cheap but not super-expensive anyway.  I told him we should think on it and not be impulsive.

We went home and I went online to order the night stands.  Go figure that for half the price, I found a television stand that was very similar to the one we found.  I ordered it and the night stands for less than the price of the single stand we found at the furniture store.

I understand that the furniture quality will be different.  But I am okay with it because neither of them are high traffic items.  They just have to sit there and look pretty.

The next night I checked out the craigslist just one more time. I told Kevin that I was giving up and choosing my battles. I was going to be happy with the night stands and television table. We have lots of changes coming and they sell end tables every day so I should just wait.

Until!  Finally!  There was a matching pair of tables just like I wanted.  I emailed them and said I'd buy them the very next day if they were still available.  I had to wait until almost noon the next day for a response.  Ugh. So. Not. Patient.

They were still for sale.  They were in a town 45 minutes away and I didn't even care.  It's all back roads, farmland driving so I was up for the adventure.

$45 EACH.  I know, right?  They appear to be brand-new.  The glass is perfect, there are no scratches anywhere and they're 100% oak.  They match our other furniture, including the soon-to-arrive television stand.  I was so happy and excited that I actually clapped my hands when I saw them.

So, let's tally up, shall we?  For two night stands, one television stand, and two end tables, I've spent the same amount I would have on just the television stand at the real furniture store.

Did I mention new appliances?  Oh yes, new washer and dryer that Kevin bought when I was still bed-ridden will arrive next week.  I bought a new dishwasher yesterday and that will be installed today (fingers crossed, KEVIN)  After next week, our house will be shiny and new again; except the damn painting.

We do need to paint.  It's been ten years after all.  Wear and tear is showing.  I was banned from painting in the new house (I'm horribly messy) but I've learned that the ban has recently been lifted.  Now I have to think about that next challenge. 

Of course, where I want to paint the mostest is the place that needs it the leastest.  I would love to paint the kitchen a soft yellow color.  But what needs it the most is the master bath, the laundry room, and a wall in the living room.

This is my plan: next week I will probably paint the kitchen in an attempt to get excited about painting elsewhere.  I fear that this will just remind me how much I hate painting.  But I'm going to try. Because I have time on my hands these days.

It would, of course, make more sense to paint before the new flooring but I didn't think of this in time and I'm still absolutely freaking out over having to pack everything up in order to do the flooring.  It's not to say that I might not lose my mind and attempt it anyway but probably not.

So, yeah, If You Give A Mouse A Cookie.  That's my life right now. Oh, you don't know that book? It starts something like "If you give a mouse a cookie, then he is going to want a glass of milk. Once he has a glass of milk, then he's going to want a napkin.  Once you give him the napkin, he'll want to..."  I don't remember the rest but you get the gist of it.

It started with appliances, then flooring, then furniture and now paint. Now I need a cookie.

03 March 2015

It's A Small World

I blew up my Facebook newsfeed last night and this morning.  It started innocently enough.  A childhood friend mentioned her Girl Scout uniform in a status update.  I remembered that I posted a class photo a few years ago and she was wearing it.  So, I reposted the photo.

An online class/school reunion ensued.  It was kind of awesome.

Then I offered to post the rest of the class photos that I have.  I did it this morning, tagged everyone I could, and invited others to tag also.  Holy crackers.  Approximately eleventy billion notifications later, it is as if the entire school has reconnected.  I found and friended three classmates and can facebook stalk a few others. 

The downside is that tagged people's friends can comment or like.  I have to double-check to make sure it's not someone I know.  Fourth, fifth, and sixth grades were combined so there are older and younger kids in the photos as well. Also, two different elementary schools are involved. It's my own Six Degrees of Separation.

One of my friends (a guy) was teased about the oh so attractive 1980's haircut.  He was one of the cutest boys in our class for forever.  So, I commented "I can attest on behalf of the girls, chicks dug that haircut back in the day."  That was kind of fun.  I was teased about having perfectly feathered hair in one photo.  So, essentially, it was sixth grade all over again. But in a good, happy way.

I did have some hesitation that someone might not appreciate being tagged but I figure they can go back and untag themselves. I wouldn't be offended.  Also, they were already my facebook friends so it probably wasn't going to be an issue.  But one never knows.

Also, I think nearly everyone was named and updated in the photos.  There were a few kids that we only had a first name and collectively we were all "That's so-and-so and they live in Texas now."   The names that some of us remember are nicknames that no longer used.  Ron was Ronnie back in the day or I only remember him as "DJ" and someone else says "Oh, that's David..."

It's been a fun experience, all in all.  Right now many folks are at work so I imagine the fun will begin again this evening as people settle in and realize they have time traveled via the facebook.

I highly recommend that you do it if you have access to your classroom photos!  I just thought if nothing else, some of the people either don't have theirs anymore or couldn't get them back in the day and now they can have them.

26 February 2015

Page By Page

I've been diligently working on the massive bookshelf over the past few days.  Diligently defined as shelf by shelf, book by book, and in between other chores, television shows, and anything else that distracts.

I'm surprised and horrified to find that there are three full shelves of books that I still need to read.  Three shelves.  It's safe to say: I have issues.  No more book buying for me for a while. (<-- lie="" total--="" total="">

I try to not keep a book that I know I'm not going to read again but that hasn't always been the case.  It used to be that I kept them willy-nilly until the house threatened to cave under the weight.

