Thursday, January 18, 2018

FRUSTRATION'S ALL AROUND

Since the main Christmas tree did not go up until the last minute, I sort of figured that husband would be okay leaving it up a bit later than usual.  Usual being this past Monday (3rd Monday in January - no reason other than it is a holiday here in the U.S. - honoring Martin Luther King, Jr - a civil rights leader - and therefore sticks out in one’s mind as it being the time to start taking down the tree and the decorations.  But on Monday afternoon before I had a chance to bring up the subject, he asked when the tree would be down - so he could take back the living room for his weaving.  He needs the length of the room to warp (set up threads on) his loom for his next project.  He said that he regretted having to take it down, and the rest of the decorations could/should stay up for a while yet.  This also led him to consider maybe putting the tree in the dining room next year to avoid this - the only time our living room is used for anything other than his weaving these days is decorating for Christmas, opening our limited presents on Christmas morning, and taking down the decorations.  I told him that it was scheduled to start coming down the same day he asked and it would. 

So after dinner I went downstairs and brought up box #4 for the tree decorations - last up, first off as it gets the outermost decorations.  I started taking down icicles, plain balls, gold paper figures, etc used to fill in open spaces after the nicer decorations go on the tree.  He suddenly realized what I was going and came into the living room, looked, and then said “Maybe it all should stay up a little longer.”  I stared at him - “Yeah, I know it was my idea.”  He then started helping me take things off the tree - actually trees as I have to pack the studio tree ornaments away at the same time as they are packed together and shared ornaments.  I did most of 2 boxes of ornaments (out of 4).  Frustrating - I would rather not have started yet - and then he says I shouldn’t have!

I am on a comics discussion group.  As of a week ago Monday (maybe earlier, that is when I go online to the group to read a week’s worth of posts) the site was not so much there - and I was not sure if it was a problem with the site or my computer.  A check with another computer showed that it was not accesible from that computer either.  I figured all would be well the next day - it was not.  I went looking back in my emails as I had a couple of email conversations with the fellow whose site it is.  I never kept a record of his email address, because it is on the site.  I found that, yes, there was a problem and it was “now” expected to be back by Thursday (last Thursday now) after it had not been back by “Tuesday” (2 days before last Thursday).  As of last night it is still not working right enough to use.  Frustration - I enjoy the company of those on that group and we have great discussions beyond the comics we are talking about.

I am also on an embroidery discussion group.  This group is in the middle of migrating to a new site and “wonderful”changes.  The site started moving in December and due to everything that was going on, I did not have a chance to register with and start to use the new site.  The old site is still open (until at least the end of January) and I was communicating a bit with the members through that site.  But it was now January and I signed up with the new site.  Not as bad to use as I feared.  There was one problem - either very few people were posting or I was not able to see all of the posts.  The page numbers were listed at the top of the page  - but when I clicked on any page number, I was still on the same page.   Very frustrating I was missing seeing photos of everyone’s work and hearing about their holidays.  I posted about this and finally had an answer appear as the last one in the list and therefore on the page I came on the group on - there was a problem and there was a work around.  So finally last night I was able to move around in this group and read the posts for half of December and all of January.


Last night I went to make a monthly backup of my main computer, while at the same time making a quarterly backup of my work laptop -onto 2 separate external hard drives.  The one I have been using for quarterly backups did not work. It had electricity, but did not show up on the computer.  I then tried plugging it into my desktop computer - did not work there either.  Oh, well, I had thought about replacing it, just had not gotten around to it.  The biggest problem I had was this computer is wonky.  The oldest back up of this computer is on the drive which did not work - and it is a “clean” backup which I need if I have to start this computer over. 

I did what I hate to so.  I told husband about the drive not working.  This resulted in at least an hour’s worth of his repeating all I did with his computer.  We then took apart the case the drive was in and took the drive out of it.  When I updated the hard drive on my main computer we had bought an external drive case for the old drive so I could still access it when I found missing things.  We opened that case, took out the old drive, and put the backup drive with the problem in it - it worked.  I copied the needed file off it to the monthly back up drive.  (And husband thought it a waste when I decided to back up the computers to 2 drives instead of one.)  We then reassembled my old hard drive into the case and put the backup drive into a small box to keep it safe.  I now will get a new second backup drive.  (See backing up drives is important!)  Now the backups are set up when I am going to backup and I walk away and they just run on their own.  Very frustrating and a waste of time.

