November 21st, 2014

Because my garage looks like this right now.

And my dining room looks like this.

And my living room looks like this.

And it doesn’t look like this.

Now, granted, there are more pieces of wood in that photo than there are out in my garage right now. This has some of the pieces for the bed that we made and not just the bookshelves.

I’m adding a coat of polyurethane to the bookshelves that we built before Grandma Rose came to visit us last Christmas. We ran out of time and we weren’t really sure we wanted to coat them. But mostly, we really ran out of time. And we decided the next time we had them apart, we’d figure out if we wanted to poly them. Well, after trying to dust them for a while not coated, I decided that I wanted to coat them because they’d be MUCH easier to keep tidy that way. Plus, I think the wood would stay nicer. And hey! We had to take them apart. So I’m trying to get that done before I head out of town.

Most of the pieces in the recent photos have polyurethane on one side, but some have a coat on both. I need to finish coating the ones that are only halfway done and sand all of them with a fine grit sandpaper. I’m not sure yet if I can do that with the electric sander — it might be TOO powerful for this. So I’ll probably have to do all the sanding by hand, which is ANNOYING. And I have to make sure I have a good mask so I don’t inhale all sorts of polyurethane dust. And then I’ll coat them again, hopefully before I go to California, so they have a full week to sit before we put them back together again and put books on them.

Although, we might hold off a little longer before putting them together again because when we made them last year, we didn’t put ALL the shelves in. We left the top two off because they were going to go further, overhanging the guest bed in the room, and we couldn’t afford all that wood at that time. Now, the shelves would be smaller, the same size as all the rest of them, but we would still need to buy the wood, sand it three times, condition it, stain it, poly coat it, sand it again, and poly coat it one more time. And if the weather is nice and dry, we might be able to get all that done in a couple days. But we’ll talk it through once he’s back home again.

This is what those shelves look like when they’re all put together, by the way.

Isn’t the paint on the walls in that room just AWFUL? She said it was supposed to be faux leather. Ugh. More reasons why I’m glad we moved! Did you see the beautiful red in the living room and dining room?

Also, if you were wondering, it’s been almost 30 days since we did our walk through with our landlady and we have NOT YET received our security deposit back or any letter saying anything about it. It’ll be 30 days on Monday. Anybody else NOT surprised?

 

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November 19th, 2014

It has been a rough handful of days here for me. Back a week and a half, if we get down to it.

Sunday the 9th, I found the mold in my apartment.

Monday the 10th, they cleaned it up, took out my hot water heater, and freaked me out about the air in the pipes.

While talking to Dad about that problem, he told me that Grandma Fritz was in the hospital because of a stroke. She was doing okay and recovering fine, and ended up going back home, with Dee to watch over her, on Tuesday. She’s still doing fine, as far as I know, but I was worried about her.

I got an email from Mom on Friday the 14th saying that the same Tuesday that Grandma Fritz was released from the hospital, Grandma Mick went in to the hospital for a stroke. She is also, so far as I know, doing fine and recovering well.

When I got to work on Tuesday of this week, I heard that one of my coworkers, Mike, was in the hospital for a relapse of his stroke and was not doing well. He’d been out of the office for a while — first he thought he had a sinus infection. Then they said he had a stroke. And then he was in physio-therapy and recovering well. And then he was back in the hospital.

He passed away this morning. He was a dear, sweet man who should have lived much longer and it’s really been hard on a lot of us at work.

This is not the first death in my department. Last September, a young woman, in her early 40′s, passed unexpectedly. There was nothing wrong with her, that I know of. The year before that, October 2012, the wife of one of my coworkers passed after a long illness. There have been several others, mothers of coworkers and brothers of coworkers. The more people I know at work, the more I hear about these hard times.

And with Dee’s husband Paul’s son passing late last month and Justin’s stepdad’s brother passing in that same week, it’s been a dark time.

Justin’s stepdad’s brother was the primary caretaker for their mother, who has late-stage Alzheimer’s, so he had to fly out to California to take care of her and decided what was going to happen — whether she would come back to Vermont with him or something else would happen in California. And she needs a lot of care.

And a lot of hard stuff has happened lately, during the time that Justin is away in California. Which makes it more lonely in the house and makes me miss him more.

There is, of course, goodness happening in between all of this that’s been helping to balance out things.

The coworker whose wife passed away two years ago — he recently became engaged with a really wonderful woman at work and they are the cutest thing to watch. Absolutely adorable and she is going to be a great mom to those two little girls.

Erica’s wonderful announcement yesterday was a big part of how I made it through the day without just breaking down into tears any time I stopped to think about my coworker.

The video on her website, by the way, is amazing and you should go watch it, if you haven’t already been over there.

And the party that I had on Sunday, a few days ago, was a lot of fun and I’ve been able to really bond more with several of the women I work with, which is something I’ve struggled with in the past.

But really, there’s just SO MUCH I can handle at one time.

So unless there’s *really* something that needs to get done, I’m taking a break. I’m watching movies and playing video games and curling up with all the blankets and baking things for the fun of it. All the rest can wait until I’m ready.

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November 15th, 2014

I don’t currently have the ability to type with the letter s. It won’t type on my keyboard. I’m going to type this and correct what I can via spell check and cutting and pasting the letter in question, but forgive me if I seem to be typing with a key gone. Because it is.

I haven’t posted in a few days, but I have been busy.

Wednesday, I came home and decided that I definitely was going to get some work done, so I made a list and worked my way through it. I got the guest bed fixed up with all the pillows and everything. I got the house tidied and bills paid and the checking account balanced. And I made some good progress on the filing cabinet situation. It’s still a mess, but it’s getting better.

Thursday, we had a game online with friends, starting at 7:00, so I got off work, grabbed dinner from a place in town, and got home in time to get set up for the game and that was my whole evening.

Friday, though. I decided to take the day off from work and get work done on the house — I had enough hours in at work and had enough done in order to not come in, so I wasn’t playing hookie, I swear. I ended up sleeping in later than expected, but I’m pretty sure that did me some good. And then I worked on putting all the contents from the bedroom closet back inside the closet. It still isn’t done, but I’m making progress there, too.

Still really full of stuff

At least I can find things now. I need to figure out how I want to organize the bedding, mostly. And then there are two boxes of things that I need to sort through to figure out what is worth keeping and what in’t. But I haven’t felt like taking the time for that yet, so they’re just sitting in there on the floor.

So much of where I’m at with this place right now is just being able to find the things I want when I want them. Today, I was looking for envelopes. I still don’t know where I put the dang box of them, but I found one so I was able to do what I was trying to do. But it is driving me absolutely bonkers that I can’t find the things that I know I have SOMEWHERE in this mess. So, like with the bedroom closet, I know it’s still a mess. But I can tell you that the blue box in that picture above, has stuff for the bathroom that I wasn’t sure yet what to do with. Now that I’m thinking about it, I actually found the perfect place for the things in that box in another box of stuff in another closet. But the point is, I know what’s in that box.

The blue box in the garage, by the way? Gardening stuff — gloves, a couple small pots, things that I’d need if I have something that’s growing in dirt.