When we first moved into this house, I didn't have the big bookcase yet.  I lined up the books below the big window in my office.  I loved how it looked but it drove Kevin mental.  Now I try to keep them in the bookcase as best as possible.  And I'll admit, once I had them picked up and put away, I did feel a little better too.

Fun fact: when we packed the old house and moved into this one I didn't mark the unread books.  They became all mixed up and I'm still finding a book that I bought years ago and never read.  A fun surprise sometimes.

It's difficult to cull through books because I have a wide range of "Why did I buy this?" to "I can't believe I still HAVE this!" to "I don't know that I ever read this." For one thing, there is something pleasing and comforting about looking at stacks or shelves of books.  All the potential.  The "Oh, I loved that book!". The pleasing esthetic look of them.

I will admit that I have an entire shelf of old-school paperback Danielle Steel novels dating back to my high-school days.  Imagine my horror when I realized these books were thirty years old. 
In my defense, back-in-the-day Danielle Steel used to write these epic novels. Well written, complicated storylines, multi-character stories. Stories about the Romanovs, the Titanic survivors, behind the scenes of a television show.  Now it seems like she churns out novels as if she just copy and pastes character names and descriptions into different settings.  It's disappointing, really.

But I've kept these older novels because of the rainbow color bookcovers.  They sat on a lower shelf and were just lovely to look at.  But now that shelf space is at a premium, I'm going to have to let go.

As I took them off the shelf, the dust was thick, the bindings stiff and brittle, and the pages yellowed.  I feel badly now that they've been left to deteriorate on a shelf.  I'm still keeping a few of them, age be damned.  The rest of them will go to Goodwill.  

I have a big stack of books by two different authors that I'm now wondering why I have them.  I read the jackets or just a few paragraphs and I'm over it.  I don't know what happened there. Perhaps I liked one or two books so I did the "BUY ALL THE THINGS!" and that's why I have them. I blame second hand shops and Amazon. Tastes change, I realize.  Maybe if I made an effort to really sit down with them then my interest would be rekindled, but that defeats the purpose of this whole exercise.

Book snobbery has come into play a bit as well.  Oh, the jacket cover is gone: can't keep you. The binding is cracked: nope, off you go! Cover is out-of-date and unattractive, thanks for playing but no.

So, I have the categories of "Haven't Read" "Can't Bear to Part With" "Read but Look Forward to Reading Again" and "Not Sure but Feel Compelled to Keep."

 It's daunting but I know that I will probably cull again when packing the remaining books into boxes and unpacking said boxes back onto the shelves.  I'm also going to play the surgery card and have Kevin load them into the 4Runner so I don't get all wistful and sentimental.

Stacks of books whose fate has yet to be determined

24 February 2015

Disassembly Required

Kevin and I have clearly gone mutually insane.  We have decided to change the carpet and flooring in the house.  The whole house. Every room.

It's not the money, I'm not so much worried about that.  It's the disassembling of the entire house.
Everything has to be moved out in order for the carpet to be laid.  Everything.  All my books.  I'm supposed to be working on those right now, don't tell Kevin I'm here. All of the CLOSETS.  OMG, Monica's Closet!!  Two big china cupboards full of antique dishes and toys.  My 200 lb. war-era, oak desk. 

Sweet baby jesus.  I need a drink, stat.

I'm trying to tell myself that it will be an adventure.  Think of how nice it will be to cull stuff.  Everything can be returned better, cleaner, more organized.

And then I look at this:

two layers of books on some shelves. Mostly hardbacks.

200 lbs.  I have to clean out the drawers.  I have to file.

I'm steadfastly ignoring the case on the left, which is FULL of Hot Wheels.  One, two, three, NOT IT, Kevin!  Or the fact that it's sitting on a bookcase full of Kevin's books.

Also, I feel compelled to state that I'm not a pillow fetish person, they are a lame attempt to keep the puppy from jumping up on the desk.  It failed. 

And the above is only an example of the office.  Again, I repeat: two china cupboards.  One more bookcase. Our entire bedroom. The closets.  The kitchen.  Did I mention that they're taking out the kitchen island to lay the flooring?  I didn't? Oh yeah.  And all the appliances.

*deep breathing*

I am going to implement Swistle's technique of "Does it bless or oppress?" and be ruthless about my babies, I mean, my books.

I should say that I feel a little like a spoiled brat complaining because "Wah, you're getting new carpet and wood flooring."  But the mere contemplation of disassembling this house after living in it ten years is daunting, at best.

So, I think the best first step is to take the puppy to get coffee.

Warning Signs

Well, that was quick.

I went to work earlier this week, the first time since they took out all my bionic parts.  I was so frustrated to have to return to work because I was beginning to hate and resent the job.  It was starting to make me anxious and grumpy. Also, like no other job I'd ever had, there was no contact last week regarding my health or anything.  I know I'd only worked there like five minutes but I was still surprised and disappointed.

On paper it's a very good job. On. Paper.   In reality, it is almost an episode of The Office.

