Crazy Busy Week, and Cheese

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I had a crazy, busy week this week, with something scheduled every night after work. That kind of schedule makes me very, very crabby.

MONDAY :

After working 9 hours, I attended the first half of an 8 hour class, “Driving Now That You’re an Old Fart”. Actually, I believe it was called “Safe Driving For 55 Plus”, but you get the drift. You know all the things that annoy you about encountering oldsters on the road, like driving too slowly, leaving too much space between cars, slowing down for green lights, leaving turn signals on for miles? Those things are actually taught in this class.

TUESDAY:

Second half of “Decrepit Driving” class.

WEDNESDAY:

I had a chiropractor appointment scheduled, but I canceled it due to fatigue. Plus, it’s costing me LOTS of money to go in twice a week, and it doesn’t feel like it’s helping. No.2 Sis suggested Courage Center for physical therapy.

Anyway, I ran errands on Wednesday, including a $87 grocery store run. I was out of cheese.

THURSDAY:

My Stampin’ Up pusher, sorry, distributor, came to my workplace, The Company, and put on a SAS (Stamp-a-Stack). Me, a half-dozen co-workers, and several guests each made 15 Christmas cards. We also had a pot-luck dinner. I was in charge of set-up, tear-down, and lunch meat.

CHRISTMAS CARDS

FRIDAY:

Friday was my day off. No relief. I had an 8:30 lab appointment, for which I had to start fasting right after the Thursday potluck. No bedtime cheese snack. Harumph.

Then, at 10:30, I had a channeled reading from Chanda Parkinson. This was a gift from my BFF “G”, and it was very enlightening. Chanda told me I was spreading myself too thin. Oh wait, I knew that already. The rest of the info I got was truly enlightening. Thanks Chanda, and thanks “G”!

At 11:00, No.2 Sis came over to my house and helped me move all the small furniture into the kitchen, bathroom, and laundry room, so the carpet cleaners could have a clear path.

Ultimate Carpet Cleaners came at noon, and did a wonderful job of cleaning my dirty carpets. I had had Stanley Steamer in not too long ago, and the carpet looked good for a day afterwards, but then reverted right back to its previous dirty state. Ultimate was much more impressive (and less expensive).

Plus we got these awesome shoe-booties.

CARPET PROTECTING BOOTIES

Sis and I put the small furniture back, with strips of plastic underneath to protect the wet carpet.

Then we gussied ourselves up, gassed up Gypsy Blue and drove across town to meet our Aunt and Uncle at No.3 Bro’s art show. We figured it would take us 45 minutes. In the rain and Friday night rush hour, it took us an hour-and-a-half. We missed Aunt and Uncle, but we got to see Bro, his girlfriend, his 2 sons, and his ex-wife. And, of course, Bro’s awesome paintings and the wonderful paintings of 2 other artists.

On the way home, I ran to the grocery store (cheese).

And now it’s Saturday. Now I can rest. And feast on cheese.

Stay tuned…

p.s. I shared this at Chic on a Shoestring.

Laundry Closet, or 299

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I called No.2 Sis last Sunday and asked her if I could borrow my drill. She graciously said yes.

Before she came over, I cleaned out the laundry room closet. I threw away a pair of shoes. I put two more pairs in a Goodwill bag with some jigsaw puzzles. And I recycled two bags of bags. That brings me to 299 bags, boxes, and small pieces of furniture I’ve gotten rid of since January of 2014.

Untitled design-3

When No.2 Sis arrived, I unpacked the two organizing widgets I’d purchased from Amazon. One was to hold the ironing board, and one was to hold the brooms, mops and dusters.

We decided to hang the broom holder first, because it looked more difficult. We held the broom holder up on the wall, and I drilled through each of the six mounting holes with a 1/16″ bit.

Then we put aside the broom widget and enlarged the holes to 1/8″. Hmm, too small for the drywall anchors. We tried 5/32″. Too small. 3/16″. Too small. I used every drill bit I owned. Finally, the largest bit gave us the proper-sized hole for the drywall anchors.

We installed the anchors, put the broom holder back up to the wall, and screwed in the six screws. Beautiful!

Ew, that broom needs a good hose-down.

Ew, that broom needs a good hose-down.

I hung the mop up. It slowly slid down to the floor. I hung the broom up. It also slid down to the floor. Damn it!

Well, at least the hooks would hold the dusters. On the contrary, the hooks were quite large, and the holes on some of the dusters were quite small.

I went to my trusty hardware bin, and pulled out some “S” hooks to adapt the dusters. Harumph! The “S” hooks were too small, too.

No.2 Sis noticed some plastic rings in the hardware bin. “What about these?” They were old plastic curtain rings.

