Sunday, May 19, 2019

A Few More Things Before I Disappear Again

So a long time ago I imagined myself a gardener, which didn't work out so well. But I never totally gave up, settling for 6 or 7 planting containers on our back deck. Mostly, at this point, I buy a bunch of basil and tomato plants at the local farmers market, and I plop them into those pots on the deck and water them when I remember.

Easy, right?

Only, no. You'd THINK it was easy, but it turns out that even if the dirt is contained in a pot, you still have to weed it and dig through it and add compost and I don't know what all. In short, if it is 87 degrees and 1050% humidity, it's JUST AS MISERABLE to be planting things in a container garden on your deck as it would be in a regular garden.

Harder than it looks

Just thought I'd let you all know that before you run out to Home Depot and buy yourselves a bunch of pots and a few bags of dirt. You're welcome.

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While I was working at the yoga center this morning, Larry went outside and heroically dug up all the nettle plants that have mysteriously appeared in our front yard. He also attacked the remnants of the weird-smelling, variegated ivy that keeps showing up and trying to take over. Brian pulled up most of the ivy last week as a Mother's Day present, but every time we look outside, there's more.

Plants are scary.

All this to say, Larry and I seriously discussed getting rid of all the vegetation and just putting in a stone patio already. Please note, we live in a townhouse, with a townhouse-sized yard. We shouldn't be having a problem staying on top of yard maintenance, is what I'm saying. But the truth is, we CAN'T HANDLE the plants.

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The CDC never showed up to deal with things, so today I cleaned out my fridge. It was pretty much as bad as you can imagine. No, worse, actually. Who knew tortillas could expire? And we just won't talk about the condiment situation, all right? Suffice it to say that ChikFilA polynesian sauce doesn't keep as well as you think it might.

I ended up with an empty shelf. This is a new experience for me.

WEIRD

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Saturday, May 18, 2019

A Lot Happens In A Month, You Know?

Hi! I'm still employed, which makes me a tad busier than I used to be, so when a friend of mine raved about how her Roomba does all the vacuuming for her, my ears perked up, as it were. I mean, short of a live-in housekeeper, that sounds like the next best thing, right? She sent me her model number, and hey, Rachel has an employee discount at Best Buy...

Have I even told you folks that Rachel (she of the decapitated-stuffed-animal obsession) works at our local Best Buy now? Being a very confident and take-charge sort of person, she does an excellent job there, if I do say so myself. Only, at least once a shift, a customer asks if she is Australian.

No, we don't know why.

Where was I? Oh, yes, Roomba. So I let Larry know that I want a Roomba, thinking he'd be on board with anything that would keep the house cleaner than I've been keeping it the last few months.

Because I have a job now. Have I mentioned that?

"Did you see the link I sent you?" I asked Larry, as we walked to a local pizza place that evening, because I don't cook anymore.

"What? No," he said.

"The Roomba! I sent you a link to one at Best Buy and..."

I saw him starting to shake his head.

"What's wrong with a Roomba?" I asked. "I mean, it's a little expensive, but..."

"It maps the whole house and sends data back to the company, " Larry said, with his technology-is-evil frown on his face.

Sigh. Considering Larry's reaction to his Father's Day gift two years ago, I'm thinking I'm not going to win this one.

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In other news, I made the kids go with me and Larry on Mother's Day to see The Diary of Anne Frank performed by a local theater group. Because what better way to celebrate your mom than going to see a play where almost everyone ends up murdered by the Nazis?

We Jews know how to enjoy ourselves, is what I'm saying.

Before that, at the beginning of May, Larry and Susie and Brian and I went to Alabama for David's college graduation. That's right - the kid who spent his childhood building rocket ships out of empty oatmeal containers and flying kites he made out of fishing line and plastic grocery sacks is now an honest-to-goodness rocket scientist.

An employed rocket scientist, no less...

We left Rachel at a friend's house, because she couldn't afford to miss that much school, and then she came down with a really bad cold and missed school anyway. So, just for the record, she gets sick for all her brothers' graduations. And we were secretly relieved that this time around, she wasn't breathing her germs all over us in the car for 11 hours.

