Monday, December 31, 2018

Ringing In The New Year

 A little play on words there. I took a picture of my own hand and realized how old my skin is! And how bumpy my joints are. I mean, I see my own hands all the time, but a picture makes you really look. I took the photo to show you my wedding rings. The last time I had them off my finger was over 25 years ago. I had the diamond reset, as the prongs were loose. After the repair I slipped them back on …….. and they will remain there until I die, because I CANNOT GET THEM OFF. 

My daughter, Jill told me that she would like to have them after I am ….. gone. I know many people want to be buried with sentimental things, but I am not one of them. As far as I am concerned, I can go out the way I came in. No adornments necessary. She said she would have the rings cut off, but I told her to just have them cut my finger off. I won't feel it and why mess up the rings if you don't have to. She did not agree to me solution.

All that aside. I had mentioned to HeWho loves me that since my hands are always in dirt, dishwater or paint, I would like to have just a band. That is assuming I can use some sort of magical technique to remove the ones on my finger. I was thinking that it would be a nice gift for our anniversary. 

HeWho is always at a loss for gift ideas did not take the bait. Our anniversary is December 17. He got a tool bag full of tools for me. He could have given me that for Christmas. My tool bag is purple and all the tools have purple handles. The theory being that if he or anyone else saw a purple tool they would shy away from it, knowing it was mine. All very well and he did put some thought into the gift. He has used them already!

Since the time I told him that the flower bed needed to be fertilized and he gave me 40 lbs. of, yes, manure, for Mother's Day one year, I am very careful about what I say around gifting times of the year. You never know what little nugget of information he might pick up on. He has done much better since the cow crap event. He got on a jewelry kick and I finally had to tell him that I only have 8 fingers. He did eventually try to upgrade my diamond with a one carat flawless diamond in a platinum setting. I am pretty sure this was my 25th anniversary gift.

This was about the time my joints started to grow and my hands would ache from time to time. I don't know if you have ever tried a platinum ring, but they are heavy. The ring was beautiful, but I wore it on my right hand, because I could not get the other rings off. If you have been reading my blog for some time, you will know that the ring was my gift to my baby girl when she got married. I could no longer wear it and was afraid I would lose it and it gives me as much happiness on her finger as it did on mine.

For Christmas, my true love gave to me …….

 exactly what I asked for. And it was a surprise. Just one little problem. He bought the same size he bought when he asked me to marry him! I have to take it back and get a larger size and maybe they can get the old set off. Without cutting them. Maybe.

Friday, December 28, 2018

Another Day In My Life

I awoke at 10 AM! This is unheard of for me. I have not been sleeping well this past week and figured I needed the extra sleep. I dutifully sipped my coffee while holding 3 dogs in my lap and balancing my laptop. It occurred to me, that despite the extra sleep I still felt …… not myself, other-worldly. A little nauseous and dizzy. I gulped down the coffee and was prepared to get a start on the day before me, late though I was.

I did it again! I am out of my special pills (actually, they are capsules). I knew I was not going to have enough to fill two weeks when I put them in the pill taker boxes. I dutifully called the refill in, noting that it was out of refills. Not to worry, the pharmacy will notify the clinic and they will call in a refill along with any accompanying messages, such as, it is time for a visit. Then I simply forgot about it. The refill was accomplished yesterday. The day I took my other pills, less the three magic capsules that keep my head on straight. I was in a hurry, my mind on peg hooks and eyehooks and that delicious piece of space left by the old water heater. 

I would kick myself if I could maintain any balance! I found 3 capsules in another part of the container and took them. Showered (no experiments this day), dressed and readied myself for a trip to Walmart to get those magic capsules!

Walmart is a 25 mile trip door to door from here. My prescription insurance dictates which pharmacies I can use and this is the closest. The two local ones are not on my list. While not ideal, I can usually pair the need for refills with other necessities and make the trip worthwhile. I won't mention that HeWho loves to run errands thinks nothing of traveling to stores 60 miles away, sometimes twice in one day. I am frugal!

So, in my weird state of mind I am traveling along the interstate when it occurs to me that the speed limit is a mere suggestion to the other motorists on the road. Kind of like a sewing pattern or recipe is to me. The suggestions are okay, but if I think I know a better method or ingredient, I will apply it.

