Wednesday, June 1, 2022

Is It Too Late To Trade Him In?

My niece graduates High School on Friday.  Needless to say there's been quite a bit of crafting and last minute stuff going on here and at her house to get things ready.  Last night she and my sister came over so that she and I could decorate the top of her mortar board for Friday's procession. Super fun, but when she doesn't get here until 7:30, it makes for a later night.

They left around 10pm, and Youngest came in, sober, around 10:30.  Totally reasonable, said goodnight, and went to bed. Around ten past 6 I went down just to make sure he was up, which he was. I returned to the living room, opened the shades, and went back downstairs...

Me: "Um, where's your car?"

Him: *Thinking WAY longer than he should have* Oh, it's at freshy. I'll just walk over and get it.

Me: Okay...

He emerges from his room and looks out the living room windows.

Me: "What are you looking for?"

Him: "The car"

Me: "Pretty sure I didn't miss a bright red car in the front yard."

Him: "Where are my keys?"

Me: "I have no idea.  You want me to track them for you?"

Him: "No.  I'll do it, just find me the spares"

Needless to say, the car was in fact not here, and neither were the keys. He did find the car where he left it, but the tracker on his keys GPSed the last location about 5 miles west of where he was last night. Now completely awake and an hour early for work, I did some hunting downtown for the keys. I left the phone number various places in case they turned up, then went to work.

Around 1pm I had not heard anything from him so I double checked that he had texted his friend to see if she had them in her car (which would explain why the tracker pinged them across town).  I was about to take the dog downtown to sniff them down like a bloodhound when he texted me that his friend who rolled out of bed at NOON, just found them in her car.


We may need to invest in a tracker for his tracker the way this kid loses stuff.

Sunday, May 29, 2022

Keeping It Alive...

 Tis the season around here for projects.  As many of you know, about 2 years ago I took to refinishing old dilapidated, destined for the dumpster, pieces of furniture (or anything really) and breathing new life into them. I do this, in an effort to curb my frustration with some of the choices my family members make.  To put it simply, I take to the long-neglected wood the frustration I shouldn't take out on the people I love most.  So far, it's kept everyone alive.

It started with a 1916 steamer chest and has spiraled into many, many other projects.  Around Christmas I treated myself to a Cricut machine and, well, I may have a serious problem controlling my creativity. Anyhoo.... the husband was in our local Savers thrift store a few months back and came across an old military chest for ten, yes, ten dollars.  No brainer, right?

It still had the original tray but was definitely in need of some love. Inside, in black Sharpie marker was the original issue date of 1942, the owner, and that it was later converted to files in the 80's. Knowing that these trunks, unless in pristine condition, hold very little monetary value, I went to work. I utilized my Buy Nothing Face Book group to access ancestry accounts.  We found census records from when he was 9.  His original draft card for WWII.  His obituary.

I reached out to his son, who was living not too far from here to ensure that the trunk was not donated in error before I did anything.  When I got no response, I got to work. I stripped the old painted cardboard off and brought it down to the bare plywood.  It was not easy, let me tell you.  I tried everything from a heat gun with a putty knife, to soaking it in water, to olive oil.  In the end, after inhaling several pounds of what I can only assume is caustic glue residue, 80 grit sandpaper did the trick, and we were down to bare wood.  

I taped all of the plywood off and gave all the metal a clean coat of gunmetal gray spray paint. I attached casters to the bottom. I found some cool fabric at my local store and used Mod Podge to adhere it to the inside.  This ensured that the sharpie marker would remain intact even though it was covered. The bottom was adhered to foam core board so that the bottom would have a bit of a cushion between the caster screws and the lining. I brought the tray back to it's original size, sprayed it navy, and Mod Podged the fabric to the bottom of the tray. I have plans to get together some of the original owners information that I gathered and put it in acrylic resin in the center of the tray. But I haven't gotten there yet. The handles were replaced with leather belt pieces, that I procured for free.

I knew I wanted something super fun for the top so I scoured the internet.  I was thinking old maps, but just couldn't find what I was looking for.  I came across an old sketch of a P51 Mustang bomber plane and just couldn't get past it. For some reason, I just couldn't find anything else that would work and be affordable other than that image.  So I ordered it, for all of $18, and wouldn't you know, it came a month earlier than expected.  I then got to work on hand painting the sides.  Three different shades of gray (one of which happens to be my sunroom walls) and some black buffing oil paint, and the look I wanted was finally achieved.  