Anyway, I’m working on a solution for the mountain of guest towels that we have (and we need to sort through and decide if we’re keeping ALL of them) and I’ve got to go back and work on the bedding and the boxes of my random stuff that needs to get sorted. But this closet is doing better.

My Friday also had a massage and a chiropractor appointment and some grocery shopping and laundry. And I feel like there was something else in there, but I can’t remember it right now.

Today, I got up and worked on the storage closet in the sun room.

Outside the front storage closet

This is the stuff that I wanted to put in there but already couldn’t fit inside the door.

Inside the front storage closet

This is what it looked like inside the closet. This is holding all the things that we don’t use on a regular basis — like Christmas decorations and clothes that I want to wear again and don’t right now and lots and lots of video game systems and games and things.

EMPTY!

So I took everything out of the closet first. Eventually we’re going to put in shelving in here, I hope. Because it’s really hard to get to stuff in here without shelving.

Oh, right. Now to put it all back in.

That is a lot of stuff, really. It’s kind of impressive, in it’s own way. I think about my friend Becky, who lives in a camper trailer about the size of my sun room and wonder how she manages to live with so few things. And that I really should learn how to live with less things.

And then I look at my stuff and go “Oh! I like that thing. Let’s keep that.”

Anyway, the purple and green totes sitting outside of the closet were new ones that I got from Craigslist in order to consolidate some of the decorations and stuff. And I was able to do that. I had two paper boxes for Halloween decoration that I got into one tote and several small boxes of Christmas decoration that I got into two totes. Not everything fit, so I still have a few loose boxes for Christmas stuff, but it’s much better than it was.

It is better, I promise.

Not that it looks that much better, though. It still looks like an enormous mess. But the pile of white boxes up at the front are going up on eBay when Justin gets back. And behind that, most of the stuff on the right-hand half of the closet are boxes of gaming systems and video games and things that I need Justin to tell me if they’re going to get set up somewhere or if they’re staying in storage.

The left-hand side is stacked up 5 totes high, with some other stuff on the top so it’s all the way up to the ceiling.

I got to use my label maker

I had to put shims underneath the inside-edges of the totes because they all started to list toward the right, but they seem to be doing okay  now. And I know what’s in all those boxes and I’m good with them. And even though it’s messy looking, it’ll still be easier to get the decorations out than they were last year, when they were up in the attic.

And, most importantly, I could close the door and there wasn’t a bunch of stuff sitting out in the sun room.

So much more tidy!

That looks like a much more inviting place to sit and read a book. Now, if only all the bookshelves were up and the books weren’t sitting under a shower curtain on the other side of the sun room.

Lots of books. So many books.

But there they sit. With the packing paper I need to return to Raymonde at work and my yoga stuff propped up beside it and the fountain I really need to get polished up and running again. More work to do on yet another day.

I’m getting so sick of boxes

These are all the boxes I was able to take out from that closet and get the contents either removed to somewhere else or put into totes instead of boxes. I kept looking at the closet and going “Did I actually accomplish ANYTHING here?” And looking at the boxes reminded me that, yes, I have actually at least done SOMETHING. I got more cardboard OUT OF THE HOUSE.

That was my main project of the day. I had to get the sun room tidied up because people are coming over tomorrow and those boxes couldn’t be sitting there when they arrived. And there was other tidying to do and vacuuming and laundry and stuff. Our mop broke, so I had to go pick up a new one this evening. Tomorrow I’ll mop and wipe down surfaces and get all ready for the party. And most of the house looks decent. The office — not so much. I’ll just close that door and hope people ignore it. :) But most of the house looks good. I’ll try to get more pictures of the cleaned up place up here soon.

For now it’s late, and it’s been a long day, so I’m heading to bed.

 

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November 11th, 2014

Not much to post today. It’s been a not very productive couple days at home. Work has been good and I’ve nearly got a big thing completed that’s been in the works for a while and I’m happy that it’s almost done.

But as far as home stuff? I stopped by yesterday at lunch and there was a maintenance guy emptying out my water heater so he could remove it. He told me there was a clog in the drain and it was causing water to pool and that was what was causing the mold. He’d know more after he could actually get back there. When I got home in the evening, the water heater was back in, a dehumidifier was sitting outside that closet, and the mold was washed off the walls in both closets. And the lights were on and the thermostat was set to 68* — I didn’t appreciate the implications to my electric bill. Anyway. I went to use the water and the toilet made really awful *glub* *glub* noises and then the hot water faucets started spitting air and hissing. Which freaked me right out and I called Mom and Dad to see what I should do. Turns out that there’s air in the pipes after they empty and refill a water heater and they really should have bled out all that air before they left, but they didn’t. Dad had me leave the tub running for a while until it was all just water instead of air and that took care of the problem.

And looking at the note from the maintenance guy, he says that the meter was leaking causing the problem. I wonder what my water bill is going to be . . . .

Anyway, after dealing with all of that and doing calming, stretching yoga for an hour and a half, there really wasn’t much left in my evening. I chatted with Justin online and then I went to bed.

Today, worked again. Had a lovely lunch with some of the ladies. And invited several ladies to the Pampered Chef party I’m hosting on Sunday (anybody need anything?) and kept working on this Excel worksheet I’m trying to get cleaned up. After work, came home, ate quickly, went to Bluffton for my chiropractor appointment, and then came back home. It’s currently about 8:30 and I’m going to see what cleaning I can get done before it’s time to get ready for bed.

The dehumidifier that the maintenance people left behind yesterday was moved into the bedroom closet when I got home today. And they left a light on again.

Justin’s not feeling well the last couple days. He has about 150 ant bites all over and he is, of course, allergic. So he’s been run down the last couple days. It’s a good time for it, actually, because his grandpa had to head out of town for a few days. They’ve been working together on stuff, since Dennis has the know-how and Justin has the strength. They’d been roofing up until yesterday. Justin is starting to feel better, I think, so hopefully he’ll be fully recovered by the end of the week when his grandpa returns.

And that’s it from me!

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November 10th, 2014

So we decided to get a garage to go along with our apartment, because as it turns out, the bikes don’t fit in this place as well as they did at the last one. And we have a bunch of things that I didn’t really want to keep in the closets in the house (weed whack, for example). And the additional rent wasn’t that much, all things considered.

Looking from the sun room, out toward the east-ish, this is the view that I get. The third garage from the right is the one that we’ve got. So it’s really quite close to the apartment. You can’t see the entrance in this photo, but you are able to see it from the office window, so we can see if I forgot to close the door or anything. :)

Looking over toward the garage

And this is what it looks like when the door is open and there’s no car inside it!

Looking into our garage

You can see that the bikes are already on the rack along the back right-side wall. Justin made sure to get that up before he had to head out of town. The rest of everything was just piled in the back, enough that I could fit the car in, but not in any organized sort of way at all. There’s still work to be done, but it’s looking MUCH better than it was.

Unit on the left-hand side

This is the rack that we discovered we’d left most of the pieces behind when we moved. At the town house, this took up the entire space that was available in the back closet. Everything that wasn’t water heater. We took it back down once I got really nervous about the fact that it meant I could not at all get to the fuse box if something were to happen. It looks almost tiny in this space!

