Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The Week in Review

So Christmas is over, New Year's is upon us.  Everything was good.  We celebrated Christmas with 2 of the kids who were with us from the Eve until Friday.  Saturday we left for son and fiancé's down in the 'burbs of Minneapolis.

It was going to be the highlight of the season because our granddaughter was home on leave.  We had a great time!  And soooo happy to see her!  I took dinner down with us to alleviate the stress somewhat for them.  Two of our son's friends stopped by to visit and eat; granddaughter's BFF was visiting her and stayed overnight.

Around 11:00 pm, we got around to opening gifts.  Everyone enjoyed their presents.  Lots of "oohhs" and "ahhhhs"; lots of handmade gifts.

Saturday was a gorgeous day....lots of sunshine and temp in the low 4o's.  Happy weather!   But by late evening, there was a shift in the wind.  And we got a lot of wind!  Temps started plunging, and by the time we were heading off to bed, it was downright frigid!

Sunday proved the weatherman correct....below 0 temp with a double below 0 windchill.  And it never let up.

But not to worry (or try not to) because we had our new furnace at home.  The water pipes should be just fine.

It was a "hairy" ride home, those 3 hours and some.  Arctic temps, winds, a bit of snow blowing into white outs on the highway.  So we finally arrive, grab some things to take into the house, turn on the water right away......no......water.   Oh my God!!  BH proceeds to take the closet apart....because that's how we get to the water heater.  I'm opening the bottom cupboard doors in the kitchen, moving the infrared heater next to it.  BH gets out the hair dryer....because that's how we thaw out the frozen elbow at the water heater.

After a few minutes, he says "wait....there's no cold water?  The pipes aren't frozen inside the house....it's outside where the main line comes into the kitchen".

Soooo.......on with the boots, gloves, hat, Carhart jacket...and off he goes.  Only....the trap door is frozen shut, there's 2 feet of snow in front of it that needs to be shoveled away.  And the 2 huge rocks in front of the traps door that need to be moved, are frozen in the ground.  He now goes to the shed to get a hammer.

He'll need the hair dryer outside, so....the extension cord to the deck lights gets disconnected to be used on the other side of the house.  Only....most of the cord is on a reel.....which is frozen....so that needs to be brought in the house to warm and thaw.

After shoveling the snow away and much hammering on the rocks, he manages to gain access to the water line. 

An hour later, a few breaks to warm up in the house and a bit of trouble getting the hair dryer to work....success!  We have water!

What the hell did we bother with a new furnace for??  Well, actually, all the pipes in the house were warm and as it turns out, the freeze-up was outside.  It seems that even with warmth inside, if you have no basement, just crawl space under your home and if water isn't being used for 2 days in arctic, sub-zero temps..the outside line will freeze.

Remember.....you heard it here first.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

What To Do......What To Do.......


As I sit here, mentally tapping my fingers on a table top, I'm thinking what can I do now?

It's 2 days before Christmas.  All is done.  Well....almost.  Today I will bring out all the gifts from the spare bedroom and place them under the tree, then clean the bedroom.  Easy enough.   Box up all the ones that are going to son's next week.  Easy peasy.  And a couple loads of wash.  No sweat.

Chicken soup is on the menu for today.  Gotta get that started later this morning.  It will also be on the menu for Christmas Eve dinner along with roast beef sandwiches, shrimp cocktail, potato salad, assorted veggies, pickles and olives.  For many years, after all of kids were grown and gone, my mom would fix roast beef sandwiches and shrimp cocktail for her and my dad.  Sometimes my sister would stop in and join them before they headed out for Midnight Mass.

Do any churches still have Midnight Mass?  I don't know.  But that is a memory of Christmas that is still with me.  I, long ago, switched from Roman Catholic to Lutheran.  Lutherans do not have Midnight Mass.  That's a shame.

I make special cookies every year to give to the kids as part of their Christmas presents.  I have each one's nicely packed in aluminum cake pans with lids.  Their names on the lids...because some of them have certain favorites, so more of those cookies are added.  However.....I've been craving the cut-out cookies each morning.  So.....I've been raiding one kid's pan.  I think it's down to 2 of those cookies left.  I hope I remember to replace them before we take them to him.

Oh, there's more cookies stored away for our home.  But they're out in the van....which we use for kind of a "walk-in freezer" during the winter.  Good thing we live in northern Minnesota!  We also have 2 picnic coolers on the deck..."mini freezers", if you will.....loaded with breads.  For more gifts.  We have 2 regular size freezers in the house, one upright, one chest.  These, too, are loaded with not just our monthly food supply, but more breads, cookies, fudge and candies.

We got and email from almost daughter-in-law with pictures of granddaughter.  She came in last night!  She posted a message on FB that she flew First Class thanks to a wonderful woman at the airport.  Granddaughter had to travel in her Army fatigues.  Thank you to that woman...you made granddaughter's trip even more special!

So....I want to make something to take to son/fiancé's next week for dinner.  Then they won't have to spend the whole day preparing a meal.  I think the chicken soup will go; there may be enough roast beef and turkey breast (Deli) and cheeses left; I could probably whip up a Pasta Salad; there's assorted tub cheeses, pepperoni and crackers; I'm going to make a new recipe....."Turtle Cake".....chocolate, caramel and nuts...yum!  A new recipe called "Crab Rangoon"....a hot cheesy dip for crackers.  And I found a recipe for Honey Nut twist pastries that seems very easy.  It uses the store-bought crescent rolls.  I think I'll try those, too, for a breakfast while we're visiting.

Let's see.....that'll be HUGE boxes and boxes packed with gifts; our duffel bag; boxes and coolers packed with food....we have a mid-size care......geezzz...we might have to empty out the "walk-in freezer" so we can drive it to the Cities!!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas, everyone.  May the holidays bring you health, happiness, peace and the promise of better times.

It's been very busy here.  Finally, everything is done.....except for a little cooking and maybe a couple of things to bake. 

But the gifts are all wrapped; the tree is up and decorated; the lights and decorations are all about; cards and Christmas letters have been sent.