I have to go to my client in Manhattan as I have to do her payroll taxes - and the date for filing the company’s copy of her W2 has been moved up to January 31 from February 28.  Last year I mailed the forms to her for her to mail out and it did not get to her - but came back to me in the mail, despite being correctly addressed to her.  So I really wanted to get to her early this month in case there were problems getting the forms to her to mail.  Then I realized something - she will have taken at most one payroll check last year (the business is not doing well) and I can make do the paperwork in advance and bring it with me.  So I pulled out my typewriter and started typing the forms.  I had ordered the forms from IRS in December to make sure I had them - 2 different forms and a different cover form for each - 4 kinds of forms in all.  I was fine until I did the second form - there were no cover forms!  I went looking and counting - they had sent me 2 sets of the other cover form.  So I had to go online and order more forms - and I hope they will be here early enough to fill in and mail to her for her to sign.  I am going to her tomorrow - I hope.  We have had another snow storm - very light, but I didn’t want to drive in the snow.  It was last night to today.  So tomorrow morning I will get up and call the client and hope she says I can come there tomorrow - if not I hope I can go there next week.  Not only do I have to do her work - I get paid quarterly and we need the money to pay bills.  So, between the weather and IRS not sending forms it has been frustrating.

Now, tonight I took the garbage from the kitchen out for pickup tomorrow morning.  Husband was having a reaction of some sort from the dinner we had and I did not want to open the garbage pail when he was in the room.  I took it out while he was upstairs.  I did not tell him I was doing so - I have taken the garbage out for the 29 years we have lived in the house and I just about never tell him I am doing so - unless there is some unusual reason to do so.  I put the garbage at the street and came back to our side porch and pushed the handle button to open the storm door - the button did not move.  I tried again several times - and it is cold out (not as bad as has been this winter, but still around freezing) and it did not work.  I thought about the front door - but I had only cleared snow from half of the steps and I was concerned it might be icy since it would have melted and might have refrozen - so I pulled out my cell phone and texted my husband.  He got the message and for a minute thought I was just telling him something - then figured out that I was stuck outside the house and came and let me in - and also went back and sprayed the handle lock.  Following this I was told  that I should never go out of the house without telling him!  This led to an extensive discussion with no resolution as to my competence to go out alone without telling him - again, frustration.

I have been good at keeping up with my housework,, but  - uh oh - I just realized that I never put in laundry to wash - I will do so as soon I get this posted.

THOUGHT OF THE WEEK -

Frustration takes so much away from us (or at least from me).  It takes concentration (why else would I forget the laundry) and time - I have had to keep going back and checking to see if the two group sites are working that I could have used on other matters.  But we have to deal with it and move on.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

VERY COLD START TO THE NEW YEAR

Being in the northeast US we had a terribly cold start to the year, well, technically it also ended 2017.  It has been (according to the weather reports) the 3rd longest period with the temperature below freezing for this area since records were kept.  I know many of you will scoff at this as the temperature where you are is (much) more often below freezing, but luckily for us, not that common here.  Add to the unusually cold weather strong winds - in some areas wind chills were below 0 Fahrenheit - again I know elsewhere this is not that unusual. 

As you know from last week’ post, we had a snow storm last Thursday.  Due to the cold weather, the snow has stayed.   - I must make a correction to last week’s post - I mentioned that a neighbor had helped us removes snow from one of the driveway cuts.  I assumed (and you know what that means) that it was the neighbor who lived in the house immediately next to us on that side as he had been helping, what I thought was his wife.  I was surprised as the neighbor has had back problems and even asked about same and he told me that he was fine.  I later telephoned him and thanked him again.  The next day I received an email from his wife - the neighbor had not been the one who helped us - he was in the house as he cannot leave same due to his back problem.  The neighbor on the other side of her house - who we have never even met before (it is a main street and therefore we only know the neighbors on either side and one house to the other side, but that is due to a shared car accident by a 3rd party).  Even nicer of him to have helped.  She did not know his telephone number or email so I am going to write a thank you note.  So, thank you, Dave! - Oh, and we did find the nut that goes with the handle that fell off the snow blower.

We stayed in the house on Friday for the entire day as it was the coldest day of this period of subfreezing weather.  I took advantage of this time in the house to finally finish putting up my Christmas decorations - yes, on the twelfth and last day of Christmas I set up my teddy bear village!  It is now setup and we are enjoying it.  My normal time to start take down the other decorations is this coming Monday, but I may leave them up a few extra days - I will ask husband what he thinks and if he is ready.  Between his worrying over the weather and our “visit to the 18th century” we have not really had a chance to look at them The village always stays up longer.

I checked with my mom  - 88 years old - tonight to make sure she has groceries, heat, running water, etc. and she does.  I asked if she needs anything and she told me no, she has groceries for at least another week and she is sure the snow will melt by then.  She cannot open her front door as there is snow against it, but is sure after tomorrow (it is suppose to be 50 degrees Fahrenheit and to rain tomorrow) she will be able to open her door.  I made her promise (which she would never keep) to call me if she needs food or help getting out.  She is our only parent left.