Being the time of year that it is, I am careful to stay a mere 6 miles over the posted speed limit of 70. This is a busy interstate. One of the main shipping routes running east and west, it is always busy with trucks. Mostly I stay in the slow lane, since the other drivers seem to be in a race. I do have to pass the big trucks that slow down to 60 or so on the inclines.  Nothing annoys me more than someone flying up to me and just hanging on my rear end until I pass and go back into the slow lane. 

Not once did I spot a state trooper today. I was traveling along at 76 mph and the other vehicles were but a blur as they raced past me. They had to be going at least 85!

Not my only annoyance today. I keep my radio on an easy listening station. Today when I started the car, I noted that the sound coming from the passenger side speakers was full of static. The drivers side was fine. It did not occur to me to change the station until I was on the return trip home. I had made a mental note to have HeWho must have done something to my radio the last time he drove my vehicle take a gander to see what the matter was. Changed the station and it was clear ……. duh! I really need the magic capsules in my system at all times!

And the beginning of my day, I almost forgot ….. While in the warm shower, Martha, the boy cat, opened the bathroom door and let all the nice warm air out while I showered. When I pulled back the curtain the chill air hit me. When I asked him why he did that, he just sat there staring at me and swishing his tail across the floor.

Tomorrow will be better. I hope.

Saturday, December 22, 2018

Hauling Water

It is almost over. Christmas, I mean. Then New Years. I plan to leave all the white lights up, so I won't have too much to take down.

 This is the snowman I made for Camper Craig (aka Santa).  The snowman is huge, over 5' tall. We had a tree fall and I requested some slices from the stump. I wanted to stack them ….. 
Since the bottom slice could only be moved around on the hand truck, I knew it would take something strong to hold it all together. With lots of help from Kevin (actually, he did all the heavy lifting, I just directed the placement of the "snow balls"). Seven coats of paint later, some lettering, eyes, buttons and a scarf. He Who did not like the original mouth and kept telling me to add some here and some there. Now I don't particularly like the mouth! Wondering about the nose? A finish nail will be holding a real carrot!

I changed the scarf to a red Christmas print. The one I stuck on it to see what it would look like was too thick to thread between the neck and the 4X4 fence post it is attached to. I knew the strong wind we always get would blow that scarf away. If only we had a silk hat ……

This is the makeshift Christmas tree in our sitting room. I put an old window on the wall with lights and the "tree" is scrap 1X4's attached to a 2X4. The stuffed animals are Eddie's favorite toys.

In the store, I used a live tree. Not mine, just some of the trees and plants that are staying inside over the winter. I have 3 grow lights in the room and I sometimes wonder if people think I am growing a lucrative crop of plants that might have street value!

Hanging plants grace the windows to take advantage of the sparse sunshine. This is just a few. Plants line all the walls in the room and the other side of the store, as well. I try to strategically place them so that the overflow of water drips to plants below. I am not always successful and end up mopping after I water.

Watering is an event. I only water once a week, since the heat is not on in the store. It takes 12 gallons of water. Water is heavy, you know. Especially in my old arthritic hands. So, when I saw one of those coiled green 50' hoses on the clearance rack for a mere $15 I snatched it up and tossed it in my cart.

My thought was to hook it up at my kitchen sink and pull it through the door into the store and use it to water. I knew it would not reach all the plants, but I could refill a container easily and not have to walk back and forth hauling a gallon of water in each hand 6 times. 

I also knew that I would need an adapter to hook that hose to my kitchen faucet. But I am the wife of HeWho knows how to rig things up. Knowing that Santa would be eating breakfast with all the kiddos last Sunday, I brought my dilemma to the attention of HeWho will make 7 or 8 trips to finish a project. I wanted to water on Saturday, Sunday is my usual day ….. but Santa was coming!

Did HeWho take pity on his wife and put an adapter on the faucet? He did not. He mumbled some nonsense about not "finding" what he needed. A week has passed and he has still not managed to "find" what I need. Tomorrow will find me hauling water …… again.