The first three days I was there, I didn't have a desk.  So I hovered at others desks and felt awkward the whole time.  Then the person that was supposed to be training me was either not there, too busy, and just didn't participate.  I spent the first two weeks feeling like an outsider, even when I had a desk. One of the ladies helped train me and so did the assistant manager when he had time but really, three different people training someone is setting that person up for certain failure. (warning sign!)

To add insult to injury, the person that was supposed to be training me (who wasn't my supervisor, but yet kind of was) is socially awkward and often takes...no exaggeration...to the count of ten to respond to you in any way.  With eye contact, verbally, or even a hand gesture.  This is not fun to learn to cope with while you're still trying to learn the job.  The assistant manager is quiet and non-confrontational.  He spent time slumped behind his monitor, working. I would ask if there was something I could be doing and often there wasn't. In theory, it sounds fun to be paid to do nothing but that is not how I'm wired.  Also, the non-profit manager in me was silently screaming that I should be sent home if there wasn't work.  On some level, I think they intended this to also be part of the orientation; to just absorb the environment and learn by osmosis.

Now, the business is just one really large room.  There aren't any offices or even cubicles.  It's just a huge open space with desks arranged in kind of an organized fashion.  There are 18 people in this room so a person hears 18 conversations, 18 phones, 18 ringtones, etc.  This is fantastic with those of us that are wired like me.  Also, so not productive for anyone. I don't know how anyone thought this was a good idea.

I should also mention that nearly everyone there was ill and out of the office at least a day a week.  I was only there two months.  The room  design and absence connect seems obvious to me but not to anyone else, apparently.

Now, this is where I also say that the owner/manager has a standing desk in the middle of everything.  He literally stands at his desk all day, no chair even exists.  He's in the middle of everything so you hear his calls, etc.  This means you also get to hear when he has disagreements with his employees or does any kind of interaction really.  I listened to him chastise two different employees in front of everyone.  I tell you what, if that had happened to me directly I would walk out so fast.

The owner/manager is also one of those people that reads self-help and motivation books.  You can tell that by talking to him and by looking at how he manages people. In some ways, he was very much Michael Scott.

He is also conservative Christian.  I found this out on my first day, by his own admission. That was one of my first warnings and I should have listened.  He takes lunch every day at 11:30 and he sits in his car and listens to the radio. (I know, right? He owns the company)  One day I overheard that he was listening to Rush Limbaugh (to which I thought "OF COURSE!")  Imagine my surprise when later that afternoon he mentioned that he was listening to his bible study tapes in the car during lunch.  I so badly wanted to shout "Your pants are so on fire!" LIAR!"  This was one of my other warnings.

He also had the tendency to make blanket proclamations like "I don't like the Big Bang Theory, it's stupid." As if others opinions or tastes doesn't matter. Remember, it's a big room with 18 people so everyone hears. Another warning sign that I should have heeded.

Now, it's a security company so their products are used throughout the building.  This means that there are security cameras all through the office. AND every work station has software so that you can tune in to see all the cameras.  Essentially a person could spend all day watching their co-workers on the security footage.  This is just weird to me. I can understand that you can tell where someone is if they are needed and that can be handy.  But, it seems overly invasive and controlling.

I spent a good portion of my day surfing the internet (the cameras missed me. You could kind of only tell if I was at my desk)  because there just wasn't anything for me to do.  There would be little pockets of busyness that would last, at most, 30 minutes.  They kept saying that it was going to get busy but it just never did.  I don't know if they didn't plan well or over-estimated the need for that position or what.

All this being said, the one thing that wasn't made clear and I underestimated myself was the inventory part of the job.  Most inventory has bar codes which are alpha-numeric. Guess what dyslexics struggle with?  Alpha-numerics!  On this portion of the job, I was not a good fit for this position.  At ALL.

Which brings me to the point: I'm no longer working there.  We mutually agreed that it wasn't a good fit for me.  I very nearly skipped out of the building.  I called Kevin (almost from my desk) to tell him.  He said "You sound upset, are you upset?"  I was all "NO! I'm so relieved.  I'm actually pleased!"

In case you're wondering, yes I left the nerf gun behind.  It didn't feel right to take it.  Shoot it at people, yes. :)

Oh, and if you're wondering but what if? about the job...here's where I tell you that it is required that you bring a treat for everyone ON YOUR OWN BIRTHDAY.  I thought they were joking when I was told about it but not so much.  They also advertise everyone's birthdays and work anniversaries on the bulletin board so everyone knows it's your birthday.

16 February 2015

Just Checking In

The surgery is all done and it went well.  Now I'm in that weird space of trying to recover as quickly as possible even though I have no control over how long this will take.  I'm on the pain meds, which are different than the ones I had before.  They make me sleepy and I don't like it.  The meds I had before slowed me down but I could still function.  These pills knock me out the moment I stop moving.  Yes, I realize that's the point but it doesn't mean I have to like it.  I tried taking them only at night but they still make me stupid during the day.

As it stands, I can't wear shoes and can barely get a sock on my foot.  I'm able to walk around the house and have ventured outside twice.  I'm starting to get cabin fever, for sure.

So, as always, I set the bar way to high for myself.  This time was based on the surgeon's instructions of weight bearing from the get-go and it should only take a week of recovery.  I'm at one week tomorrow and I don't see myself returning to work very quickly.  Especially since work requires shoes.