Another followup to the snow removal story.  When we put out our outdoor Christmas lights husband placed a strand on a low bush next to the steps to our door.  He was draping them around the front of the bush.  I suggested that maybe we did not want them that far forward and reminded him that once when we had someone to clear the snow, they ran the snow blower over the lights on that bush.  He did not remember.  Before the snow came I suggested that I unplug all the outside lights - afraid that water might get into the lights and short them out - maybe even start a fire.  Husband instead turned off the breaker to that circuit.  (The front outdoor outlet is on its own circuit as is the back outdoor outlet.)    Good thing.  As I mentioned last week husband ran over the Christmas light strand with the snow blower and we found pieces of the wire as far away as the other side of our small property).   We have basically just left the snow as it was after we cleared it then as it was too cold and we were too discouraged to do anything about it.  Today the temperature was in the upper 30s.  Husband decided that the snow would not melt properly and he would blow some more of the snow out of the driveway cuts so that it would spread around more and melt faster.  In addition we are suppose to clear the sidewalk in front of our house and had not done so - too much work and anyone can use our driveway to get from one side to the other.  But, he also had not cleared the driver’s side of our van and to use it one needed to go in through the passenger side to get to the driver’s seat and he found it cumbersome, the time he tried moving the van to see if would move.  So he decided to clear the sidewalk now, which would also give him access to the driver’s side of the van.  (Normally the van sits there, but I need to go to a client next week and if the van is frozen in, he has no way to go out for lunch or to amuse himself while I have the car.)  He was doing okay, but then the snow blower started to make funny noises and sort of “buck’.  He pulled the snow blower to a spot on the driveway that was clear and shut it off.  He looked inside (with a little shovel stick that came with the blower) - nothing stuck.   He had me lay down the blower for him - handle to the ground and found the problem.  Apparently much more of the light strand had been pulled by the blower and it was wrapped around both sides of the axle of the blower’s wheels.  About 15 minutes later - with the help of needlenose pliers and a wire cutter - the blower was fixed. 

Instead of going in, husband decided to clear the snow off the windshield and hood of our RV (remember this is a Chevy van).  It would not move.  I suggested starting the engine - by logic and what I have seen happen before - this would heat the snow on the bottom and it would slide off the hood easily - if not on it’s own.  He insisted that would not work and kept pushing until he removed enough to make him happy.

THOUGHT OF THE WEEK -

Okay two of them -

First, unplug or shut off the power to your Christmas lights before using a snow blower near them.

Second - Keep yourself, your loved ones, and your home warm in cold weather so that all survive safely. 

Friday, January 5, 2018

18 CENTURY, SNOW STORM AND NEW YEAR

Sorry to be late again.  I am still running terribly behind where I should be due to the holidays, I guess.

The reenactment event we did last week is usually a nice simple, although time consuming, event to do.  It has been one of my favorites every year.  It was an unusually cold week for around here.  Normally the weather should be above freezing here in December, one night last week was 9 degrees Fahrenheit and on the final day of the event it snowed.  While it is an 18th century house it does have a furnace in the basement and we also make a fire in the kitchen fireplace. This kitchen is unusual for the period as it is in the house - at least as it is set up to be interpreted by the restoration.  Normally we are comfortable in the house, but this year it was cold in the house - so cold that husband (with his cold) actually asked to switch rooms with me during the last 2 nights as the room he was in was too cold for him.  So he got to talk about our musicians/singers, the odd cabinet bed in the room, the kitchen, and Sinter Klaus (there is a display table related) while I got to talk about the owner’s office and the 2 bed chambers - he likes doing the back rooms as he can talk more about anything he wants to than in the kitchen where there are things to be covered in talking. We even brought plain knit gloves the last two nights to keep our hands warm in the house.  Our unit is lucky - we are in the first house in the village so we have the shortest walk from the visitors’ center in the cold.  One thing which surprised me was how many people came out in the terrible cold - and many brought very small children and babies. 

So after “spending” 5 days in the 18th century, I was behind on everything.  I have since read 9 newspapers, caught up on a week’s worth of email and mail, caught up on my online groups - one of which moved to a new setup and I had to join and setup my account all over again, plus doing all of same that has come in since. 

