Well, this wasn’t what I thought today was going to bring

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.

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.

Happy Thanksgiving!!

I hope everybody had a fantastic Thanksgiving!! We are doing *awesome* over here!

It looks like it’s going to take longer than expected to get the updates and fixes done to the website, so I might as well keep on writing. Sorry about the things that don’t work — like the comments and the archives and the searches. Justin will get them fixed as soon as he can figure out why the heck they aren’t working in the first place…

Really. It makes no sense. It’s super frustrating.

Anyway! Today! We had a great day!

FIRST, we finished a project in the back closet. (If you want to skip this and hear about our dinner, feel free to jump ahead to the bolded SECOND. I’m about to babble a lot. Just so you’re warned.)

Some of you know that a couple weeks ago we lost power to the front bedroom of the house (was the master bedroom, is now the office). It was really strange because it was everything in that entire room — lights, outlets, everything. But nothing was wrong with the fuses and when we opened up the outlets, we couldn’t find anything that looked weird. We finally called our land lady who called in an electrician who came in and figured out that the fire alarms upstairs are all wired into the same circuit as the office. And one of the fire alarms had a wire that had come loose. Just, you know, randomly. For no good reason. And all the fire alarms have battery back-ups, so we wouldn’t have ever checked that. Anyway, he fixed it and we have power back in the office (HURRAY!).

But we had to take out half of the stuff from the back closet in order to really be able to access the fuse box. I mean, we could get to it before. Well, Justin could get to it with his long arms reaching through the shelving unit to the far wall. But it wasn’t super accessible and if the electrician had needed to, for example, remove the box to chase the wires, it wouldn’t have worked. So we took half of the shelving out. And then we decided, you know, let’s just explore another option here. Let’s make it so it’s really actually safer and accessible and all.

I’ve been trying to find a good “Before” picture to show you. We forgot to take one before we started, so the best I can give you is a shot over Justin’s shoulder from when we had to replace the lock on that door.

Justin replaced the lock, but look at that mess of a closet!!

Not a great photo, but you can see that shelving unit is stuffed. It went up to the ceiling and was filled with stuff. The lawn mower just *barely* fit in between it and the door.

This is it now:

This closet is now a thing of beauty!!

That mower fits in there with room to spare!! Oh, and this is the BEST PART: It only cost us $12. We had to go buy three 2x4s and a box of nails. Everything else we already had! Those beautiful boxes that are taking up the back wall in this photo? Had them since the apartment in Savannah and they’ve just be sitting in there on a shelf.

I know that this might not be terribly exciting (thus the option to just skip ahead at any point, really), but we are SO EXCITED about this project!

Reason 1: Super easy access to the circuit panel.

Just look at that circuit panel!

All we need to move to get to that panel is that grill. And because we can actually step inside of the door of this closet instead of reaching from the door, I can actually access it. This makes me feel so much better about being able to get to this in case of an emergency.

Reason 1 for Justin might actually be the ability to fit the mower in so easily, but we’re sticking this super important one instead. 🙂

Reason 2: Access to the water heater

That first picture of the closet is actually the best one for this — you can see how easy it is to get to all the panels on the front of the water heater. And the little box up on the wall near where the extension cord is hanging is the timer for the unit — which opens upward and yes, does have easy clearance to open under that shelf. This hasn’t been a problem for a while and hopefully won’t be a problem before we move out again, but if anything happened with that heater, we had to take absolutely everything out of the closet. It was annoying and problematic.

Reason 3: Easy access to absolutely everything. You can’t see it from the photos and none of them really show it well, but I can get to absolutely everything in this closet without too much trouble. Before, if I wanted the grill, I had to move the mower and shuffle it off a shelf in two parts. Now, it’s just sitting on top of a shelving unit. Second shelf of that unit? All my pots and gloves and things I use for potting. Ant-hill poison? Used to be on the bottom shelf behind the mower and the random bottle of antifreeze. Now those are both on the shelf at the top of the back wall, out of reach of small children and pets and all lined up so I can see exactly what I need. Okay, I need a step stool or Justin in order to reach it, but how often do I use that stuff? Rarely.

How about paint?  Our land lady left us a little bit of paint for most of the rooms in the house — if only we knew which can went with each room. Anyway, paint used to take up an entire shelf on that old unit. Now we have this:

Ladder o’ paint

It goes all the way down to the floor like this. It’s out of the way and yet easy to get to if we can ever figure out which one goes where.

We are so super excited about how well this turned out! Things are easy to get to, tidy, organized, and it took us about 4 hours of work and $12 in supplies. We had to purge a few things out — some beach chairs went to Jessi (she’ll actually use them), we’re going to Craigslist a handful of glass bowls and a tennis racket, the falling apart boogie boards got trashed, the life vest and an old lantern went to Julie. The old shelving unit got dragged up and stacked in the attic. The whole thing looks SO MUCH better and it’s so much easier to get to things! Yea!

Justin is excited about the mower and weed whack accessibility.