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Breakfast With Santa

We did it! The weather cooperated and everything went off without a hitch. HeWho helped …… as long as I gave detailed assignments. He vacuumed the store and meeting room for me. He does love the sound of loud motors, you know. After emptying trash cans, though, he looked a little lost. Almost panicky. I sent him to the store for more syrup. He loves to go on missions.

There is no heat in the store. I turned on the electric heater in the meeting room and asked HeWho loves to go for things to bring the heaters in from the restrooms. Someone stole the heater in the men's room!! The only glitch of the day. 

Santa arrived via golf cart. That is how it happens in a campground. The reindeer are resting up for the big night.

The kids were all excited no matter how he arrived!

Kiddos were intrigued by the bag of gifts, but I made them eat first.

Pancakes. I manned the griddle. These look good. I might have made some sad looking ones and splashed a little batter on myself.

Sausage, too. I cooked all 58 of the links and patties. Nobody will leave hungry!

Santa ignored all the adults and talked to the kids while they ate. After they cleaned their plates, the gift unwrapping took place. I missed it, but I could hear the screams of delight.

It has been a long time since I have bought gifts for so many little people. My grands prefer a check or a wad of cash. This happens when they start to get older.

I confess that I agonized over the gifts. I know all the kids and can guess sizes with ease, but kids want toys, not clothes. I made two shopping trips and am happy to report that I did not see one disappointed face. They ranged in age from 2 to 11. Younger is easier, you can always get an age range on the box. 

Boys are easy, they all love trucks and tractors at the tender age of 2! Cameron's mom seems to be happy, as well!!

"Let's go home, so I can play!"

I love this face! I concentrated on busy games. Hopefully this will help make the days remaining until Christmas pass by faster. 

As they all went home, things got pretty quiet and then were just adults left. HeWho was missing. I thought he must be building a fire in our sitting room. Someone suggested that he was washing dishes. That brought a lot of laughs. I was a little annoyed that he was being anti-social.

After everyone left I picked up the carton of orange juice and the cooled down griddle to take to the kitchen. HEWHO WASHED THE DISHES!!!! I am still in shock. It must be the Christmas miracle.

Friday, December 14, 2018

Hot Water

So, the new tankless water heater is up and running. However, the door/wall is still tilted listlessly by my washing machine. It was late yesterday when the men finished with the installation. I was excited, since I had a very chilly shower yesterday morning.

I was looking forward to my shower this morning. I gulped down my coffee and chatted a bit with my furry friends. Mainly, I was encouraging them to stop their habit of howling when they heard the shower running every morning. I reminded them that I have fly swatters everywhere and am not afraid to use them. I had plans to stand under steaming hot water for a considerable amount of time. I was disappointed.

Yes, the water was hot enough for normal people, I suppose. I am not normal. I like really hot water. Despite that slight disappointment, I am happy that I am no longer mopping random puddles of water from the old water heater.

I had too many things to do today to dwell on the temperature of the water. Santa will be here Sunday to have breakfast with all the children in the park. There are cookies to bake and gifts to wrap. Lights to hang and floors to sweep.

No, I did not finish it all. There is still tomorrow. If I have learned nothing except this one thing in 65 years, then my life has not been wasted. It will all work out. I will get it all done and it will be wonderful. 

I will take pictures in between flipping pancakes and share them with you …… and all the while I will be thinking about my door/wall and all that extra floor space left by that giant water heater. I am itching to tackle the reorganization of my utility/laundry room!

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Organizing The Door Wall

And it just keeps getting better!! Our water heater is leaking. No biggie, you say, just replace it …..

A few years ago I organized the utility room. I used lots of shelfs and bins and even 2 liter Coke bottles. You cut a hand size hole where the bottle gets larger, leaving the top and cap intact. Put an eyehook in the cap and screw it back on. Now you can put same size screws, nails, nuts, bolts, etc. in it and hang the bottle on a pegboard wall. You can easily see what is in it. I find my bottles everywhere. Some times with the cap and eyehook missing, sometimes completely intact. 

I have found them inside and outside. I have found them hanging in a tree, sometimes with a bee. I have found them safe and dry, also wet from the  sky. I have found them full and rusty, or empty and dusty. I am after all married to the master of chaos and confusion. But I digress.