The top shelf currently has two boxes that are filled with vacuum suctioned bags of woolen packing blankets hiding behind the extra beach chairs, bookie board, wake board, and tent for use at the beach.

The second shelf has the stuff for staining wood and that type project and then has car stuff (car wash bucket and extra engine fluids) along the back.

The third shelf down has a few things for gardening, some things for the bikes, a plastic tub with things that we take to the beach (sand auger for the umbrella, plastic buckets and shovels), the shop vac, and the grill and charcoal chimney.

The second from the bottom is obviously full of boxes. This is not where they are going to stay. I just haven’t figure out what to do with them yet.

And the bottom shelf has more boxes and underneath that, the bike rack that doesn’t work on my car, but we’re keeping in case we ever get a car that it does work on (hatchbacks require a special type of rack, I guess).

To the left of the big rack is a shelving unit that’s holding the old flower boxes that we used at the apartment when we got married to actually hold flowers over the edge of the balcony, and used inside the storage closet at the townhouse for storage. Eventually, they will hold flowers again. But for now, the top one has toys in it (racquets, balls, Frisbee), the second has yard working stuff (string for the weed whack, sheers, hatchet), and the bottom has soil in it.

Along the back wall in this photo are our two lawn chairs that we use when we go to the beach or to the drive-in. I’d like to eventually put them on the shelf where the boxes are located, but that won’t happen until I figure out what on earth to do about the boxes, obviously.

And to the right-hand side of the garage…

This other shelving unit wasn’t one that I knew that I had until I’d put the other one halfway together and discovered the parts didn’t all go together. We don’t have any wood for the shelves, but that shouldn’t be too hard to fix later — Justin can cut nice straight pieces of wood using his circular saw, but I’m not touching that thing. Meanwhile, I’ve made as much use of it as I can without those supports.

The top has the weed whack, the basket thing that I’d use to collect leaves or trimmings, and something else I can’t remember right now.

The second shelf has our beach umbrellas. I am a pasty white person. I need shade at the beach.

The bottom has the cooler, obviously, but the boccee balls and another tent are in there. I don’t know how we ended up with so many tents. The blue box has . . . crud, I can’t remember right now. And then there are two lights on top. The house light is listed on Craigslist, but so far, no one is interested. We might just end up keeping it since it doesn’t take up much space.

It bugs me that I can’t remember what’s in that box….

The dolly is tucked up close to the shelving unit and then two stands for pots are there for whenever we get outside plants again. The tub for the charcoal is under the bikes for now. I’m not sure I like it there. It’s empty right now, but we’ve got outdoor areas where I could grill here, so I’ll probably end up filling it again in the spring.

The “implements of destruction” are along the wall and those I do want to hang up eventually. I’m not sure if we’ll get more pieces to hang them on the same unit as the bikes or if we’ll do something else.

And then the saw horses are along the back wall.

Rar!

And our gargoyle guards the entrance, like the good guardian beast that he is.

And our car isn’t very big, so it’s easy to fit in there. Even with the car pulled in with good space behind it, there’s still a lot of space in the front to putter around without moving the car.

With the car enclosed

I don’t have a very good shot with the car in there, because unsurprisingly, it’s hard to get a shot of that. But it doesn’t feel at all cramped. The doors can’t open all the way, but that’s to be expected. That we can get in without any trouble is really nice, though.

I need to go back out and label the boxes, because obviously I already can’t remember what’s in all of them. And I like to have things nice and tidy and labeled. And I have to figure out a way to store the boxes that keeps them off the floor (possibility of flooding in there) and reduces the amount of humidity that gets into them, as well as keeps out the bugs. I’m still not sure what I’m going to do.

But for now, we can find the things that we want to be able to find and I can pull into the garage without worrying that I’m going to run something over. Eventually, I’d love to have a tool bench in there for Justin. There’s space enough for one along that back wall.

And there’s you have it! Our garage.

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November 9th, 2014

Today did not go exactly as planned. And in the long-run, that’s going to be good. But in the short-term, it’s really annoying.

I decided to sleep in and not try to go church hunting on my own. I thought I’d get up and do some yoga instead. So, I went to go look for my yoga mat, thinking it must be in the closet in the bedroom where all the rest of my yoga stuff was located. And I was able to get to most of my stuff just by reaching, but I couldn’t find the mat I was looking for and eventually I went “Fine, I’ll just take everything out of the closet.” So, I took before photos so I could actually do before/after shots.

Bedroom closet, at the beginning of the day

Bedroom closet, right, beginning of the day

And it was a good thing that I decided to take everything out because when I got to the floor in the corner, this was what I found.

Mold. 

Oh, so much fun.

Remember back when we moved in and the air conditioning wasn’t working? Did I talk about that? It wasn’t cooling below 76*, no matter what we did. And then the neighbor downstairs called in that they were getting an increasingly large brown spot on their ceiling. So, long story short, the back of our unit was iced up and dripping water downstairs and they fixed it right away.

Unfortunately, none of us thought to think about what would happen to all that water once the ice melted. And what happened was it decided to grow mold.

More mold, another closet.

And yeah, it’s behind the a/c unit and the water heater in the utility closet on the other side of the bedroom closet, too.

So, as soon as the leasing office opened at 1:00, I went over there to talk with someone about it. The lovely woman working today said that she’d put in a work order right away and someone would contact me about it tomorrow. And it was possible that they were going to need to tear out the drywall and redo the walls. So, you know, please make sure that the closet is empty.

Oh, that’s the easy part, I thought. It’s already empty. It’s navigating through the mess in the bedroom that’s the problem right now.

Anyway. My other plans for the day mostly went okay. I planned to finally meet up with the woman who wanted to buy the ceiling light/fan that we listed on Craigslist and she actually did make it this time. So that’s finally out of the house and I went and spent most of the money in Lowe’s on things for another project I’m planning to do soon-ish.

After that, I went to the grocery store and picked up things for dinner for the next several days, since I have several recipes I’d like to try out and had to get the stuff for that. I have to remember not to go grocery shopping around here on Saturdays and Sundays, apparently, because it’s CRAZY BUSY.

I got home and took photos of the garage to show off to all of you. And, not to be a tease, but I’m going to put them up tomorrow in a dedicated post just for them instead of cluttering up this one with too many pictures. And because this is getting kinda long and I’d like to go make dinner.

But I’ll put them up tomorrow.

And then I worked on cleaning off the bed with all the stuff from the closet so I can actually sleep there tonight.

Mess of a bedroom

My bedroom is such a mess right now. But at least the closet is empty! Or at least empty enough that they shouldn’t have problems with it.

Closet left, end of the day

Closet, right, end of the day

Maybe the only thing I really feel good about is that I finally got felt for the bottom of the kitchen stools and got that on so they no longer scrape the floor when they’re moved. That thing I got done. Everything else? Well, I’m going to keep working on those things.

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November 8th, 2014

It was another exciting day! And I want to type this, but I’ve got a headache so I’m not writing well and not going back to edit. Sorry about it not making a lot of sense. :)

I went to my chiropractor appointment in the morning. Our chiropractor, Dr. John, is a wonderful friend who make sure to let me know that if there was anything I needed, just to give him a call. But not if there were robbers because it’ll take 45 minutes to get there and I should just call 911. :) But for anything else, he’d be happy to help.