Our beautiful granddaughter will be coming home on leave for 12 days.  I can't wait to see her!!!  Have a bunch of special gifts for her.

So, we're planning on going down to son's house Saturday after Christmas and spending a few days with him, fiancé, and granddaughter.

Since son's fiancé has been in the final throws of studying for exams for her RN degree, they haven't gotten it all together for Christmas.  She graduates today!!!  So this will give them a few days to get prepared.  Granddaughter flies in Saturday night before Christmas and she will be staying with them until she goes back to the Army base Jan. 2.

This has been a bad year for me, emotionally.  I don't know why, but my sister told me a few months ago that she's been going through the same thing.  She suggested that it could be because our parents' house was finally sold (to our brother) after 2 years of jumping through hoops and a lot of frustration.  It's a done deal.  Is that the reason for this emptiness?  A feeling of loss?  Of heartache?  Maybe so.  All I know is, I miss my mother and father more this year than in the past 3 years.  I think of them every minute of every day and even imagine what it would be like if my mom was living here with us at this moment.  My dad passed away 6 months before her.

The memories of Christmases past have been flooding my heart and mind these few weeks.  Memories from being a kid, to my kids being small, to just a few years ago when mom and pop were still with us.

When my dad passed away, I was returned his pocket watch that I bought him for Christmas over 30 years ago.  He was a railroad engineer.  The watch had an engine engraved on the back of it.  I had a leather pouch made for it with his initials burned on the back of the pouch.  He wore it to work every day.  I was so proud of that watch.

Somewhere along the way, the watch stopped working.  Because he was retiring, it was never repaired.  Until this Christmas.  I took it to the jeweler.  The intention was to gift it to my oldest son, who loved my father so much and I know still misses him terribly to this day.

The watch was repaired.  I wrote a note to my son to say I hope he will use the watch and remember Grandpa, who loved him more than he could know and more than he could even show.  I also found a beautiful snapshot of my son and dad together, taken 13 years ago.  I bought a beautiful frame for it and sent it along with the watch.

My sister asked me a few weeks ago if I thought my son would like the flag that was presented to my mother at Pop's  funeral.  Of course he would!  She's giving that to him for Christmas.  BH and I bought the triangular case for it, and he will receive that also.

For all his life, but more so over the last 10 years or so, my son has been my dad's right-hand man.  Something needed to be repaired in the house.....call John.   The van needed to be fixed.....call John.  They needed a ride somewhere, or be picked up from somewhere....call John.  Snowplow the driveway....John showed up at first daylight, no call needed.   And he was always there.  He even did things for them they never expected.  Like, my father telling him that it was very cold in the bathroom; made him get chilled after a shower; never seemed to be warm.  The next day, John went out and bought a wall heater and installed it in their bathroom.  My father was soooo happy.  And John would take no money for it.. it was his gift to them.

When my dad died, my mother relied on John for everything.  She even had him go over the insurance policies, deposit the checks in her account, add them up and tell her how much she had in her bank account.  He would go over there every morning before work, bringing her a gourmet coffee and doughnuts or sweet rolls.....my mother's favorite things!

When she became very ill the last month of her life and had to live with my sister, John went over every morning to stay with her while my sister was at work.  He brought her meals, carried her to the bathroom, took her to the doctor.

I don't know what possessed me to go on like this.  Except to say that I have a son who has been a gift from God for me and all the family.  I feel I could never do enough to show him how much I love him and how much he is appreciated.  When family members say to me..."that John!  Where did he come from....he is a Godsend!", my heart just bursts with pride.  He can do anything and he is meticulous about his handiwork.  Never refuses anyone; he has a heart of gold.  He is my angel.  And being 1200 miles away from him is sometimes almost more than I can bear.

He has been our gift that just keeps on giving.  Christmas is the time I can give a little back to him.

Monday, October 21, 2013


Wow....it's been a month since I've written.  Things have been nuts, to say the least.

We left for South Carolina and granddaughter's graduation from Basic Training on Saturday, Oct. 5. Got there on the 8th.  My sister and our eldest son from NY came in at night. 

The Fort had "Family Day" on Wednesday with a banquet at night for all the families and the new soldiers.  What a wonderful time we had!!  What a heartfelt experience.  Everything was so grand and beautiful; filled our hearts with so much pride.

Thursday was the graduation.  All the soldiers in their "dress blues".  She had her medals..."Sharpshooter for Rifle" and her ribbon for being a soldier in a time of conflict (read: "war"!)  Fantastic!!  It was over by about 10:30am, and she was free to leave the base and go with us.  She had her orders to report to the next Army base in Virginia by midnight Friday.  We were driving her there.

So we spent the day shopping, napping, talking....and talking and went out for dinner that night to a nice, swanky restaurant.  Then she stayed with us in our hotel room for the night.

Friday morning, we hit the road early.  My sister and son had to catch their plane at 5:30 to return home.  So they drove in their rented car, we in ours.  We stopped every so often and changed passengers so our granddaughter could visit with each of us on the way to Virginia.

When we crossed the state line, we pulled into a travel plaza and said our goodbyes, I-love-you's and I'll-miss-you's.  We proceeded to the base; sister and son proceeded on to Richmond airport.

So, granddaughter is at her new post...studying airplane/helicopter mechanics.  She'll be there for 5 months! She loves it! She told us there's talk of a 2 week leave for Christmas.  I hope so!!  I can see her being career Army, she's that kind of person.

We got home just this past Tuesday afternoon.  Whew.  BH and I were "road weary".  We put 3550 miles on the car.  Good to be home!

It's been very cold here; had to turn the furnace on.  Yesterday we had 2" of snow...it hasn't melted.  If the ground were frozen, it probably would've amounted to 4 or 5".  It snowed all day, from morning to night.

Thank goodness we picked our apples Friday.  Temps were predicated (and did) to be in the 20's overnight.  So yesterday, I peeled, cored, sliced and froze 25# of apples!!  Made a big kettle of Vegetable Beef Barly soup and baked 3 loaves of wheat bread.