SECOND, we made dinner! We invited our usual bunch of friends to come over, but no one took us up on it except for Jessi and a couple of her friends. All our other friends either have families that they traveled to see or are starting their own traditions. Our friend Julie drove up to spend the day with her aunt in Charleston because Julie’s uncle got called to active duty, leaving her aunt all alone. So we did our dinner, but it was just me and Justin with Jessi and her two friends.

We still made all the same food as always:

  • turkey
  • mashed potatoes
  • sweet potatoes
  • stuffing and gravy
  • green bean casserole
  • cranberry dressing
  • dinner rolls
  • ambrosia fruit salad

This year I also did a pitcher of sangria, just for fun.

We actually did a handful of things differently. I made the potatoes and the cranberry dressing on Wednesday. I pulled out the potatoes today when the turkey went into the oven so they’d warm up to room temperature before I put them into the oven for 30 minutes with butter dotted over them, which then got stirred in after they came out of the oven to make them super moist. And I cut up the celery and onions for the stuffing (we do stuffing from a bag) on Wednesday because we’re always doing the stuffing right at the end when everything is going crazy and it was just so easy to do it while I was cutting up potatoes the day ahead. Julie was actually over and helping me on Wednesday, so she peeled the sweet potatoes, too, while she was peeling the other potatoes, so I just cut them up and put them in a bowl to sit until I was ready for them today — completely taking away any need for me to peel or cut any vegetables today.

So, really, the most time-involved things to deal with today was the turkey and the dinner rolls, and the dinner rolls are only on that because they take time to rise.

We did our turkey a little differently this year, too. I was reading about different ideas on baking a turkey and ran into the idea of spatchcocking it. Sounds weird, right? It is. Basically, you cut out the backbone of the turkey and flatten it out so the whole thing is laying mostly flat.

Spatchcocked turkey looks silly

Mine is not quite as flat as it should have been, but for a first try, I think that’s pretty good. The idea is that you get all the skin on the top of the turkey, let the breast sit low enough so the legs and the breast cook at the same rate, letting the dark meat warm up to the temperature that it should get to without letting the breast get overdone and dry. It also cooks a whole lot faster because it’s not just a ball of meat. We cooked a 10 pound turkey in about 2 hours. Normally that would have taken 3 1/2 to 4 hours. And it maybe could have come out a little earlier if we hadn’t gotten distracted putting up the valance in the bedroom (since we already had all the tools out and accessible).

Cooked turkey is delicious!

I forgot to take a picture before starting to carve it, but you can see that it looks like it turned out really well! The skin is nice and golden. Sadly, it got a little soggy because we put it under tinfoil for about an hour and a half finishing up the rest of the dishes and waiting for Jessi to arrive. Before that, though? That turkey was crispy! And the white meat was deliciously moist instead of being dried out. It tastes AMAZING!!

And, as ever, we’ll be eating leftovers for several days. But that’s part of what we love about cooking on Thanksgiving!

So it was a great day! We got the closet looking beautiful (plus hung the valance in the bedroom and put a knob on a closet door that we’d replaced but never bothered drilling another hole into for the knob) and made delicious food! We spend a delightful dinner with Jessi and her two friends. They brought pumpkin cupcakes to share for dessert. And then they left and we cleaned up and sat and relaxed. And I wrote this CRAZY long post!

I hope you all had a fantastic Thanksgiving! I love and am thankful for all of you! I hope anybody shopping tomorrow has lots of luck on sales! I’ll be staying home with my aching feet up and resting. Doing laundry, really, because my life is so exciting! 🙂

Lots of love to you all!

Easter weekend

I wrote this  whole long post yesterday and then completely forgot to put it up.  So here ya go!  Yesterday’s post today:

Happy cheap-jellybean day, everybody!  I hope your Easter was fantastic!  Ours was delightful!  Neither one of us was scheduled to help at church, so we probably got to sleep in longest of everybody yesterday – I got up at 9 and Justin got up at 9:45 (it’s amazing how guys can get ready in less than 15 minutes!).  We went to church, which was awesome, and then came back home right afterward because my problem with large crowds was flaring up with so many people at church and I had to get back home where it was quiet.

But I got a lot accomplished over the weekend and I feel really good about it.  I sat down Friday afternoon and wrote down all the things that I’d like to get accomplished around the house.  And then I marked which ones I need help from Justin to get done.  And then I marked which ones need supplies or money spent on them in order to get finished.  And the things that didn’t require any money and didn’t involve Justin, I set to with a will.

Things that I got done include:

  • Re-stuffed my knee pillow
  • Made a pillow case for my knee pillow
  • Re-hemmed a skirt
  • Sewed a button on Justin’s pants
  • Sewed a button on my car’s seatbelt
  • Fixed a shirtWashed all my hand-wash clothes
  • Figured out what I need to fix another skirt (bias tape)
  • Inventoried the canned goods in the pantry
  • Washed the green off all the lawn furniture
  • Re-organized the outside storage closet

There are still a lot of things on that list, but I made good headway.  And by the time I got done with the furniture and closet outside yesterday, I was completely exhausted.  Justin made me dinner (a feast of pancakes, bacon, scrambled eggs, and hashbrowns!) and I went to bed early.  But I didn’t get sunburned because I thought ahead and put on sunscreen and a hat before I went outside. I’m rather proud of myself for that.  I even put on bug spray and wore long socks under my pants and shoes to prevent the ant stings that plagued Justin when he did yardwork last Monday.