After that, I went to Auto Zone and picked up a set of new wipers for my car and got those changed out, with some help from the wonderful staff there. I wasn’t entirely incompetent. She had trouble figuring it out, too. The mechanism is just weird on my wipers. I can get them ON just fine. It’s just getting the old ones off that’s complicated.

And then I stopped by the old house and met the new tenants. When we went to set up the shelving unit before Justin left, we discovered that we’d left several important parts in the back closet at the town house. Our previous landlady said she was planning to clear out the stuff in the back closet when she came back again, but I don’t think she ever actually went back. And the reason we didn’t grab them was because there were several things back in that closet that belonged to her and we were leaving her stuff alone. But our shelving bits got lost in there, too.

Anyway, I stopped by and introduced myself and said that it was a long shot, but could we check and see if those parts were still in there? And he said sure, but it’ll be kind of tricky because it’s full of stuff. And I said, why don’t I call my husband out in California because he knows where they’re at in there. So I called and Grandma Rose answered and said that Justin was on the roof, but just a second and she’d see if she could get him. So he got down off the roof and I told the man in the closet where to look and he was able to find all the parts I needed for our shelving unit!

I had a lovely chat with our previous neighbor while I was there. And then I drove home and had a really wonderful chat with Mom.

After having some lunch, I went out to the garage and worked on setting up the shelving unit, which turned out to actually be TWO different units, one of which is missing some parts and has one extra part. Go  figure that one out. But all the pieces for the one that I expected to have were there and I was able to put it all together and into the spot in the garage where it’s going to stay. And then I worked on cleaning up that mess.

I really should remember to take “before” photos, but I forgot. And I don’t have an “after” photo yet, either, because I’m not done.

I took a break in the middle to have a fantastic conversation with Erica. I pulled out a lawn chair and sat in the garage while we chatted.

And I got pretty far on the garage. Things are mostly where they’re going. Tomorrow I”m going to find some of those suck-all-the-air-out bags we’ve got in the house somewhere and take them out to wrap up the wool blankets we’ve got as packing material. They mostly fit in the tubs I’ve got them in, but this will make sure they really fit and then also keep out bugs and moisture. And I haven’t got shelves for the one unit, so that’s just going to have to wait until Justin gets back, I think. And the boxes that we used for packing are all out there, but I have to find away to make them bug and moisture proof yet. And then figure out where to keep them. I should get it looking mostly done tomorrow afternoon.

And I only broke one thing — a big pot that we’d brought from the old place to use again eventually. I accidentally knocked it over and it split in half. And I only scrapped my finger up a little bit when the box on the top decided it didn’t like it’s location. Bled like mad, but it’s fine.

After deciding I’d had enough of the garage, I came inside for a rest and watched some TV. And then I worked on a list of what I could make for dinners for the next several days until it was time I went to meet the guys from work’s Long Beach branch who are staying in my apartment complex for a few weeks while they help out my department at work. They arrived after the office had closed, so I had their keys to their apartment.

I was supposed to also meet up with someone who wanted to buy the light I had listed on Craigslist, but that didn’t happen. We’re going to give that another try tomorrow.

And that was my day!

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November 7th, 2014

Look what I found!

TABLE!

And check it out, I didn’t just move everything over to the kitchen counter to do it.

KITCHEN COUNTER!

The stuff along the wall of the dining room are some of the pictures that need to get hung. They’re out of the way over there for now.

I also figured out where to put my SD card on Justin’s computer to get photos from my camera into the internet, which is helpful to know!!

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Thursday night, when Justin made it to California and I was heading to bed after the first full day of him being away, we chatted before I went to bed. He said that he figured my evening would have gone one of two different ways.

  1. I would go to bed early, which was the direction that I went.
  2. I would scarf down as much of the leftover Halloween candy as I could handle before getting sick and then be hopped up on sugar for the whole night.

Quick context check: At our old house, kids started knocking on the door Trick-or-Treating around 4:00, it seemed, and didn’t stop until around 9:00. We would run out of candy long before kids stopped walking down our street, even though we’d buy several bags worth of it. This year, we had a total of 5 kids at the door. FIVE. We had a LOT of candy left.

“Totally ahead of you,” I told Justin on Thursday. “I took that candy to work at lunch today.” Because, yes, I would definitely have made myself sick.

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Justin and I split up laundry duties — he runs the washing machine and I run the dryer. He sorts the laundry and loads it up with the appropriate type of soap and bleach and temperature of water. I move things from the washer to the dryer, pulling out the things that don’t get dried, and then make sure that things move from the dryer back into the closet folded and hung appropriately.

I had to wash a load of towels this morning and I actually had to go look up online what temperature I was supposed to use to wash towels because I had no idea. The reason Justin runs the wash is because I would wash everything on cold. Fabric softener? Bleach? NAH! Soap is all I need, right?!

Oh, maybe I was supposed to throw a color-safe bleach in there with those towels. . . .  Dang it.

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Other things I accomplished today:

  • Re-melted the candle that had gotten warm in the car while sideways (with a lid, thankfully) and gotten all the wax up the side of the jar, by putting it on the stove top on it’s lowest setting. And waiting.
  • Dried and folded all those towels that I washed.
  • Went to Michael’s for paint brushes for my next creative project. Looked at their baskets, but couldn’t find quite the right one.
  • Worked 10 hours.
  • Finally paid the deposit for our garage and reminded the office that the light isn’t working.
  • Invited people to the Pampered Chef party I’m hosting next weekend.

I think it was a pretty successful day!

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November 7th, 2014

Justin’s flights yesterday went much more smoothly than his failed flight on Wednesday. He arrived in San Diego around 3:30 according to my clock (12:30 according to the clocks in CA). Unfortunately, his grandma called him when he was in Dallas to let him know that she wasn’t feeling well at all and wasn’t going to be able to make the two hour drive to pick him up from the airport. His aunt and uncle in town had important meetings in the afternoon, so they couldn’t get him right away, either. So he ended up sitting at the airport and reading for a few hours until they got off work. He didn’t mind — he sat around reading.

When I talked with him later in the evening, he was on his way with his aunt and uncle out to his grandma’s house. They were driving him out there so his grandma wouldn’t feel the need to make that drive when she wasn’t feeling entirely recovered.

I worked a full day’s work and then went home and cleaned the kitchen that had been sitting neglected for a few days while we worked on getting Justin ready to travel. Three days of dirty dishes rinsed and into the dishwasher and all the counters cleaned off and the fridge checked for food that had gone bad (that was one fuzzy onion). And then I worked on the pile of random things sitting in the dining room. It’s stuff like tools that don’t have a real home yet, stuff that I’m going to list on Craigslist to see if I can find a buyer, and my Smurf glasses that I have to find somewhere safe to display or store. I have to pick things up one-by-one and think “If I was to go looking for this thing again, where would I start?” Like wallpaper trim that fits the theme that we use in the kitchen and we will use once we have a kitchen that we can paper. And two rolls of colored contact paper that might be handy eventually. And all the hooks we used to hang the pictures at the townhouse that are in good enough shape that we can use them again when Justin is back  home and we’re hanging the pictures here.