In creating what I thought would be a place that would be easy for HeWho drops tools and leaves them lay when he finishes a project, I made a sort of wall out of an extra door I discovered. Just a plain hollow core door. HeWho fancies himself to have engineering knowledge immediately told me that it would NOT WORK. He begrudgingly attached it to the end of the wall as instructed (I have since purchased my own drill and he has been forbidden to even touch it. This did not keep him from stealing my bits and I now keep them hidden in a safe place). I put a set of sturdy, free standing shelves behind it to support the door/wall and smaller set of shelves in front. I was even able to put hooks on 1X4's and use the top front to hand things on. This was a success that I was known to gloat  be proud of.

The old water heater will need to be removed in order to install the new one. And this is where things get tricky. My door/wall is in the way. HeWho loves to drive far away to get things left this morning to get the new tankless gas water heater. I have reservations about this purchase, but a new one similar to the old one is over $1000, the tankless is $700. I just hope it will be able to keep up with the demand. It will have to services the entire main building. That includes our residence, as well as the public showers and laundry room. I hate cold showers. I mentioned this to HeWho was in think tank mode and he says we can always add another tankless unit if the one is not enough. I didn't even bother to point out to him that we would be spending over $1400 if that were the case.

I started early this morning removing all the stuff hanging on my door/wall. Every screw I put it in came out easily enough and I carefully moved things to new or temporary homes, discovery along the way just how disorganized the stuff had become. I make zones, people! You are supposed to respect my zones!! I had one shelving unit devoted to plumbing supplies. Another was for electrical things. Not to mention all my peg walls that now have peg hooks holding two totally unrelated items.

The real issue with the door/wall was the four screws HeWho torqued in. First of all they had that funky star head on them. What, may I ask is wrong with the regular Philips head screw that I favor? I final located the bit. It was in a container that held various screws, some nails, some reflectors, a stun gun and drill bits. All of the these items should have been put in the coke bottles, Well, not the stun gun. It just needs batteries and I might want to use it upon his return!

So, I changed the bit and got one screw out. The other three were torqued in so tight that he stripped the heads. My drill is light weight and cordless and no matter how many bits I tried, I was unable to budge those screws. Had to call upon my wife, Kevin.

I am still not done moving things, but the biggest part is done and out of the way. Had to take a break. I know that HeWho installs things would have moved everything ……. in his own special way. He would have shoved it all out of his way, breaking down my door/wall. My very clever door/wall. The door/wall that worked and stayed up and useful for years. Not that any of my organization made one iota of difference in the way HeWho operates!

Saturday, December 8, 2018

Only The Smell Remains

I am happy to report that the damages from my recent bout of forgetfulness were minimal. For just a second I did consider letting the place burn, but my dogs were there and I didn't know if Martha, the fat cat would have come to me or played a game of hide and seek. He has been cantankerous since our return from our trip.

I would not have left him in a burning house. This is not my first adventure with smoke and flames. When the children were young, our house caught fire. I don't think the addition of the family room was done with any permits. The fireplace was faulty ….. in that they built it with WOOD and they did not properly install the brick. Surprisingly enough, HeWho had nothing to do with it. We bought it like that. I just remember the realtor cautioning me to keep an open mind and think of the potential the house had. 

Smoke woke me in the wee hours of the morning and I shook HeWho was sleeping blissfully next to me and told him the house was full of smoke. He agreed and turned his back to me and went right back to sleep. I decided to launch an investigation and discovered that most of the smoke was on the end of the house that held the master bedroom and the family room. The kitchen and living room was between the children's bedrooms and the fireplace.
No smoke hovering in those rooms, so I went quietly down the hall and closed the doors. I told my oldest child to grab his brother and get out if he heard me yell. I was prepared to give similar instructions to my oldest daughter when the power went out with a loud snap.

That's when I realized I was closing my children in a burning house. HeWho woke and I grabbed one child and a cat and he grabbed the youngest, also with a cat. The boys came out one their own and with some convincing the oldest girl came along. We all piled into the family station wagon. HeWho and the oldest boy were teeth chattering cold, so I went back in and gathered some blankets. Oh, we had dialed 911 and we could hear the sirens in the distance. It was like a drive-in movie as we watched them carefully move our Christmas tree and then dismantle the faulty fireplace. 