Stopped at Sonic, because we were in the South and that's how you do

Happily, we managed to stay in hotels the whole trip (no risking a camping fiasco again!) without a repeat of the incident from Theo's graduation in 2013, when Larry and I were woken out of a sound sleep at 2 AM by a knock on our motel door (which opened directly to the parking lot). Larry leapt up with alarm and peered through the peephole, only to see a very confused-looking Brian standing OUTSIDE.

Really, staying at a motel next to a busy highway is not the optimal time to discover that one of your kids walks in his sleep.

So, yeah, no sleepwalking, no kid with croup - it was almost the way a family trip is supposed to be. You know, fun? And not terrifying? I could get used to that.




Monday, April 15, 2019

Back In The Saddle

I don't even know how to get back to writing here, so I'm just going to jump right in and we're all going to pretend I haven't been missing for 3 weeks, okay? Thanks.

It's spring here.



One tiny box of neatness


I Marie Kondo'ed my handknit socks. They are the ONLY thing that I have (or ever will) Marie Kondo. When things are a mess, I open my sock drawer to gaze upon this testament to order and find the will to go on.



Speaking of socks (and, uh, disorder), I had to rummage through my clean clothes in the laundry basket this morning to find some socks (because I had worn all the Marie Kondo'ed ones, and how many times am I going to say that poor woman's name, I wonder?), and it took me NINE TRIES to fish out the second sock of a pair. I mean, what are the odds?




Even though it feels as though I have no time to do anything now, I still knit, because sanity is very important to me. This cowl is a Christmas present for a friend. Christmas 2018, but hey, who's keeping track of that sort of thing, anyway?




Hummus - it's not just for breakfast anymore. Susie has been pretty much living on this stuff, because she's vegetarian and I don't cook anymore and she is tired of eggs and grilled cheese. Theo found a place that makes really superb hummus (NOT the Sabra kind) and brings us a container on the weekend when he visits. He also brings us zatar-seasoned pita chips (pictured above), which are hard to describe, so just take my word for it - they're delicious.

The working life is still amazing, although I don't see how any family manages a 2-career thing with younger kids in the house. Larry and I are taking parental neglect to new levels here, and trying to organize doctor appointments and rides to activities for the 2 offspring still living in our home just might drive us around the bend.

We're lightweights, is what I'm saying. Some people are just not cut out to be power couples, all right?





Friday, March 22, 2019

I'm Terrible At Craig's List

YES, I'm still here. Just...well...still adjusting, is all. My house is still falling apart around the edges, since it appears that vacuuming/Swiffering once a week, along with wiping down the bathrooms once a day, is not quite enough to keep things, well, quite where they're supposed to be. My only goal for cleanliness levels in my home at this point is "not disgusting."

Which lowers the bar from my previous goal of "not embarrassing." I know, I am an inspiration to us all.

I have, however, gotten better at ignoring the mess while I work from home. Progress? I guess so. But I have to admit I felt a twinge when a friend informed me that she is planning to move (locally, thank goodness) soon. They're downsizing, so she's getting rid of things, and their new kitchen looks all sleek and modern, and there's no yard to care for, and I thought, "That's the solution - we'll just move! Fresh start!"

Larry didn't go for that idea. As discussed in these pages previously, that man is not a visionary.

Here, have some tulips

My desk search for my home office dragged on and on, until I inexplicably ended up with just the Craig's List meth-house desk I had been trying to avoid. I don't really understand it, but there it is, in my yarn studio, looking ugly, in the middle of all that pretty, pretty yarn I have no time to play with now. I think I had consented to it because it was cheap and I figured that that way Larry would stop sending me links to ugly desks on Craig's List. Good plan, right?

No. He still sends me those links, because it's a habit now, and I work at the dining room table, because the desk just isn't right (not just the looks, something about the keyboard tray being a part of the desk and not sliding out and that changes the ergonomics, and also, yeah, it's ugly).

But then the friend who is moving into the nice, sleekly modern house with big windows (and, really, I'm jealous at this point, okay?) mentioned she was getting rid of a desk and did I want it and I said, "YES!" because she's not the type of person to buy a cheap, ugly meth-house desk ever.