I didn’t clear the table, but I cleared enough so the stuff sitting on the floor could fit onto the table instead, and being able to see under the table was enough of an accomplishment for one day. And I was tired. So I actually went to bed an hour and a half earlier than I would normally.

I know. It’s so exciting!

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November 6th, 2014

A rundown of yesterday’s events.

  • Justin dropped me off at the doctor’s office in Bluffton for some lab work and an echocardiogram (just checking on that heart murmur again – nothing to worry about).
  • He took the car to Tire Kingdom to get the oil changed.
  • We walked to meet up in between the two places after I was done and had breakfast at Dunkin Donuts.
  • After the car was done getting maintenanced, we went to Target to pick up a few things.
  • And then we went to the chiropractor’s office for adjustments and so Justin could work on their computers. I played with our chiropractor’s toddler while Justin fixed computers.
  • We drove back to Pooler to pick up Justin’s luggage and take care of a few last minute things.
  • And then we drove up to the Atlanta airport (3 1/2 hours), stopping for dinner at Captain D’s on the way.
  • Justin got checked into the airport, we had our tearful goodbye, and he went through security.
  • I started to drive home, frantically trying to find my way to I-75 south in very busy traffic while tamping down my sadness about leaving Justin.
  • Through the app on my phone tracking his flights, I saw that Justin’s flight got delayed an hour. His layover in Dallas was just about 2 hours, to that connection would have still been possible.
  • I kept on driving home.
  • Justin’s flight got delayed an additional half hour. They’re cutting it close now.
  • I stopped for gas and then kept on driving. I got a call from Justin telling me that they were booking him on a new flight from Dallas in the morning. He’d fly to Dallas, stay at  hotel there (provided by the airline) and then fly to San Diego in the morning.
  • Justin’s flight got delayed another half hour.
  • I got a call from Justin letting me know that they cancelled the flight entirely. Whatever was wrong with the airplane was not going to be fixed. All the passengers were provided a hotel room for the night and rebooked onto flights in the morning. He was still working on knowing the details so I should call when I got home.
  • I made it home around 10:00. Dragged my tired butt into the house and called Justin. He was just getting onto a shuttle to his hotel so he called me back once he was in and settled. We talked a little and then both of us set off to bed because it had been a very long day.

Justin assures me that it’s better this way, now that his flight will arrive in the early afternoon instead of in the very late evening. This way, his aunt doesn’t need to drive to the airport so late at night. And instead of arriving in mid-morning, like the middle plan had it when he was flying from Dallas in the morning, his grandma can pick him up in the early afternoon and his aunt doesn’t need to take time away from work to pick him up in the morning. So it should all work out fine in the end. And he wasn’t in a big hurry to get to San Diego on any sort of deadline. I called him this morning on my way to the office to make sure he was awake and getting ready to head to the airport. Again. He seemed to be in pretty good spirits. I would have been FREAKING OUT. Hopefully when it’s my turn to fly out in 3 weeks, this won’t happen to me.

Until then, I’m on my own in the apartment. I have plans to finish the unpacking and getting things all nice and tidy and organized. And then I have lots of crafting projects that I want to work on. Lots of stuff to keep me busy and occupied. I even have an app that I’m going to use to try to track my sleep patterns while I’ve got the bed to myself — it tracks movement to get an idea about how well you’re sleeping, so it doesn’t work well when there’s more than one person in the bed. Hopefully, though keeping myself busy and with the help of unlimited cell phone plans, I won’t get too lonely over the next several weeks.

I’ll try to keep you posted!

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October 24th, 2014

Okay, time to sit down and write about what’s been keeping me busy for the last several weeks. This post is going to be poorly written, I expect, and quite rambling because I’m tired and a little bit brain-dead. Just go with it.

As you all know, work was super crazy there for a while with this meeting thing and that went off VERY well and things have been a little more quiet lately. But not too quiet because I’ve still got a lot going on. They announced our program recently so I can talk about it now, except that I’ll keep on not writing about specifics about work on here much because that’s a quick way to get fired. But I’m currently working on the schedule for what the people in my department will be doing for the next 6 months or so and it’s taking a long time to get that all nailed down and make people as happy as . . . well, not very happy at all, really, but as good as I’m able to do anyway.

So work is part of what’s keeping me busy and the move is what’s keeping the rest of my day busy.

We had our walk through at the house in Bluffton yesterday. Our landlady was driving through on the way to a wedding, so we met up with her to do that. We’re still not sure how much of our security deposit we’re going to get back, but hopefully it’ll be most of it. We should know within 30 days, since that’s how long she has to send it back to us, along with a detailed explanation of what didn’t get sent back. Hopefully that’ll happen sooner than later.

Meanwhile, we’re working on getting settled into the new apartment, which is still really wonderful. And still an ENORMOUS mess. We’ve got the kitchen, the bedroom (except for the closet), and the main bathroom mostly sorted. The living room, sun room, and office are still filled with boxes. And the dining room is filled with things that will end up in the garage when that becomes available. I’m looking forward to getting the bikes and beach stuff out of the way.

A lot of time was spent working on getting the other place packed up and cleaned up and all ready for the walk through. We’d head up for a chiropractor appointment and then spend an hour working on the place and then head home and go to bed — that was the entire evening. Last time we were there, we spent an hour just chatting with our neighbors, who we’re going to miss because they were lovely people.

We had a yard sale a couple weekends ago and that took up a lot of time. But we managed to sell most of the big things we wanted to sell and made about $500 doing it. We took the rest to the thrift store and gave away the big TV that no one would buy. And we have a few light fixtures in the dining room that we’re going to list on Craigslist and see if we can get rid of those. We had them in the apartment in Savannah before we moved to Bluffton and then never needed them in Bluffton, and we don’t need them here, either.

Currently, my unpacking project is the file cabinet. I’m going through the files to make sure things are in the right places and clear out things that can get tossed. I’m maybe 1/4 of the way through and it’s long and tedious and doesn’t look like all that much. But there are 4 or 5 boxes holding these files and they’re all stacked up on top of the file cabinet (it’s a lateral file, so it’s pretty wide). That space that will eventually have decorations and books on it, so those things are stuck somewhere else until I can get the files done and clear those boxes away.

I’m so tired of this moving thing. Maybe we should just toss everything that’s left and learn how to live more minimalistically.

Like that would EVER work for us…

Anyway, outside of unpacking and trying to find some order in the house, or at least find a room where I feel like I can actually relax in all of this mess, we’re also preparing for Justin to head out of town for a while. I mentioned before that he’s going to head back to his grandmother’s house to help her work on fixing it up a little so it’s easier to sell and less dangerous for her to live in. He’s going to do that in November. His flight is the first Wednesday in November. My flight is the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. And then our flights back are the following Tuesday.

It’s going to be a long three weeks all alone in this apartment. But it is going to be SO CLEAN by the time he gets back.

And I will definitely have figured out this alarm system by then, too.

So that’s what’s happening there.

