Monday, March 24, 2014

I should be in bed...

but I'm not.

I'm packing.

Well, I was packing. I've been side tracked by Twitter and hunting yarn shops in Ft. Worth.

Yep. I'm heading to Texas for a work conference. Without the family. I've never been away from the kids more than 2 days. This is going to be interesting. And the Geek-boy has his load-in week while I am gone. I think his work is going to learn 1. just how much he does and how much they rely on him to ditch everything else for them and 2. just where is priorities really lie. Meanwhile I'll be hobnobbing with people in the industry and possibly hitting the spa in the hotel. Just think. I will have almost a whole week where I will be allowed to us the bathroom on my own. I won't have to do someone's hair every morning while they steal my breakfast. And I won't have to wipe anyone's butt aside from my own.

This is my first real trip since being diagnosed. I'm slightly (very) anxious about it. Especially since the Geek-boy won't be there to help me and keep me calm. I hate flying. I'm stressing about going through security with all my meds. I'm worried I won't have the stamina to do all the walking around the convention. 

And speaking of diagnosed today was the two year anniversary. Woo hoo? With two major treatment changes over the last year I can't say it has been a fun ride. Part of me kicks myself for going off the infusions when I did. Had I hesitated a little longer, we would have had the study in our hands and known that it was safe for me to stay on it. And in those months of going off that and onto the pills and back again I know I lost some of what I had. And I am beginning to doubt if I will ever get it back again.

Enough of the depressing stuff. Packing has been insanely helpful in the Fifty Things project. I'm not sure if it was my tendency to procrastinate or the OCD, but my forays into The Closet of Doom led to a huge clean out. What is The Closet of Doom, might you ask? It is a strange anomaly in our house created by half-arsed renovations by the former owner. It used to be a part of the kitchen. It someday will be a part of the bathroom. But now it is a tiny space (about 4feet wide and 10 feet deep?) with open stud walls, various forms of flooring, and a bare bulb that serves as a linen, medicine, cleaning and catch-all closet. After this weekend, it is far more organized. Between that and my clothing closet I was able to add a bunch more to the list.

Tossed this time:
  • Travel sized toiletries we will never use
  • Old expired medicine and product
  • Travel alarm clocks (cell phones do this now)
  • Ace ankle wraps (too small and elastic cracked)
  • The disposable underwear from the hospital acquired when I had the minions. (Done with the baby making here. Don't need them)
  • Fake nails bought for a costume.
  • Old eyeglasses (going to the donation bin at the library)
  • Numerous scented lotions, body washes, bath extras and fancy body scrubby things. (Toss what's bad and donate what isn't)
  • Inflatable bath pillow. 
  • Stretchy skinny jeans (I don't even know how I got these)
  • Pull over fleece jacket (not to my taste. It can keep someone else warm)
  • Shoes
Fifty Things Total: 15

Not bad so far. I expect to make some huge progress when I return from the trip. And now I must to bed.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Fifty Things: the journey begins

I have been reading Throw out fifty things : clear the clutter, find your life by Gail Blanke. It challenges you to take a hard look at the clutter in your life, both mental and physical, and assess if it hinders or helps you. I've decided take up the challenge and blog about it.

It's not a big stretch. Over the last year I have been attempting to pare down our clutter and simplify things overall. I cleaned out a lot. Donated a bunch. Even had a tag sale. But there is still so much to do. I figure by documenting what goes, I'll have a tangble way to see my progress. When you have so much to toss out, it often feels like you aren't getting anywhere, when you are. It's just like knitting (see it all comes back to the knitting). There are times you knit and knit and knit and the project doesn't seem to be getting any bigger. I've adopted the tip of placing a marker where I start for the session so I can actually see how many rows I've knit, even if it feels like it's all going into a black hole somewhere. I'm hoping blogging about it will do the same. And maybe some others will join in.

About the book itself...I borrowed it from the library. I suggest you do the same. Some people might find it worth the money but honestly aside from the initial premise in the first chapter, I found most of it fluff and not very instructive. Much of the book is anecdotes and chatter about going through and tossing things. That might inspire some people, but not something that keeps me hooked beyond the first read. What really hooked me was the idea of a challenge with a definitive goal. "Decluttering" or "simplifying your life" can get to vague and overwhelming, but "throw out 50 (or 10 or 110) things" is a solid task. No question on what to do.

The basic idea of Fifty Things is to throw out 50 things over a two week period. Things that weigh you down and don't fit your life and the person you are hold you back and need to go. The items can be tossed, donated, sold, recycled....whatever. Just get them out of your life. Similar items count as one item. Therefore 75 magazines are one item. I won't give away the secret sauce of her rules (read the book) here, but it was enough to give me a push.