However, the lawn ornaments, flower pots and perennials have not been taken care of yet.  This week it's supposed to get back into the 40's for daytime.  I'll have to hurry and get all that done......before the next snowfall.  It's not even the end of October!

Saturday, BH and I took a small trip (makes you wonder how we could even face getting back in the car, right?).....90 minutes away to the Cambridge Wool and Fiber Fest.  It's just a small deal, only 1 day.  Last year was the first one.  Kind of disappointed.....seems not all the vendors listed on the web site were there.  I hope this doesn't go the way of the Mora Fiber Fest.  That only lasted a few years.  Besides the Lake Elmo Fest on Mother's Day weekend, there isn't really anything close to us.  And I do love to go to a Fiber Fest!!

It was nice all in all.  BH talked me into buying a "blending board".  What a guy!!  (It didn't really take too much talking).  A vendor makes her own....very nice!!  AND......I saved $25.00.  Which I quickly spent on some roving at another vendor....$5.00 for a 4 oz. ball....bought 4.  Saved.....$5.00.  Priceless!!

Can't wait to use the blending board.  Got big plans!  I just started spinning again yesterday.  Haven't touched a wheel in......7 months!!  Yep. 7. months.  I know.  I can't believe it either.  But it feels great to be back at it.  Except....spinning will be put back on hold soon....when it's time to get ready for the holidays and getting gifts made.  I can't think about that now....I'll think about it tomorrow....afterall....tomorrow is.....another day. 
 Today I take daughter to the surgeon's to schedule her gall bladder surgery.  I hope it's this Thursday or Friday.  She's been feeling very nauseas every day.  But not much pain, so that's good.

So....onward and upward.  It's all kittywhampus!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Murphy Part Deux....and Other Assorted Thoughts (this may be very long!)

So this morning I'm up at 4:15am.  BH....not.   I turn on the coffee and the TV.  Pour a cup.  Go sit in the recliner. Take the vest out of the bag, start knitting.  One sip of coffee; knitting.  Second sip of coffee.....BAM.  I missed the coaster, hit the edge of it, the coffee cup tips over....coffee all over the arm of the chair, the end table, the pattern, the paper with the finished row markings, the floor, the wall.   Aaaarrggghhh!

Dash off to the kitchen, grabbing towels, wet cloth, run back in to blot and mop.  Chair is wet.  Very wet.  Don't see much coffee-color coming up on the towels.  This will have to be shampooed today.

We just purchased 2 matching recliners in July.  One of the old ones was 25 years old (a La-Z-Boy...plug); the other was same make but we bought it at an auction 10 years ago or so.  We needed new recliners.  Went to the local furniture store.  A make I've never heard of, but the salesman assured us it is quality furniture, made in Indiana.  And since they only have one of any style in any color, we had to order the color we wanted for 2 chairs.

Anywho, they arrived after 3 weeks and we were very happy! Wow! Look how high we sit in these!  Who knew you didn't need to be physically fit to pull yourself out of a recliner?  Or that you really needed another person to help pull you up from the chair? Or that we really don't need one of those recliners that the seat rises up at an angle and it kind of dumps you out of it?

Yeah.  So after some menial housework and food prep for supper, BH (yes, he's up and around now) brings the shampooer over from the storage house.  And the job gets done.  The real test will be after the fabric is dry....did it discolor?

So, I was thinking....what the hell.....might as well start shampooing some of the carpets while I'm at it. Hahahahaha!!! Yeah.  No.  It's 54 degrees today, not getting much warmer, and drizzling off and on.  Not conducive to damp carpeting.  Tuesday will be a much better day.  Well then, why not get started changing the furniture around in the bedrooms, away from the furnace vents....because......we will have furnace heat this winter!?  Again....Hahahahaha!    No.  Not today.  The carpeting has to be shampooed before the furniture is moved around.

I had a pan of brownies in the oven.  A 9x9.  Actually, it might be an 8x8. Who measures these things?  Well, 30 to 35 minutes it says on the box.  I don't like dry, cake-like brownies.  I always go for the least amount of time and then watch it very carefully.  These took nearly an hour.  I kid you not.  Now I'm wondering......is the thermostat going on the oven???  It is 12 years old.  Ei-yi-yi.  Time will tell.

Doing a load of wash.  I cannot leave the house while the washer is going.  It has a quirk...during the spin cycle, it sometimes likes to "dance" across the floor.  Doesn't matter how big the load is or isn't.  So, I need to stand by it as soon as the water starts to empty out; wait for the "spin" cycle to start.  If there's no banging or "dancing", it's good.  But the same needs to be done for the "rinse" cycle. Oh....this machine does not discriminate cycles.

I know what you're thinking.  "Well, it's not level."  Au Contraire!  The level has been put on it numerous times.  In every direction.  It's as level as an honest person.  It just has a quirk.  C'est le vie.

Perusing granddaughter's Army unit photos today.  The person in charge must have downloaded 1,000 pictures since yesterday.  Went through each and every one.  Each. and. every. one.  Found 8 more pictures of her - coming out of the gas chamber and during their physical training drills.  This is one happy, happy grandma!!!

So tomorrow is daughter's appointment with the surgeon.  I should have a pretty good idea if we're going to be able to make it to granddaughter's Basic Training graduation or not.  Keeping my fingers crossed and saying prayers like mad.  In the meantime, my sister is making her plans to be there in case we're absentia.

I think that's all.  I know there's more.  I just can't think of it right now.  It'll happen after the "publish" button is pressed.

I gotta go find something to do before BH comes in the house.  Something that looks like I'm really, really busy.  What to do.....what to do..........

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Changing My Name to.......Murphy

What ever can go wrong.....will go wrong.  Murphy.

So Monday, I made the hotel reservations for South Carolina.  Done.  We're set.

Daughter had a doctor's appointment that afternoon.  For a protrusion on the right side of her stomach.  Very noticeable.....to me.  Apparently, the doctor did not spot it on Friday when she was in for what was thought to be a UTI.  Hmmmmm.

Well,.....Doc scheduled her for an ultrasound on Wednesday.  I left a message for the Doc to call me with the results.  She called yesterday.  It's gallstones.  She's going to notify the general surgeon; they will call me for the appointment.