The last touch was to use a rustic army font and pay homage to the man that started it all.  His serial number, issue date, and USAF adorn the sides and top.  

Once it was finished, I reached out again on our town FB page in hopes that someone would know his son or grandson.  It was then that I discovered that back then, it was not called the USAF, but the USAAF, as the Air Force didn't exist as it's own entity yet, but simply as the Army Air Force. And, as luck would have it, after 381 likes/loves and nearly a hundred comments, someone reached out to him and he found me via direct message.  

This was, in fact his dad's trunk, and he loved that it had a new life and someone to really love it. His dad was drafted into the US Army Air Force in 1942.  During his time in the service he rose to Staff Sargent and was certified to fly many planes.  Of all of them, the P51 was his favorite "ship" to fly. And suddenly, I knew why I couldn't get past the image, and why the colors matched my house perfectly. 

I joke about how I take on these projects to stay busy enough to keep my family alive. But apparently, there's another force entirely ensuring I'm keeping something much bigger alive. 

And I'm so happy to do it.

Monday, May 16, 2022

Dad Classes....

The older I get the more amazed I am at how smart parents are.  

I have had 2 plastic trash cans stuck together for probably close to 2 years now. We have tried everything short of cutting one in half to get them apart and nothing.  My Dad was over one day and saw me lugging these two stuck barrels around while I was weeding and thought I was crazy. Or stupid. The look was hard to decipher. 

"Just stick the lip of the top one on the tailgate of the truck and hit the rim of the bottom one with a hammer"

You know it took three whacks and the thing came right off.  What the actual heck?

Now, I'm not dumb. And I'm really good at you tubing answers and googling the quick tutorials. But there's just some things you just can't find, or can't put into words, and for those things my parents always seem to know the answer. Always. 

I've done my share of passing along bits of info to the boys, but I wonder how much actually gets through.  They can address and mail a letter, write a check, dial an old school phone, etc. They know the names of tools, wrenches, and can tell you what a Phillips head is. Oldest has googled basic car repairs, changed multiple car batteries, tires, and the like. They have basic (very basic) sewing skills.

However, I was outside the other day talking with the neighbor and I was saying how tired I was because Youngest had ended up with a flat tire at 10pm the night before and rather than calling AAA, since he was local, we went up and helped him change it. He commented that he's 100% positive his kids would never have a clue as to how to do it, let alone who to call other than him. That it was almost embarrassing how little his kids knew now in comparison to what he knew at their age. I mentioned something about Youngest wanting a fire extinguisher for his room because he had a space heater, and my neighbor commented about how he's sure his kids wouldn't even know how to use one. Same for oil changes, changing electric suppliers, billing and banking inquiries, and where the water main shut off is in the house. The list adult stuff is actually endless, how to reset a washing machine, check brakers on the electric panel, hem a pair of pants, or change the furnace filter.

Which got me to thinking.... how are these 20 somethings ever going to gain all of this Dad knowledge that has helped us all survive for generations?

There needs to be a hands on class in High School again.  Maybe a coalition between the Council on Aging and the school that they need to pass prior to graduation. It could be part of their 40 hours of volunteering... spending time with retirees learning the trades and skills they spent a lifetime doing.

With a refresher course for the 20 somethings.

Or even a judgement free how to lifeline that you could call for when you need to remain anonymous because you feel so stupid.

I'd call that just so I could avoid the look on my father's face as he watched my special kind of stupid drag two stuck together trash cans all over the yard.

Sunday, May 8, 2022

It's Been A Week...

Him: So you mean to tell me you think this is a good idea?

Me: Nope. But it's an amazing opportunity, and he'll never know if it's for him, unless he does it.

Him: You're not worried?

Me: Um, well yeah... been doing some praying, might even actually go to church...

Him: So, when I was randomly up at 1am I prayed to my mother.  And then while I was in the shower, I'm a bit rusty, but I said some prayers in Portuguese.

Me: Listen, you can't spend twenty years teaching your kids to seize every adventure that comes their way, then condemn them, and worry yourself sick when they do.