We had been told that we were to have snow from early this morning (Thursday) through the day.  Where we are was suppose to get about 4 inches.  Husband now panics over bad weather.  I had my embroidery chapter meeting yesterday so on Tuesday I told him that we should buy whatever he wants or feels we need to have for a snow day.  We bought stuff.  I told him that I would go to the meeting (which is actually in extended walking distance from our house) and would not stay for the class on stitches after the meeting part.  I did make one stop after - I exchanged USB stick drives in our bank vault - I use same for offsite data storage, which is changed once a month. (When he went to work, I would send the drive to work with him and he would bring the old one home with him for reuse.)  I then came home.  We ended up going to Walmart, the adjacent supermarket and the Walmart supermarket here.  (Our regular Walmarts have small food departments, but not the supermarket areas that they do in other places  - the Walmart supermarket is smaller than the sections elsewhere and is only a supermarket and pharmacy.)  When we came home we went into “horrible weather mode”.  All of laptops and cell phones were plugged into charge (and have stayed same since) and he had bought two devices to recharge cell phones, so those were plugged in also so they would be fully charged.  Normally I would move anything in the middle of the traffic patterns in rooms out of same - but the living room and dining room where this is mostly done were still neat from the holidays. This way if we did lose electricity it is easier to walk around in dim light and not walk into anything.  (For us, we are still in the holidays.)    
                                       
When we went to bed last night, the snow had gone up a bit in how much we would get, as it had shifted further west.  (Those of you in the South or the Northeast part of the U.S. who were hit by this storm, you have my sympathy.)  The weather reporters has also started talking about blizzard and nor’easter (think hurricane with snow in cold weather).  But, he had not panicked and I was glad of that. When I went to sleep around 4:30 am, there were still no school closings showing up on the local news.           

Well, it ended up that this area had over 10 inches of snow - in bitter cold weather.  It finally stopped snowing around 4pm and based on the suggestion from the weather reporters, as well as husband’s need to do so, we went out to clear our driveway.  Our neighbors on either side were also doing so (they are young with young children - we are old with no children).  And shortly after the neighbor’s son from two doors over (in his 20s) came out with some friends to dig out their cars.  Our driveway is semi circular.  It goes from one edge of our property to the other so just figuring out where to put snow is hard.  Husband used the lightweight snow blower we bought last year.  I used a shovel and a brush - the latter to clear off our car.  We were out there about 2 hours doing this.  Husband had trouble with one of the cuts to the street (4 lane road so we get 2 driving lanes plus a parking lane’s worth of snow plowed over on same) and had me cutting it down with the shovel (breaking the snow loose so it would spread over more area and easier for him to throw) while he worked on the other cut.  The neighbor on that side who has a larger snow blower, came and cleared it for us.  (Thank you again Sal!!!).  I cleared half the stair case to our front door so the mailman could get to the box (I have no idea if we got mail today - I was not going to look - we did get a newspaper, but I forgot to take it in and was not going back out for it) and also cleared the snow all the way across the top step so that the door would open in an emergency. 

Finally exhausted we came back into the house.  I could not feel my toes.  Husband looked as if he would pass out.  We lost a small piece off the snow blower - a knob - which we have lost before, found it, but are still missing the nut to it and hope to find it tomorrow when it is light out.  (By 4 pm when we started it was dark out - and our garage light is on a motion detector, so when it went out one of us had to run to where it would go back on.)  When he was coming to the end of the snow clearing he heard a noise in the blower which upset him - we later found out, he ran over the Christmas lights on one of the low bushes - good thing I told him to shut off the electricity to the lights last night.  Schools are already closed for tomorrow.  The weather is suppose to remain 15 degrees F or less until at least Monday, so there will be a lot of ice on the driveway.

I had told him to do a bit of the snow clearing, then in the house and rest a bit.  But, being a man, it all had to be done at once, of course.

After dinner I went upstairs and did the paperwork I planned to do today and never got to.  Moving some money around to pay bills, paying the bills, and a birthday card for my brother in law and one for the daughter of the neighbor who helped us out.  Both birthdays are Monday and one bill is due out by then - not sure if we will get to the post office (and bank) in time for them to go out before Monday, but if they can, we are ready. 

THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK -

We had a quiet New Year’s Eve. 

The way I look at it, every day is the start of a New Year.  I don’t make resolutions - the last one I made I have kept ever since, it was not to make any more resolutions.  I look for what I can do (or not do) and then do my best to follow up.  Resolutions are usually to broad to be followed and then one feels bad for not doing so. 

And if you make resolutions and don’t keep them - remember every day is the start of a new year and one can start fresh.

Happy New Year.






Well, storms do not always do what they are predicted to do, and we got 10 inches!  We had spent

       

Thursday, December 28, 2017

LOST A CHRISTMAS GIFT

I finished decorating our main Christmas tree and our studio tree on Christmas Eve Day.  I went to wrap the gifts - such as they are.  I pulled out the shopping bag that I had stored them in from the back of the dining room table.  I brought down the Christmas/Chanukah wrapping holder.  (This is a hanging item which holds the wrapping paper, decorative bags, tissue paper, etc. as well as an envelope with printed labels which we use instead of buying gift tags - they are done in a Christmas font and have the name of the person who is getting the gift and our names.  Right now we are only using the ones with his nieces’ names on them.