Within 1/2 hour, the surgeon's office called.  Bring her in Monday, 2:30.

I made 2 searches on the internet for gallbladder disease, gallstones and the needed surgery.  This does not ring with a promising outcome.

Today I called my sister and told her what was going on.  Then I asked her how she felt about going to South Carolina.  For granddaughter's graduation from Army bootcamp.  She was thrilled!!  Yes!! Yes!! I'd LOVE to go!!!  was her response.  Thank God.  I told her there may be an outside chance we'll still be able to go, but otherwise, she's welcome to the room we booked and I'm so happy that our granddaughter will not be alone on one of the monumental stepping stones in her life. 

And if we do make it, my sister will be there too.  This will be great!!  She's booking her flight today!!

In other news....I've kind of hit the wall.  Every evening I make plans for things to do the next day.  The next day comes and...eh....maybe tomorrow.  Nothing gets done this way.  Some of it's not a "have to, have to"....but would be nice to get done now.  Funny.  This usually doesn't happen till winter.  I think it's all the anticipation and anxiety of what's coming in the next few weeks.  I hope so, because, seriously......things have to get done.

I have 3 items on needles right now.  Besides the lace scarf and poncho, I remembered a couple of days ago....OMG!!  there's a vest that's been sitting in knitting basket for months...that needs front bands and armhole bands knitted.  Geezzz.  So I pulled that out yesterday, sewed the shoulder seams and started picking up stitches for the front bands, got half way done.  This morning......I ripped them all out.  Because I just know  there're not enough stitches and it will be all bunched up.  From past experience.  So now I'm in the process of picking up the stitches again.  Half way through....again.  We'll see how this goes.

My computer monitor has got a funky darkness to it since this morning.  Don't know what the hell is up with that.  Tried adjusting the brightness and contrast.  They're both at the limit.  It's just a smidgin better ....but still looks dark.  And the cursor has a funny "glow" to it, just about invisible. When you try to point it at something, you can barely see it.  Geezzz... I sure hope the monitor isn't getting ready to crap out.  It's only 2 1/2 years old!!!  I could spit nails.

So besides the expense for the hotel room, the cost of gas, meals and what have you, BH informs me this morning that his chainsaw is really on its last legs...and he should order a new one....like today.  Ehhh.....what the hell.....in for a penny, in for a pound....right?

Or as I like to tell him....."When it's all going down hill, you might as well jump on the toboggan and enjoy the ride!!"

Excuse me.  It's my turn.


Tuesday, September 10, 2013

I Am So Ready For Fall.......You?

So last week we had a reprieve.  The temps were in the low to mid 70's...no humidity.  Oh Yeah, Baby!  This is what I'm talking about!  Can it be?  Is Fall finally here?  My heart skips a beat.  I get excited about finishing up some work around here.  Visions of getting back to spinning are dancing in my head (haven't touched a wheel since April!  I know!) 

Ah....but the pessimist.....or realist as I describe myself to BH.....knows not to get too excited.  So last week he tells me "the plan".   "We'll put the air conditioners away next week", he announces.  "Not so fast, mister.  Air conditioners DO NOT get put away till the end of September, sometimes early October, depending on how the temps have been fluctuating", says I. 

We have this little discussion every year.  Every. Year.  Sometimes I have to ask him....."what planet are you from?"  or  "so when did you move to this country?"  He has such a bad memory.  Or maybe he just wants to keep my blood pumpin'.  Good job, Sparky.

Last week we got a phone call from granddaughter at Boot Camp.  What a surprise!!!  They weren't allowed to make calls till a week or two before graduation (in October).  But she said they were allowed 1 hour to make calls.  I don't know where they got the phones from; they weren't allowed to bring their cell phones.  Anywho, by the time she got a phone, she said she had just 2 minutes.  She's doing well; doesn't like all the verbal and physical fighting at night amongst some of the girls; she had rifle training, scored 36/40 and got her "Sharpshooter" medal!!

Then last Tuesday we got our first letter from her.  I've been writing her every week for the past 3 weeks.  All is good.  She's getting excited, albeit a bit nervous, for graduation.  And she would love us to take her to Virginia for Tech training (we offered).  Woohoo!!

So after scanning hotels in the area, I called and made reservations for that week of graduation.  Can't wait to see her!!!  See how much she's changed.

Labor Day weekend we had our second and last yard sale.  This one was nothing but craft supplies.  A LOT of craft supplies. I was selling most of it as "bulk".  Buy the whole schmear.....you get the tote for free!  It ran from Friday - Sunday.  Friday was pretty good....sold a lot.  Saturday, not so much.  Being that our town had the big end of the season whoop -d- do.  Which included a parade.  Which started at the top of our road.  Which closed off our road for about 3 hours in the early afternoon.  Yeah.

So just a few people stopped by.  Sunday was a washout.  It wasn't supposed to rain, but sure enough, by 10:30am, it started drizzling.  The sky got darker and darker.  I told BH "this doesn't look like it's going to clear up any time soon; let's call it a day".  And we proceeded to pack everything up, take down the tables, take down the signs around town.  And that was that.

So the plan is......to be a vendor at the schools's annual Craft Fair in November.  Hopefully to sell as much of the left over handmade crafts as possible and maybe more supplies!  This is something else I'll have to get organized and ready.  BH is not too happy with the idea.  It's a lot of packing, lugging, setting up, all day, tearing down, packing away and lugging back home.  He's getting very tired; his energy level is waning....big time......every day.  I understand.  If this doesn't materialize, then the option is "Craig's List".

I have been knitting.  Mostly in the morning because I get up anywhere from 4 am to 5:30am.  BH rolls out anywhere from 6 - 8am.  Gives me a couple hours of quiet time.  So, I'm doing a poncho and a scarf/shawl.  The scarf/shawl is being knitted in laceweight, cream colored BFL, which has iridescent "Firestar" spun into it.  Knitting it in the "Feather and Fan" pattern, and adding iridescent glass beads every 8 rows.  I can't wait till it's done.  It looks beautiful!!!  I imagine it as a winter wedding shawl.  It's got just enough glitz and the patterning looks elegant!