And that, my friends, is how I ended up having one kid rolling the dice (and a sizeable chunk of change) that he'll land an environmental engineering co-op in the city this fall, and another floating around in the Atlantic ocean for a week.

Not literally, he was on a boat. I should mention that Youngest isn't a great swimmer, has no idea if he gets sea sick, and doesn't like boats.  But after quitting his job last week, when his friend mentioned they needed a fifth for the boat, he jumped onboard. Literally.

Y: So, I think I found a job.

Me: Awesome.  That's definitely different. Could be a great opportunity.

Y: Yeah, so I'll be home later to pack.

Me: Wait, wha....

Y: It's a four day trip.

Me: What kind of boat is it? Who's the company? Where do you go? Will you have cell service? What do they eat on the boat? Will there be food you can actually eat?

Y: I have no idea.

Me: Okay then, Have a good time.

So, he ended up the bait man on a lobster boat.  Turns out there IS a smell worse than wrestling funk.  Who knew? The trip was actually 6 days, and there wasn't much he could eat, aside from the snacks I haphazardly packed. There was no cell service so he was able to disconnect, which, honestly, he loves. They go about 200 miles off the coast, so the night stars are amazing and there's a certain sense of peace when the work is done. But I think it opened his eyes on a lot of things. Youngest is far from a vegetarian, but the waste was hard for him. He saw way too much death, for little reward, as it's just the very start of season. And of course, the traps catch a lot of live fish, which then get stuffed into bait bags to literally die as something else's meal. Large fish get caught in the lines and die.  The only choice is to cut it free and move on. The shark, nearly as big as the boat, was the hardest for him. Already dead from the lines long before they pulled them, it's still hard to be that close and not feel it.

He got seasick the first night and then was fine.  The disconnection from the outside world and being on night watch every night allowed him time to decompress and think. While he's not planning another trek anytime soon, he's spent more time at home engaging with us than he has in two years. He's also decided that "If I can handle the disgustingness of bait, I can definitely be a plumber."  He's going to start canvasing for an apprenticeship this week. If it actually happens, it would be a HUGE step in a positive direction. We were in the kitchen today and he mentioned he just doesn't want to waste his fun years working full time.  I reminded him that he's 20, and now's the time for him to work full time, so that he can enjoy the time off he has and really fully enjoy his life. 

Me: I've worked full time since I was 17.

Him: You should have been livin' your life Ma....

Me: But then I wouldn't be where I am now, I wouldn't have you.

Him: And you'd probably have been much better off, it would have been so much easier if you didn't have me.

Me: You know, as hard as some things have been, I have never once, ever, not wanted to be your mom. ever.

Him: I really appreciate you Mom.

Me: *momentarily speechless*

And, the Coast Guard didn't find him floating in the water, so we're calling it a win.

Tomorrow, we pack up Oldest to head back to the city for summer semester.  He's put deposits down already to stay through August of 2023 when he graduates, literally banking on landing a completely different co-op in the city. Of course, I'm nervous for him, because if he doesn't, it's a lot of money to pay back for housing that's unnecessary, but as he keeps reminding me, if there was ever a time to do it, it's while he's in school. It will also round him out considerably, having already done co-ops  in structural and land surveying. 


I've raised them to be bold, take chances, and LIVE life. 

I hate it when they throw it back at me.

Wednesday, May 4, 2022

The Me Too Move-Around...

 When I first started working at the office, I was told by several carriers to never be trained with two carriers in particular. Back then, about half the routes still delivered out of their private cars, so training would put you in the back seat of their car, to see how it was done. I was told that because I was young and newly single, I would be a target for them.  I thought they were kidding.  They were not.  I never did train with either of them. I opted to learn on the fly, spending needless time teaching myself, rather than be put in a situation I couldn't get out of. It was clear that these carriers, career employees, were going nowhere despite their behavior, and I needed the job. 

So, a year later, when I went on one date with a new clerk, and he decided to go through my personal effects once I was out of the office, call me incessantly, and literally followed me around in his car while I was delivering mail, I didn't report it.  What would be the use?  The behavior was tolerated, he knew people higher up in the system, and I needed the job.  