We have a deep, abiding animosity toward fire ants around this house.  They’re tiny little ants that grow in huge mounds of sand and they HURT.  Seriously, they’re so little it doesn’t make sense that such a tiny little thing should create so much pain, but they’re so vicious.  I don’t react too badly, usually, just a small, itchy bump that itches for 3 or 4 days and then fades after a week or two.  Justin is slightly allergic so he gets huge, itchy bumps that itch for a week or more and get inflamed and infected.  We have, right now, maybe 3 or 4 mounds of these in the yard and we’re going to hit them with poison and try to drive them out. 

Amy, you should watch out for these with the kids – these ants are mostly southern, as far as I can tell, and they are NASTY.  They can swarm and sting and do a whole lot of damage in a short amount of time if they’re angry.  If the kids don’t know about avoiding these yet, I’d recommend teaching them ASAP.  These ants are not the meek little ants that I poked at when I was a kid.  Poke a stick in these nests and the kid holding the stick will be in a lot of pain very soon.
And that’s my nature lesson for the day.

I hope you all have a fantastic Monday!

Wishing I was home

It took until today, but I’m finally not sore anymore!  Yesterday, I was still feeling it in my legs some.  Saturday, it hurt to sit down, but everything else was easier.  But today?  All better!  Which means I can go home tonight and do something painful, I guess.

It’s going to be a busy week for me.  Work is trying to get a lot accomplished with a bunch of people out of the office this week, so it’s going to be interesting.  Plus, we’re going to be moving from one part of the building to another (amusingly, back near where I was before they moved us last time) and we’re not sure when that’s going to happen.  Any time before the end of the month, is the rumor.

Outside of work, I’ll probably be at the gym late on Wednesday (Raid Night for Justin), I’m hoping to have a friend over Thursday to watch a movie (Girl’s Night), Friday is Game Night with friends online, Saturday we’ll be helping Habitat for Humanity (ServeFest with the church) . . . and I just realized that I can’t have Girl’s Night on Thursday because I’ve got band practice (unless it’s canceled and it is so often) so I can sing on Sunday morning at church.  And then Sunday afternoon, I’m helping someone clean out her closet while Justin works on her mom’s computer and we’re getting paid in Puerto Rican dinner.

It should all be fun, though.  Just a little hectic.

Today is gloomy and rainy and I really didn’t want to get out of bed so early.  I wanted to stay home, wrapped up in blankets on a pile of pillows reading a book or watching TV.  Or baking.  Baking would be fun, too.  But instead I’m at work, reformatting documents for people who don’t understand Word heading formats very well and trying to decide if I can just cancel the 5S meeting for today because I haven’t had a chance to prepare for it.

Upside:  For lunch, I had shredded turkey (frozen after Thanksgiving) with cuscus (leftovers from Friday) and mixed veggies (also leftovers).  All mixed together in a bowl, it makes a very satisfying and colorful meal.

All said, though, I think I’d rather be at home.

P.S.  I forgot to write about Justin’s meeting with the Dean last week.  It turns out that the professor that Justin didn’t get along with is no longer with the school, so the dean was someone he actually liked!  And it went really well.  He had to send a letter to admissions stating his intention to return and his reasons for leaving.  Later this week, he’ll get back in touch with the dean (and/or his advisor, I can’t remember which) and they’ll go over the changes to his major since he was last in school and what matches up with what he’s already taken and what he’ll need to take in order to finish.  And after that, I guess, they’ll figure out how exactly he’s going to go about getting those classes in — the whole long-distance thing.  So it’s good news!  And  hopefully we’ll have more good news again soon.  Thanks for praying!  Please keep it up!

Kleenex boxes

I’ve become a horder of Kleenex boxes.  I hadn’t thought about it until I ran out of tissues again today and threw the empty box in the drawer with another empty box and thought “Wait.  What did I just do?”

I only do it at work.  But I just counted and I have seven Kleenex boxes in my drawers here.  Seven is a large number when you consider that there are 130 tissues per box.  (130 x 7 = 910 tissues.)  Seriously?  That’s a lot of Kleenex.

Now, it’s not like they’re just sitting there empty.  That is a very important factor of this hording.  Of the seven, only two of them are empty.  The other five have a variety of objects in them – from tea bags to silverware to personal toilette items.  I’ve trimmed the tops off the boxes and stapled the sides to keep them from falling apart.  I’ve binder-clipped them to the box beside them to keep them from shuffling around in the drawer.  They are my second-hand organizational efforts to keep my drawers in order.  And the two empty ones are back-up, in case one falls apart or I find a use for another box.

Sure they are.

I think I might have hit the point where I’m keeping them because I like keeping them.  Because if I didn’t have a use for the last box 130 tissues ago, I’m pretty sure I’m not going to need a second empty one.

Just like the empty CD spool is going to have some use eventually.

I think it’s time to go through my drawers and do some purging.