I mostly feel okay with everything. The house in Bluffton and the walk through have been stressing me out incredibly, but now that’s done and hopefully will be fine from here out. There are some very sad things going on with other people (with Paul’s son’s passing and Justin’s stepdad’s brother passing) and I feel awful for them. I’m starting to get anxious about Justin heading to California and how much I’m going to miss him while he’s away and how I’m going to handle being on my own in a new place and all the things that go into that situation. I’m frustrated at this thing at work taking as long as it is but I’m looking forward to it being done. The chaos in the house makes me twitch a little (sometimes a lot), but it’s getting better piece by piece. Not as fast as I would like, obviously. But it’s getting better. I made brownies the other day because I actually could find a mixing bowl, spatula, the box of mix, and a baking dish. It was an accomplishment! A delicious accomplishment. :)

So things are holding together. I’m hopeful that the next couple weeks will be nice and calm. I could use some calm.

I’ll try to get some pictures of the house eventually. I really really don’t want to take pictures of this mess right now, so you’ll just have to wait until I can take photos that don’t make me twitch so badly.

I hope you’re all doing great! And I’ll try to write again soon.

 

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October 7th, 2014

I’m back in the world wide web again! Time to catch up on everything that I’ve missed in the last couple weeks….

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Posted in Living! |
September 18th, 2014

I know I said I’d try to keep everybody updated on stuff that’s happening more often, but it’s going to be a bit spotty for the next couple weeks because things are INSANE at work right now. We have this very important meeting happening next Friday that I’ve been doing a lot of work to prepare for. To say it mildly, things are not going well.

We had what was supposed to be a dry run, rough rehearsal today and it was TERRIBLE. No one was ready. People hadn’t updated their presentations. Big things were missing. No one knew was was supposed to be going on. The director looked at me at one point and made a comment about it and I assured him that Monday would be much better. I’m going in to work for several hours tomorrow for the sole purpose of formatting PowerPoint presentations and working up an agenda for the Monday meeting. And a few other things. But mostly: FORMATTING and AGENDA.

Because heaven help me, if Monday’s meeting isn’t a least a LITTLE more organized, I’m going to be pulling my hair out.

To give a little bit of scope to the meeting next Friday, the invitee list is at about 100 people, several flying in from other locations, the meeting lasts from 9:00 – 3:00, and it’s the culmination of MONTHS of work. And I’m in charge of making it run smoothly.

I expect to work 60 hours next week between Monday morning and leaving the meeting Friday afternoon. I fully expect to be at the office Thursday evening at 10:00 at night making sure that everything is ready to go the next morning.

In short: Next week is going to SUCK.

So don’t be surprised if you don’t hear from me.

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Tags: | Posted in Living! |
September 14th, 2014

We looked at more places to move to this weekend. We saw several apartments, a house, and a townhouse. It’s astonishing the things that you learn when you’re looking for a new place to live. Things that turn out to be more important than expected. For example, we’re moving to somewhere closer to where I work. And we looked at some nice places that are not far from work, but that require I take a specific route to and from there. And that route is the same route that LOTS of other people are also taking at that time time of day. The exit off the interstate to get to that neck of the woods backs up about a mile every workday. So while I might not have as far to go, I might still be stuck in traffic for that same length of time. Or longer. So while the houses in that area are nice and quite large and sometimes quite inexpensive, other options that are smaller and a little more expensive but don’t require me to take that a road home are MUCH more appealing.

But it’s a tough call on some of them because there was one townhouse that had hardwood-looking floors throughout (except the stairs) and had a small dining room plus a formal dining room, three bedrooms upstairs, including a master that was ENORMOUS and a nice big laundry room, and two and a half baths that’s listed for exactly what we’re paying in rent right now. But there’s no pool or other amenities in the community and no outdoor storage options and the community isn’t kept up very well, so the roads have potholes and things just look run down. And it’s off the exit of doom. But WOW was that place nice looking inside.

There was another apartment building that had really nice amenities — a great exercise room with windows on three sides and an additional room for doing aerobics or yoga and even had a small ballet barre. It had a gorgeous pool with a pergola covering seating all around one edge and gas grills available for people to use at the end. But the apartment was small, with hardly enough room for our dining room table and absolutely not enough room for our sectional sofa. It had a cute built-in desk outside the guest room (that had three windows!) and the closets were both nice and big, but it was all around just too small inside.

And it turns out that things that are important to us include space for both of us to be in the kitchen at the same time, space for us to host dinner parties of at least 5 people, options for outdoor storage, lots of closet space, ease for me to get to work, and a nice, well kept outdoor space for us to wander around in.

So looking for the perfect apartment turns into this puzzle-piece thing of finding places that fit what we like but don’t quite fit all the important requirements and figuring out which ones are ones we’ll compromise on and which ones are deal breakers. And looking and looking to see if we can find one that matches all our requirements and still fits our price range and distance requirements and everything. Or if that one doesn’t exist, which is the one that we love the most of the options we’ve found.

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September 11th, 2014

In an interesting change from the normal way that I handle stress — namely to eat all the chocolate and sugar in sight or driving distance — currently I’m handling stress by mostly NOT being interested in food and by exercising. It’s healthier this way, right? And it’s not like I’m not eating — I eat when my stomach rumbles to remind me that I need to eat and when the food set in front of me looks really delicious (like the cheese curds my coworker brought me yesterday).

And I’m not beating myself up with exercising because all I’ve done in the last couple days was run from my house up to the stoplight and back, which is almost exactly 1 mile. I’m running it instead of walking because I need the concentration that comes with me pacing myself well enough to get the entire distance, up a moderate slope for a good ways, without losing my breath or pushing my heart rate up too high. I’m not fast, so it’s a slow 15 minute mile there and back, but it’s 15 minutes where I’m mosty thinking “Breathe in. Breathe out. Breathe in. Breathe out. Breathe in. Breathe out. DON’T. STOP. RUNNING.” And I’m not thinking about the things that I need to get cleaned up for people to come look at the house and the things that I could start packing up now and which of the apartments that we looked at last week was the one that I liked the best.

On that note, our landlady called yesterday afternoon with three appointments for people to come view the house on Saturday and more to come later in the week. And then a woman knocked on the door and asked if she could look at the back yard. I think our landlady is going to be able to rent this place out JUST FINE.

No other news right now. I’m excitied to be back at the weight I was at before the family reunion again. And we’re working on getting the house show-worthy for the weekend and then heading out to look for places of our own. :) Should be fun!

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September 10th, 2014

Just putting it up here that we have notified our landlady our intention to vacate the house we currently call home. She accepted that information and we are working through the details involved.

More information will be coming soon, but probably via emails and phone calls more than posted on this website.

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September 7th, 2014

Okay, so I said I’d try to update more frequently again because there’s a lot going on right now and I’m sure you’d all like to know how it’s going.

Well, I don’t have a lot about the current stuff that I can talk about on here just yet because I’m not sure who reads this and since things are still in flux, I’m not willing to write about stuff that might still yet change. So. Yeah. It’s still in works and we will definitely have something to talk about in a day or two.

That said, I can write about the couple of days we had after the family reunion. We had such a great time hanging out with everybody at the family reunion, by the way! Always one of the highlights of the year. And I really need to go see what’s available for cabins in the driving-distance for everybody area, but let’s be honest. It’s not going to happen ANY TIME SOON.