You would think, in an office with a 2:1 women to men ratio, this would not be an issue. But it is.  One of those carriers past away.  The clerk was fired for unrelated issues. The other carrier was fired in 2016, after nearly 35 years of service because he had escalated to harassing his customers, and after several attempts for the office to handle it, finally they got the police involved.  His route was restructured to allow someone else deliver the buildings. He was escorted off the premises by the police. He was still given the option to retire rather than be fired, as he was over 70. He opted to not do any paperwork and ultimately got himself fired.  It took nearly 8 months.

We currently have a clerk who has been with us for 17 years and has had numerous complaints.  One recent one prevents him from working in an adjacent office. In the past you could tell him to stop and he would for a few months, or weeks, and then it would start up again. Annoying, tedious, ridiculous, but this was the tolerant environment the higher ups had created. He makes comments about appearances, everything from you look nice to I'd like to see you naked.  He's had to be blocked by several employees on social media for inappropriate comments. And a number of customers and employees have started going to other offices rather than risk an interaction with him, or have him know their home address. Recently he started in on a new employee, who tried every way short of vocal violence to get him to stop, but instead of backing down he seems to have escalated. Last week it boiled over, I believe the police were involved.

I actually wondered to the Hubs if there was something at home that triggered this.  It seems over the last few months he seems to be worse than before, like he's looking for the fight. It's eerily reminiscent of the carrier who escalated his advancements to the public. Knowing some of his background, I wondered if there might be an issue with medication. I inadvertently found out tonight that that may be the case. Regardless, this has been going on, and is heavily documented for the last 17 years. Which is shocking really, considering how much doesn't get reported.

I was asked to give a statement since I ended up in the middle of it all. I support the girl 100%.  This behavior can't be tolerated.  It never should have been the norm.  But it weighs on me heavy because this is a 25+ year career, he has a family, 2 kids. What do you tell them?  What does he tell his daughter??? Or does he not say anything, because as it has always been tolerated, why would he think he did anything wrong?

Ultimately none of this is any of our decision. Everything gets passed up to the labor board who will decide the next course of action.  And his union will fight it.  If he is allowed to return, then our union will fight it. If they move him along to somewhere else it will just happen again. He's too young to offer early retirement. One option is to send him to the only branch of our office left that no logged complaints. But that would restrict a lot of the current scheduling because of who he can and can't be in the building with (see existing files) and put him in constant contact with customers, often issuing passports, in a small office, having access to ALL their personal information, on a daily basis. It would also leave him more or less completely unsupervised which means chaos could easily ensue, particularly since there is always at least one woman also scheduled there.

Oh, and did I mention that position is a higher paygrade?


Only in the federal government. 

Sunday, April 24, 2022

When Life Give Us Lemons...

 Last summer Youngest found out that on his father's side they make a traditional Italian limoncello. He was given a nip bottle at a family reunion and loved it.  About a month later, I found out that he had called his uncle to see if he knew how to make it. He didn't. So, I did some research, and in what will likely be known as epic Mom fail number 8,971, mentioned to him that if he wanted to learn how, we could probably do it together. 

The idea has floated out there since Christmas with not much to it.  But as he secured everything in the garage, he noted he had a handle of Titos and asked if we could make it this weekend. So, I picked up all of the necessary supplies, extra big mason jars, a zester, and an exceptionally absurd number of lemons. I also picked up mandarins so we could make a batch of orange-cello as well. 

The true test to our effort won't be known for 4 months or so, as it must steep for a long time in the vodka for the best flavor. The best limoncello is made with Everclear or other grain alcohol that proofs over 100%, but we figured the Titos would be a slightly less shock to everyone's system this fall if it turns out worthy of being gifted. I also had some vanilla beans and a small amount of Titos left so I am making some vanilla extract as well. We shall see.

I tried to talk to him while we were zesting lemons, but my days of feeling like I've made headway have come and gone.  The last "break in" in the garage has left us all on edge. I installed another camera and check the locks routinely now. We're locking the cars, and I check the cameras when the light sensors come on. Youngest ripped his door off the track thinking someone was in his room.  We are all on edge even though, since we're now locked down like a fortress, it's highly unlikely it will happen again.