I was disappointed that HeWho had unlocked the front door. I hated that door and was expecting the firemen to hack it down with an axe. They were really nice, those firemen, moving all the presents under the tree before drowning the fire. It was a Saturday night and I had a pound cake waiting to go to church the next day. I brewed coffee and fed the firemen, put the children back to bed and then took myself to the hospital since I was wheezing from smoke inhalation. That was after I called first to see which doctor was on duty. I wanted to avoid an arterial blood gas and had to make sure I didn't get a doctor that I was unable to manipulate encourage to see things my way.

Ah, memories. After I expressed myself in my last post, I ventured back to the scene of the crime. I will never use the sauce pan again. It was favorite copper bottomed pan. Burned beyond usefulness. It was so sad. I bade it a fond farewell. I will need to order new knobs for the burners. The salt and pepper mills are twisted beyond recognition and there is soot everywhere. The oven still works and so do all the burners. If you can turn them on. It's not that bad, only one knob is melted beyond use.
I went ahead and made one batch of cookies and then cooked dinner.

I had some leftover spaghetti sauce and I had asked HeWho loves to run errands to pick up a can of kidney beans. He got navy beans. He blamed it on the girl stocking the shelves, but how hard is it to read the label? Or just look at the picture on the label? One bean is white and one is red and NAVY and KIDNEY are spelled differently. I had dried beans in the pantry, but given the adventures of the day, I didn't want to drag out the pressure cooker. So, I dumped a can of diced tomatoes and the navy beans in that spaghetti sauce along with some chili powder and called it supper. It was palatable, we ate it. 

I tackled the soot removal the next day. After some research, I wiped the walls and all the other exposed surfaces with dry sponges, then mixed up a batch of vinegar and Dawn. I even cleaned the bathroom, despite the fact that nothing happened to it. The smell of burning plastic still lingers, although I seem to be the only one to smell it.
After the big clean up I made almost 6 dozen cookies and cooked a decent meal.

Today I ventured out and picked up prescriptions for HeWho is not allowed to do this (his inattention to details, he would pick up whatever they handed him and not question the amount or the contents of the bag and these cannot be returned for a refund). I went to the thrift store and scored a new slightly used heavy bottom sauce pan and then got caught up in the Christmas spirit and bought some gifts for the children that reside in the park.

Santa will be here on the 16th to eat breakfast (brunch?) with the kids and they will need something to open, right? It was great fun. I was too tired to cook when I got home. Shopping is hard work! Tomorrow I will be baking cookies and wrapping gifts.

Thursday, December 6, 2018

I Quit!

I give up. I quit. I am so done with this day. Sadly, it is only 2 o'clock. I am now coughing only occasionally and having no chills or fever. I caught up with all the chores that seemed to come to an abrupt halt during my unfortunate illness.

The laundry is folded and hung in the closet, the kitchen was cleaned and the floors swept and vacuumed. I even dusted. Bought groceries and all the necessities of life and even made a huge effort in finishing all my painting projects.

Today was going to be the cookie making marathon. I had already made one batch of dough, wrapped and refrigerated it and I was on to the next. This one required melting the butter on the stove before adding the vanilla and dates. I was on a roll, washing up as I went.

I measured the butter and plopped in the sauce pan, put it on the stove and turned the burner on. A medium heat, not high, lest I scorch it and have to start all over. Not my first rodeo, you know. I am old and I know things.

A camper came in and I went into the store …. knowing full well that the stove was on. I am now older and know even more things. I am known to talk to people and I am known to forget things.

I smelled it just before the smoke detector went off. Yes, the butter melted and caught fire. I will never use that sauce pan again (it was my favorite one, of course). I grabbed the handle to the pan and pulled it off the burner, then went to grab some baking soda. The flames went out and I didn't need it. But, the knob to turn the burner off was melted and gnarled. I used a pair of tongs to turn the burner off, then assessed the damage to the surrounding area.

The bottom of the microwave is all melty and the backsplash is black now. The pepper grinder is twisted and unrecognizable. I decided to just walk away and do something else. I restrung some lights on a wooden tree that HeWho had deemed to be all working.

They did not work. I am done. I have no inclination to clean up my mess and am seriously considering going back to bed and hope for a better tomorrow.