OK. Monday, after seeing Luke & Krista and Mom & Dad off on their ways home, Justin and I went to the MN Renaissance Festival. Julie met us there (because she didn’t really feel comfortable standing around during our heartfelt goodbyes when she doesn’t really know anyone) and we wandered around for a while. It was a muddy mess from the rain the night previous, but the weather was still really nice and cool and it was lovely. I put on sunscreen three times during the day and I still got a sunburn. Go figure.

I’d forgotten how much bigger the MN faire is compared to the GA faire. It’s ENORMOUS. There are so many shops to look at and so many different stages with musicians and entertainment groups. They also have a petting zoo with either sheep or very fuzzy goats, I’m honestly not sure which. To my GREAT ENJOYMENT, the petting zoo is right next to the elephant rides where there were two beautiful creatures, one giving rides at that time while the other ate some breakfast. And just when I thought I couldn’t get any more happy, two baby highland cows walked over and into the pen just next to where I was staring enraptured at the elephants.

And that was when I started crying at the Renaissance festival. True fact. I stood there looking at those beautiful soft pink noses on those cows and those wonderful floppy ears on the elephants, knowing that as soon as I had the chance, I was going to go over and pet those goats (or sheep, whatever they were), and I was so happy in that space and time that I started to cry. Which Justin and Julie both thought was amusingly appropriate for me.

Anyway, after about 20 minutes of letting me spend time in the petting zoo (I swear it was only 5 minutes, maybe 10, but they both insist it was at least 20), they dragged me away to look at the rest of the faire.

We saw a lot of beautiful handcrafted items, like musical instruments and jewelry. We saw a lot of shows and musical groups.We saw a terribly inappropriate gentleman doing bawdry poetry who would stop anytime anyone younger than 18 years old walked into hearing range and just stare at them uncomfortably. Or he’d switch over to “And the LORD saith to Moses!” in the hopes that they’d keep on walking. If they stopped, he walk over to the parents and ask “Do you know what kind of show this is? Do you REALLY want your children here?” It’s quite possible that watching him deal with the fact that kids kept stopping was more funny than his inappropriate poetry.

We saw the Tortuga Twins show, during which they completely lost the script at least 3 different times, made up jokes about mailing packages through the USPS and the Affordable Care Act, and one of them essentially mooned the entire audience. And then they were flashed by a member of the audience. This is a very different show than the one they do in Georgia! Turns out, that’s what happens when more than half of the people are drunk by that time of the day.

It was still a whole lot of fun, though! And I found this really gorgeous clay cup that has mountains and trees and flowers on it and as soon as I saw it (Justin showed it to me), it made my heart beat faster because it’s just THAT perfect! It’s sitting on the desk here next to me but I can’t get any pictures right now, so I’ll have to show you another time.

Anyway, it was a wonderful day at the faire and then we went back to Erica’s house to see the kids before they went to bed. After that, Justin, Julie and I went out to get some dinner, before coming back home, sending photos to Walgreens for processing, and then heading to bed.

The next morning, Justin and I got to walk with Chloe down to her bus stop for her first day of kindergarten and that was a terrifically fun time. I think I was the most sad of everybody there. What’s up with that?! She got onto that bus like a pro! Except for the part where her backpack was so big she almost didn’t fit in between the rows of seats. After seeing her off, we got all packed up and then sat and chatted with Erica for a while after that before heading off to drive down to Madison, WI.

That part of the trip was mostly uneventful. We were running later than expected, so I called and chatted with Mom about whether or not we should actually go and see Grandma Mick and we decided that it would probably be better to just head to Grandma Fritz’s and not worry about it. There are a lot of reasons behind that, and I don’t feel guilty about it.

We made it to Madison, picked up the photos from the Walgreens and then picked up the rental car and said our goodbye’s to Julie. She’s staying with her parents there until she flies out to Nevada to spend time traveling with Becky — her flight is actually Monday morning!

From Madison, we drove to Grandma’s house, where she and Dee had dinner just about finished. We chatted and I showed her the photos we’d brought for her. She didn’t think we were leaving them for her at first and was delighted to hear that they were hers to keep! We ate a delicious dinner and then honestly just sat around chatting and looking at photos and chatting some more. Paul came over to pick up Dee before it got too terribly late, but Grandma and Justin and I sat up talking until almost 11:00 at night! I learned more about Great-grandma Egan than I’d ever expected to know! Apparently she really did not like Grandma and made it very clear. It was actually quite sad to hear, but it emphasized to me so much more about what a gentle and kind woman Grandma Fritz is and how she’s possibly the most loving woman I’ve ever met.

And I want to guilt all of my siblings into going to go visit her because she is truly a DELIGHT and I don’t know why none of you go visit her if you’re in the area. Our cousins don’t visit her much, either, but she keeps track of all of us and keeps photos on her walls and on tables (because she ran out of wall space) and loves to hear about what we’re doing. You should at least be sending her letters and photos now and then. Justin and I are the least interesting, I think, because we don’t have adorable kids to ooh and aaah over and you should be allowing her that opportunity. And she’s great to chat with and has a great sense of humor and the 6 hours that we sat there chatting went by so quickly because we were having such a wonderful time.

Seriously. She’s a lovely woman and I wish you’d all spend more time thinking about her. I know that she is hard to talk with on the phone because she doesn’t hear well, but she pours over every letter and photo she gets and shows them off to anyone she possibly can. (Did you know Molly and Aimee both have several kids?) She’s so very proud of all of us and loves to hear about what we’re doing!

Write to your Grandma.

Okay, I’ll stop guilting you all now.

Justin and I spent a very short night (5 hours or so and I woke up just about every hour thinking I’d missed my alarm) before dragging ourselves downstairs where Grandma had juice and cereal set up and made me a cup of coffee (she told Justin it’s the first cup of coffee she’d made for anyone in 7 years). We spent as long as we could lingering over breakfast, but eventually we had to tear ourselves away and head to the Milwaukee airport and hop onto a plane.

Sadly, we didn’t get to sit in business class like we did on the way up. This was very disappointing, as you can imagine. But the flight was uneventful and we landed and collected our slightly more damaged luggage and got on the shuttle back to where we’d parked the car and then drove back home again. We got into town in the late afternoon, hauled everything into the house, showered FINALLY, and then went to get chiropractic adjustments because I NEEDED ONE.

And then I climbed into bed around 9:30 completely exhausted so I could get up at 5:00 to get ready for a long day at work. Which it was. And so was Friday. Saturday, we made it through all the washing and did some research on that other thing that’s going on. And we continued more of that research this afternoon. I promise I’ll write about that as soon as I can. I think we should have decisions made by Wednesday.

Anyway! That’s what I can write about for the last week or so. And it’s now 30 minute past my bed time and I have a meeting at 7:00 tomorrow morning that’s going to be NO FUN, so I’ve got to get some sleep.

I hope you’re all doing great! I’ll try to write again soon.

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August 25th, 2014

I’m SO not ready for this coming weekend! I mean, I’m EXCITED, don’t get me wrong. But I am NOT prepared. It snuck up on me fast and I have SO MUCH to get done before Wednesday afternoon, when we start driving to the Atlanta airport!

Gah!!!