I have talked until I am blue in the face. I have tried every angle.  And although I know he sees that he needs to let go of all of these people, he just can't. His circle has gotten smaller and smaller and yet he can't walk away. I've offered school, therapy, a life coach, and nothing. Tonight, as I listened to his big business plans, I finally broke. While I love his enthusiasm and gusto for what he wants to do, he has no drive or plan to get any of it done. While he talks a great plan, he's not passionate about it, not committed.  When he wanted to read, he buckled in and didn't quit until he was the #1 reader in his entire school.  When he wanted to wrestle, he went every day to training, worked out, ate well, studied other wrestlers, and committed to training 4-6 days a week for 4 years until he reached a level he was happy with. 

But this dream of owning a smoke shop, it's easily derailed. He talks of one direction, then changes completely to another. He talks web design, then when it doesn't materialize, forgets it all together. I know how to get a business started, what it takes, how to run it, and he won't discuss it with me. It all just becomes another idea up in a puff of smoke. A dream without passion, or a drive behind it, is nothing but a pipe dream. I worry that in making the limoncello I am buying a ticket to this derailed train he's on.  I straddle the line of opportunity to talk to him and the condemnation of his actions often. 

I may regret teaching him in the months to come, but at least I'll have a nice liqueur to enjoy while I lament about it. 

Sunday, April 10, 2022

Does This Hat Make Me Look Crazy?

 I'm not a sound sleeper most days.  Particularly around 3 AM, aging bladder and all. So, when I heard something outside at 4AM, and noticed the security light kick on, I put on my investigative hat and shuffled out of bed to investigate. 

I saw nothing out the back, went to the front window noticing the security lights were on as well, and nothing.  I glanced out the side window, seeing a red car turn just up the road in the neighbor's driveway, and leave. I assumed it was Youngest returning home in the wee hours, not wanting to wake us, and went back to bed.

For about 10 minutes. Then I checked the security cameras. Someone had been in our garage. It was not Youngest.  The outside cameras revealed nothing, meaning he parked up the road, circled the front, came up the side yard to the back, then down along the side of the garage to slide in under the camera.  Little sh!t.  We'd upgraded the cameras since the last break in (there's been 3, all specifically targeted), even posting signs that we had cameras. And while we don't get a clear picture of his face, we know who he is, right down to his smug little delinquent swagger as he took a swig of Tito's from Youngest's shelf and put it back before he left with a pocket full of Youngest's stash. 

The Husband was meeting my BIL to photograph the sunrise downtown just 15 minutes later. Had their paths crossed, I suspect he'd have beaten him with a shovel. Instead of the police, Youngest is threating to expose this kid to his parents, after which I suspect, the kid will wish he had met our gardening arsenal instead. 

Since I could not get a hold of Youngest, I met the Hubs and my BIL for breakfast, finally letting the Hubs in on what had happened.  Now only 7AM, my blood boiling, I switched out for my landscaper hat, started digging out the dirt behind the garage, sifting out the rocks and roots, and filling in the gaps along the new stone wall. Youngest returned around 8 from his friend's house, exclaiming he needed a new phone because he'd looked everywhere and his was missing. 

Off goes the landscaper hat, and on goes my miner's cap with the spotlight, I head over with him to the friend's apartment to look, knowing it had to be there. Both boys sat idlily by for 15 minutes as I stripped the cushions from the couch, telling me over and over how hard they looked.

I emerge with the phone inside of 3 minutes, because nothings really lost until Mom can't find it, right? Both boys sat stunned as I tell youngest to put the couch back together. We return home, And I go back to sifting dirt and placing capstone, while Youngest reviews the video and tries to confirm the suspect via the neighbors cameras. Youngest remained calm on the surface, but the boiling inside has started. We discuss what needs to happen, a safe needs to be purchased, the garage door needs to be locked, he agrees. He goes to two stores, gets frustrated and goes home. He didn't bother to go where I told him to, as I had already research and priced out lock boxes a few months before after the first break in. 

Meanwhile, Hubs and I pick up his new glasses.  I play optometrist and help him adjust the earpieces.

I return home, offer to chauffeur Youngest and help him buy a safe.  He's boiling under the surface. I find other projects.

I pop on my town maintenance hard hat and make a new street sign for the neighborhood. I am in and out of the garage, not paying much attention to Youngest.  On my last trip into the garage to get a crowbar to remove the old illegible sign from the tree, Youngest boils over, threw the knife he was whittling with, accidently catching it with two fingers. I walk away to finish my project, meet up with the Hubs whose been out walking the dog, and follow a trail of blood from the garage to the bathroom.