The poncho is coming along but I'm not sure I'm crazy about it.  It's probably 1/2 completed.  Not sure I like the pattern I chose; not sure there's enough yarn to finish it.  Aaawwkk.  "Just salley forth".

Oh, I forgot......so, anyway, after the very nice Fall-like weather last week, sure enough......Friday started with the high 80's/90's and 100% humidity.  Which has carried on since.  Tomorrow it's supposed to break.....again.....and we'll be back to comfortable days and nights.

But no air conditioners will be removed from the premises until further notice.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The Rise and Fall

Yes.....the temps have been rising every day for the past week.  And I'm anticipating the Fall.

I can't take this hot, humid weather any more.  A few weeks ago, we had a week-long spell of 90's.  Then it broke and we had day time temps in the low to mid 70's; nights were in the mid 40's, sometimes as low as upper 30's.  Now this is my kind of weather.  I was in heaven!!  Thought for sure it was the end of summer.

Yeah.  Not quite.  So this hellish weather pattern is supposed to last until Monday, Labor Day.

We had a severe storm rip through here Monday night.  Tree limbs and leaves all over the place.  It even caused 2 medium sized trees to fall on the power lines at the top of our road.  The power went out.  Called the electric company and reported it.  No fans; no A/C.  And it's 80 degrees in the house.  We did have a good gust of wind and the temp dropped about 8 degrees.  That lasted for 1 1/2 hours.  Then it climbed again.  We played BlackJack by lantern light till nearly 11:00pm, and went to bed.

We knew the power company would not send a crew out during the heavy rain, thunder and lightening.

But at 1:00am......BH woke me to say the lights were on.  Hallelujah!!!  Our power company is Awesome!!  Truly, they are a great bunch of guys.  And get this.....we don't live in a populated suburban area.  As a matter of fact, there are only 4 houses on our road......and the 4 of us were the only ones affected by the outage. (Our town has a population of 402).  (Yes.....402).

Anywho, big doins' this weekend.  Another Yard Sale.  This one is only craft supplies.  I'm attempting to get rid of all my supplies accumulated over 20 years.  Don't do it anymore.  Now it's just spinning, knitting and eventually....get back to quilting.

So the sale will be Friday through Sunday.  It's all organized, categorized and most of it is boxed up for "bulk" sales.  I sure hope we have as good a sale as we did for our "Moving Sale" in May.

After the holiday, it'll be back to keeping the house in tact.  The dining room still needs to be scrubbed, ceiling and walls painted, curtains and shades washed.  It's the last room to be done.  Maybe then I can get back to things I really love doing.

Granddaughter called from Basic Training camp Monday night.  I was thrilled!!!  She said they were given an hour to make their phone calls.  That's an hour for the whole company.  I'm assuming someone either gave them phones or they were using pay phones, because they were not allowed to bring their cell phones to bootcamp.

Anyway, by the time it was her turn, she told me she had just 2 minutes to talk.  Everything is going well, she said.  They just had rifle training and she scored 31 out of 40.  She received the "Sharp Shooters" medal.  What a kid!!!   She said the only bad thing was that some of the girls get into fights - physical fights - every night.  And apparently, the Sargeants haven't stepped in to stop it yet.

Nothing on the house yet.  No lookers.  We did have a new furnace put in 3 weeks ago.  Can't wait to see how it works!!!  Told BH it's going to be great getting up in the morning in the dead of winter and not be able to see our breath!!  Or guess what the actual temp is in the house because the thermometer is at it's lowest reading....40 degrees.  Yeah....this is going to be great!  Won't have to use the wood stove so much (this is still a bit of a battle discussion between him and me).

So, we keep trucking along.  Fall will be here soon.  My very favorite season.  And then we'll be getting ready to hunker down for winter.....with our new propane furnace!  This might be a winter I really enjoy!

Friday, August 2, 2013

Moving Along Nicely..........

So.....we finally got the "For Sale" sign up for the house.  Contracts signed; all is a "go".  We're only a month behind our intended schedule.  Not bad for us.

Everything looks great inside!  The realtor was very impressed; she said the house looks beautiful, very nicely decorated.  This made me feel ecstatic.....because I've been busting my arse for 3 months.

Just a couple of glitches.....because we heat only with wood, the realtor said no bank will give anyone a mortgage without an alternative heat source.  Unless the house is listed as "seasonal".  Well, we talked and talked about it.....and decided we would have a new furnace put in.  The guy is supposed to be here next week to start the work.  Says he'll have it done by the end of the week.  Only......"you might have to repaint the area where the old furnace was".....was his caveat.  Sonofabitch!!  The last thing I want to do is pick up a paint brush again!!

Oh.....and then there's the septic......yes, a new septic is needed.  But the good news is.....it doesn't have to be done until the house is sold.  And it can be a bargaining chip with the buyer.  Lower selling price if they pay or we both pay half.  Something like that.  All we have to do is get an installer out to inspect and give an estimate.  We called our local installer.  He'll look at it this weekend.

A little set back 2 weeks ago.  BH was not feeling well; hadn't been, really, for over a month.  But that weekend, he was sweating like a pig and not just because of the high temps and humidity, had no appetite and extremely tired.  Friday night I noticed a large oval rash on his back between the shoulder blades.  Gotta keep an eye on that.  Don't know if it's something, or because he was laying in the recliner.  And he had a fever, almost 103 degrees.  He kept taking Tylenol; Saturday the same deal.  Another fever in the evening.  Sunday, before he could sit, I asked to see his back.  Yeah....the rash is getting worse.  Then he says: "I have one on my hip, too".  Oh yeah.....the size of a basketball, fire engine red.  We're going to the ER.

A quick 5 minute blood test and he has a tick-borne disease.  They don't know which one until the entire blood work comes back in about a week.  So they start him on the antibiotic for 3 weeks.

Since last week, he's been doing much better.  Appetite is a little better, but the tiredness is still with him.

