20 October 2021

Game Changer in a Box

 I talk to my mom about once a month.  With everything going on here, more time lapsed than is normal or acceptable so I phoned her today.

We waded through the whole half my family remains anti-vaxxers and that we would not be participating in family gatherings until that changes.  She understands and sympathizes so that's good.

At one point, I expressed frustration with my family coming around her "Because you are 85 Years Old."

She paused for a beat.  "Actually.  I'm Eighty Six and A HALF." she states.  OMG, She made me laugh.  It was like talking to the littles when they were young enough that the "And a half" matters.

But that's not even the best part.  Now, positive calls with my mom are rare and it started rocky because of the family.

She mentioned plans for Thanksgiving.  She is making my anti-vax family do Covid testing before they're allowed in the house.  *mic drop*    Good job keeping yourself alive, mom.

Still not the best part.

She was telling me that she had just bought the turkey because the news is saying that everything is getting more difficult to come by and more expensive.  I encouraged her that it was a good idea.


"Do you know what I found?  I was in the boxed goods aisle and they have stuffing that COMES IN A BOX."




She didn't know that boxed stuffing was a thing.  It was a GAME CHANGER for her.  I mentioned "You can have stuffing in JULY, mom."  She LIT UP.  "You know what I do?  I get baked chicken from the deli and then I make stuffing and have myself a good little dinner."

She was so pleased. SO PLEASED.

But how does one live on this earth for Eighty Six and A HALF years and not know about boxed stuffing?

17 October 2021

There's No Such Thing As Easy Dinners

This is how dinner usually goes...

Kevin hasn’t wanted anything specific to eat for months now.  He still can’t smell due to Covid and thusly, his taste is off as well.  His appetite is almost non-existent.

I’ve mentioned before that I’ve been feeding him like one would a six-year-old

With that, if he mentions that something sounds good I get it because I just want him to eat at this point. AND, even though I’m doing this he still doesn’t eat very much. #thankscovid  He eats maybe only about half of what he would normally eat.

Tonight he decided sloppy joes sounded good.  Did I have the ingredients for sloppy joes?  Of course not. Is the end of the day and pouring down rain? YES

No matter, I will go to the gas station and spend twice what it should cost for the mix and most likely stale hamburger buns.  I was fairly confident that I had ground turkey or maybe even hamburger in the freezer.  Spoiler Alert: I did not.

The nearest grocery store is at least fifteen minutes away so that is not an option.  The gas station is my only choice, other than “Choose something else” to which isn’t an option for anyone whose ever had a spouse with a serious illness. Codependent, maybe but until you’re in it, you don’t know.

The gas station is usually always busy but it has a little bit of a creep factor in the evening or night. I’m certain a percentage of this is my imagination.   I found the sloppy joe mix easily and wasn’t surprised that they had it. There are campgrounds nearby so picnic items – albeit overpriced – are a safe bet.  I circled and circled for hamburger buns but didn’t see them. I finally asked the cashier who did the “umm, they’re Right There” thing.  I had walked past them twice, they were at eye level, and on the end cap.  Thanks, alphabet brain, appreciate that.

The cashier got animated when I set my things down.  “I JUST made these! They are so good and perfect for a night like tonight.”  So, that was a nice little bonding moment after the awkwardness.

I returned home and pulled apart the freezer.  I would have bet money that I had hamburger and an extra ground turkey.  I would have lost that money.  And in walks Kevin, home from work.  Muddy from head to toe and I suspect damp.  Now I really can’t say no.

I told him that we didn’t have hamburger or turkey and he says “Mom will have it.”  I replied, “Yes I know and will you call her?”  The logic in my head being I was trying to make dinner and could do other things while he called.  “Well, it would mean more to her if you called and asked.”



I know I’m not normal. I know I’m raised by wolves but why is that a thing?  Why does sentiment get attached to asking to borrow hamburger?  Why is that a thing.  This is right on par for how this is going and  should have seen it coming. I picked up my phone while muttering nonspecific displeasure.

Of course she had hamburger and she was happy that she had something we needed. I will admit that it’s usually the reverse.  “But it’s frozen” she says, concerned.  “Pretty sure I can figure that part out” I told her.

I walked over there while Kevin climbed in the shower and they already had the hamburger sitting on the table, waiting.  That IS one of the nice things – as in convenient and in sentiment – of living with your family.  We exchanged pleasantries and I’m heading back to the house with a “I have to figure out how to use this now” joke.

As I’m walking back to the house, I glanced at the package.  There was hand writing on it and for one panicked second, I thought I read Lamb.  Because that would 100% happen.  But no, it was:





 Written just like that.  It’s just one of those things that you know there’s a reason but it’s just best not to ask. 

 It was wrapped in a produce bag and covered in tin foil.  So, being thrifty, they had bought a big pack and broken it down.  The issue was the tin foil had become embedded while freezing.  Because WHY NOT.

 My impulsive brain thought “Just put in the microwave” while my logic brain is shouting NO.  I ran it under hot water for a minute or two then peeled/picked the tin foil out.  Because no good deed goes unpunished.

 After squinting at the microwave as it defrost the rest of the hamburger and waiting for disaster, I started to brown the hamburger.  Oh, wait: Remember when I bought a new microwave like two years ago?  Yeah, the button to open it is broken now.  When I bought it, there wasn’t one with a handle, just the push button to open.  I bought it reluctantly and yeah, now it takes two hands to open the microwave.  Perfect.

Then I remembered how much that I absolutely hate cooking hamburger now.  Hate it.  I’m not a vegetarian but I’m pretty close and I’m definitely vegetarian when it comes to cooking hamburger.  It’s just…no.  I mentioned it to Kevin, who specifically ASKED for hamburger and he shrugged and said “Then don’t cook it.”  Okay, Mr. Mixed Messages.

 Despite all of that *waving of my hands* it was a good dinner for a rainy and cold night.  Was it worth all of THAT? No but at least Kevin ate and that was the point. 

 It’s just a lot of work for a “simple and easy” dinner.  But there really seems to be no such thing as simple and easy when it comes to me cooking.

16 October 2021

Barefoot in the Rain

 Ah, the Autumn Ennui.  I thought I'd skipped that this year but nope.  It's just running late. How apropos. 

Today is one of those days in the beautiful PNW where it seems like the sun forgets to rise.  Summer did an Irish Goodbye and left without a word.  

I'm about three-quarters through Start Up and I'm at the This Is Never Going To End phase. Then, because the universe thinks it's funny: I have back-to-back zoom meetings today and insult-to-injury, they're at the end of my day.

So, while trying not to lean into this ennui because I have sh*t to do, I thought about Vegas. You know, like you do.

When I stay in Vegas and have a decent view from the room, I never close the curtains. With that mindset, I went around the house just now and opened all the curtains and blinds to let in the meager light.

I had the big shower and tub in the hotel room and while I have a big garden tub, I don't have the time to fill it and soak.  So instead, I did a shower/bath in which I plug the tub and let it fill while I shower then just lingered.  A soak, few yoga poses later and I feel a little more human.  And squishy.

I'm wearing my favorite t-shirt (ACLU, recommended by Swistle, who is never wrong about these things) and shorts because I have the wood heat going and it's about 100 billion degrees in here. Also: bare feet.  One of my favorite things is to have the doors or windows open when it's like this.  Fresh air without freezing myself out.  Yes, Kevin is somewhere right now wondering why his head hurts.