The curtain rings were small enough to fit through the duster holes, and large enough to hang on the broom widget’s hooks. Unfortunately, they didn’t snap closed. A quick rummage through the kitchen junk drawer yielded some twist-ties, and I wired the curtain rings shut.

I hung the modified dusters on the hooks, hung the mop from another hook, and put the broom in upside-down so it couldn’t slide out of the holder. Beautiful!

I had to make it work. I damned well wasn’t going to try to get those six screws out after they were anchored into the drywall!

Sis and I figured the ironing board holder installation would be a piece a piece of cake after the broom holder experience.

laundry closet- ironing board widget

We held the ironing board holder on the wall, and I drilled two 1/8″ holes. Oops. The screws just popped into the holes with no resistance whatsoever.

Another rummage through the hardware bin, and we found two more drywall anchors and hammered them into the wall. The screws actually screwed in after that, so the ironing board hanger was securely mounted. Whew. I mean, beautiful!

PRODUCT REVIEWS:

I bought both hangers from Amazon.com. The broom hanger was:

$13.95
This got mixed, but mostly good reviews on Amazon. Some people did mention that their brooms and mops tended to slide out of the hanger’s grips. I should have read more of the reviews before I bought it. I wouldn’t recommend it.
The ironing board hanger was:
It would have been nice to have been told the drill size needed for the screws, but otherwise, good price for a good basic hanger. I’d recommend it.

Stay tuned…

p.s. The links included in this post are not affiliate links (I don’t get any commission if you click on them).

p.s.s. I shared this at Cozy Little House.

From Necklace to Earrings

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I found a necklace made of beautiful glass beads while shopping in a consignment store last month. I thought I could make many lovely pairs of earrings from it, so I bought it.

There was a small kerfuffle when I tried to pay the date marked on the tag (8.25), instead of the price (14.00). But, we soon had it all resolved, and I was the proud owner of a vintage glass necklace.

Here are some of the earrings I made.

earrings1

earrings2

earrings3

Stay tuned…

p.s. I shared this at Chic on a Shoestring.

Earrings and the Virgin Mary

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I should be cleaning the house, doing my weekly maintenance, but I’m making jewelry instead. A girl woman queen has to have her fun.

I bought some beads in Stillwater several weeks ago, and ideas for jewelry have been percolating since then. I got some silver, shell, and unakite beads, and a Virgin Mary pendant.

Beads purchased in Stillwater

I bought the shell beads to go with the necklace shown above. I have no idea why I bought the Virgin Mary pendant.

Shell earrings-1

I added hematite dangles to the shell earrings.

hematite earrings blue chalcedony earrings 2

I put hematite dangles on one pair of the silver earrings and blue chalcedony dangles on the other.

 

unakite earrings

And I dangled the unakite beads from vintage chain.

As long as I had the jewelry tools out, I repaired a broken necklace. I just used a round-nose pliers to open the loop on the crimp, and slipped the chain back in. Then I closed up the loop. Easy-peasy!

Necklace repair

Got any ideas for me regarding the use of the Virgin Mary pendant?

Stay tuned…

p.s. I shared this at Chic on a Shoestring.

 

Pulling a Musical

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Once upon a time, on Father’s Day, I sent my Dad the gift of a hammock.

He wrote me a thank-you note, telling me he had gone right out to his deck at his North Carolina lake home and put the hammock up. Unfortunately, he said, it had thrown him immediately, and he feared he had pulled a leg musical.

Spelling never was Dad’s strong suit.

I thought of the episode with my Dad while I was up on a step stool, leaning over the water softener, and pulling on the water valve handle with all my might. I think I may have pulled a side musical.

If you remember, I had forgotten where the the shut-off valve for the front outside water was for a few years. I recently discovered it in my utility closet. It was hiding directly behind another pipe, and I couldn’t reach it.

I went to Home Depot and bought this handy water-valve-opening tool. You hold on to the handles, slip the hook under the valve lever arm, and pull up. Be careful to not poke your eyes out with the sharpened ends of the handles.

handy water-valve-opening tool

Okay, it’s really an outdoor plant hanger. But the Home Depot guy said they didn’t have any handy water-valve-opening tools.

So I set up the step stool, leaned over the water softener, contorted my body so I could see the water valve handle, and hooked it with the handy yadda-yadda, and pulled. And pulled and pulled and pulled until my side ached and the water softener lid buckled.

Don’t worry, the water softener lid is molded plastic and popped right back up once I got off of it.

The valve handle had come up 45 degrees from vertical, so it looked like it was halfway open, at least. I ran to check the outside spigot on the front of the house. Nope, not even a trickle. I guess it has to be all the way open before I can have water.