I wrapped the two gifts for one of his nieces and put on tags - I put them in a smaller shopping bag to give to her.  I then went to wrap the gift card we had bought for her sister.  I could not find it.  I looked in the shopping bag of gifts.  I looked everywhere in the house - including every pocket of every jacket in the closet.  Even though there was a big rainstorm I went out and checked both our car and our van. Husband looked everywhere.  For some reason he did not give me the “you have to be more careful with things like this” lecture.  (I think he finally is understanding that my sudden disorganization with things like this is the fault of not having a chance to put things where they belong due to excessive running of errands.)  Husband said that we would give his niece cash and when we find the card - which we assume we will some day - we will find some use for it.  (This being rather limited as we don’t really shop at the store in question.)  I found a small gift box and husband made a cute note on the computer as to what the money was for and I wrapped it. 

Now, this is basically the wrapping that needed to be done - but husband had bought some items for himself so I stuck what I could in recycled decorative holiday bags and wrapped the two items which would not fit into same.  I stuck a small book I had bought and a stuffed teddy bear I had bought into additional recycled gift bags and stuck it all under the tree.  I try not to waste wrapping paper on our stuff as we each buy our own “gifts” if we happen upon something.

Husband started feeling a cold coming in and the weather was to become bad during the evening, so we went to 4 pm mass instead of waiting for midnight mass.  We came home and I cooked Christmas Eve dinner - and of course we ate it - with lots of leftovers.

What I had not had a chance to do was put up my teddy bear village.  I started it on Christmas Day  - but everything was going wrong with the tree for the village - I am guessing it has reached the end of its life and I will need a new one next year - the branches keep sagging and the lights seem to all be turning white from their various colors.  We left for Christmas Day dinner and I have not gotten back to work on the village since.  I am changing the name of it to “Teddy Bear Winter Festival Village” so that it can stay up longer.

Starting the day after Christmas we have been doing a Candlelight Nights Event at the local restoration village with our reenactment unit - we are in the only house which is set up as a 1700s house.  It is a favorite event. The weather has taken a turn for COLD and about to get COLDER with possible snow or freezing rain either or both of the last two days (Friday and Saturday) of the event.  We had 1100 people come through the village the night after Christmas - the “warmest” night of the week and tonight there were 700 - not bad based on how cold it was. 

Unfortunately doing this evening event actually takes up almost all of our time as husband is in charge of it for our unit.  Remember we don’t get up early - to be polite.  So we wake, have lunch run an errand - maybe - come home and dress in period clothes, drive to the “village”, set up the house, do the event, close down the house, drive home, change clothes back, cook dinner (at 11 pm) eat, try to get some chores done and maybe check some email, have snack and go to bed to start over.  The event runs 5 pm to 9:30 but involves us starting to get ready at 3 pm and by the time we are changed back to modern clothes it is 11 pm.  We have 3 more nights - unless the weather is too bad on Friday and/or Saturday and the “village” closes.   The unit takes over the house as if there is an 18th century holiday party in the house and we and the public coming through are the guests.  A few members play period music - especially Christmas, others sing, some of us do first person interpretation - we are someone from the period and know nothing past the same date in 1775, and others talk about the house as modern people.  The public seems to enjoy it - some people tell my husband that they come to the village for the event every year just to see our unit, and we have had current descendants of the family who lived in the house visit and say how wonderful it is.  It is exhausting, but fun.

I have not entered the chores, repeating appointments, etc for next year into either my cell phone or the setup I have on the computer - I did not even have a chance to make up a list.  The newspapers piling up are approaching a week’s worth unread.  I have mail stacking up on my desk, and the teddy village awaits yet.  This is about the worst December for getting things done in some time.

THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK -

If you lose something, after searching “everywhere” for it and not finding it - give up and find an alternative. 

I hope all have a wonderful New Year - as I have mentioned before I do not make any resolutions as they are, well, never kept and one feels guilty about it.  I do reflect on the year past and try to do better in the year to come.



Thursday, December 21, 2017

IT WOULD BE ENOUGH

I managed to get the dining room decorations finished over the weekend.  I also decluttered it a bit - and hid what has to stay a bit better.  The small Christmas tree I put up in there is up and decorated with the brass ornaments we get with our membership in Colonial Williamsburg.  A silverplated tea caddy ornament (we bought the full size caddy on sale one year and the ornament came with it) hangs at the top of the tree instead of an angel or star. 