05 February 2015

Special Shoes

The official countdown to surgery has started.  I'm actually excited, with only a little bit of nervousness.  I am just ready to have this whole thing over with.

I should be off my feet for only a few days.  There is a change that it will be longer but I won't know that for sure until I wake up from surgery.  That will be a fun little surprise. In the meanwhile, I have 34 Gilmore Girls episodes to watch while "relaxing".

If the bones are damaged from the loosening screws, then the recovery will be longer.  If they aren't then it should just be a few days.  I don't know if I will have physical therapy this time or not.  I'm hoping a little that I will.  A little added insurance, I think.

I will admit to having a little psychological trust issue with standing on my leg without the bionics.  I mean, I know that they won't let me do anything that isn't possible or safe. It's just reversing the thought processes that have developed over the last three years.

As an incentive to recover quickly and regain strength/mobility that I've lost, I have new sneakers to wear.  I received them from my brother for Christmas but I just can't wear them right now.  My ankle just isn't strong enough yet.  Also, it's weird to say but there is a learning curve when wearing a new pair of shoes.

With these, because they are light and low, I felt like I was high stepping when I wore them.  It's just a habit to develop is all. But in the meanwhile, they're a goal to reach for this summer.

If I can wear them without issue, come summer I will buy a pair to match the racecar.
Photo from Amazon

03 February 2015

Static Cling

My mom gave us sheets for Christmas.  This isn't an unusual gift, it's actually sometimes requested.  It can backfire: she gave us lime green colored sheets once.

This year she went Christmas shopping at Ross with her best friend.  She bought herself a set of these sheets and loved them so much, she returned to get them for us.

We use flannel sheets all year long.  I like how cozy they are, I hate the feel of cold sheets.  During the summer, I just take a blanket or two off the bed.

She bought us FLEECE sheets.  Fleece, like blankets or sweatshirts.  They are super cozy and warm.  It's like sleeping amongst kittens.

But it's winter.  The house is static-y.  I regularly shock Kevin accidentally, which is greatly entertaining to me but I always fear it will someday be paid back to me.

And it was.

I had noticed that the sheets sparked when you pulled the covers back or when you roll over. Like when you were a child and scooched your feet back and forth to create them.  I'd shocked myself a few times but no big deal really.

Eventually I shocked Kevin.  He sleeps soundly so he didn't really notice, at most rolling over.  I admit, I giggled.

Until, in the middle of the night Kevin rolled over and put his arm around me.  In doing so, he shocked me right at the base of my spine.  I swear to sweet baby jesus, the room lit up.  You could hear it crack like lightning.

I muttered to him and rolled over back to sleep. Not before hearing him stifle a giggle.  So, he had this story to tell at Friday night dinner and he was still laughing like it just happened.

His mom seemed interested in the sheets so I was considering giving them to her. (Kevin banned them from our house)  It occurred to me that she's on oxygen.  So I asked Kevin if that was a real concern or if I was over-thinking it.

"Well, it could be a small concern of lighting my mom up but do you really think it's a good idea to give these sheets to our 75 year old parents?"

Fair enough.

26 January 2015

Blue Friday Night Dinner

Usually the family goes out for Friday Night Dinner every Friday.  Lately, Kevin's mom hasn't been up for it so we haven't been going.  Kevin and I have both realized how much we prefer to stay at home.   We're just over eating out at restaurants.

So, the deal is that if he works on Saturday we don't go.  Or if we do go, we take a separate vehicle. Sometimes, and these are good days, Kevin just decides he doesn't want to go.

Last Friday, I texted him in the afternoon and said that I was thinking about take-out for dinner.

He writes: "I told them I would go to dinner. Sorry. I understand if you stay home"
Me: "Dude"
Him: "I know. I suck."
Him, again: "Brother bought mom a Seahawk shirt and she said she can't wait to wear it out of blue Friday night."

It turns out that she wanted to wear her Seahawks shirt for Blue Friday.  Kevin had to explain that it's Blue Friday and not Friday Night.  A person wears their Seahawks gear all day, not just to dinner.


Coincidentally I had ordered a hoodie for Kevin and it arrived that afternoon.  So, I wore my hoodie and he wore his.

She was so pleased that we were all honoring Blue Friday.

Then, during dinner, she explained that she won the shirt as a bet from Kevin's brother.  Kevin was all "What, now?"  She explained that she said "If the Hawks win, then I get a shirt!"  Somewhere in her muddled brain, she has decided that she won a bet versus just making a wish for a shirt.

So, Kevin's brother bought her a shirt when they won on Sunday to settle their bet.

Now, she's looking at the sweatshirts that Kevin and I were wearing and "betting" that if they win again, she could have a sweatshirt.

This is where smart phones are invaluable.  I clicked on my Amazon app and tried to reorder the sweatshirt like Kevins.  It increased by $20 in less than a week.  Yikes.  I kept browsing and found one slightly different for less.  One-click-purchase and it will be here tomorrow. She is none-the-wiser.

Now she can really celebrate Blue Friday and the Super Bowl.

22 January 2015

Two Plates, Two Cups, Two Spoons

The kids watched movies at our house on New Year's Eve while the adults played games next door. The plan was they would watch movies and have popcorn then come down just before midnight.