I bundled the 3 hoses to the back yard, linked them all together, and snaked them to the front yard to water Rocky 2, the new crimson barberry shrubs, and all the other plants.

Time for plan B, whatever that may be. I’ll get back to you on that.

Stay tuned…

 

 

Neurological Screening, Or 275

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I got home from work today, had dinner, went to change into something more comfortable, and realized that I’d had my shirt on backwards all day.

Last weekend, I met my BFF “T” at her favorite restaurant to treat her to a birthday brunch. As I got out of the car, I thought, “Why are my hands so empty?” Umm, because I left her card and present at home.

Last week, I got lost on the way home from work, twice. The first time I accidentally took the freeway exit before my usual one, and then went the wrong way at the next big intersection. It went downhill (figuratively speaking) from there.

The second time, I decided to take the exit after my usual one to avoid some heavy traffic. I spaced out and missed the exit I wanted, so I had to go 5 miles further, cross the river, and turn around in the airport. The f*cking Minneapolis-St. Paul International airport.

At what point do I ask my doctor for a neurological screening? Is it already too late?

Anyway, I had a 4 day weekend for Independence Day, yay!

Thursday I brunched with “T”. Friday I met my BFF “G” in Z-town. I can never remember if it’s Zumbrota or Zumbro Falls. Whichever one is closer to the highway.

Saturday, No.1 Sis and I helped No.2 Sis start painting her kitchen cabinets. They’re that 1990’s honey oak with no hardware. They’re so dated, I can’t stand them. They’re awful. They’re hideous. They’re exactly like mine.

On Sunday, No.2 Sis came over to my house. We finished the shredding, which, between sorting, recycling and the actual shredding, took a couple of hours. 4 more bags went into the recycling wheelie bin.

Also on Sunday, I gave Rocky 2 (my maple tree) and the shrubs a good soak. We got a thunderstorm that night and it rained into Monday. I AM SO POWERFUL. Thank Goddess I didn’t wash the car too, or it surely would have caused serious flooding.

By the way, the garden is looking awesome! The window box garden is growing, Rocky 2’s day lilies are blooming, I got a pot of pink petunias (say that 10 times, fast) for half-price, and the irises I got from Cousin “J” in Nashville are growing great guns.

front yard garden- July 8, 2015

Stay tuned…

How To Clean The Kitchen

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Before cleaning the kitchen, it helps to do a little prep work.

Put the garbage can and recycling bin nearby.

Get naked, because you will be getting wet.

And remember, cursing is optional throughout the cleaning process.

kitchen, before

1. Unload the dishwasher.

2. Take down the ironing board. And by take down, I mean move to the dining room.

3. Start working your way around the room clockwise, or counterclockwise, whichever direction will bring you to your refrigerator last.

4. Ponder for a moment, with the widespread use of digital clocks, will future generations even know what clockwise and counterclockwise mean? Break into small groups and discuss.

5. Clear counters, putting dirty dishes into dishwasher. Do not sort mail and papers now. Put them on your bed so you’ll be forced to sort them before you retire for the night. Take the fire extinguisher out of the box and clip the packing ties that prevent it from functioning. Plug in the battery charger, as long as you’re here. And for Goddess’ sake, stay focused.

6. Put large pots and pitchers into sink to soak. This is where the out-of-control sprayer will soak you. I told you to get naked, didn’t I?

7. Kick the cat bowl, splashing water onto the floor. Do not stop to wipe it up. It isn’t time to mop yet.

8. Put away the toaster. Admit, after eating 2 loaves of bread and a pound of butter, that the “Can I Have Bread in the House Experiment” was a complete and utter failure.

9. Wash all the counters.

10. Wash the dishes that had been soaking in the sink. I hope you’ve taken my advice and stripped down to the skin by now.

11. Clean out the refrigerator. Put the spoiled food in a double plastic bag and put it in the freezer until garbage day. Rinse the storage containers and put them into the dishwasher. Run the dishwasher if it’s full.

12. Mop the floor.

13. Take out the garbage and recycling. I’m sorry. Get dressed, and then take out the garbage and recycling.

kitchen, clean

Awesome job! The kitchen is clean!

Stay tuned…

p.s. I shared this at Chic On a Shoestring.

 

Busted, or Front Yard, Part 2

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I received this e-mail from my Home Owner’s Association:

Good morning Laura,

We have been notified that you have new landscaping around a tree in your front yard. While the board does allow this, they still require an architectural request form be submitted for approval prior to any exterior changes. I’ve attached one for you to fill in and return at your convenience.

Thank you,

Your HOA

This bothers me on several levels.