Sounds simple right?  To get ready to set up the tree I had to store away husband’s DVDs which have accumulated since last Christmas.  The new ones sat on the chest he made to store his DVDs because - yes - it filled a few years ago.  We have a secretary (piece of furniture- drawers with fold down front for desk and shelves above it - green curtain inside hides the shelves and what is on them).  It was bought to be used as a bar and to hold table linens in the drawer.  The shelves held assorted bar and my good glasses.  I have been clearing it out as I can to make room for - yes - more DVDs.  Most of the bottom of the 3 shelves is DVD storage - I donated unneeded, unused glassware in the kitchen last year and moved most of my good glasses to where they had been to make the room for these DVDs.  I just donated a set of small wine glasses we never used earlier this month.  I want to get rid of most if not all of the bar ware as it was rarely used when we had people in and that will give him more room.  But, back to the chest now.  I ended up with DVDs that there was no room for and set them aside.  The chest when it was built by my husband was put on wheels just for this - I pushed it from the living room to the dining room.  Other than having to jump a molding between the living room and front hall, it is easy to push.  It goes against the far wall in the dining room.  The table is moved to the center of the room for this - it is normally pushed against the same far wall.  This gives room in the living room for the big tree (where the chest was) and a place to put the dining room tree.  I put the leftover, homeless DVDs behind the tree and then found a nice throw we received from CW some years ago, folded it in half lengthwise and wrapped the bottom of the tree - and the DVDs behind it - it looks like a nice tree skirt and the DVDs are hidden.

Sunday I also started bringing up the parts of the big tree and stuck them together - and the small tree that goes in our studio.  The studio tree gets ornaments we have made - but some also go on the big tree and all are stored together, so they get decorated together.  I figured - okay, we are close on time, but not too bad to get done before Christmas.  I had planned on Monday night to spread out the branches and make the big tree look nice and add the lights - along with our traditional first 3 items - the angel topper and two angels all stitched by me or my husband. 

Then we got an order on our Etsy account.  We don’t get a lot of orders and they are mostly of the smallest of the items we sell.  This was for a medium priced item and I had to do the paperwork before I started working on the tree - okay, I figured, half an hour.  Yeah, right.  Paypal changed their website and we got so confused trying to buy postage and print the label that we ended up doing it twice and had to cancel one of them.  So the entire evening was gone and no work on the tree.

Tuesday we went to the eye doctor.  He is in the next county so we go to together.  We can’t come home right away as neither of can see enough to drive that much so we go to stores near him.  (Good eye report, thank goodness.)  We ended up having dinner out at Ikea on the way home.  I did get the tree arranged and the lights and first three items on it at night.
Tonight I took the exam I had to take and now the exams are done with until the middle of next year.  But by the time I was done, and taking into consideration doing the laundry and writing to all of you - no time for the tree tonight.  Oh, well, at least gift shopping is over - we are done with his nieces and I will mail checks to my niece and nephew. 

THOUGHT OF THE WEEK -

One can only do what one can do.  For the Passover holiday in the spring there is a song which translates to “it would have been enough” - it talks about things that God did to help the Jews leave Egypt and after each item is mentioned the refrain is “it would have been enough”.

If the tree is finished at the last minute it will done then.  If it is not finished then however it is, it is finished (and I can always add on after the holiday).  My teddy village will be done when it is done.  It is often not worked on until Christmas Eve or Day or later (I guess that is why it stays up so long). 

My point being that whatever is done when the holiday come is enough.  If stuff is shoved into a bag and stuffed behind a bench - that is good enough if that is all there is time for.  A few years ago for two years we had one little tree with only a limited decorations - and that was enough.

I take the time now to wish all who celebrate, a Pleasant Christmas (merry sounds too demanding). 

Thursday, December 14, 2017

TOO MUCH TO DO AT ONCE

Well Christmas is closer than I thought - and so is Chanukah (which is already here).  But only a small part of my efforts have gone towards the indoor decorating.

Last Friday we took a day trip to, yes, Lancaster, PA.  For once the trip went well.  Even though it was a day trip we went in our tiny RV.  Why?  Well, after my problems with our car last month (stalling when I stopped and having to be restarted and our service guys found nothing), the RV not getting enough driving due to our few trips this year, and the fact we wanted to buy some local foods from there for the winter - we decided to take the RV.  We left early (for us) and we were there by noon. 

Husband had wanted some additional attachments for his loom and the wool store he buys loom things at is there - he called ahead and the stuff was waiting.  The ladies there are very nice and chatty - as are we normally - but we made our apologies and explained that we were on a very tight schedule and paid for the items and left. 

We actually went backwards a bit and went to one of the large farmer’s markets there that we like to go to.  It was rather cold and we would have had a problem eating the submarine sandwiches we buy from a local place as the seating is outside - but we had the RV!  We went back, turned one front seat around, pulled the table out - took out the cold can of soda we had brought in the fridge and had lunch.  When finished, we turned the seat back to the front, put away the tables and took the garbage to toss in a bin.  Most of the day vendors - the ones who come and set up tents and tables by their vehicles - were not there due to the weather, but there are still buildings and buildings - and outdoor stands - of vendors.  We always enjoy just walking around and we have been going there together for over 40 years together so it feels like home - some vendors even know us by sight and they feel like friends - of course in all that time a lot of them have retired or passed away and we miss them when we pass by their spaces - of occupied by new vendors.  One vendor (not sure if I have mentioned this) is consolidating her stores from the 3 large markets in the area and the one she has at home - two of the stores are now closed.  She had been selling out her very discounted items at 50% and this year went down to 60% off.  I always think that I have bought everything she might have had that we would want - and find something different (I won’t say new as nothing is new - not used, just there a long time.)  I have added greatly to my Christmas bear village and my bear collection in general since she started consolidating. 