We had already left when the kids dropped off the kids. I dug out every extra pillow and blanket I could find so that each kid had their own.  We were pretty specific with the Nephew and Fiancee about "rules" because we don't have a kid friendly house, really.  But there were only two instructions: no horseplay and stay out of our room and office. They've been there before and they're good kids. But there are five of them and they're kids.

The Nephew and Fiancee joined the adults after getting the kids settled.  Although Fiancee has been in our house before, getting the kids settled gave her the opportunity to really see the house.  A person doesn't feel quite so conspicuous looking around when the owners aren't there.

"It's so TINY! So clean! I kept thinking Is This REAL?" she exclaimed to us.

I just laughed because it is tiny and it is clean.  I told her "Honey, we don't have five kids like you do!"

This spun her off onto another exclamation.  "We had to get bowls out for all the kids and we opened the cupboard and there were just a few bowls and I was confused.  Then it occurred to me: there's only two of them.  Isn't that sweet?  They only have what they need. And they only need two!"

She meant it genuinely and lovingly. Being a mom who needs at least of five of everything AND make sure that one child has the green one and the other has the blue one, etc.  this probably is a dream to her.

19 January 2015

Suddenly, I Can't Concentrate

We know that I don't like medicine.  It doesn't help my attitude that I'm allergic to most everything.  But mostly, I just resent that there is a pill for everything and that it seems like the go-to for solving health concerns anymore.

When I had to begin taking nerve blockers for my leg, I was pretty hesitant about it.  But I was desperate to feel better so I took them.  Turns out, they make me stupid so I could only take them at night anyway.

The fun part of this medicine is that you're not supposed to quit it cold-turkey. They are addictive. As I take the lowest dose and only nightly, the suggestion was to alternate nights and gradually taper off.  I am not wired in a way that makes this feasible without charts and graphs and babysitting.

So, of course I bucked the recommendation and quit cold turkey last week.  I figured, like I do about most things, What's the worst that can happen?

Luckily, it hasn't been all bad.  But it's been a trip, if you will.

Firstly, I decided to go off them not only because I hate medicine but with my upcoming surgery I felt like I needed to not have anything in my system so I could truly know where I am afterward pain and mobility wise.

Wait, did I explain that I'm having an allergic reaction to my bionics and it all has to be removed? Yeah, that's fun. All the screws are loosening (insert joke here) and the tissue is rejecting the parts.  I went from planning on just getting one screw that was troublesome removed to getting all eight screws and both plates removed.  *fun*

The point of this story is that I had the displeasure of detoxing.  I understand why addicts avoid this feeling and I wasn't going through the whole process like an addict would.

The job of the medicine is the exact description of the problem and the withdrawal: nerve blockers.  It dulled the nerves in my leg so that I didn't want to saw it off all.day.long.  So when a person stops taking these, the nerves wake up and party.

I thought that I would just have issues with my leg and had kind of a game plan for coping with it. What I didn't anticipate was the whole body reaction.  I've been dizzy, like just got off the merry-go-round dizzy.  I've been hot, which is really weird because I'm never hot. I've been squirmy and a little more ADD than usual.

I remember noticing when I started taking the medicine that it slowed the ADD down a little. It was a pleasant side effect and now I'm missing that a little.  I'm not too worried about it, I just have to remember what it's like to feel "normal" for me again.

Also, I will miss the sleeping.  I used to be able to sleep through the night and now I'm back to my wide awake until 11-midnight hours and awake again around 3:00 am.  Sigh...

As I write this, it seems like there are more entries in the Pro category than the Con category.  I am probably going to need to think about this more.  Less ADD behavior and better sleep are good things.  I just wish it didn't take a pill to change those.

It will take a few weeks for everything to subside and return to normal so I do remind myself that this will level out.  This was particularly challenging when I felt like coming out of my skin while watching a movie the other night. I felt like my very own After School Special.

The shiny side is that I'm not totally miserable.  I think that I will be just fine without these meds, if the parts weren't trying to leave my body.  My hope now is that the new surgery doesn't make them necessary again.

18 January 2015

We Believe

So, you might have heard the Seahawks are returning to the Super Bowl.  Trust me, if you live in the Pacific Northwest and British Columbia, there's no way not to know.

Except if you're Kevin.  With three minutes left in the game and Seahawks down by over two touchdowns, he declared himself a Fair Weather Fan and went out to the shop to work on the racecar.  I started doing my chores and ended up folding laundry in our room while watching the game. 

I am superstitious so I thought maybe this will change the game. (shut up) And it seemed to have worked.

I might have yelled.  I might have clapped.  I absolutely cursed.

Two minutes left and the Seahawks tied the game.  Unbelievable.

So, I text Kevin:
Lynch Touchdown under review.
Touchdown reversed.
Wilson touchdown.
Seahawks interception.
Lynch touchdown.

I even posted on the facebook "Holy wow Beast Mode"

He didn't answer, which was a little unusual but I thought maybe he was next door or listening and not able to respond.

And then he comes into the house and is on the phone, like the world is not exploding in excitement.  I walked out to say what the hell when he sits in his chair and looks at the screen.

His jaw dropped and his eyes got huge. "Wait, what? What is HAPPENING!?!?!  It was over. What is going on!?!?!"