Usually I have Alexa playing Sirius/XM while I work. I turned her off then put the television(s) on the channel that plays Friends all day.  I never turn on the television during the day because my alphabet brain will just sit there and watch Friends all day.  But the sound of it, right now, is soothing.

I already had coffee, which wasn't very good but I'm not patient enough to remake it.  Instead I'm having probiotic that tastes like Tequila Sunrise without the alcohol and the required *eyerolling* banana.

Lucy is laying behind me, having transferred herself from the middle of the people bed.  It's like she knows a human would appreciate her company right now.  Also: she's waiting for a walkies opportunity. Yesterday we went to the bay and it was cold but wonderful.  I'm kind of thinking about doing that again today, even though it's a bit of a drive.  But I have meetings late in the day so I have time.

I've half-heartedly started my chores and that's how I ended up here, writing at my desk. I came in to get Rosie/Geoff Peterson and here we are.  Whining about how warm it is in here and that I have two bathrooms to choose from, and a job that keeps me busy, and the ability to go look at the ocean with a silly dog.

04 October 2021

Nerding Out In Vegas

Home safe now, just tired.  This was started on Thursday...

 Right now I'm sitting in my hotel room watching Friends.  It's the last day of the conference in Vegas and I'm ready to be home.  What I'm not ready for is the process of getting there.  Going home always seems like it takes twice as long as getting there.

Mostly the classes were a bust.  They were beginner level so that was disappointing.  I spent Tuesday during classes working my actual job and that was actually fantastic.  Instead of losing a week of work, I felt like I made steady progress.  

Coffee, earbuds so I sit still, and mask because
 no one was near me and the aforementioned coffee.

Then yesterday I left halfway through the first class because it was similar -almost the same- as the class I took the previous day.  The second class was for not my job, at all.  My job partner had taken it online earlier and was all just leave.   

The funny part was that I was in the middle front row because there weren't any seats available anywhere else upon my arrival.  I told job partner that I would have to slide out of the chair to the floor and army crawl out.  After daring me and requesting video, she kept texting me. On one of the texts, I pretended she phoned and whispered "Just a second" then scurried out.  I am such a responsible grownup. #IWouldLikeToThankTheAcademy

Once successfully out, I walked to the Bellagio to see the Conservatory. It's always so beautiful.  I wish I could see the other seasons, I've only seen Fall and it's different every time.  It's like walking into a fairy tale.  Usually I go first thing in the morning before people are moving around yet so it was busier than I'm used to.  I still took eleventy photos.

Then I paid Way Too Much for a salad and soda at Giada's cafe that I ate in the room while watching Friends.  It appears that Friends is never not on the television.  I'm not mad about that.
The final class of the day was actually a good one, even though it's not a tool/app that I will use.  It's one of those Maybe I'll Use It In The Future things.  I was just relieved that I learned something. #nerd

Now it's Thursday morning.  I only have one class this morning, of which I've already checked into and peaced out.  It was another beginners class, as indicated on the opening powerpoint slide.  Sidenote so you don't think I'm a complete slacker:  I've been using this database for four school years and my scope of work is narrow AND I didn't schedule my own classes.

I'm already checked in with the airline and I'm already checked out of the hotel, even though I'm still here.  I have to leave at noon so I'm just going to cozy it up in here.  For the next two hours, everyone thinks I'm in class.  *Stretch*Yawn*

I do enjoy this whole pandemic, no contact checking in and out.  It worked for the airline, the car rental, and the hotel.  I honestly can't think of any other thing I could have done to lessen my risk while here.  I wore a different mask and clothing each day and social distanced as much as one can in this situation.

Now, what's funny about the hotel is that I accidentally upgraded my room. 

While doing the online check-in on my phone, while also waiting at the airport, there was an option to "See about Upgrading Your Room".  I looked at it then backed out.  Welp, while doing so I must have clicked something because when I walked into my room, I walked into a suite. I just began laughing.  I wasn't going to change it, even if it did cost me hundreds of dollars. (spoiler alert: it didn't.  $136)

The bathroom was bigger than my bedroom at home; with a toilet closet, big walk-in shower with a rain shower head, and a giant jacuzzi tub. In the main room, a giant cozy king bed,  a big L shaped couch in BLUE VELVET. A desk, an entertainment center with a snack/drink bar that I didn't even make eye contact with. Two big closets.  It was on the eleventh floor and looked over the pools with floor to ceiling windows.  The only disappointment was the windows were really dirty.  Still though: Totally worth it.  

I did not get the car that I was scheduled to have. Luckily these things aren't that important to me and in the end, it saved me $100 somehow.  Instead of a full-size car, I got a Nissan.  For a smaller car, which I normally detest, I really liked this car.  If we didn't live in the country, I couldn't honestly say I wouldn't have bought one on the way home.  

Meanwhile, about the reason I was there: I can now say I attended this conference and now can decline future offers.  It's just not something I enjoy or can be successful with.  I'm not a school person - even though I enjoy learning - and I am definitely not a conference person.  At the beginning opening breakfast - not my best time of day in the best of circumstances - I texted my job partner "I hate you so much right now"  She laughed and asked why.  I responded that "It's like they took everything I hate and put it all into one room."    It really was like every conference you see in sitcoms.   One text I sent was just "OMG, they need to calm dafaq down."  The buffet breakfast and coffee were really good though.

Oh, I think I forgot to mention: there were supposed to be four of us.
One caught Covid, one was in quarantine because her husband had Covid,
and I didn't know the other person.  They were early risers so we didn't meet up until the last day.

Now that's about the boring work stuff.  What else did I do?

I went to the Venetian and breathed.  To my dismay, it didn't smell the same.  I blame the pandemic. It usually smells of vanilla and is the best scent ever.  Still, the canals part of the casino are one of the more beautiful things I've seen so I'm happy just to walk through it and take photos. 

It turns out the Van Gogh Interactive Exhibit is in Vegas.  When I discovered this - during class, of course - I couldn't book my ticket quickly enough.  The show required an assigned time  so I went straight from class to the exhibit.  I was sitting in it about three minutes before I began to get weepy.  It's so beautiful and immersive and I just wasn't ready.  I sat through it twice and took a bunch of photos and videos.  If you get an opportunity, just go.  Even if your only knowledge of Van Gogh is from the Doctor Who episode, just go.  (If you need a good cry, watch this: Vincent and The Doctor )

I did got to the Titanic exhibit again.  It is just so captivating to me.  This is also one of those things that if you get a chance to go, do it. It's also an immersive....hahaha, inappropriate pun!...experience.  

They significantly lower the temperature so it's chilly
when you walk out onto the deck, with the sound of "waves" is playing
and I swear you can feel the ship sway.

Then I drove the strip and went through the  McDonalds drive-thru off-strip just to get a regular meal for a regular price and some non-hotel room peace and quiet normalcy.


It occurred to me as I was thinking about a title for this bloggity post that most likely, I am one of the few people who would go to Vegas for school and museums.  

Somewhere over southwestern Washington State

A Song for Autumn - Mary Oliver


22 September 2021

I'm Going On An Adventure

 So my work trip is next week.   The anxiety is curb-stomping any excitement I'm having right now. Super.

Kevin keeps trying to hype me up but uncharacteristically, I'm all "But..."

This is the thing:

It's a work trip.

I'm travelling alone.

Once I'm there, I'm with three coworkers. Two of which are work besties and the other I don't know at all.


It's in Vegas, which I love.  But see all the above things THEN ADD: 95 degrees outside. Then add: WORK.