We went down to son's house last Sunday to spend the night so we could take granddaughter to the Armory to see her off for Basic Training in the National Guard.  She left for South Carolina Monday morning.  I pray every day she'll make out just fine.  She is one tough cookie, but never been away from home and family like that before.  She won't be back till April.  She'll be sent directly to Tech School immediately after Basic.   I'm going to miss her terribly.  And while she's in Basic, no cell phones or computers allowed!!  Yikes.

                             Our "G.I. Jane"  We are soooo proud of her!!

Funny story..... so we're heading home Monday morning with single son (so he can work on his car and get it out of here).  We stop for coffee; "hand me my purse, please".  BH says "it's not here; I gave it to you at Ryan's"  Panic......looking, looking.....every one out of the car....look, look.  Nope.  Not here.  I must have left it at Ryan's when we stopped to go pee.  Sonofabitch!!  Well, someone will have to meet us half way this weekend so I can get it.

In the meantime......I'm driving with no license.....BH's pills are in my purse......can't use my debit card at the store because......can't write a check....because......can't look up anyone's phone number or address....because......can't use the cell phone to call in case of emergency.....because......you get the picture.   And I think BH's mind is slipping!!!!  I really have to get hold of myself!

Ah, but today....son's future father in law will meet us an hour from home and deliver my purse.  I'll be a legal, bankable, call-returning, card-sending old lady.....with BH back on his medication.   Geeezzzzzz.

So now we're just muddling through.  Still have odds and ends to do around here.  This weekend I want to get our conversion van cleaned up so we can put an ad in the paper to sell it.  And then I need to get started on organizing all the craft supplies for another yard sale, probably Labor Day weekend. 

Now it's just mowing the grass every other day, weedwacking and keeping the house clean, neat and tidy.  If you have a man in the house, you know this is never .... never .... as easy as it sounds!  Already I'm wringing my hands and swearing under my breath.  But that story's for another day.

Well it's time to get at it.   Hope you all have a very beautiful and peaceful weekend.   August already.  Yikes.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Catching Up.....Keeping Up

Oh my!  What a month this has been.  We've begun preparing for the house sale.  First, there was  gathering a ton of stuff for the yard sale that was held Memorial Day weekend.  It went very well; we were so happy to be able to unload most of what was stored in the old farm house.  The rest will be thrown in the dumpster, which will be ordered on Monday.

BH has been breaking his back keeping up with grass mowing.  No small feat, since for every day of sunshine, we get 3 or 4 days of rain!  He's also been re-organizing the junk, cleaning up his tool shed, the basement and his log cutting area in the back yard.  Then there was the skirting to be replaced on one side and the back of our home.

We opted for 1/4" plywood.  Which I then suggested we give a few coats of paint, front and back, to insure it lasts a while.  I did the first coat, BH finished the rest.  Last weekend he proceeded to install said skirting.  To both our amazement and delight, it turned out beautiful!!!  I even mixed the paint to match the siding color.  What a difference!  We were so happy. 

I've been working inside the house.  Stripping wallpaper, putting up new paper; painting, caulking, fixing, replacing.  The family room is done; new paint, curtains, blinds, wall clock.  All pictures taken down and packed away.  The spare bedroom is done....likewise.  Finished the kitchen yesterday.  Cupboards, counter tile and walls scrubbed down; all ornamentation packed away, ceiling painted.  Just have to replace one wall socket. 

Son who lives nearby put in a new kitchen window for us.  It looks fabulous!!!  He did the outside framing, but I told him I would do the inside....because I knew exactly how I wanted to look.  And you know how guys are about decorating details.  So, BH and I went and bought the new woodwork.  Ahhhh, but I need a jigsaw to cut the framing and moulding.  We don't have one because.....we sold the 3 we had.....at the yard sale.  So, BH comes up with using the miter box.  Yeah.  Ok.  But I'm really not good with a handsaw.  It worked out just fine.  He cut the miters for the window frame.  And it looks really good!

So yesterday, I go to put up the muslin shade (I made some time ago), eh......the rod isn't long enough, being that the window is wider than the old one.   And my collection of curtain rods were all sold at the yard sale!!!  Today I'll buy a new rod.

We also replaced the 2 bedroom and the bathroom doors.  Oh, they look great!!!  But what a time we had!!  First, the bathroom door was 1/4" too wide to shut.  Same size door as the original!!  How does that happen??!!  Talking to NY son, he tells me it's no problem.....just sand down the side of the door till it fits; not to worry.  Sooo.......that week we went to my favorite home improvement store......to buy a sander......because we sold our 3 at the yard sale.

Oh yeah......and we need a chisel to cut out the door lock inset.  Yes. We need to buy a chisel.  Because we sold the half dozen we had.....at the yard sale.

A few weeks ago, I finally managed to get the flower gardens cleaned up, the yard ornaments out, the solar lights set up and planted a few flower pots.  But I needed a hanging basket.  Oh no!!!  I think the ones that were left from.....the yard sale......went into a garbage bag.  Quick.  Quick.  BH, go see if that bag is still in the shed!  He brings the bag to me.  Whew!!!  There they were.....the hanging baskets.  I selected one and the rest are set for the dumpster.  I'm done.  I'm sure.

Besides the never-ending rain, the humidity set in a few days ago.  This does not make for conducive labor intensive working conditions.  But hopefully, this weekend is supposed to be very moderate and dry.  Fingers crossed.

Both sons from the Cities are coming up this weekend, along with granddaughter who just graduated high school.  Younger son will be working on his second car....getting it up and running so he can sell it.  And older son doesn't know this yet....but he's going to paint the trim on top of the mobile home and help put the new door handle in the bathroom door.  I was hoping granddaughter was going to spend a week or so with us so she could help me with the next project.  Scrubbing down the ceiling and all the wallpaper in the dining room.  But it seems she has to be back in the Cities on Monday.  There's some personal stuff she has to take care of.  She leaves for Basic Training with the National Guard at the end of July.  Nuts.