I yelled "ARE YOU KIDDING ME!?!?!  CHECK YOUR TEXTS! We're still in it!"

He was talking to one of our Canadian friends that wasn't interested in watching the game so he don't know either.  I'm all "GET OFF THE PHONE!!!"

And then we won and OMG OMG OMG.

One of the major things about Russell Wilson, the quarterback, is his steadfast gratitude. If you're unaware of who this gentleman is, look him up.  He's the person we all want to be.

So, instead of celebrating on the field, the players huddled and gave thanks in prayer.  No one disturbed them, just stood quietly by and let them finish. They're going to the Super Bowl and they're huddled together in gratitude.  After proper thanks were given, then the celebration began. 

This is who the Seahawks are. Positive. Humble.  Grateful.

16 January 2015

No Christmas Present for Them

I'd forgotten about this happening until it randomly popped in my head again.

On Christmas Eve we went to get coffee with the puppy before we had to leave on our Seattle adventure.  We always take the girls candy on Christmas Eve as a thank you gift.  Kevin handed it to them the candy and we chatted while we waited for our drinks.

We have punch cards that earn free drinks after a certain amount of punches.  Over the holidays and vacation, we usually end up with extra free drink cards.

Kevin is really good at paying it forward.  He will randomly give one of his cards away to the car behind him or the State Patrolman that comes through about the same time as he does.

So, he gestured with one of the free drink cards and said "Should we give this to the car behind us as a Merry Christmas gift?"

Distractedly, I looked in the rear view mirror and said "There's no one behind us."

Kevin sighs, like he does when I'm not paying full attention, and says "I know that but there eventually will be.  So we can do that or should we just say 'eff those guys' and that's what they get for not being here right this minute? Nice. Real nice Christmas attitude."

It was one of those moments that still makes me laugh, weeks later.

15 January 2015

It's Always the Quiet Ones

In light of recent events in the world, I've written this very gingerly.

So, I have my first official Nerf gun fight story.  It seems that exchanges break out around the tired hour (3:00 pm)  daily.  Short little bursts happen throughout the day but an all-out skirmish seems to happen about then.

Today one had broken out and almost everyone was involved, so nearly eight people.  One of the guys involved was one of the nerdy IT guys.  He's usually pretty quiet and seems very nice.  He spends a lot of time staring at video screens and on the phone.

Apparently he sassed somewhere along the way so he was taking fire.  The rule is no shooting at people while they are on the telephone.  (this rule appears to have a lot of wiggle room) Unfortunately, he had to take a phone call during the exchange.  He did the international time-out sign and sat down.

He uses a wireless headset so he can move around where he needs to when on the phone. He put his headset on and sat down at his desk.  A few minutes went by and his neighbor shot him.  He gestured at him like "Effing really?" and kept talking.

About a minute later, I watched him calmly stand up while still talking.  He quietly picked up his Nerf gun and began "So, I checked the ABCDE and if you could check the FGHIJK then..." Pew Pew Pew.

Dude picks up his nerf gun and just takes everyone out all the while having a perfectly normal conversation with the client on the phone. "Great, if that works then we can test the XYZ switch and..." Pew Pew Pew " then we can proceed onto the.." *Pew Pew Pew*.

His voice didn't waver, his demeanor never changed.  He bobbed and weaved while being shot at by those who weren't doubled-over laughing. Everyone was laughing so hard they could hardly stand.
Then he calmly sat back down like nothing ever happened and eventually finished the call.  All the while, the client is completely unaware of what's just transpired.

This just supports the cliche that it's always the quiet ones you have to keep an eye on.

07 January 2015

Let's Go to the Movies!

Santa gave me a movie gift card this year.  I thought this was a very good present, one that I've given to my nieces before because I knew they couldn't afford to go the movies..  It makes people go to the movies, instead of putting it off because it's too expensive or whatever.

This the part where I say that I hate going to the movies.  Hate it.  Obviously, Santa didn't know this.  The way I am wired, it's just too difficult to concentrate.  People bug me.  It's too loud.  Don't sit so close to me, jeez.

I wrote about this a few years ago, the last time I went to the movies.  We sat next to a teenager who was trying to impress his date with his not witty and not clever comments THROUGHOUT the whole movie.  I told him to be quiet, Kevin told him to be quiet. The person behind him told him. Unfortunately for the rest of us, he was the funniest guy in the room.  When we left after the movie finished, I stood up and leaned toward him, and said "You owe your mother an apology."  Kevin just walked away, laughing.

Anyway.  The point being is that it's been years since Kevin and I went to the movies together. I had to go look it up, it was 2009.

The city where I work just built a brand new multiplex.  It's really, really nice.  Well, look:

Isn't that something?  It's a nice mix of old and new.  It's huge, you can't quite tell that from the photo. 16 theaters are behind that facade.

It was nice adventure from the beginning to end.  I actually felt excited to experience it. It felt like being a kid at the movies for the first time, so much had changed. I could remember going to the movies the first time (Snow White, with my eldest brother, I think I was six or so) and marveling at the whole place.

While Kevin was just happy to have me at the movies with him.