It occurred to me the other day that I'm short.  Why does this matter?  Luggage storage in the overhead bin.  Kevin always does it because it's way above my head.  I mean, I can just about stand up straight underneath it.  So I think I can't go.  lol.   

Kevin said "Just ask for help" which made me snort in laughter.  You know when people are feeling generous and helpful? NOT WHILE DISEMBARKING AN AIRPLANE.  Also, I believe I am past the age of batting my eyes and twirling my hair to get someone to help me.  (damn, that used to work and I'm a little sad now)

Then there's the whole travelling during a pandemic thing.  This gave me an excuse to buy more masks.  Like I needed more but here we are.  I bought another Doctor Who one and a Puppy one.  Please shop on Etsy for masks, they have so many well-made, cute ones. So I have one for each day and extras.  This is new, trying to figure out how many masks to bring.  Also, I don't hate the anonymity. 

Kevin...the mad genius...wondered "How much would it be to upgrade to first class?"  GENIUS.  I looked about two weeks ago and the answer was Too Much.  Well, I just looked again and for $100 total: first class, window seat.  HIGH FIVE KEVIN.

Then I decided that because I'm travelling alone, I rented a car.  This way I'm not waiting for shuttles, taxis, etc.  I will go from the airport to the car, the car to the valet to the hotel.  This reduces the amount of peopling and I know that there is surveillance everywhere.  I wouldn't worry about this if I were traveling to New Hampshire.  I worry because it's Vegas.

After upgrading the flight I remembered the last time I travelled, I used the apps and what a big difference it made. With the airline app, I can check-in early with my flights.  My enhanced driver's license usually allows me to skip TSA and I'm hoping that is true for this trip.  I didn't book the trip initially so I need to do some investigating.  I also set up no contact car rental, which I've never done before.

Now it's the obsessing about making sure I have everything and packing.  I have the tendency to overpack.  Also, wild temperature swing as I go from Fall in the PNW to the desert and back again.  Plus travel and work clothes.  ALSO, I've been working from home for almost two years: I don't have work clothes really anymore.

The coordinators offered this helpful tip to attendees of the conference:

We recommend business casual attire throughout the conference. Dress Jeans are welcome. Conference ballrooms tend to be chilly, so please bring a sweater and don't forget to pack comfortable shoes.

There's just so much to unpack (intentional pun!) there.  Business casual is different in the PNW than elsewhere.  Different everywhere, actually. What are Dress Jeans?  Bring a sweater.  Comfortable Shoes.  

This conference is clearly being put on by the Golden Girls.

AND THEN there's the whole it's during Start Up so I'm trying to get everything done in double-time because I will lose a week's worth of work, during a deadline.  You can bet that I won't be making this mistake again.

Now as a coping technique, I'm making a list of things I want to see and do: 

  • The Venetian to just breathe.  If you've never been there, the air smells AMAZING.
  • The Conservatory at the Bellagio  
  • The Titanic exhibit for the eleventyth time.  I don't know that I'll have time though.
  • Get t-shirts and a burger at In & Out.
  • The High Roller Ferris Wheel.  But this too is a maybe, time-wise.  Also, this one made Kevin's eyebrows raise because: traveling alone.
I haven't been to Vegas since 2017 so I'm certain things have changed.  I'm hoping to knock some of these off on Monday before I even go to the hotel.  Then hotel check-out is well before I have to be at the airport on Thursday so that will be some time too.

I'm staying at Caesars Palace and I haven't been there before.  I am excited about that. If I were with Kevin or our friends, there would be many jokes from The Hangover but alas, not going to happen.  It's just not as funny via text.

Kevin is taking vacation days while I'm gone.  It's odd, I know, but by doing so there is someone here with Lucy and the parents.  Also, he's working on a big project so this will give him a lot of uninterrupted time and he's pretty excited about that.  I've offered to make meals ahead of time but he's declining.  I think he wants to just do the bachelor thing instead.  Among all the stuff above, I am trying not to think about the state of this house upon my return.  At least I will have a long weekend.

Oh, I just received an email from the conference.  Of course there is an app for that.  

Despite all of this *waving my hands around my head*  It will be fine.  There will be moments of fun and moments of suck.  This will be a "vacation" of sorts.  Sure, yeah. Let's go with that. It will be fine.  It will give me a good story to tell, I have no doubt.

 I'm going to play with my luggage to distract myself.

21 September 2021

I Wasted Eight Dollars - What Did Surely Take Apart Now

 Much to Kevin's dismay, I have pulled apart another cupboard.  This time he walked into the house with a tired "NOW what are you doing?"

I've talked about the junk cupboard before.  I will try to find the post and link it here but we've met me so, please don't hold your breath.

Most people have a junk drawer.  Or a spare closet or a garage.  We have a junk cupboard.  It's a weird space next to the refrigerator, which oddly was a feature for the location of the telephone. I know, times have changed. The word you might be looking for is Quaint.

Previously, there were just two big plastic bins that held everything.  Poorly.  One of the bins was stuff we used frequently enough.  It held the label maker, tools, stuff to hang things.  The other was "I don't know what this is except if I throw it away, I will need it tomorrow."  Then there were the bigger items that don't fit into a bin: the backup thermostat, the toilet repair kit.

There's also one small basket that just holds batteries.  It worked perfectly until I heard on the radio about a battery daddy and now I want one.  I don't need it, I just want it.

Finally, there's the bottom shelf.  Like the other kitchen cupboards, these are deep.  So essentially, it's useless to me because I have to lay on the floor to reach anything in the back of it.  It holds candles.  As discussed previously, I have way too many candles.  And the air fresheners for the house that goes into outlets.  And the air fresheners that Kevin INSISTED he needed for the vehicles. (that now only I use so there's that)

I had hoped to do the same thing that was done in the main bathroom cupboards.  Same boxes, same general configuration.   After Friday Walkies, I stopped at the dollar store I don't go to near groceries, hoping to get the same style boxes.  Nope.  AND all of the storage bins were cleared out; probably because start of school.

Not to be thwarted and yes, a little impulsive, I bought something different.  They are more designed for shelving in a garage but I thought it could work.  I took out everything and put it onto the island.  That poor island has had a lot of attention lately.

What, you don't have a flamethrower in your house? 

The process actually went pretty quickly, it's one of my favorite things to do: sorting and organizing.

As I progressed though, I realized that there were more boxes needed than I had imagined.  I set that worry aside and continued.  Once everything was sorted, I started to put the boxes into the cupboard.  And, big surprise: fail.  They were too long.  The one reason that I liked these boxes is the reason it failed: they were too long.  I couldn't even alternate lengthwise and not-lengthwise.  They just wouldn't fit. 

Then I figured maybe I could utilize the stacking feature.  Well, no.  Shockingly enough, something from the dollar store Did Not Work.  They were supposed to be able to be interlocked, like legos.  Not so much.  Now I'm standing in the middle of the kitchen, frustrated.

Of course this is when Kevin comes inside.  Of course.  He reiterated what I just wrote: "Something from the dollar store isn't working? Who would have thought THAT?  Why don't you just go to the *bigboxstore*."  Sometimes I wonder if he knows me at all, lol.

Well, he had come in from the shop to tell me that he had to go into town.  Perfect timing, you just thought.  Except he needed to go the opposite direction of me.  Or at least of where I WANTED to go.  After a moment's thought, he took Lucy and headed one way and I got into my truck and headed the other way.

I walk into "my" dollar store confidently, knowing I'll find what I needed; many of which were there last week.  And, *sad clown music*, there was nothing.  Sigh.  I walked through the store because sometimes items will be placed randomly throughout the store.  I did eventually find some and...they were fluorescent PINK.  No.

