Sunday, April 15, 2018

I'd like to report a crime

Officer? I'd like to report a crime. Yes, a kidnapping. No ransom demand, but I know hundreds of thousands of people who would pay anything - anything - for her return. The kidnapee? Oh - Spring. No, not a person, the season.

On the bright side, we have not been hit as badly as places north. If you drive three hours up to Green Bay (just kidding, you can't right now, the roads are treacherous and almost impassable), you would find record-setting snow totals from this rather long duration storm. On top of what they received the last couple of days, they expect another 6 - 12" throughout the day today. To add insult to injury, there is a strong possibility of flooding along lakeshore properties, as the wind is gusting 25 - 40 miles per hour.

In Milwaukee, we woke up to about an inch of wet, heavy slush, with a nice slick coating of ice underneath. I did go out to get something for breakfast (I've been off since noon on Wednesday, and other than picking up a grocery order Thursday afternoon, have not been out of the house...feeling a bit stir crazy), and had a bit of difficulty getting out of my own driveway. Both coming and going, I needed to back up and get a running start to get over the plowed rim. Usually, it would not have been an issue, but remember - heavy and slushy. The intersections were a mess as well, with high plowed ridges crisscrossing the center.

The salters were out, but the roads were bad enough that a lot of churches, including my own, canceled at least the early services. Smart move.

Now, of course, it is...snowing. Big, fat, wet flakes. The weatherpeople are still claiming we are only getting about three inches accumulation overall. They are lying liarpants.

As I mentioned, I took vacation days Thursday and Friday. It pretty much rained continuously from Thursday night on, so I've spent much of the last days in the kitchen, or lazing in the recliner reading (Martha Grimes' new Richard Jury mystery). On Friday, I cooked a largish turkey breast and stripped the meat from the bones. Some was dinner that night, some went into a salad on Saturday, just over a pound was frozen and the rest was set aside while I cooked the carcass to make stock. The resulting turkey soup is about the best batch I think I've ever made, and perfect for weather like this.

Wednesday's temperature is going into the high forties, which means most of this, other than the compacted plowed piles, will dissolve into a wet mess. Somewhere underneath, spring must be hiding. At least we hope that's where she is, rather than lazing on beach in Boca with no inclination to come back north.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Spring cleaning

Spring is such a wonderful time...flowers popping, birds returning...outside winter detritus to clean up.

It's also my busiest time at work, all the way through May 15th. Any "free" time I have is spent either sleeping or taking care of basic things like eating and washing clothes.

It's no wonder cleaning up outside falls to the bottom of the list. I've been telling myself (and others) I want to pressure wash the patio for the last, well, several years. Still hasn't been done.

Then there is the wall of stuff in the parking bay that the previous owners left...a shelving unit, a metal cabinet and a bunch of garden hose. So much garden hose.

I am part of one of those neighborhood list things, that is generally people whining about people on their lawn, spying on every stranger in the neighborhood, or trying to sell things. Every so often, though, it has its good points. A local college student, home on spring break, who has worked summer in landscaping, offered his services to pressure wash, haul garbage or do landscaping.

Seemed like a sign to me.

We met up this afternoon so he could see the job and give me a quote. Bottom line, he's doing the pressure washing, the junk hauling AND the high outside windows for less than some of the quote I got a bit ago from "junk" companies just for hauling the junk. And I have the pleasure of knowing I'm helping a very enterprising young man.

And he brings his own pressure washer.

Big sigh of relief. It's nice to know that when it lets up at work, I can just bring up the umbrella and the grill and get started relaxing. There are still some gardening type things to do, but that falls under "puttering" rather than "work".

Now, the inside spring cleaning...

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Lists Day Twenty-two: Things I'm Saving For

- Renovation of bathrooms and kitchen - I have the HELOC available, but I'd like to pay cash for as much as possible. I'm hoping to start the full remodel process after Christmas this year. Meanwhile, I'm working on smaller projects.

- Retirement - I keep upping the percentage of my check going into the retirement plan. While I keep saying I have to work until I'm dead (and in some ways, that is true - I can't imagine not working at all), at some point, I do hope to retire from the full time grind.

That is pretty much it at the moment, as they are rather high-ticket items.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Lists Day Twenty-one:To-do list

Seems I did a good part of this with yesterday's prompt. I am apparently more geared to "get things done" than "relax and enjoy the season".

A sample, then, of things on the current to-do list:

- Make shepherd's pie for dinner from the left over chuck roast, with mushroom and onions
- Cook broccoli and green beans (separately, in the InstantPot) to have for dinners for the next week
- Hard boil eggs (also InstantPot)
- Sweep kitchen
- Take clean laundry to the loft; hang, fold and put away all
- Put away recent fabric order; add kits to project list
- Set up coffee timer for tomorrow; pack breakfast and lunch
- Straighten living room, do quick vacuum

It may or may not all get done. Better to aim high and miss than go home and be a slug.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Lists Day Twenty: Things To Do This Spring

You really don't want to see my to-do list for this season.