And with that in mind I did something I did something amazing and frightening and almost unheard of this weekend. I attacked my stash.

This was my yarn stash. (We won't discuss the fabric at the moment)

I set up several piles. One bin is what I am keeping. One bin is what I think is worth trying to sell on it's own. The third is for a person whom I found on Craigslist who wants all and any yarn and will pay for it. To her will go the lot of odds and ends and 'old lady yarn' I've inherited over the years.

I hit a snag in the process though. One in the form of a tangle that has taken up several hours of my life. I should probably just throw the whole thing out but there is some yarn in it worth keeping. I might just toss the rest tonight when I have the last bit extracted.

Before I waded into this quagmire, I tacked the box of jewelery from my husband's grandmother who passed away last year. I have a rather large collection of costume jewelery from my own grandmothers and great aunts. I decided to start documenting who the pieces belong to for future generations. Some of it will be saved for when my daughter is a tad more responsible, some will go into the dress up collection and some into collection of pieces that I wear.
Here are a few of my favorite items:

 I love the shiny.

 I love the dancers on each link.

 This pretty item had a lovely surprise inside....

 a beautiful gilt fan. If you look closely you can see that the flowers are tarnishing a touch on the folds where the are exposed. I'd love to display this but fear further tarnish.

I had hopes for the jewelery box that much of it had been kept in. It wasn't anything lavish. Just a basic inexpensive jewelery box, but it would be perfect to put on Little Miss's dresser and safe-keep the few items she does wear. But alas, too much time in storage meant that it acquired a musty odor that I just wasn't comfortable with. Frankly my throat was bothering me through the project and most of the evening. Out it went.

For now the jewelery was wrapped and packed away until I have homes for each category. (My own jewelery box is bursting after the death of my own grandmother).

Tossed this time:
  • 1 jewelery box
  • several broken pieces and odd earring backs
  • several rusty corsage pins
Fifty Things Total: 3

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Ten on Tuesday

10 Things You Do That Your Spouse/Significant Other Could Do But Doesn't.

Well I guess I jumped the gun on this one a bit last week. Oh well, here we go.

  1. Paint- That's my job. I don't think he'd even want to attempt it because there would be lots of critiquing and 'helpful tips'. Just stand back and let me do my thing. 
  2. Drywall finishing- My father taught me how to hang drywall and finish it when I was young. And when I say young I mean like 12. I'm particular and a perfectionist so it's just easier to do the finish work myself.
  3. The sewing- I cringe when he touches my sewing machine. Not that he can't sew at all, he'll often do a bunch for work but that sort of sewing is completely different. And it's not on my machine. 
  4. Some cooking and all baking-(biscuits not included.) Again, not because of complete lack of skill but more due to a more detailed and finer understanding of things. Plus he just pairs the weirdest shit together sometimes. 
  5. Assembling outfits for important events- Love the boy....but he can't match colors for anything. If we had a dress code that resembled anything old English sumptuary laws, the boy would be in the stocks. All the time. I used to joke (with a hint of seriousness) that I was going to make stickers to put on the kids that said "Daddy Dressed Me Today". Turns out I didn't need to. The teachers could always tell. 
  6. Grocery shopping- This is a task that just wears me out but I won't relinquish. It's always a mistake when I send him. I know our stock better and will remember things that I didn't put on the list. I also know what to get or not get when they don't have something on the list. I also don't come home with bags of junk food. (Remember this is the man who constantly has a hidden stash of Little Debbie in his car). And I'm a much more savvy shopper when it comes to keeping the cost down. I just wish we had Wegmans to make my alone time at the grocery store more of a delight.
  7. Cards/gifts/birthdays/holidays- This apparently is mine to deal with and not exactly by choice. If I don't do it, it doesn't get done. This is a task I would gladly share. 
  8. Social/appointment calendar- I'm the one that knows when the kids' doctors appointments are and when it is movie night at the school and when the library books are due. I have a binder just for my own medical appointments and information. I've basically told his co-workers to notify me if there is an event because he won't remember. If it isn't directly related to his job it is a hit or miss with him. And with the kids having more things as they get older I see this becoming a bigger task.
  9. Planning outings- If I didn't I don't think we'd ever leave the house. 
  10. Kid maintenance- Don't get me wrong. He is a very hands on kind of Dad. When they were infants he was the one changing them in the middle of the night because I was the one doing all of the feeding. He bathes and feeds and dresses and reads to and potty trains just as much as I do. But...I'm the one who knows what size they wear, and what they are eating/not eating, and all the little quirks of their routine, and that you have to remember to make sure Little Dude has a belt on with his jeans and the jeans have to be snap instead of button if it is a school day or that Little Miss is a lot more cooperative in the tub is washing is done via The Hokey Pokey. I even know which pair of underpants is their favorite. Doesn't mean that he loves them less or cares for them less than I do. I just means what use to be Shakespeare and history in my brain has been replaced with He-man/She-ra characters and who has better prices on applesauce cups and mac&cheese. 