You may have just thought "But you needed them, why does the color matter? They're just in a cupboard."  And you're not wrong.  Except, I am a child and know that I would be annoyed every time I opened that cupboard and felt the glow of neon pink bask back at me.

I wanted the blue ones.

I walked back to the Shelves of Disappointment to see if there was anything I could MacGyver together.  Of course there were the clear shoebox style boxes with the lids no one ever uses.  Reluctantly, I took four of those.  There was one box similar to what I wanted so I took it "just in case".  

Finally as I'm standing there, shifting from one foot to the other because now the a.d.d. is fighting with the anxiety in my head, it occurs to me over the din, that: The Boxes Don't Have to Be Uniform.  There is no law that states the boxes all have to be the same.  

So I grabbed two cubbie sized baskets to add with the shoebox ones. Then I chose multiple sizes of these baskets in black:

Now I'm feeling hope seep back into my body.  Then the universe nudged me to notice the desk organizers that were just sitting there on the shelf, where they didn't belong.  For some reason I am obsessed with these and have used them a few ways.  "THE SPICE CUPBOARD" my brain yelled at me.  So I grabbed three of them and off I went.

There are two kinds of cashiers at these stores: mute or chatty waitress style.  I had the chatty style.  She asked if I found everything I needed and even though I NEVER do this, I said "Well, not really.  I was hoping to find some boxes that were here about a week ago."  She looked at me with sympathy, as if to say "You silly, simple girl."  Instead she said "What kind?"   I explained what I wanted and she immediately turned and cast her eyes to the "clearance" part of the dollar store. (I know, right?)  I laughed and said "I saw those. Thanks but no thanks.  Pink is not my jam."  She laughed and said "I understand."

THEN she said  "You could go to the website."  I told her that I didn't ever think to look at their website.  So, here's the trick: you can only buy in bulk.  Remember that because the holidays are on their way before we know it.

Because it was raining, like really raining, and I had just suffered defeat and perhaps victory, I swung through the starbucks to get a treat for the drive home.  Coffee and chocolate can fix almost everything.

I returned home and basically started again.  At least this time, the junk that could be tossed was already gone and everything was generally sorted.

You can't see it well in photos but here.  I used three narrow bins in the rear of the cupboard for tools, extension cords, and nails & command strips.  The basket on top is the label maker that is currently being used incessantly so it's just perched there for now.

The battery box works so well that I didn't switch it, even though it doesn't match.  The box to the left is the plug-ins and air fresheners things and to the right is supplies for the wood stove.

Clearly, from the photo, I was over this project by the time I got to the candles.  I will return to that later. The sticks are anti-theft things for the windows that don't fit nicely into any place for storage, and the stuff behind is the larger items that won't fit into bins. And the slidy things that every house should have.

I will probably label everything eventually, more for Kevin's use than mine. I know where everything is because I put it together.  Also, it won't stop the "Where is the..." so we'll see. 

Right now I call it a win. Now we'll see if it works, it looks good in theory.

17 September 2021

Don't Be Rude

 I had to draw a boundary at work this week and I hate that.  One would think that working from home would make this need impossible but here we are.

There is an advocate named Debra whom everyone dislikes. My work has had personnel issues with her but my work never fires anyone.  We have had an issue from time-to-time and I'm just all "No".  She hates that I won't engage with her, which is partially why I do it.  Also, ain't nobody got time for that nonsense.  In all senses of the internet world, she is a Karen.  (people who know me in real just laughed, didn't you?)

There is a report - a simple spreadsheet - that I regularly provide advocates.  Last year, she kept INSISTING I was sending her the wrong list. Not just insisting but telling me I'm doing it wrong. Here's my "weak" point:  I hate doing things twice due to other's ineptitude and I hate more having my work questioned when I know I'm right.

 Anyway, finally, I told my job-partner that I wasn't sending it anymore.  Job Partner intervened and did some "training" and asked to try it again. Then summer came and it wasn't a thing.  

It's a new school year and I've sent two so far. The last one she emailed me this: "Surely the list yousent me those are all other advocate's children not mine"   No please, thanks, or punctuation, or spacing, or greeting or anything, which is typical.  (in case you're wondering: English is her first language, she's in her sixties, she is educated)

So I screenshot her list, the list in the database AND the email I sent into an email and wrote: "These are your kids, here is what I sent versus what is in the database. Please reach out to your partner, my partner or your supervisor for assistance with any database, enrollment, or tech issues.  It seems like the spreadsheet is not a helpful tool.  Let me know if you don’t wish to receive it in the future."  And included my job partner and her supervisors. 

Right after that, there was a zoom meeting with all of the advocates.  We get all the way through the meeting and my job partner reverses a decision about being paperless (GAH!) 

BUT:  It is only for advocates who have a large caseload.  Immediately, Debra is all "I'm going to do THAT.  When are you going to be at the office, Surely?"   I responded that I don't go into the office on a regular basis and that it is intended for advocates with large caseloads.  (she has SIX on her caseload.  The others advocates have FIFTY)  She continues about how hard it is for HER, she HAS to do it and "After the issues you had today, I'm just going to do it."  

Luckily my speaker was off and I wasn't actually even looking at the screen.  I sat there and counted to five because I knew I couldn't fix my face, finally turned and looked at the screen like "Seriously?" and turned away.  No one else said ANYTHING.  I was disappointed; just a "Let's discuss this later" is all I expected.  We disconnected and my job partner texted me a funny response, which I appreciated but how about something right then.

That was Friday afternoon and on Monday it was still bothering me.  So I wrote to the job partner and the advocate's supervisor that I'm respectfully going to opt out of sending reports to Debra as "It's clearly not a tool that is useful to her. It's a system that seems to work for everyone else."    NO RESPONSE.  ACK.  

AND THEN.  I went into work yesterday to meet an advocate - who has 60 kids on her caseload - and Debra had left two forms - multiple pages and one with no identifiers on it - on my shelf.  Not clipped together, no note, nothing.  Well, they became separated and there was a bit of a panic.  I emailed Job Partner to say AUGH!!!!  This is Basic Office Etiquette 101 for everyone. But Debra, apparently.

Job Partner emailed everyone that I no longer work in the office and reiterated that the preferred method is email.  Debra emails To ME almost immediately: "HiSurely I dropped off some paperwork off at the office medical and consent Ibelieve but I’ll have more on Friday so if you want I’ll just leave them fornow and I’ll bring more on Friday let me know thank you"

I just...can't.  OMG.  There was pleasantry so someone has spoken to her about that. Again.  But again with the whole ignoring the process.  Funny thing: I wasn't going into the office next week and I'm gone the following week for a conference.  I SO BADLY want to say You will have to wait.

Instead I responded with "Yes, I picked those up yesterday.  Please make sure they’re clipped together so nothing gets lost.

Going into the office wasn’t on my schedule next week and I am at a conference the following week.  I will swing by on Thursday or Friday next week when I’m in town.  Otherwise, they will have to wait until I return.

It really is best to scan and email to avoid delays.  It sounds like the office scanner is fixed and your partner has been scanning to me regularly."

She responds almost immediately, not with an acknowledgement or a counter offer. But with a "Can I get a consent for my new family thank you"   Trying to point out where I haven't done my job.  Because that's how she moves through life: by deflection.  Then it is followed thirty seconds later with  "Never mind its here thank you"

This is where I turn into Nelly from Little House on the Prairie:

In my old life, I would be all "LOOK, this isn't happening."  But time has tempered that stubborn, Oh No You Didn't, reactionary response.  Also, with someone like her no response is the best response.  And I like to really pour on the big vocabulary/SAT words and professional speak with someone like her. I'm not usually a mean girl but wooboy does she bring it out in me.