Oldest is in there trying to get him cleaned up. Youngest is almost passing out. I put on my EMT uniform, because while he tries, I wear that hat better than Oldest.  He ended up with 2 stitches in two fingers, four total. We return home, he heads back to the garage, and I decide putting away the tools can wait. Space is what he needs, and I'm not putting on the headgear for yet another boxing match with him.

Into the craft room, with small pile of clothes that need fixing. Not sure that a seamstress wears a hat, but my tired graying ponytail atop my head will have to do.  I fix compression shorts that will likely split again.  I alter the prom dress that needs a final fitting next weekend. I fix the pocket seam that Hubs managed to bust that's inside another seam. How does that even happen? I can hear Youngest leave as I finish up down stairs.

I put on my CEO hat as I clean up the kitchen, fold laundry, go through the mail, organize the tasks for the week, and clean up the tools. That's me in the locksmith cap also as I figure out which key goes to the garage so I can make copies tomorrow between appointments. 

I don my housekeeping uniform as I strip beds and start a whole new batch of laundry.

The chef's hat, thankfully, will stay in the drawer, as the Husband fended for himself.

It's six thirty PM. and I'm already ready for my nightcap, not the alcohol one, but the old-fashioned, snuggle down into bed and forget the world kind. But, sadly, that won't happen until around 11 or so as there's still more hats to wear.

And the truth is, I am not special.  The game of hats is one most functioning adults play, just not maybe to today's extreme. People wear many hats, multiple times a day, it's the only way we can meet the demands of a society that always wants and needs more. We just pick it up and wear it, no matter how crazy it makes us look. We'll even wear hats that are so heavy we can hardly hold our heads up, no matter how ridiculous or ugly it is. And rarely do we ever question it.


Why do we do this?

I don't even look good in hats.

Tuesday, March 22, 2022

One Would Think...

 One would think that when I sanded down the 80-year-old cardboard I would have gotten sick from the cancer-causing glue that was used all those years ago.  I did not. 

One would think that after delivering mail in a deluge of 40 degree rain, when even my rain coat soaked through, I'd have gotten the sniffles.  I did not.

When the pollen soared because we went from said 40 degree day to 72 and sunny, I'd get seasonal allergies from the pollen coated mold spores, but nope.

And when both the boys took off for the weekend and it was just the Hubs and I that I'd finally be able to relax and enjoy some sunny days getting things done.  Also nope.

Instead, I got COVID.

When a general sore throat, continued into a progressive congestion and tiredness, I took an at home test. Never did I think it would come out positive. Unlike the covid of 6 months ago, the kids who both tested negative, went about their business as usual.  Oldest went to work, and Youngest who had been in NY for four days, spent all of two night at home, and found elsewhere to stay for the rest of his birthday week. 

My sore throat went to congestion, then into an unimaginable tiredness. Tiredness comparable to that of early pregnancy, where you are literally growing a new human being. Then the cough came, shortness of breath, and lost my voice entirely.  Two days of food that tasted like cardboard, dizziness, and nausea, and just when I turned the corner, the symptoms all repeated themselves.  

Oldest was nice enough to pick up my new glasses for me while I was home, and now of course I could finally see how dirty the house was.  I don't sit still well, even sick, so I would pick away at small tasks as I could.  I'd clean out a shelf in the kitchen cabinet, then have to nap for an hour. I'd throw in a load of laundry, start sweating so badly I'd have to change, and then take another nap. Seriously.  It was ridiculous. 

All and all, it took 6 days for me to feel somewhat human. The Hubs had minor sniffles and congestion but for the most part was himself, so while he plugged away at the stone wall along the driveway, I sat wrapped in a blanket, semi lifeless, in the Adirondack chair in the sun. It was a beautiful week to be home.  I was even able to open the windows to let the covid cooties out.  

One would think that after two years of waiting, finally getting my covid quarantine, I would have gotten so much done. But nope.

One would think that I would have cleaned closets, binged TV shows, renewed my love for cooking.  Nope.

One would think I'd have caught up with all my much-loved blog-ie peeps, also, sadly no.

One would think, it would not have taken me until I went back to work to tell y'all where I've been.

But here we are, post covid. 