Too late. Here is part of it:

- Take both sewing machines in for cleaning

- Power wash patio

- Trim lilac bush

- Wash outside windows

- Wash inside windows

- Plant flowers in urns

- Bring up the grill, table umbrella, charcoal, hose reel and hose

- Fix the flag bracket

- Install the solar light for the flag

- Purchase and have installed new outdoor lights next to front door and on patio

- Put out R/W/B wreath and hanging

- Evaluate options for a CSA

- Road trip for strawberries

- Any kind of road trip, just to be out in the sunshine with the moonroof open and the tunes turned up.

- Dewey's Read-a-thon April 28th.

There is so much more...

Monday, March 19, 2018

Lists Day Nineteen: Places I've Been

- Montreal, Quebec, Canada, for the World's Fair in 1967

- St. Maarten/St. Martin, while on a cruise. Gorgeous island.

- St. Thomas, on the same cruise...tourist trap.

- Nogales, Mexico, visiting a huge flea market, while staying in...

- Tuscon, Arizona, visiting friends.

- Lawrence, Kansas, to take the same friends' kids from Milwaukee to Lawrence (they had been here with their grandparents...nothing like an early morning flight with three kids under five. Thank heaven for the kind, patient Japanese businessman in the row behind us!)

- Newark, New Jersey, visiting the same friends (they moved a lot).

- New York City, for one evening, to see an off-Broadway play (with the friend from the previous lines, who is my "theatre" friend, and the best friend mentioned in the previous post)(she and her family appear to be most of my reason for personal travel. They live in Maryland now...may be time to visit again.)

- Belton, Missouri, where my (different) best friend moved for several years to help take care of her grandkids while her son was in seminary. While in Belton, we drove to Kansas City for dinner, and drove past the KC home of the IRS. Thrilling times, folks.

- New Orleans, where I've been to conferences three different times. The first time, I took some extra days at the beginning and end, to have fun in the city.

- Baltimore, St. Louis, Orlando, Tampa all for conferences.

- A whole lot of places around the state. Truly, I prefer local travel. The one that sticks out is a weekend in a cabin on a lake near Wisconsin Dells with three friends. The cabin literally hung off a hillside over the lake. Peaceful, beautiful.

Lists Day Eighteen: Favorite Memories

Ah! Finally a list that I can sink my teeth into (provided I can remember anything...)

- Getting a 103 on a college math test (would have been 105 (100 + the 5 available bonus points), but I changed an answer on a definition - I've made it a policy not to change answers since then).

- A college English prof calling me to tell me the class grade she had told me (last day of class she actually let us know what our final grade would be) was the wrong one, and as a result, I did indeed have a straight-A semester (with 21 credits, no less)

- Maybe not favorite, but funniest...my first plane flight was a commuter hop from here to Chicago, the first leg of a trip to Tucson. The plane was delayed an hour or so, and then ended up filled with drunk Chicago White Sox fans (it was opening day for the Brewers, who played the White Sox...I guess flying was less of a hassle than sitting in traffic?)

- Being cast as the lead in the play my senior year of high school. Everyone (and I mean everyone) expected the lead to go to my best friend. Turns out she would rather be the student stage manager.

- A Christmas tree skirt I quilted taking first prize in its category at the State Fair.

- Meeting someone who would become a good friend on a 6 a.m. bus ride to the Chicago planetarium (college field trip...who on earth expects college students to make a 6 a.m. bus ride?)

- Watching the performance of the Sunday School musical - I'd directed the acting, a friend directed the choir.

- A women's Bible study I was part of after college.

- First night in my flat.

- Walking into the condo after the closing, realizing it was really mine (well, 6% mine and 94% the bank's).

- A weekend with friends in a cabin near Wisconsin Dells. It started with an unexpected dip in the lake by everyone but me (note to self: never say "If you fall in, I'm just going to stand here and laugh" when your friends are trying to get into a canoe). The entire weekend was laughter filled.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Lists Day Seventeen: Celebrities to Meet

Really? In no particular order, without thinking about it:

- Martha Grimes
- Larry Correia
- George RR Martin (just long enough to tell him to get back to writing)
- Adam Baldwin (not *that* one, the other one)
- Kevin Sorbo
- Zoe, Jonah Goldberg's dog (it just says "celebrities", doesn't specify species)
- Pippa, Jonah's other dog (fastest butt wiggle in canine history)
- Mario Andretti (wait, been there, done that)
- Condoleeza Rice

Eh, I hate this kind of thing. I'm not much into the whole celebrity culture thing.