Because I grew up raised by wolves and attending redneck schools.  I can go. Trust that.  But that's not who I am anymore.  I found this meme on my phone the other day and it made me think of this situation.  And the old me.

Finally, this made me laugh. I asked my job partner this question:  "What would be a better drinking game? Drink every time Debra has a question or Every time she makes it about her?"  
She simply responded with a laugh and said "Either way, we would die."

10 September 2021

A Random Bowl - Mini What Does Surely Take Apart Now

 Years ago when I was first dating Satan, I spent Christmas morning with them.  I was gifted a wooden bowl with a lid.  Mostly decorative, not of a specific useful size.  It was ... nice.  I was eighteen or nineteen so it was an odd choice.

The weird part - and I've said that so many times in reference to satan - was how emphatic satan was about this particular gift.  He kept insisting that his dad made it. Even encouraging his dad to chime in like "You made that for her, right dad?"  And like, multiple times.  

His dad wasn't handy.  I don't remember him having a wood shop.  This plus his non-committal response to his son's prompting, made me think that this was more of a He Didn't Tell Them I was Attending Christmas.  They just grabbed something that they already had and I mean, no foul.  We've probably all done that.

Because young and dumb, I didn't quite pick up on the red flag.  I just filed the weirdness back into a shortly thereafter-to-be referenced file of Weird Things that built up over three years. 

I have no idea why I packed it when I left. I wasn't particularly fond of it.  I can't remember what I kept in it, even.  Jewelry?  Or maybe I hid something in it.  I don't know, it's use is lost to time.

Meanwhile, it's travelled quite a bit.  Back to my parents, to my temporary apartment, to Kevin's duplex, to the old house and now this house.  In the old house it held fish food, back when we had a giant fish tank. (remember when those were a thing?)  In this house, it held a candle and matches in the Common Folk Bathroom for when the power went out.  

Then because Quarantine, I took it out of the bathroom because I needed the real estate.  I stood there, looking at it, and thought "Why do I even have this anymore?"  I had Swistle in my head, asking me how it felt to have it.  Mostly: Meh. 

I thought about sending it to donation.  But something in my alphabet brain was saying to keep it. I set it aside in my office and contemplated it's existence.

Eventually it occurred to me that I could stain it and see if I liked it better afterward.  It's water damaged because fish food.  It also has a bit of a fish food bouquet inside.  It has what I thought were hand painted flowers on it but now I'm dubious.  Upon further inspection, I'm not sure that it wasn't factory made.  It's not a decal but you couldn't feel the edges or see brush strokes of the "painting".  Also the flowers are uniform, which they wouldn't be if hand painted.  Maybe it was a stencil, I dunno. It wasn't shellacked or anything, as evidenced by the water damage.

I'm still in the throes of startup for work and I considered sanding the bowl while having to sit still for three hours during a zoom meeting.  Then I realized that would most likely look strange if you couldn't see what I was doing.  

This afternoon, after having a little parental health scare because why not, I took the bowl and my supplies outside on the deck.  I sanded the lid to get the water marks off first.  It appears that the grain goes two ways in this wood so my suspicion that this is factory made continues.  Also, there are no edges or places where to pieces of wood meet or anything that makes this look like it was made in a shop on a small farm by someone who we didn't know was a woodworker.  

I did get a little philosophical /whimsical/nostalgic while I sanded. I'm standing on our deck, of our lovely little house, listening to my father in law work next door, after completing my work that I do from home, and comparing to where I was upon receiving this bowl.  The contrast is dark to light and starkly different.

Meanwhile, back to reality, then I sanded on the actual bowl.  The flowers didn't budge.  I knew it wouldn't remove them but they didn't even scuff.  Hmmm.  I thought about waiting to go to the hardware store to get the stuff that removes paint but I'm not that patient.  (Hey, hi, hello, it's me)

Instead I searched "Can you stain over paint?" and found that you can but with mixed results.  Good enough for me.  I continued to sand until, frankly, I got bored.  Wiped down the lid and bowl with that godforsaken tack cloth that I detest.  Then I remembered to put down something between my project and the deck.  (Kevin JUST NOTICED the stain on the deck from months ago.  He just said "Next time just stain the whole deck".)

This is where I point out that I'm impulsive and don't always think things through. (Spoiler alert)  Staining the lid was easy because it just sat there on the railing.  But the bowl.  With the bowl, there is physics involved.  First I brushed on the stain where it sat.  I waited probably not long enough then picked it up, spun it around from the inside while brushing on stain then held it upside down and continued to brush.  Then I set it back down - upside down - on the railing, telling myself that I would be okay with noticeable fingerprints.  (I wasn't)  I know, there are things to help with this process. Or I could have made something out of whatever is handy. But that's too easy.  

Probably way too soon, I flipped it back over and used a rag to stain the inside.  Because it's inside, I didn't care about the appearance as much but I did hope that Eau du Water Creature would go away.

Then I applied the stain all over two-ish more times and let it set for a while before wiping off the excess.  It gave it kind of a weathered, aged look. Like a patina, maybe. I kind of dig it.  Then I made myself come inside and work while it dried.  I've learned that if I stay with the project, I will fuss with it and end up frustrated.

When I started it was 75 degrees outside and I worked in the sun.  I just went back out to find it's still not dry. Because it's in the shade and now 69 degrees.  I slid something underneath it and transferred it onto one of the kitchen counters to dry for real.

I still don't know what I'm going to do with it.  But at least I tried something fun.  Like most of my projects: it gave me a story to tell.  I can always donate it later but right now it's earned a reprieve.

07 September 2021

Into the Oven, Gretel - A What Did Surely Take Apart Now Story

 A new stove has been on my to-do list for the last few years. It's eleven years old and an inexpensive one.  I've replaced drip pans and one burner and I'm lazy about cleaning the oven.  So it occurred to me about a month ago that I could do some maintenance first and see if that helps extend its life and performance.

Then it took forever to remember to find the manual for it.  It's buried in Monica's Closet because why wouldn't it be.  Then I ordered drip pans and burners from the amazon because I'm not going into stores right now.  It took a week for them to arrive and they've been sitting on the dryer for a week. 

Kevin let me sleep in this morning until ten.  I think he thought I was awake already and didn't check earlier.  He asked if I got enough sleep and it's like he doesn't know me at all.  My brain decided that today was the day to take apart the stove and oven.  At least Kevin was home in case I encountered disaster, which frankly is always a possibility.

I'm a failed environmentalist in the fact that I bought oven cleaner.  I looked at the baking soda, dish soap, vinegar route but with my alphabet brain, it wasn't realistic. I'm small so it would require me nearly crawling into the oven to make sure everything was covered. #nothanks.  Also, the very last thought I would have EVER is "Hey, I need to clean the oven" right before bed; as it requires soaking overnight.

In proper Surely fashion, I have managed to spray the oven but forgot to spray the racks because I put them outside.  Out of sight, out of mind but like for real. Then I had to make the bed and start the laundry to thwart the alphabet brain and now I've ran out of excuses not to dive into the rest of it.  Well, other than I have another 45 minutes before I can touch the oven and I know I'll forget.

Ugh. Before.

Sorry, not sorry, environment

Under the hood.  This is more my style

Sidenote: my environmental karma is the asthma is not enjoying the fumes. Well played, environment.