When we went to leave the market it was 4:30. We had hope to get to the local butcher whose ham and (lunch/dinner) sausages we love - and husband loves their chicken salad - but we thought it too late to get there while they were open.  I pulled out my cellphone and found out they were open until 7 pm - and we knew they were on the way to where we planned to eat dinner.  We bought a ham section, sausages, and chicken salad for him to have for dinner one night.  We would have bought another ham section - but a tiny RV has a tiny fridge and it would not fit with the rest.  

On to dinner at a local supermarket which has a buffet in an restaurant in the building (and nice looking other dishes on their menu also) and had dinner.  We even got a seat in our favorite area of the restaurant.  (Although to be fair, it was the waitress who was in this section that made it our favorite and she had a baby last year and is mostly not there when we go.)  After dinner we started home.

Now, on and off the report was that it was suppose to snow or rain when we would be coming home.  It then changed to snow the next day.  Just in case the first report was right, we brought a day’s worth of medications and a change of clothes - we could have stayed if needed, but the weather held.  As we left the restaurant husband turned to me with a smile and said “We got it all done.  How great!”

Tuesday I went to my accounting client to do her books.  Wednesday (today) is the 13th and she has a major fear of 13 and will not let me come on the 13th (I don’t even call on the 13th for an appointment) and Thursday we are suppose to have snow.  A bit of confusion while I was there - but in the end everything worked out - finally - thank goodness.  All the past problems are resolved.  Coming home - the darn car had the same problem as last month.  This time they were able to find some “codes” which were not right and they replacing solenoids which hopefully will fix it.  Having dealt with this last month, I did my best not to stop - just roll slowly when a stop was coming if I had room - and tried to pick roads that I would have the least problem with constant stops (during rush hour) for one of the last parts I took a local street as I knew that it was not heavily traveled - drivers were much nastier this time than last - much horn beeping at me - last month none. 

I think I have mentioned that I have to take 20 hours of classes to keep being able to prepare tax returns and represent clients at IRS each year.  I signed up (again) with an online company one course at a time (varying from 1 to 4 hours) I have completed all but the big 6 hour course which has a 3 hour, timed, exam.  Tonight was when I finished the last of the smaller courses.  I have next Wednesday night marked on my calendar to take the big exam.  I have until the end of the month to take it - and I get 3 chances, I am hoping to only need 1 chance to pass it.

I was so busy with everything that I almost forgot Chanukah (remember, despite the Christmas decorating I am Jewish).  Good thing I had a reminder in my cell phone and Tuesday night I pulled out my menorah (traditional candelabra) and stuck in a candle for the first night and a candle for the “worker candle” (one is suppose to light this candle and use it to light the other candles) for the first night.  Tonight I lit 2 candles plus the worker candle. 

I did more work on the few decorations in the dining room.  Tonight before sitting down to write (while taking the laundry downstairs to start the first load) I pulled out assorted soft items - mostly bears - that sit around in the living room - and “Rodney Reindeer” who sits in the hall on the top of our clock/door bell mechanism.  When I go down to switch loads, more will be done in to finish the dining room decorations.  Lots more decorating to do and I have to figure out when and how to get it done - somehow I always do, even if some go up on Christmas Day!

THOUGHT OF THE WEEK -

Take time to breathe and rest as you are getting ready for the holidays.  Don’t go over budget on shopping.  Stop and enjoy what you are doing.  (I actually talk to the decorations and ornaments when I put them out welcoming them back as old friends - ok, I know that I am a bit looney.”  Maybe send a card with a quick note in it to an old friend you keep meaning to contact. 

Look at the decorations of others and take time to enjoy them.  (Thank goodness, when they finished putting out their Christmas decorations, my neighbors actually finished taking down their holiday decorations - no more witch looking at me - I really enjoy that.)  If there is a drive or walk through light event - especially if you have children - maybe go and see it (and around here I know, help out a good cause). 

Remember those less fortunate then you at this time of year.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Missing items and items forgotten about appear when decorating and decluttering

Last week I talked about putting out our outdoor Christmas decorations.  I also had the boldness to say that because I know where the Christmas items are stored it is easy to find them.  I apparently lied without knowing it.