This is the lobby/concession area.  This is where I started to get overwhelmed. The reader board above the counters are television screens that scroll the menu, advertisements, and movie times. It felt like something out of a movie (haha, get it?)  I leaned into Kevin and said "I feel really old standing here.  All this newfangled technology surrounding me.

One of the things that I don't like, along with every single other American, is the cost of the food.  We had two dollars left over from the gift card and we still paid $18 for two sodas and one bucket of popcorn. $18!!  

There was also a sign at the ticket-taker booth stating that large bags, etc. aren't allowed.  I, of course, was a little eye-rolly because we just paid $18 dollars for food.  Then it also occurred to me that now they're worried about guns as well.  Sigh...

This is the theater that we actually sat in.  See that railing? We sat right there, next to the stairs.  We chose exactly the right movie because the theater was nearly empty.  It was a Christmas miracle!

We watched The Gambler with Mark Wahlberg.  I think he could stand in an empty room and read the phone book and it would come out in the accent of "Eff you."  I do enjoy him.
Oh, the movie was good too.

I might consider going again.  The theater is so nice and if we go to the matinee, it's less busy and I'll not hate so many people.

A Team Builder, in a Weird Way

So, I was asked by Life of a Doctor's Wife about the nerf guns at my new work.  It's a strange thing, really, as I'm sure you all think.  I don't know about the origin of how it came about.  My suspicions are around one of the owners sons, who seems to be the instigator 90% of the time.  (this instigator once army-crawled across the office to surprise someone...he's over six feet tall)

Everyone has a nerf gun.  It seems that some of the people have different kinds of bullets though. One set of them whistles, another travels like a curve ball. Someones are colored by sharpie.

Some people hardly use their guns.  It's like a personality type determination test.  I haven't used mine; being the new girl, it feels weird.  I do foresee using it though.  I owe the Instigator a few shots as I was caught in the crossfire, twice.

The pattern seems to be that the gunfights break out in the afternoon, about the time that everyone falls into that lull that happens around 2:30.  Everyone is quietly working then you hear the "thwack" of the gun and usually a giggle or a "Dude!" followed by more "thwacks".

It's funny to watch people's reactions when they don't work here and a melee breaks out.  Think salesmen, repairmen, new hires.  One of the new people was trying to complete paperwork as nerf bullets are whizzing by him.  Yesterday I took a call and when I said that the person was unavailable, the man on the phone asked if he was taking fire.

It appears to be a stress reliever and strangely a team builder.  When bullets land near me, I usually collect them then return them to the two girls whose desks seem to be the front line. Thus building an alliance. (I've watched Survivor)

The tech guys don't have them, as they're working out of the building most of the day I'm guessing.  I've seen them steal/borrow guns and join in at the end of the day though.  I always enjoy that part of the day.

Actually the way my desk is located I am out of the fray most times, save the occasional misfires that wing bullets my direction.  Again being the new girl, I think some are uncertain to shoot at me just yet.  I'm sure that will pass before too long.

(P.S. Life of a Doctor's Wife: I think she bought the Sheldon pen online.  Ebay, maybe?  CBS Store?)

02 January 2015

The Gift of the Magi

Everyone had kind of a rough year financially so Kevin's family decided for the adults to not exchange gifts.  When we were first together, it was a big extravagant process with stockings and presents from everyone.  Over the years it has gotten pared down to choosing a single name, buying for all the kids, and your spouse.  This year, presents were only for the kids and your spouse.

Kevin and I usually give each other two gifts, one at each family's houses.  This year, we were non-committal because we've reached the age where we don't need anything per se or what we want are big ticket items.

When I did my Christmas shopping on Amazon, I ordered the West Wing dvd set.  I figured it could be a present for the both of us but I would wrap it up for Kevin.  So, there was one present done.

When we were in Vegas, there weren't any event hoodies left to buy and Kevin was really disappointed.  I had to wait for the email saying they were in and it was getting close to being too late so I was starting to fret a little. Finally, just in time, the email arrived and I ordered one.  The next day I received another email for a different sweatshirt so I ordered that as well.  Okay, now I'm done with him.

Then, at dinner, Kevin asked about presents.  I told him that I didn't go big and to not worry about it too much.  I mentioned that we don't really need or want for much at this age.  He said that there was one thing that he wanted last year and didn't get.

Yeah, that feeling...the disappointment and dread.  I sat there hoping it was something I could order quickly.  He wanted a bug shield for his truck.  I had totally forgotten about it.  I had it saved on his wish list and everything and I still forgot.

I waited for him to fall asleep then grabbed my phone to order it.  Thank sweet baby jesus for the Amazon app and Amazon Prime.  I ordered it and it was due to be delivered the 23rd.  Cutting it close but I can roll with it.

So, I told Kevin's parents that it was arriving on the 23rd and could they please tackle the UPS guy and hide it at their house.  Yes, for sure.

The 23rd came and no present.  All day.  I was starting to panic.  We ate dinner and I was doing the dishes when I heard a truck.  They didn't come to our door though.  Soon, Kevin's dad called to say that a package ("From Vegas" he whispered into the phone) was dropped off.  It was his sweatshirts and not the shield.
I went over and got it, just to make sure.  As I came in the door, Kevin happened to be in the kitchen.  "What's that?" he asked.  "Um, well, it's, um, something for the niece. I totally forgot about it."