When I pulled the stove out of its cubbie, I found french fries.  Like a lot.  Then I remembered when I was really, really sick with bronchitis/pneumonia, I spilled them and thought "I'll get those when I'm better."  Better is apparently defined as three years later.

Luckily, the cubbie part was easy to clean. Other than I scratched the floor.  I think.  It might have been that way before.  I won't know how badly until I'm all done and mop.  Also luckily, Kevin did not notice when he helped me put it back into the cubbie and made sure it was balanced.

Also: for scratches: brown crayola crayon.  I'm just saying I might know something about that.  Also: thank you mother-in-law for that tip.

I used the shop vac to do the initial sweep of the floor and walls.  Then I also did the vents on the back of the oven and the intake for the fan, etc.  I wiped it all down and Kevin came in just in time to make sure it's level. (yes, that's a thing)

Yes, Kevin's shop vacuum.  And a potion of cleaners.
And readers to see the labels so I don't die

Right now I'm waiting for everything to finish soaking and for my lungs to forgive the assault I've put them through.  I'm a little If You Give A Mouse A Cookie because well, I'm writing this instead of doing something else stove related.  Like wash the pans I found in the warming drawer.

The warming drawer below the oven...mostly known as storage for pans you don't use...was messier than I thought it would be.  Crumbs, etc.  Years ago, when I still saw my family, they gave me new pans. I needed pots but grateful. Whatever.  (good example of my family right there)  The pans have been exiled to the drawer for years.  I need to do something with them.  Well, wash them first because eew.

In my defense, I only use two pans, one big and one small. Both non-stick because I am who I am.  These are not non-stick.  #firstworldproblems  The point being is I don't need these.  I'm certain my sister-in-law or niece will want them.

Oh and when Kevin came in to help me, he asked "Did you ever apply for that *bigboxhardwarestore* credit card?"  It's not that he doesn't have faith in me but he does live with me.  

Now I am at the This Is Never Going To Be Done stage.  I've cleaned the top, the surround, behind, under, the drawer and did the first pass of the oven.  I always forget that it takes two attempts in the oven because I don't do it often enough and the alphabet brain is always saying "You missed that spot right there. Right there. And that one."

So I was standing there, really wanting to drink when I realized that I had forgotten the range hood, the fan and the light.  FML.  I should have started there but whatever.  I also pulled off all of the knobs and set them to soak for a minute. Luckily I do all of this more often than the oven so it really didn't take me long.  This isn't stopping me from whining about it.

Stove knobs, light cover and vent screen
Properly soaked in dawn soap and baking soda

Now it's the "fun" part.  Unboxing and installing the new drip pans and burners.  Kevin was very impressed that I thought to buy new burners.  I had ordered a new oven element but realized I didn't need it so cancelled the order.  I was surprised to find that there is an element on the top of the oven too.  SIGH.  I will worry about that later.  Maybe it's not replaceable. Yeah.  We will go with that.

Okay, now it's an hour later.  Dude, I need a shower.  Ick.   Instead I am eating a victory bowl of Cheerios because I forgot to eat.  Everything is put right, cleaned up, and operational again. Rosie/Geoff Peterson is buzzing around the kitchen right now. I even remembered to turn the oven on warm so the next dinner I make doesn't have an aftertaste of easy-off.

Except.  Isn't there always an "except"?

Either I ordered or they sent two of each size pans and burners.  This stove has three small and one large.  Because of course.  Luckily, I didn't toss anything out of fear of something like this.  I found the least used pan and burner....yes, I paid attention when I took everything apart...cleaned them.  If you didn't know to look, you wouldn't notice.

Kevin went to the fabricator shop for the racecar and Lucy is asleep/pouting on the bed.  I'm going to go shower then watch something dumb on television.  And Kevin is going to bring dinner home.  Just because the range is clean and refurbished doesn't mean I have any intention of using it tonight.


Nephew stopped by so he scored new pans and lids.  The new burner arrived today and doesn't fit so back it goes. The drip pan won't be here until next week.  It's odd to have a burner that gets all the way hot instead of randomly hot.  I suspect some burnt dinners are in my future. Well, more. More burnt dinners.

Then this cued my brain to look at the cupboards where the pots live.  I pulled out everything and put them on the island.  Just in time for Kevin to walk in and exclaim "What the f#$k are you doing NOW?" I don't know why he's even surprised anymore.  

The cupboards are really deep so I have everything kind of spread out among one large and small cupboards so that everything is lined up in the front of the cupboard.  I've now consolidated them into one cupboard.  I have a cookie sheet that I hate because it's too long to fit two in the oven on the same rack, I know it's easily solvable but now I have an attitude toward it.  I have multiple cake pans because when I make brownies for the parents, it takes forever for Kevin to bring it back and they've scratched every one of them.  (ugh)  I know I'm not a great baker but they shouldn't need a steak knife to cut brownies.

This also uses one of the extra baskets I bought at the dollar store so that makes me happy.  Now we'll try this system and see if it actually is workable with my brain. 

See that cookie sheet that is hanging out?
It's not my favorite.  I don't know why I kept it

04 September 2021

Short Stories

The bloggity post also known as Drafts Languishing in the Ether

 Today is an unscheduled, non-work day for me.  The database is being updated so I have nothing to do.  Why am I sitting at the computer, you might have just asked.  Because: habit. I am a creature of habit, who needs routine to function properly in society. Although I did sleep in, so that was nice. But now I'm sitting here with my coffee and croissant, trying to figure out what I'm going to do today.  I will deal with unfinished bloggity posts, that's what I'll do.

The start of school - colloquially called Start Up - has begun for me.  I had a lot of work to do for about a week, a tiny break, then a lot of work, and now another tiny break.  Next week will be back to "normal" with a regular schedule.  However, I still have a lessened caseload for right now.  I'm happy about that as I transition from working in an office to officially working from home AND zippy twist: going paperless.  Usually I would have two huge stacks of forms to process - tandemly - and now it's all online.  I think I like it.   I'm very happy about the smaller carbon footprint.

It's raining, finally.  It rained off and on over the past few days but it was more just enough to make everything damp versus RAIN. We have had a warm and dry summer so this is very welcome.  It also makes it feel like Fall and I'm ambivalent about that right now.  I do kind of want to go stand in it though.  The last time I did and my little mossy PNW heart grew two sizes.

I started the photo project again.  I find it funny that Kevin is already over it.  Stand in line, buddy. To be fair, it's spread across the coffee table and floor since Saturday night.  I have kind of lost my way by stopping in frustration those months ago. I had it in my head that I was starting a new album, once I sorted those photos again. Upon doing that, I discovered that I was wrong.  So, learn from my alphabet brain caused mistake: finish the project.

Oh, and here's a thing.  Kevin's mom had some photos that were 5x7 and panoramic sized. She had a dollar store kind of photo album that I tried to put everything in but there were too many.  And panoramic photos are cool but what do you do with them.  Anyway, I glanced at it again and had that horrible game of "She's dead, she's dead, he's dead..."  Almost everyone in the album is dead now.  YIKES.  I set it aside to talk to Kevin about because while I'm sure that she would like to see those photos, there's no way it doesn't make her sad.  Kevin had no idea what to do and just shrugged "You can ask her, I guess."  