And the best thing I have to show for it, due to forced time off, is a healed sprained knee.

One would think that I wasted so much time, indulging in sleep, breathing, losing track of the days.


Sunday, March 6, 2022

It's A Pity Party Project Post...

The other day someone left a little green baggie with chocolate on my front door. It was from a friend from down the road. Funny, aside from having kids the same age we never really connected often, but for some reason she felt compelled to leave me a little pick me up on my doorstep.  And it was the good stuff let me tell you, oversized bars of specialty chocolate, to die for.

The thing about being the one that does for others is that it's rarely done for me. When I say that, it's not that I'm not appreciated, I am. I know that.  And the regular characters in my small circle make sure I get what I need. But outside of the circle, that's a different story. Outside of the circle it's rare that someone goes out of their way, much less drives to my house, to make me smile. And the truth is, it was just what I needed.

The results of my MRI came back for me knee.  I have RA in my knees now as well as my hands. I have a sprained MCL and one other tendon.  I have cartilage damage in various areas, as well as the cartilage that connects to my kneecap is torn free. I also have a cyst behind my knee from a buildup of fluid due to the other damage. I read this all on my online chart. Not a single doctor has gotten back to me in regard to the next steps. I can't take time off from work until I get a doctor's note and FMLA paperwork done.

The day after I had my MRI, I was out delivering a package and fell on ice. Six inches of hard packed, bumpy, no traction in sight, ice. It was my first step out of the truck, I hit my tailbone on the bottom step of the mail truck and then slid further catching my back rib cage on the bottom step as well. It's not broken, but it hurts to sit, stand, and bend down. And my ass crack has a nice purple hue. 

So, between the wonky knee, and the purple butt, getting through the day is exhausting. I can't walk the dog for the leisurely walk she deserves because I can't make it more than 1/2 mile after working all day. I have to pace myself with errands which means more often than not we are out of whatever I actually need. Work is difficult because every bump and curb the mail truck hits bounces me in the seat and the pain makes me nauseous. I can only half hobble downstairs for laundry duty and forget about cleaning.

In an effort to push off my feeling of uselessness, I am doing small crafting projects around the house.

I finally built a frame for the puzzle Hubs and I finished. 

It took very little time and WAY more epoxy than I expected. But it is definitely cool to have done.

And we just finished this one.  It's a photograph of our pond, at sunrise, last July. 

We use our fridge as a wipe board.  I was frustrated by the disorganization of it, so I cleaned it up with some vinyl decals...

We've joked that our "company" needed T-Shirts for years now.  So, I made us some...
And then there's this trunk, that the hubs picked up for me at a local charity shop for ten bucks...

The first thing I did was do a deep dive on the information we found inside of the chest.  It was issued to a soldier in 1942, when he was drafted for the war. I asked around on my buy nothing FB site and I was able to access his draft record, an old census, and his obituary.  I reached out to the son, who lives semi local, but have not heard back.  It had been converted to files in the 80's and clearly has been painted and modified.  I'm in the stripping process now.  It's basically a plywood box covered with cardboard.  One would think that would come off pretty easy. NOPE. Tomorrow it will be in the 50's so I'm taking it outside to sand.  I got some cool fabric that I will line the inside with, the tray has been brought back to it's original height, and I will be using the documents from the original owner to add character to each compartment. I plan to replace the handles back to leather, I added casters, as it's the perfect height for a coffee table, and I bought a canvas of a WWII Mustang 51 Bomber blueprint (since he was in the Air force) to adorn the top. I am super excited about this one, but it's going to take a while to come together. That other chest in the photo was another project I finished two months ago. It was a Lane blanket chest from 1950 that I got for free from Buy Nothing...

It was in terrible shape.  The legs were broken, it was moldy and warped, but the inside cedar was beautiful. I went to work conditioning the inside, replacing the legs, and stripping the moldy veneer...

Youngest wanted the chess board since it was supposed to be a coffee table. He thought it would be a nice touch...

It ended up being entirely too big for the living room, so I put it out in the sunroom.  It stores the snack overflow for the kitchen and houses the cases of water and other stuff that I hate having in plain sight.  Plus it's super sturdy now so it's perfect for an extra seat when needed. I didn't mean for this beauty to be the keeper of Cheetos, but here we are. And the old owner loves what I did with it and is thrilled it didn't end up in a burn pile somewhere.  So it's a win all around I guess. 