We had not put our battery candles in the front windows when we put up the lights outside.  While technically inside the house as they are placed inside the windows, their purpose is to be seen from outside, so I consider them to be outside decorations.  When we remembered that we had forgotten to put them in place I immediately went to my candle drawer (holds all manner of candles) where I know I keep them.  They were not there - I took everything out of the drawer to check.  I looked in the drawer next to the candle drawer to see if I stuck them there - perhaps the candle drawer was too full?  These drawers are under our living room TV which is (old and analog and) in a cabinet we bought for it and the drawers are in the cabinet.  I then looked in all the “logical” places - the drawers in the end tables next to the sofa, the secretary  - shelves and drawers - no candles. 

Where could they be - maybe in with the inside the house decorations in 2 boxes in the basement?  I got the two boxes and opened and went through them - no candles.  I figured that sooner or later they would show up in my Christmas decorating and I was not going to go crazy over them.

I decided that since the boxes had been brought up and were sitting there and I had a hour or two until we went out for dinner, I would start putting out the decorations.  The decorations are artificial greens and swags and other small items to put out.  I started on the dining room decorations as husband still has his loom set up in the living room.  I put items here and there in the dining room and front hall (the items in the same box).  I came across two candle rings (small fake flowers in a ring intended to sit around the base of stubby candles) and I had an “aha” moment and knew where the window candles were. 

In addition to the plastic boxes in the basement I have 3 decorative boxes with Christmas items upstairs in a trunk at the top of the stairs, with some other Christmas decorations - two large angels and such.  The candles for the rings are in one of the decorative boxes - and I knew that the window candles must be in one also.  I went upstairs, moved the 3 families of bears who “live” on the trunk and opened it - there were the boxes and yes, the window candles were in there.  I took them out and put the boxes and bears back for now.  I put the candles on my desk as they have timers and have to be lit at the time I want them to go on.  A couple of days later I remembered at the right time and set them up with batteries and put them in the window - at last the outside lights are finished for this year!

I have been somewhat busy since then as I had my embroidery chapter meeting today and had to get paperwork together for it.  Also, I was not doing the project the group was doing at the meeting as I thought I would be away, so I had to pick something to bring to work on at the meeting. 

I also did a bit of decluttering.  We have 2 corner cabinets in our living room - they each have display shelves in the main part of them and then 2 shelves in a closed door cabinet at the bottom for storage.  One of them has items I somewhat often use for Thanksgiving, Christmas etc.  The other has items we either have never used or have not used in decades.  In addition to wanting to get rid of them in general, I figure with the tax law changes under discussion, this might be my last chance to donate them and get a tax advantage from same.  My husband is big on keeping things - “we might need it one day” or “maybe we could sell this, keep it”.  I would never get rid of anything of his, but I have to argue to get rid things that are mine also.  So while he was busy upstairs, I went through what was in the bottom of the cabinet.  I pulled out to donate glass serving bowls, glass platters, glass cake server which also can be a punch server, several candy dishes (in unopened boxes).  I brought them all to the kitchen, listed them on a piece of paper, and stored them in large shopping bags in our studio on my side of the room - he would just figure it was bags of my stuff (or his) if he saw them.  I also had some things to go on computers (not electronic stuff - paper holder that attaches to a monitor and the like) which had been waiting to go to storage or donation for at least 15 years.  Also a decorative jar that the lid just sits on -does not screw on for storage.  6 small wine glasses with a silver dipped edge - his mom’s, we got them after she died and we had previously discussed that they could be gotten rid of.  Lastly - when we replaced our mailbox earlier this year, we put the old one aside in the garage “in case the new one did not work out”.  This past weekend he had tripped on it in the garage while putting up the Christmas lights and swore at it - it was definitely time for it to go. 

Normally I would have put all this (5 bags worth plus the mailbox) in the car Tuesday nights - along with the soda bottles to be returned for deposit - but it was raining.  The soda bottles went out earlier in the evening, but not the donations.  So this morning I loaded them into the car.  After my meeting and various errands I drove to Goodwill and donated the stuff and then went to Walmart and returned the soda bottles.  Well, a small bit more room in the house.  I am trying to figure out what should now go in the bottom of that cabinet - there are some items I kept - mostly a hand crafted coffee set someone gave us as a wedding gift - I kept it as it is from someone he knew and won’t get rid of it without permission.  There are also display items in the cabinet for the items (a set of bear figurines which I rotate by month and need to raise some up so all can be seen) in the cabinet, which I left - I did find a box of the figurines I bought in the last couple of years as they have made a reappearance at flea markets and back stored stock of a store; I knew that there were more of them than I had found!  I have to organize all the new ones so they join the right month’s group of the ones I have.  (You know - lovers in February, flowers in May, graduates in June and so on.)

THOUGHT OF THE WEEK -

Sometimes even when one thinks all is organized one is not - and items may happily appear as one unpacks items to be put out or when one goes through items to get rid of.     

I hope that none of you are in the area of the terrible fires in southern California.