Monday was our 24th wedding anniversary.  We did not celebrate.  We worked our arses off.  Ahhhh.......but today.  Today we are going to the Casino.  We have a free overnight stay coupon!!!.   So we are going to relax, enjoy the wonderful air conditioning, have a great meal that I can walk away from without doing a single dish, and play a few games.  We need this.  BH needs this.  Badly.  You gotta keep 'em happy.  You gotta throw in a few incentives.  Otherwise, you wind up with a very grumpy, tired, worn out workmate.

Next weekend we will have another yard sale.  Only this one will be all my craft supplies and some handmade crafts.  There are bins and bins and bins of supplies.   THEN......TA-DAH......the house will be up for sale!!!!  God willing, it will sell before September and we will be in our new apartment before the snow flies.

Is the world spinning way too fast....or is it just my head???

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Tis the Season.......

No....not that season.  You know......SPRING!!  Yes, dear friends, we finally got Spring!!  And the adrenalin is pumping!

A belated very Happy Mother's Day to you all.  I sure hope you enjoyed it whichever way you wanted.

So, you know we're hoping to sell our home by October and move into this fabulous apartment we saw last Fall and I absolutely fell in love with it.

Now the fun begins.  BH has been working over in the old farm house for over a month.  Sorting, bagging, boxing, burning and dumping.  I finally got the wallpaper and paint....yeah....about a month ago.  And last Monday I started peeling off the old paper and borders.  Took me 4 days.  I do not work fast.  Nor do I work all day, stop for supper, and go back at it again in the evening til 10:00pm.   Those days are long gone....as well as my energy level.

But at least I do get at it.  Just finished putting the second coat of paint on the spare room and the one length of the hallway.  The other length, the one facing the addition the previous owners put on, will be done in that wallpaper that looks like plaster.....and then you paint it.

We are also in the midst of preparing for the BIG Yard Sale to be held on Memorial Day weekend.  Providing it doesn't rain.  Because we don't have a garage.  The bad news is we have to post the ad in the newspaper this Friday, pay for it, with the written caveat that if it rains, said sale will be held the following weekend.  Providing it doesn't rain.

I have to give BH credit.  He has done most of the gathering.  I just have to sort it out, clean it up a bit and put the price tags on.  Our 3 sons (not to be confused with the TV show "My 3 Sons") will be coming up next Friday to help haul out the tables and all the crap  collectables and desirable articles.

Also that weekend, one son will be installing a new kitchen window for us.  Can't wait for that being that the present one opens just about 4 inches -- and that's it.  Our windows are the crank-out kind and I do believe the crank is worn out.

The other son doesn't know it yet (he probably plans on going fishing) but BH needs help cleaning up all the hay on the north side of the house.  Not a task to be taken lightly.  Nor quickly.  Son is in for a big surprise!

And we expect that 3rd son will be working on his second car that he's been trying to get back in shape to sell since last Fall.  This is my "motorhead".  Bought a brand new Focus in 2001 and within the year, started ripping things out to boost power and make it more of a sports car.  High performance this and that.  So now the intention is to restore it back to "stock".   This needs to be done.  He needs to get it up and running and out of here because.......we're moving.

So in the meantime, the gardens have not been cleaned up.  The yard ornaments and solar lights are not outside yet.  There are no planters with beautiful flowers in the front flower bed.  The weekwacking needs to be done.

Our winter clothes are still in the closets and drawers.  I just pray that we don't go full swing into summer within the next 2 weeks.

BH still needs to get to the big box home improvement store.  He has to replace the skirting on one side of the mobile home.  And we need to replace 2 doors in the house.

The only super big job left inside is to fix the ceiling, caulk the moulding and re-paint the family room.  After that, and once we're signed up with the Realtor, I will be taking one room at a time and cleaning thoroughly, packing up unnecessaries as I go.

BH will be cutting the grass.  And sorting and packing  everything else in the farm house that's going into the roll-off dumpster that we need to rent.  After Memorial Day weekend. 

Our granddaughter graduates high school the first Friday in June.  6:00pm.  900 graduates.  Yes.  You read that correctly.  900 graduates.

It might be adviseable to bring flashlights.

And then she leaves for Basic Training with the National Guard on July 29.   I hope we'll be able to spend a couple of weeks with her before that.  She won't be home for 9 months.  They're shipping her off to Tech school after she graduates Basic.

So that's my story.  Don't know when I'll be back here again.  Maybe some rainy, dark, cold day.  That's my day off.  My adrenalin does not pump on those kind of days.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Happy Dance!....Happy Dance!......Happy Dance!

Oh yeah, baby!!!  We're gonna have Spring this weekend!!  Today I went outside at 8:45 am and started taking down the mini lights and the brownish garland on the deck.  AND.....no jacket!!  no sweater!!  no sweatshirt!!  short sleeves!

Also took 2 storm windows down....the bathroom and the kitchen.  I wish they all could come down, but as I was futzing with the kitchen window, BH calls..."here's the weather forecast for next week".  And like a fool, I go and look.  Wellll.......from Monday through next weekend, we're supposed to have high's only in the 40's.

"How the hell did that happen?  What happened to the extended forecast yesterday that called for high 50's, low 60's next week?"

"I don't know", he says.  "But there it is".   Son...of....a....b......

So, needless to say, there won't be anymore storm windows coming down lest we get a major blizzard the first week in May.

Leaving for daughter's today.  She called yesterday to inform me that her legs have been going numb and her feet tingle.  Apparently this has been going on for a couple of months.  "Mom, there's something I have to ask you about....."  so I told her to schedule a doctor's appointment that morning.  The appointment is today.  She asked if I wanted to spend the night.  I didn't really.  I hate being away from home.  But....seeing that we haven't spent any time together since Christmas, I said sure.

Anyway, the weather is supposed to be gorgeous...mid 60's/high 60's through Sunday.  Maybe she and I will take a little ride...find a little mall, do a little window shopping; go out for breakfast or lunch tomorrow.  It sure beats washing windows, blinds and curtains, which is what we should be doing in her apartment.  But, geezzz, it's gonna be cold again next week. 

So Spring isn't really here, right?

Hope you all are blessed with beautiful weather this weekend and get to do something really fun!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Two Things........