So that's what I've been up to over here, having my pity party for one, eating Cheetos from my 70-year-old cedar chest and chocolate along side a cardboard coated trunk that would survive a nuclear war whilst wearing my clueless construction T-Shirt, because well, I have no idea what I'm doing. 

Until next time, with more exciting stuff. Maybe.

Sunday, February 13, 2022

Escape To The Garage...

 The Hubs and I have been slightly obsessed with the TV show Escape To The Chateau, which is a British show in which an English couple buys a French chateau and renovates it. There is also a complimentary show called DIY, where the cameras follow other couples that have done the same.  There are hours of shows to watch, and we find the narration and subject matter quite calming.  I suspect best part for Hubs is that unlike other home renovation shows, it's unlikely that I'll be asking for a walled garden this spring, and, despite my best efforts, it's unlikely I'll be successful at installing a moat, sans gators, around our tenth of an acre estate.

Lately there's been much discussion regarding the Husband's shed, as we've discovered it will cost less to build one than to buy pre-fab. Where will it go?  How big? Lean to? Free standing? The list has been endless.  As have the other things that cost money, so we've curtailed the actual build until Fall. The other day I while watching The Chateau I was sketching up ideas and told the Hubs "I think we could make a turret shed off the corner of the garage.  It won't go over our septic, and it would look great all landscaped in."

He rolled his eyes.

Youngest: Wait. We're installing a turret on the garage? Like a machine gun turret?

Me: No, like a castle tower turret.

Enter Oldest: Wait, we're getting a turret? *makes machine gun gestures*

Me: What is wrong with you people?  It's a tower, and it would look beautiful and not take up a ton of space.

Hubs: *continues to roll eyes*

Oldest: Here me out, you build the tower and then we put the machine gun on top.

Me, knowing the engineer won't let this go: Ok, you can install a super soaker on top.

Oldest: But wait! There's more! We can make it so it has a water supply, like the hose, so it will constantly fend off attackers.

Me: We have attackers?

Oldest: Wait.... ooooo... we could make it so it automatically fires water back and forth and waters the lawn!

Maybe I'll have him help me with that moat idea. 

And in case you're wondering, Hubs is still rolling his eyes.

Thursday, February 10, 2022

The Washing Saga Continues...

 This is the third day I have taken off for the washing machine repair man to come out.  My co-workers are beginning to think I'm having an affair.  Hubs could care less, as long as the machine gets fixed.

If you missed it, my 11-month-old Maytag washer doesn't sense when a load is off balance and shut down like it should.  Instead, it keeps trying to get it done, causing it to get stuck in a cycle indefinitely.  We found this out when 15 minutes before it finished one night, it got stuck in the rinse and spin cycle for 9 hours. Nine hours folks.  The agitator melted and split in half.  Youngest's winter coat was covered in melted plastic, as was a full load of brand-new Christmas clothes that thankfully, he wasn't too broken up about. Had water not been running through it, while draining the tub, we could have had a fire or flood, or both.

The first guy came out and declared we needed a new agitator.  Um, yeah...

Two weeks later the next guy came out and installed the new agitator but never did a diagnostic check to ensure that it would not happen again.

Two weeks later here we are, with yet another tech and a new part, checked out some things, ordered another part, and informed me we'd be setting up another date in a few weeks for install. While discussing my tales of washing woes, I did learn some things.

Apparently having a large capacity washer (8cu feet) doesn't mean you can wash more things; it just means you have more room to wash it.

The new machines have a spin speed on them. While it will take a bit longer, spinning on low or medium (ours only has med/high) will ensure the drum doesn't get off balance.

You shouldn't wash more than 3 pairs of jeans in a load and no more than 3 large towels.

And no matter how much laundry you have, you should never fill it over the halfway point. 

So now, until eternity, or the next 5 years with the way these machines are made, I will be the only one doing laundry to ensure the house doesn't burn down. But on the off chance someone wants to give it a go, I used my new circut machine to spell out the rules.

I probably could have put them on a sticky note. 

I also learned I may have a circut problem...

Is It Too Late To Trade Him In?

My niece graduates High School on Friday.  Needless to say there's been quite a bit of crafting and last minute stuff going on here and ...