Half an hour passed and I was doing laundry, which is thankfully where the back door is.  Kevin is in the living room, cozy in his chair with the puppy, out of sight.  I heard a truck and immediately broke into a flop sweat.

Sure enough, they knocked on the door.  The puppy freaks out and I'm silently hoping Kevin just stays put.  It was the UPS guy and he had two boxes.  One was our magician's magic kit and the other was the shield.

The box for the shield was over six feet tall.  What.the.hell do I do with that?

We live in a tiny house so hiding places are non-existent. I stood in the laundry room like a Stooge, going back and forth trying to figure out where in the world I was going to hide this.  Laid across the washer & dryer? No. In the coat closet? big no.  In the office?  No place to put it. *bad words*  I couldn't sneak it next door because I'd already been over there and lied my face off to Kevin.

Finally, I thrust it in the extra bathroom shower.  Kevin rarely uses that bathroom and I knew it was super unlikely he would shower in there in the next 24 hours.  That would have to do.

We went to bed and I was still trying to figure it out.  Because of our trip to Seattle, I couldn't get it next door without being noticed.  I didn't have time to wrap it and even if I did, it wouldn't fit under the tree and he would know what it was.  Finally I just decided that I was going to put a bow on it and figure it out on Christmas morning.

Kevin always gets up before me because he's one of those annoying morning people.  I heard him in the shower and wondered what I was going to do with his present.

After he got halfway dressed, I told him "I couldn't shower in the other room, there's something in the shower and it's freaking me out."  (this is no lie, really)  He knows I'm not the kind of person that freaks out over bugs so he was a little concerned.

I hear the shower curtain move and a startled "Oh, sh*t! What is that? Oh....Totally Cool!"

So, I win.  Whew!

Three presents for him didn't go unnoticed.  He worried a few times that I felt bad but I assured him that I was fine. I've bought two books since then so I figure we're even.

31 December 2014

Happy New Year!

New Year's Meme

It’s back! The New Years Meme!  

1. What did you do in 2014 that you’d never done before?
I’m not sure.  It was a weird year.

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

Not really, at all.  Massive car repairs took replacing appliances off the list.  Write daily was better than years past but still not achieved.  I have culled and converted our CD’s but I’m still stalled at what to do with the remaining ones. I suspect separation anxiety.

My resolutions for 2014:
1. Replace three major appliances. This is a resolution and not task because I keep putting it off.
2. Write Daily...be it an email, a tweet, a post, something.  Facebook and to-do lists don't count
3. Deal with the three million obsolete cd's that we have, which means learning to convert them. 

My resolutions for 2015:

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

Not this year, but a friend is pregnant.

4. Did anyone close to you die?

Yes, we lost a friend to suicide this summer.

5. What countries did you visit?

"Oh Canada, our home and native land.."

6. What would you like to have in 2015 that you lacked in 2014?
Healthy Family Members 

7. What dates from 2014 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
My last day at my work.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

9. What was your biggest failure?
Kevin would disagree but I think caving and taking a private sector job instead of waiting for a non-profit job.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Sorta.  It turns out I’m having an allergic reaction to my bionics & will need to have them removed.

11. What was the best thing you bought?


12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
The Nephew, again. He's a champ.  

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

Former and current “leaders” of my former job.

14. Where did most of your money go?

Same as every year: Bills, Racecar, Vegas trip. Books. Amazon. Mochas!

15. What did you get really excited about?
I can’t really think of something.  It was kind of that kind of year.

16. What song will always remind you of 2014?
Happy by Pharrell Williams.  Stemming from multiple 30-second dance parties with my former coworker.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
– happier or sadder? I’m ambivalent, right now.
– thinner or fatter? Same-ish
– richer or poorer? About the same

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?

Read.  I didn’t seem to have time to read this year.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Experiencing melodrama

20. How did you spend Christmas?

Eve - at my parents after a very long day at the hospital
Day - Next door, immersed in children's excitement and food

21. Did you fall in love in 2014?
Every day.

22. What was your favorite TV program?

I always have a difficult time choosing favorites. Doctor Who. Castle, Big Bang Theory, Parenthood, Scandal, Project Runway. Greys Anatomy

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?

No. I'm not a hater. It's a waste of time

24. What was the best book you read?
The Lemon Orchard.  It wasn’t at all what I expected.

25. What was your greatest musical discovery?
Eric Church

26. What did you want and get?

27. What did you want and not get?
A CPSA championship (same as last year)

28. What was your favorite film of this year?
The Best Most Exotic Marigold Hotel. (not necessarily a 2014 movie but that’s when I watched it)

29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
46 and I had to work for the first time in many, many years.  Inventory, nonetheless. Kevin and I went out to dinner sans family then went to the local bookstore.

30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Not being laid off.

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2014?
Hoodies. New sneakers.  Purple.

32. What kept you sane?

Mochas. Kevin. Lucy. Television.

33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Craig Ferguson. I’m so bummed that he’s not doing his show anymore.

34. What political issue stirred you the most?

Legalization of gay marriage. I'm loving watch the number of states increase.

35. Who did you miss?

My former co-workers.

36. Who was the best new person you met?

I’m not sure.  I have new coworkers but I don’t know them very well at all.

37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2014.

Go down swinging.