First, I've been eyeing the Fair Isle sweater sitting in the basket, as I work on the pair of socks.  Something just doesn't feel right.  The other day, all the paraphernalia was gathered in anticipation of working on the steeks and cutting them.  I keep looking at the sweater. I'm. not. sure.

Just doesn't seem right.  One thing or another came up over the next few days, putting the sweater on hold.  I keep looking at it.  Picking it up; straightening it out; it just doesn't seem right.

Love the colors, love the pattern.  However, I did discover that it is highly doubtful there's enough charcoal Shetland to do the sleeves.  This is a problem.  The project was not intended to be a vest.  The neckline is all wrong.

Well, by this morning after examining it again, checking my stash box to see if I didn't miss a couple balls of charcoal (I've already checked 3 times)....and I didn't.  Nada.  The decision had to be made.....Frog It!!  The last thing I want is to cut the yarn, hate the sweater/vest and have dozens of wound-up teensy little balls of yarn.  No sir.  No way.  Not good.

It's in the process of being ripped.....1/2 done.  And I feel much better.   Crap.

I think I'll just stick to Fair Isle ear flap hats for a while.

Ok.  The second thing........
So....BH has remarked to me over the past month or so how we haven't seen evidence of any critters in the house.  "Mickey", to be precise.   "I think those sonar thingies we bought in the summer have been doing the trick", says I.  He readily agrees.

He made the same comment to me just last week.  Well.......while walking through the utility room this morning, I find the bag of dog treats (for the neighbor's dog) laying on the floor.  Hmmmm...how did that get there.  I pick it up, put it back on the bookshelf......and now I notice little pieces of the bag on the floor.

Yep.  It seems Mickey has found a way in.  And the sonar thingies be damned!!

There's a footnote to this story.  Last week while housecleaning, I run the dust mop behind the entertainment center.  Whoa....what's that.  A small dark blob on the floor.  Further inspection reveals that it's the piece of steel wool that was plugging up the hole where the TV cable comes in from under the house.   Hmmm.....I must have pulled it loose with the dust mop.

Now I think the real cause was Mickey.  That little bugger pushed the ball of steel wool out of the hole.  Not so unbelieveable when we think of all the times the mouse traps haven't been sprung, but the cheese is gone.  Or when we heard the "snap" of the trap late at night.....only to discover the next morning that the varmint had wrangled himself loose and is gone.

So today, we will re-insert the steel wool, maybe seal it with duct tape, and see what happens next.

I just hope he found his way out of the house this morning so he doesn't have to search for another escape route.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Something Old......Something New........

Noooo....no wedding here.  It's (gulp) the weather.  Again.  That's the "old".

Update:  12" of snow fell between Thursday afternoon and Friday morning.  Accompanied by strong - very strong - winds.  BH went out to shovel and said some of the drifts were up to his thighs.

ooohhhhh, le sad.

Anwho, Thursday I decided to make a Blueberry Sourcream coffee cake.  Had the blueberries in the freezer; had the sour cream, which was getting near it's expiration date (how do you know when sour cream goes bad??)  So I looked for a recipe on the internet.  Found one quick and easy.  It turned out deeelicious!

Then I've had this hankerin' for Peanut Butter cookies.  I'm not one to make cookies other than the obligatory Christmas baking, especially since there's no one here anymore to eat them except BH and me (emphasis on "me").  But, mmmmmm, I love Peanut Butter cookies.  It's my grandmother's recipe.  I've had it since she passed away 50 years ago.  And it is hands down the best!  My hands, anyway.

So yesterday was another baking day.  A double batch, thank you very much.  Because if you're going to go through all that trouble, and if you have a freezer, always bake double.  Your cravings will thank you in the long run.  Mmmmmmm.......deeeelicious!!

Oh, something new........

Well, I took pictures!!  

See....I wasn't foolin'.  And just to think, last week most of the snow was gone and we could see ground.  Ground that was beginning to green up.  Geezzzzz.

Ok, so there's the Blueberry Sourcream coffee cake; Yummy.

Then the Fair Isle sweater in progress.  Finished knitting; now get up the courage to cut the steeks.  Gulp.

The tube socks.  I really kinda like these.  Started another pair; first one on the needles.  Plus, because there's no fiddlin' with the heel and gussets, it goes really, really fast.   I'm partial to things I can get done really.....really fast.  I'm getting old; time is running out!

Oh, I think I forgot to tell you about the robins.  Yep.  We had 4 of them in the yard last week....before the return of winter.  And they were very plump!  Beautiful big red breasts.  However.  They're gone now.  Maybe never to be seen in these parts again. 

Hey, if you could fly off to warmer climates anytime you flapped your arms.......would you?

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Yep. Same Ol'......Same Ol'.........

There's about 3" of fresh snow on the ground.  Another 3" expected by the time this is over tomorrow.  The winds are supposed to be 30 mph, gusting to 50-60 mph tomorrow.

Paint and wallpaper are sitting idly by.  Waiting.  Waiting for sunshine.  Waiting for warmth.

The storm windows are still up (thank God); and the once-fresh pine garland and mini lights still adorn the deck railing outside.

It's April 18th.  2 more weeks and our town has its "Clean-Up Day".  You can bring anything that's not household garbage, toxic chemicals, tires and some appliances.  The city will dispose of it for free!  This is done every other year.  How fortunate that this is the year.......the year we're planning on moving.   And we have tons of crap to get rid of.

My granddaughter posted a picture of herself in her Army uniform.  I wish she had her hat on to complete the outfit.  I love this kid.....I mean, beautiful young lady.  She leaves for basic training at the end of July.  She'll be gone for 9 months; being sent to Tech School right after basic.  I'm going to miss her terribly.
Anywho, I'm keeping myself busy.  Still knitting the Fair Isle sweater.  Just about ready to decrease for the front neck opening.
A little apprehensive, but I'll approach it slowly.  It'll work out.
Hope you all are comfortable;  a little sunshine?  a little warmth?  Some green on the ground?  Little shoots of flora popping up here and there?   Ahhhhhhh........some day.  Some.  Day.