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Posted in Living! |
August 3rd, 2014

Yesterday was the last full day with the kids. They actually let us get some sleep, so I didn’t get out of bed until around 8:00 or so. We got up and the kids played Super Smash Bros. again for a while. Justin and Amy both decided to get some more rest after being up for a little bit, but I kept an eye on the kids.

Once Amy was up and moving again, we made plans for the afternoon. The kids really wanted to go back to the beach again, even though the weather wasn’t looking great. So we packed up lunches and all the things that we use at the beach and packed into the van. The adults picked up food on the way out, since we didn’t have Lunchables like the kids, and then we ate a picnic at the playground and park that’s near where we’ve been going to the beach.

The kids played for a while until Audrey hit her head really hard on something in the playground, and then we decided we’d make our way down to the water. As soon as we got set up, we could see lightning way out over the ocean and the life guard pulled us all back out of the water just as we were getting into it.

That was a bummer, but we all played in the sand for a while, waiting for the storm to pass by. Okay, they played. I took pictures.

Digging holes in the sand

Ethan works on digging in the sand

Amy helps Isaac with his digging

Audrey cleans off her knees in the water

Ethan’s hole keeps getting filled with water

They did eventually let us get into the water, and Audrey and Isaac definitely wanted to go in, so Justin and Amy went in with them. The currents were kind of strong and the waves were fairly choppy, so they ended up drifting pretty far down from where we’d set up all our stuff — which is why this is such a terrible photo.

Swimming WAY away from where I was standing

Ethan wanted to keep playing in the sand for a while, so I stayed on shore with him. It was rough enough out that it was hard to be heard and I didn’t want any of the kids heading into the water without someone watching them. The wind was strong enough it blew our umbrella over and I had to go rescue it.

After a while, it started to rain big heavy drops that stung with they hit skin and sent several of us running back to shore and the protection of the (now on it’s side) umbrella. I wanted to make sure my camera was safe, too. We wanted to stay longer, so when the raindrops got less painful, we went back out to the water. I was walking out to the water and Amy looked at me from where she was standing calf-deep in the water with Isaac and Audrey and shouted over the sound of the surf and rain, “WE’RE MAKING A MEMORY!!”

But it was just too hard to keep an eye on the kids with the weather the way it was, so we packed up and went back to the car. Justin sent us back to get the kids taken care of and he bought all the things — boogie boards, towels, umbrella, etc — dragging the tote with all the dry things all the way back up the boardwalk to the picnic grounds, with the umbrella held above it so things would stay dry-ish. We dried off the kids and got everything packed up, stopped for Sonic drinks on the way back home, and started the 6-person rotation through the showers.

After that, we all went out to Jim ‘n’ Nick’s for dinner, which was probably the best-loved by the kids meal we had the whole week. They ate every single thing on their plates!

We went back home and the kids Skyped with Nathan again and then we worked on picking up things as much as we could, getting toys found and laundry sorted or washed, in the case of the wet beach things, and dried. The kids were exhausted, so they went to bed earlier than almost any other night they were here.

When I woke up today, I was worried I’d missed saying good-bye, since it was 7:30 and quiet upstairs. All the kids’ stuff upstairs had been packed up and taken down, but I ran into Audrey when I was checking her room — she came back up for something that had fallen off the end of her bed.

I went down and the boys were playing games and Amy was working on getting things packed into the van. Justin got the kids to sit down for breakfast and we sat there chatting while they ate. And then we did a last sweep of the house, got all the rest of the stuff packed up into the van, and started the good-byes. Everybody got hugs and “let’s do this again sometime” and then they were in the van and buckled and pulling away. Justin and I stood and waved until they were out of sight and then went back into our suddenly very quiet house.

We looked around a little bit, went “yeah, we’ll clean this later” and I went back to bed. Justin sat up at his computer for a while before joining me there and we both caught up on a little bit of sleep.

It was a long visit, but we really did enjoy it SO MUCH. We enjoyed taking the kids to the beach and playing around in the sand and the waves. We enjoyed taking them to the playground and having fun with them there. We played video games, Justin played Magic cards with Ethan, we did a craft project thing and made brownies and watched movies. I listened to Audrey read and tried to define a new word to Ethan from the book he was reading. We laughed and laughed at Isaac’s crazy antics. We listened to so many knock-knock jokes in the car and tried to answer riddles from the book Ethan brought with him from home. Justin answered question after question after question about so many things. Sure, we had to break up fighting and remind them again and again not to run in the store and not to shout when we asked them to be quieter and keep hands, elbows, heads, feet, legs, bellies, and chests inside their space in the car. And we made our own mistakes, for which we apologized and learned and tried to do better. All in all, we had a FANTASTIC time and we would love to do it again! We LOVE these kids and it was a DELIGHT having them in our lives for the week. And our house, while it’s more clean now this afternoon than it was this morning, and it’s also a lot more quiet, it’s also a lot more empty and we’re both looking forward to the next time we see our nieces and nephews.

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August 2nd, 2014

I’m a couple days behind, so here’s a quick attempt to catch up.

Thursday I went to work like normal, though super tired since I was up until almost midnight after the movie on Wednesday.

Unfortunately Justin wasn’t feeling well, so he set up the kids with Super Smash Bros. and they entertained themselves for hours that way. Justin came down to check on them every hour, but otherwise, he dozed and they played.

I got home at noon and got the kids eating lunch and sent Justin back to bed. He slept, and we played games, I did a little tidying, and then we went down to the pool and playground for a little while to burn off some energy.

We came home, woke up Justin, put the kids back in front of the game for a little while so I could shower. Justin got Meet the Robinson’s started and we made dinner. We paused the movie to eat dinner and then Skyped Nathan and Amy. After that, we finished the movie and everybody went to bed. Including me, because I was super tired.

We had previously planned to go to a beach to look for shells, but everybody needed a break and some rest, so Thursday was changed to be more of a restful day.

Friday morning, I went to work again. I’m not sure what the kids did in the morning. Justin was feeling better, but I really don’t know what they did all morning.

I do know that the pressure-washing and a/c maintenance guys were earlier than expected, so they both did their thing while I took care of making lunch. The weather wasn’t looking very good, so people weren’t interested in going to the beach. So we played a little and then I took the kids down to the playground for a little while. When we got back, we went to the chiropractor’s office again, where once again the kids behaved perfectly, and then stopped at the grocery store for a few things. We stopped by Staples to print off the Magic cards for Ethan — our printer wasn’t up to the challenge — and into Target to get plastic sleeves to protect the cards. Isaac was really worried for a minute when we said we were going to Staples. He has an entirely different relationship with staples, since apparently they were used on his head once!

We got home and started working on dinner and the kids did some cleaning up before Amy arrived. She got here safely around 5:30 and the kids were VERY excited. They put signs on the door so she would know where to go. And then they showed her around the house so she’d know where everything was. We sat and chatted while cutting out Ethan’s cards and working on making dinner.

We ate dinner, Skyped Nathan, and then Justin and Ethan played Magic with Ethan’s new deck and the rest of us watched a little bit of TV while we waited for the brownies to finish baking. And then everybody went to bed.

It’s not a great update, but here are a few cute pictures of what happened on our way to the drive-in.

 

Sleeping and reading on the way to the drive-in

Still sleeping, even though we moved him out of the car

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