Friday, March 14, 2014

Just weird

I don't know how else to describe the past week other than the above. Just weird. It has been a mix of the delightful and the just plain awful. Our weather is a fine example of the range of things. On Tuesday it nearly reached sixty. Yesterday it struggled to get out of the twenties. And tomorrow back into the mid to high 50's. With weather like that, not to mention Daylight Savings schedule disruptions, it was bound to be a bit odd.

One odd thing was that I got this in the mail.

Yep. That's baby formula. Nope. I'm not pregnant. Actually I was very much in the throws of knowing I'm not pregnant when this arrived. I know that Target has a fabulous algorithm for predicting pregnancy. Even before the people know it themselves. (Read the article. It is fascinating and scary) That's why I just chalked up all the new Target Baby coupons I've receiving lately to my shopping for baby shower gifts. But this was a surprise.  All I can assume is that now that Little Miss is 3, and we had her two and a half years after Little Dude, they've just assumed that I'm going to continue the trend. What really throws me is that I've never bought baby formula. EVER. Both kids were exclusively breastfed until they could go onto cow's milk. Though I have to admit the initial look on my husband's face was priceless. (Have I mentioned he had a vasectomy last year?)

Much of the week has been a downward spiral into the murky depths of depression. I'm sure the weather has much to do with it. My cycle is probably contributing as well. Instead of dwelling on it, I've decided that tomorrow is the day to yank myself out of it. I usually reach this point when feeling like this. I realize that I have to do something and force myself up and out of the hole. Temps should be back up tomorrow and I hope they are wrong about the cloud cover. I know I could definitely use some sun.

Despite everything else this week, my Monday started off kick-ass. How does one make a gloomy Monday simply fantastic?
Here is my simple recipe:
1- cityscape set (about to be struck)
1-5 year old in a Godzilla costume

Mix and sit back and enjoy.


(I did get some video as well but that will take some time editing.)

Is that not awesome, or what?

I should to bed. Actually I'm in bed and my husband's snoring is distracting me from my writing.

Tomorrow we journey back up the spiral. Come hell or high water.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Ten on Tuesday

10 Things You Can Do Yourself But You Get Your Spouse/Significant Other To Do

This is an interesting assignment this week. But considering my husband never reads this I have no problem confessing many of these.

  1. Oil Changes. Or anything car related. Frankly it's because I don't like dealing with the people who think my ovaries and breasts make me an idiot and someone they can fleece. I don't have time to waste on morons like that, so I send him
  2. Litter Box. This started when I was pregnant and couldn't clean/change the litter box. And I've just continued it on. The fragrence in the litter these days wreeks havoc on my allergies...even the 'unscented' ones. I always feel like I need a shower after cleaning the box. Besides he is down in the basement all the time. So it's not so hard to walk over, scoop some poop, and then wander back to the man-cave.
  3. Dealing with the corpses of various rodents. We have lots of chipmunks and squirrels around as well as the occasional mouse that sneaks in. When they die I don't deal with the corpses. A dead chipmunk once resided in our hatchway until load-in was done and my husband could get to it.
  4. Laundry. He has wonderfully taken over this task because the up and down the stairs is taxing with the MS. I do it if he's not around, but he typically does the bulk of it. Besides he is usually down there in his man-cave anyway. 
  5. Dishes. I spent half my day at work washing brushes and buckets. The last thing I want to do is go home and wash dishes. Espeically in the winter when my hands are already cracked and bleeding.
  6. Weed Wacking- I will mow the lawn. I love to mow the lawn, but the weed whacker vibrates so much it really hurts my hands and therefore I refuse to do it.
  7. Electrical or Gas. I should learn more of these things but my rule is I don't work on anything that will electrocute me or blow me up. It's kept me alive and our house intact so far.
  8. Drive. When we are both in the car it is assumed that he is driving. I have no problem with that. It means I can knit and manage the minions.
  9. Microwave popcorn. For some reason I can't get the timing on it right. I either stop it too soon and have a bag of un-popped kernels or scorch the shit out of it. 
  10. Any major penis related issues with our son. I left the ultimate decision on circumcision to him with the argument that I don't have a penis and my opinion is lacking in first-hand knowledge. I deal with issues as they arise but somethings I really feel are his to handle. I'll be dealing with Little Miss and her periods, he can teach the boy to pee standing up. 
As a bonus here are the list of things I won't let him do (in case you think I'm a lazy git):
  • Any painting in the house. 
  • I'll reluctantly let him do the foundation layers of mudding the drywall. I do the finish work. 
  • Anything related to the sewing machine. 
  • Much of the cooking. He's not a bad cook and often makes dinner, but when he starts to experiment it can get a Yeah, that's the word I'll go with. Unusual.
  • Assembling outfits when it really matters. Love you, honey...but yeah. Those don't go together. 
  • Grocery shopping. I always regret it when I send him instead. Always. 