The other day I took something over to her and brought that album.  I explained the above: that I don't have a proper album for them and that I'm sure she'd like to see the photos BUT "Pardon the bluntness, everyone in there is dead now."  I set it on the kitchen table and she left it there.  Last night Kevin mentioned that his mom told him "Surely said she didn't have room for this album but I think she just wanted me to have it." Oh my heart. I mean, c'mon.  So, I guess she was happy with her Dead People Album and we'll play along with her story.

Kevin's mom just commented on a unflattering to a certain political party meme that Kevin's childhood best friend posted.  All she said was "Not funny."  Kevin phoned to tell me, laughing like a kid whose sibling just got in trouble. (Because he did.)  Nothing like having your surrogate mom slap you down via social media.  Well, you might be thinking that it's a pretty benign comment.  It's WHO posted it that matters.  She doesn't comment usually and a quiet chastise is EVERYTHING.  Now we wait.  Does he apologize? unlikely.  Does he phone Kevin? maybe.  Learn not to post such things? unlikely.

In a quest to slightly less resent the question "What's For Dinner?"  I've tried to figure out new things to make.  One of Kevin's favorite is a breaded/baked fish, like fish sticks but a little more restaurant quality.  It is not my favorite.  It also requires the timing of having everything ready at once that I just don't possess. Then, allergic to mayonnaise/tartar sauce now.  So I finally figured out I could make what the kids used to call ChickenFish, but my version.  He can have his fish and I will have chicken strips.  The cooking time is approximately the same, etc.  And everyone is happy.  This is one of those things that one wonders that I didn't think of it sooner.

I have been listening to the Craig Ferguson Show on the youtube while I work.  I remain heartbroken some *cough* years later that he stopped doing the show.  I was more than a few episodes in when I realized I missed a giant opportunity:  When I named the roomba "Rosie" after the Jetsons, I missed the opportunity to name it Geoff Peterson and now I'm so mad at myself.

What else?  Oh, Lucy broke my nose. I KNOW, RIGHT.  We were at the coffee stand and she took a treat from one of the girls, spun around on my lap and WHAM, head-butted me.  I actually saw stars.  Both girls stopped what they were doing because I guess it made a sound.  Even Lucy was a little "wutjusthappened"   After a minute or two, I gathered myself up and continued on with my day.  I knew it had probably broken but there was nothing to be done.  It broke when I was seventeen so I remembered what that felt like and raised by wolves so I just dealt with it then too.

Sure enough, once I got home later that afternoon, my nose had bruised down one side.  I fully expected a black eye the next morning but I got "lucky" and didn't.  But it was sore and bruised for weeks. Perfect timing for mandated masking again.  At one point, I moved it around, tugged, and pulled until I heard a pop.  I assumed that I had reset it.  It rebruised so I figured that was progress.  Fast forward about a month and my chiropractor checked it and declared it set so well done me with my homegrown medical skills.

Hmmm, looking around. I think that's it right now.  First Days of School, Kevin's Mom, ChickenFish, Geoff Peterson, and Broken Nose. 

01 September 2021

Sick and Tired of Talking About This - An Update

 I'm pissy about the whole Covid thing still.  I'm avoiding social media on the whole until I-don't-know-when.  When the pissyness subsides, which is going to be a while, I suspect.  I post Lucy photos, instagram photos, and look at my notifications. That's been it for about, at least, a week.  No scrolling.

Because it never fails if I scroll, I see bullsh*t like support for the governor of texas and comments like "The medical industry is probably profiting off of mask sales."  Or the "My body, my choice" for vaccines but not women's health.  I'm just saying you could help save untold lives versus a handful so...sigh.

So then, I went to go look at someone's page because it's their birthday today.   After doing that,  suddenly I just started unfollowing or snoozing people. Hiding topics. Hitting "Hide posts like these" I think that when I finish, I will have like five people on my page.  And that's okay.

Then I started hiding ads.  I hate the pop up that asks why.  "Because" should be the only reason, which is more reasonable than what pops in my head every time it appears.  Because in my head lives a surly teenager.

Then I went down the buzzfeed quiz wormhole.  One says I'm 48 years old, which is close.  Another said that my first initial would be either E,L,R,S or W depending on my food choices.  Well, it's right if it uses my psuedonym.  Another one predicted that I was a teenager based on the apps I use.

Anyway, off topic, Big surprise.

I went to the chiropractor today because I was super, extra overdue due to quarantine, etc.  After adjusting all the joints in my body, he mentions he's never seen me this bad.  "What happened?" he wondered.  "AIR MATTRESS.  For a WEEK."  I replied.  He kind of cringed/laughed.  "That will do it." he nodded.

He asked how Kevin was doing and I gave him the update, noting to him that my report would be different than Kevin's.  Because Kevin is at the point where he wants to feel 100% and stop talking about it.  I remember this from when he was really sick.  He got to a point where he'd almost get teary, he was so frustrated and tired of being sick and tired and having to answer people's (well meaning) questions.

His perception of when he was sick has become different than mine.  When his mom had her vaccines, she slept for four days then remembered nothing.  She will tell you right now that she had zero reaction to the immunization.  Now we have Kevin who seems to have a skewed timeline as well.  It's very odd; as if amnesia is a symptom.  

So, this is where I say that his Graves Disease symptoms have returned.  SUPER.  I was helping him with something yesterday and noticed his hand has a tremor again.  I haven't seen that in years.  He's moody. He's not hungry so I'm back to buying complete crap food to get him to eat.  He had lost only about five pounds while actually sick but I suspect that he's lost a few more.

Yeah.  Covid's "just a cold"  He's "fine".  He still has a cough and still can't smell.

And I wavered over this sentence but I'm going to go with it:  Until you have had the "You know what to do if this goes sideways" conversation while waiting for a doctor's appointment, you get to pipe down with "But you're fine."  

Now in a zippy twist that I saw coming, yet was still surprised when I heard: one of my family members tested positive for Covid.  That's all I know, because I haven't heard from my family.  Looking at their social media pages, it appears that it has changed NOTHING.  

The only reason that we know of this is because a mutual friend let us know.  So, super.  I feel okay with my not reaching out to my mother. Although, I am starting to feel like the principal in The Breakfast Club:

At this rate, it will be 2022 at the earliest

31 August 2021

It's Only Nearly Dead

This was in my drafts folder.  I know something happened that pre-empted the post.  But in 2021 fashion, I can't remember which drama it was.  I think it might have been the "There's No Money in Our Account" adventure.

Anyway. it's a nice post even though it's late and I'm looking at Fall and Winter garden prep now.

Today was the first day that felt like Spring here at the house.  It's been sunny this week but it always takes a bit of time for the sun to reach past the trees to our house.  It takes a bit for everything that's been damp for months on end to dry.  

This is the day I mention every year where PNW natives seem to walk out of their houses, squinting into the sun, and remember why we live here.  The weather is perfect.  The sun is out without many clouds (there's almost always clouds here) it's warm enough to not need layers.

Yesterday I bought flowers (finally!) when I picked up groceries.  I bought five pots of multicolor annuals and one pink perennial for a gap in the garden.  I planted them last night, the first anything that I've done in the garden all year.

Today found me climbing up into the garden. Pulling weeds, trimming deadloss, raking mulch and replacing rocks that had tumbled out of place.  (either from water intrusion or Lucy or both)  I had mulch in my shoes and down my shirt.  My hair is a mess because something flying by became caught. I don't scare when it comes to bugs so I was gentle in combing out my hair.   I apologized to the spider that I uncovered while pulling away dead leaves.  The hawks and the crane were out today, as well as the robins and bluejays.  Everyone was outside and happy today.  The sun has recharged my battery.