I'm just going to keep repeating the phrase "meth-house desk" - I like it. I should get some lovely Internet search traffic from it, too.

So now there is a disassembled metal-and-glass, not ugly, desk in my van, which I couldn't get into the house yesterday because it was raining insanely hard ALL DAY and I live in a townhouse that is miles from the parking lot. Or, it seems like miles when it's pouring out, anyway. Also, it has been raining here since approximately last June, and could it stop now, please?

I want to write more, and also figure out the winner of the Yarn Harlot book, but I'm already half an hour late to work, and this really explains why I haven't been able to talk at you people for the past month. So, I'll be back, but in the meantime, if you want to be in the running for a copy of "Knitting Rules," go back and comment on the previous post and let me know!




Saturday, February 23, 2019

Telework's Not All It's Cracked Up To Be

Well! I would have posted last weekend, but Larry has this weird fixation on "doing taxes" and "staying out of jail," so I worked on our 1040 instead. That wasn't fun. Turns out we owe money because what one spouse means when she says (after doing the taxes for 2017), "You should lower the number on our withholding" and what the other spouse hears are apparently two different things.

We're both native English speakers, you know. There's no excuse for this. Yet, here we are.

PERFECT representation of our crappy winter this year
We had a snow day this week (Look away, Midwesterners! You wouldn't have even recognized it as such), so I actually got to work from home all day instead of going to the office.

Remember? I have a job. Maybe I haven't mentioned it enough...

So I worked from home on Wednesday, and you know what? It wasn't nearly as relaxing and energizing as NOT working from home. Seems that when you're working from home, you can hear the laundry calling you, and you can see what a mess your house is, and people keep talking to you and asking you things, and you can't avoid noticing that strange smell emanating from the refrigerator.

Found this in my fridge - from December, maybe?
Now, as some of the more astute among you may be aware, I am slated to start working at home within the month. This is a telework position, after all. Oh, sure, they'd let me stay at the office if I really wanted to, but there's this small issue of my having completely abandoned my children for the past 2 months just to get this job (with all my friends valiantly picking up the slack of supplying rides and entertainment and what-have-you). I can't keep doing that.

I mean, I thought about it, but...

So, yeah, I'm bracing myself for a major adjustment period. I mean, how DOES one continue blithely ignoring all other responsibilities while working from home? Is that issue addressed in those career women magazines I've never read, because I've been too busy being unemployed? Do those magazines even exist anymore?

Happily, Brian will be home the first week of March (for "Spring" Break, apparently); so I told the tech people at work that I needed the monitors and other equipment by then, so my teen could set them up for me. Which, it turns out, may have been oversharing, because they looked at me strangely...

Look, you have to hook things all TOGETHER. With a special thing that you plug into another thing. Dammit, people, I'm a wordsmith, not a tech wizard.

So, anyway, I have to find a desk to stick in my yarn studio, so Brian has somewhere to set this all up. Larry found a perfectly nice corner desk on CraigsList, but he put that in the guest bedroom in the basement, which I've also dubbed his study, even though he doesn't really ever go in there. Now all that's left on CraigsList is astonishingly ugly. I swear, all the pictures on there look so seedy, as if they were taken in a meth house or a murder scene.

I'm just babbling now, ignore me. Larry always does.

Speaking of my yarn studio (we were speaking of that, right?), I'm a little late for my annual giveaway of the Yarn Harlot's book Knitting Rules. Of course, I don't have THAT many regular readers, so maybe I've given everyone a copy already? If not, throw your name in the hat (well, in the comments, actually) and make sure I have a way to reach you if you win!A


This book (as I've explained before, and also here, and probably a dozen other places) was a life-changer for me, which really, how many books can you say that about? I can't even remember why I picked it up in the first place - maybe I was looking for an instruction book? And, yes, it does have some patterns (or more like recipes, really) for projects, but those are interspersed with all sorts of funny ruminations on the knitting life and the creative process.

It's a fun read, is what I'm saying, and maybe it will change your life, too. Who knows?