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Ten on Tuesday - The Oscar Edition

Ten on Tuesday - The Oscar Edition

This week's Ten on Tuesday topic is 10 Thoughts On This Year's Oscar Show. Or, if you don't watch The Oscars, 10 Reasons Why You Don't Watch the Oscars or even 10 Things You Do Instead of Watching the Oscars. Really, I just want to talk about The Oscars and I hope you all will, too!

  Awards shows. Yeah. I don't really do award shows. I'll watch the Tonys, if I remember, just because it relates to my work. But I find these things to be rather ridiculous and the commentators make me yell at the TV more than hockey does.

So here are 10 Things.....

Honestly I can't finish this today. We got the call from the vet and found out that our furry little evil genius has a rather aggressive form of really the Oscars mean nothing right now. 

Monday, March 03, 2014

*sigh* Monday

First of all....screw you Monday. There. That being said, I can move on.

The morning mainly consisted of the hunt for my son's green rock and roll shirt. Yesterday was Dr. Seuss' birthday and there is a week long celebration at school. And Monday is Green Eggs and Ham day....and the wearing of green. I've discovered that as a household there is a large lack of green clothing. Shirt is missing....5 year old is distraught. 2 year old won't wear her Cat in the Hat shirt. I go into attic and dig through the clothes that don't yet fit the minions and find a Hulk shirt and a very kelly green Spiderman shirt (yeah, I know). The shirt is a hit but we're upset that we're not in all green. (Can we say 'artistic temperment') We get to school (he's on time but I'm rather late) and what is sitting on the top of the Lost and Found pile. The friggin' green shirt. 

And that was how my Monday started.

And it has continued as such. Our show floor lumber has finially arrived but it does me little good when we have no clue where the paint is. We ordered it a month ago. Didn't come with the other paint. They say it is back-ordered but they also show they have seven gallons. Supposedly it was sent out last week. Apparently it is in transit....maybe.  I could have had 1/3 of this set painted last Wednesday if I had this gallon of paint that has crossed into the ether somewhere.

The worst part of this Monday is waiting for test results. And for once they aren't mine. I mentioned in the last Ten on Tuesday that our older kitty was having issues. We discovered last weekend a lump in her chest. A lump the size of a golf ball, at least. We don't know how long it has been there. Isis isn't a touchy feely kind of kitty. And woe to you if you touch any of her underside. So we somehow missed this. Last week was spent lining up visits with a new vet as the girls haven't been in a while and we no longer care to use the old ones. Long story's not a cyst. They took some cells and we're waiting for the results. She doesn't appear to be in any sort of pain.

The upside of this with the cat is that I have convinced the geek-boy to relent on their nightly incarceration.Shortly after the birth of Little Dude we realized that the night time activities of the baby had somehow convinced the cats that we were up to feed them. At all hours. The only way to get any peace was to keep them in the basement during the night. I never saw this as a permanent arrangement as I love to have them snuggled in bed with me. The geek-boy is less thrilled because they still think that 4am is an ok time to start begging for food. When he complained that they had kept him up, I pointed out that he had been keeping me up more than the cats had. I think I made my point. The quantity of hairballs in the basement has also greatly diminished and all but confirmed my suspicions that they were retaliatory.

And now the kitties are back upstairs.

Other fun happenings.....the 1-2-3 punch of storms we had a few weeks ago created a lovely water feature in our home...aka the roof was leaking again. A lot.

The only really good thing I can mention right now is that I finished another pair of socks. But I don't think I want to pair that up with this post. Here's my salute to a crappy Monday and I'm going to start a separate post for the knitting.