The tulips are growing for the first time ever.  The lillies of the valley are blooming.  Some of the rhododendrens are budding, some are bloomed.  I think the hydrengas that I cut back last month are starting to make a comeback (whew!)

I was nearly finished when my father-in-law came shuffling over.  Kevin was working on the house when I heard him shout-whisper my name.  I looked up at my f-i-l was carrying a plant with red flowers.  They had bought "extra" and "didn't have room" to plant it.  My in-laws will never work for the CIA.   

The only problem was it needed water; they had bought it yesterday and it needed water then.  Yeah, buddy, it was so dry that I'm nervous whether or not it will make a comeback.  But it's in the ground and watered now.  We'll see.  It's not the first dead plant I've had and it won't be the last for sure.

And sure they gave me a nearly dead plant but it's the thought that counts.

Now I've showered the mulch off of me and I think there might be a sliver in my foot.  But I'm happy. Finally the opportunity to dig in the dirt and assess what made it through the winter was here.  The garden looks alive-ish again as we wait for everything to rejuvenate.  Including us humans.

*Points to whomever gets the quote that is the bloggity title.

22 August 2021

What Did Surely Take Apart Now - The Bathroom Edition

 This all started with a social media post about dollar store organization ideas.  It ended with I have a packing list for a work trip I'm taking in one month + a week and this bloggity post.

But let's begin at the beginning.  Kevin needed a thermometer when he was first getting sick.  At 5:15 in the morning.  We have two, I know where they are, but at 5:15 in the morning I'm not at my best.   I found it, after a "That should be easier to find" comment that earned him a sleepy glare.

This is where I say that I have a little container/organizer that holds Cold Stuff.  Cough syrup, saline wash, cough drops, and yes, the thermometer.  It was 5:15 AM, KEVIN.  Oh, and quick tip: don't hover when it's that early.  It's just not a good idea.

To be fair, to someone who lives in this house but doesn't worry about these things, the container is at the back of one of the bathroom cupboards.  So, yes, to the untrained eye - it looks disorganized.  But it's not.  The fact that I have a dedicated and organized container for Cold Stuff should be all the evidence I need, but here we are.

What IS disorganized is the basket in front of said Cold Stuff.  It's a simple large plastic basket that has stuff thrown into it haphazardly.  Stuff ranging from extra toothpaste and deodorant to attachments to Kevin's shaver to first aid kits.

I don't enjoy the storage in our bathroom because there just isn't enough shelves.  And, fun fact about me: I hate stuff on the counter.  Hate it.  Especially if it has labels from the store.  I know, I know, I'm abnormal at best.

Fast forward two...no, three weeks now...and I was scrolling social media.  One post was about using dollar store containers for more organized pantries and refrigerators.  Yes, I was talking about the bathroom. Keep up.   I made a little list of things I might like to try then spent some time off and on thinking about if any of those would work in actual reality.  

Because Lucy now expects to go in the truck with me whenever I leave, I have to plan my trips into town.  Yes, she's a dog and not the boss of me, but really she is.  She is good for three stops and after that, she is a thirty-pound hairy toddler.   However, Kevin is home today and even though I didn't feel like taking the hour it would take to go into town, I did. Kevin bribed her with a treat as she sullenly watched me back out of the driveway.

There is only one dollar store nearby that I like.  It's tucked in the back of a quiet shopping center and it's never busy.  Also, one thinks of a certain demographic when imagining a dollar store and that is not always the case at this particular store.  Not judging but it's nice that it's quiet there and organized.  Most of those stores are neither of those things.

Right now all the school stuff was out so I was in luck with finding baskets, organizers, and containers.  I knew that I probably overbought but I also knew that I would most likely want to go get more of something else once I started this.  I was right and wrong.

And, of course, I was IN IT and forgot to take before photos.

I believe you have to make a mess to clean a mess so I started with pulling out everything and putting it on the counter.  I will never not be surprised at how I will put something in there thinking "I'll deal with that later" and then never do.  Half empty lotion bottles is the prime example.

First I went for expiration dates.  Then I consolidated what I could from multiple containers to one. (lotion, shampoo, dixie cups)  Then I organized by need.  Extra and refills are first, first aid and Cold Stuff are last.  We went from one big jumbled basket with stuff piled over/on/around it to this:

(Psst, Swistle: That's another lotion that I bought because I liked it so much)

One would think I would continue to the medicine cabinet and my stuff but nope.  I had a big basket to use now.  I pulled apart the bathroom cleaner and supply cupboard instead.  This is where we discovered the cheap toilet paper I bought at the beginning of the pandemic and kept "just in case", a bathmat that Kevin hated but I kept, and way, way too many rags.

So this was converted from a possible hazmat site to a nice little cupboard again.

Now, Surely I would do the medicine cabinet and my stuff next.  Nope, don't be silly.  Next was our travel go-bags for toiletries.  Before the pandemic, we were gone a lot over the weekends so I have a consistently stocked go-bag of toiletries.  Also, I have lots of extra stuff like empty bottles, half-used toothpaste, hotel lotions, and just random stuff because reasons.  Some of which is in the drawer of the common folk bathroom, in the cupboard I just organized, and my medicine cabinet.

I laid out a towel on our bed and just dumped everything out onto it.  Then I restocked our go-bags and had to determine what is good to keep, to replenish, and what is unidentifiably old.  Remarkably this didn't take long.  But it did prompt my alphabet brain to begin thinking about the trip I'm taking in 36 days.  Next thing I know I'm at my desk printing a packing list and adding items onto it like "inhaler" and "reading glasses"  Also, I have to find a bag/purse because I don't carry one in normal life.

Okay, so.  That was done, for now.  It will give my brain something to play with in the middle of the night.

Now I return back on task to the main medicine cabinet, which is super organized.  It's stuff we both use daily so there's nothing extraneous stored in there.  Now let's look at my medicine cabinet, which is a little plastic crafts organizer and a shower caddy in the cupboard where I can reach everything.

Not that I wear much makeup, but I did have more makeup from pre-pandemic, being presentable to other humans, days.  I assume it's expired and not something I will resume using so into the trash it went. 

I have two perfume bottles, about half full, that were given to me but I don't wear.  I keep shuffling around those and I really should do something with them.  And there were more travel sized lotions, I don't know why.  

After a little bit of reorganization, I have an empty drawer. For more travel size lotion, probably.

Country, dusty blue trash can from the 90's. No one can see it so I don't care.
Well, until now.

Now I can relax...hahahahahanope...because I know I have mostly everything for my trip. (I just ordered a travel mirror and made a note not to forget my inhaler)   
Also, the bathroom is more organized than ever before.  Even Kevin can find something now.

Here is the main bathroom, with no products on the counters and perfectly organized cupboards below:

Oh, I didn't do the pantry after all.  It's pretty organized already and I just can't bring myself to empty cereal or chips into separate containers.  I admit that the idea looks good, it pleases the alphabet brain, but the a.d.d. is all Get Away From Me With That Nonsense.

I did organize the drawers in the refrigerator, even though it's hardly worth mentioning. Other than I mentioned it at the beginning of this most fascinating tour through my OCD mind.

it's difficult to see the containers in the drawers but they're there

I had intentions of posting a link but Pinterest is a wormhole that I don't have time for and the original idea must have been on tiktock - also a wormhole.  Just search "Dollar Store Organization Ideas"  :)

Also, keep in mind that there are only two of us in this little house, both with alphabet brains.  These are not judgy suggestions.  They are a Hey, I saw this and tried it and it worked ideas.