First, I’ve lived here for 12 years, which means they’ve cashed approximately 144 of my checks. Checks signed “Laurel”, not “Laura”.

Second, when I was weeding the garden around Rocky 2 (the tree in the front yard) a week ago, and the little old lady from across the street came over and complimented me on how my flowers looked, I assumed she was being neighborly. I didn’t realize she going to run to the HOA to have me busted for beautifying my yard.

Third, and most importantly, the landscaping around Rocky 2 has been there for 6 years! I put the tree, the flowers and the edging in at great expense to myself. AND I got prior written approval from the HOA to do so.

So there.

I took this picture a week or so ago. The day lilies started blooming a few days later.

Maple tree, day lilies

I also planted a window box, for which I didn’t need my HOA’s permission. There are celosia and sweet potato vines in the box, and a cat in the window.

celosia, sweet potato

Stay tuned…

p.s. I shared this at Chic On A Shoestring.

 

The Front Yard

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Hmmm, my cottage seems to be falling down around my ears. My clothes dryer is screeching, the dishwasher door won’t latch (wash dishes by hand? Oh the humanity!), the Amazon Fire TV doesn’t work, and the gas fireplace has been on the fritz for months.

And besides that, all my light bulbs seem to be burning out. My BFF “G” always replaces my burned-out bulbs when she visits. I call her (cue dramatic music) “The Bringer of Light”.

See, I have a little bit of a fear of heights. Well, actually, it’s a fear of depths. It’s not the fall, it’s the landing on the hard surface below that scares me.

So what did I do last weekend? I worked in the front garden. I weeded around Rocky 2, my maple tree. Then I put mulch in the bare spots. I looked at Rocky’s leaves and found them full of little red blisters. Uh oh, that can’t be good.

The Google says they’re the tree’s natural defense against mites. There’s no spray or anything to kill the mites, and they don’t do permanent damage. You just have to keep the tree healthy and well-hydrated so it can fight them off by itself.

Oh, hydrating the tree is kind of a problem. I’m really bad at hydrating.

I have a water spigot on the front of the house and one on the back. The valves that control the water flow have to be shut off every winter, to keep the pipes from freezing. Then the valves have to be turned on in the spring.

The problem is that the valves are in the very crowded utility closet. They’re near the floor, between the water heater and the furnace, and behind the water softener. I use a long pipe to reach in and turn on the valve for the back spigot. But for the last few years, I haven’t been able to find the valve for the front spigot.

Utility closet

It seems to have totally disappeared. I just don’t understand how that happens. After turning both valves on and off every year for ten years, how does one just disappear?

So I linked three heavy, dirty hoses together and ran them from the back yard to the front yard. I soaked the ground around Rocky’s feet for a good hour. Then I coiled all three hoses back up and put them away.

And then… it rained.

Stay tuned…

p.s. OH MY GODDESS! The second valve is behind the big copper pipe, by the yellow tag, isn’t it? I’ll have water at the front now!

Damn, it’s nasty in there.

Utility Closet Close-up

 

 

 

 

 

 

Necklace Repairs

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While I was on vacation in Nashville a couple of weeks ago, I looked for a pretty blue necklace that made my heart sing. No luck. I found nothing.

When I got home, I looked at the blue necklaces I already had. They needed some rework, so I took care of that this weekend.

I bought the first necklace in Morocco, umpty-eleven years ago. It’s lapis and turquoise. The necklace is a little short, and the hook scratched my neck, so I haven’t worn it very much.

Moroccan necklace #1

I removed the hook, and tied a piece of ribbon to each end of the necklace. Then I tied the loose end of the ribbon to the opposite ribbon. This made the length adjustable.

Moroccan necklace #2

Here’s the finished, more wearable piece.

Moroccan necklace #3

Next, I pulled out a fetish necklace that my BFF “L” had given me. It had belonged to her late mom, Snooks, and it was lapis and azurite with hand-carved dolphin fetishes. The necklace’s clasp had broken one day while I was wearing it.

I restrung the entire necklace, except for two dolphins. I made a pair of earrings from those (hanging from the neck of the shirt).

Fetish necklace

Last, but not least, I repaired a broken blue-green necklace. One of the chains had broken loose on one side, so I just reconnected it. Easy-peasy.

Aqua necklace

Now I have three new-old necklaces, and one new pair of earrings. Cost: $0. (Earring hooks and bead wire were already in my stash.)

By the way, I earned $98.50 in May from my rummage sale items. Not bad! I might try to sell something on E-bay to make extra money in June. There is a rumor going around work that overtime is imminent, so we’ll see.

Stay tuned…

p.s. I shared this at Chic On a Shoestring.