Friday, August 21, 2009

Jacksonville and Caffiene Withdrawal

My oldest sister Kat and her husband Larry moved into our parents house to help momma with her daily needs. Momma had a severe lung infection that took months of strong medication, but although she has recovered, the combination of her weak heart and that infection really took a toll on momma's strength and she has become pretty housebound. Daddy needs somebody to take care of him too, as he is a typically helpless 79 year old man, spoiled to pieces by momma. So, when Kat and Larry want to go out of town, like this long weekend, to visit family in the Pensacola area of Florida, I come up and take over. Kat and Larry are excited about going out into the Gulf on his son's boat, visiting family and their grandchildren.

Mom and Daddy drink decaf coffee, and this is my second day here, without my caffiene. I didn't realize how addicted I have become, with a pretty intense headache today. I fished a Coke out of the fridge and poured myself a glass, and along with some Tylenol, I hope to feel better quickly. Maybe I'll make an espresso if this coke doesn't work.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Juliet has been "Fixed"

Juliet turned 1 on August 8th and I took Juliet in on Friday the 14th to be spayed. We picked her up Saturday morning and she was VERY excited to see Mark and me, crawling all over both of us. When she's active, she is unaware that she had major surgery, but at night she still whimper/sighs if she moves around, and needs to go outside around 3 in the morning, always fun for me. I'm scared of the spooky creepy monsters that lurk outside in the dark. We have woods in our back yard, a pond in the front, and the animals go through my yard. I'm also afraid an owl will swoop down and steal away with Juliet, but she is getting bigger! The vet said she is an even five pounds now, and he told us that she is slim and trim and perfectly healthy.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Flying to the Mountains!

Yesterday Mark and I made reservations to fly to NC August 30-Sept.3. We're just homesick for Beech Mountain. Last night we went out to dinner with Mark's cousin John and his wife Kris, and they decided to join us! I made their flight reservations on my iPhone on the drive to the restaurant. I'm looking forward to this trip. We'll fly up and rent a car.

David and Robert will stay home, go to school. and take care of the dog.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Kitchen Mercy Dump

On Tuesday I posted a craigslist ad to get rid of a porch-load of demanding and thirsty houseplants and a wooden glider. I was tired of repotting, sweeping under, and watering them, and sitting in the glider made me feel sea sick. My post brought me a new friend, a 30ish sweet girl named Jamie, who reminded me a lot of my two nieces. In our conversation I learned that she and her husband have 4 elementary aged children and she recently lost her job. Jamie was thrilled to get the plants, and she asked me if there was anything she could do to repay me. Funny she should ask, as I was wishing to find someone that would help me organize and take away about half the food I had in my pantry and freezers. Jamie hit the jackpot!

Today we got to work, emptying and cleaning out the pantry - a double-sized closet with bi-fold doors, that was loaded to the gills. We arranged the items I wanted to keep into a more convenient order. Crock pot, mixer, and electronics went on the bottom shelf (off the floor), with canisters. Less used items like the Christmas cookie shooter and the fondue set went on the top shelf with lunch boxes and paper napkins. The middle two shelves hold the groceries. Besides tons of canned food, doubles of syrup, mayo, ketsup, and everything else I duplicated because the pantry was such a wreck that I didn't know what I had, I gave Jamie everything boxed and instant. She also went home with a spare crock pot (she didn't have one), and some other kitchen electronics I no longer use. We filled her trunk!

The fridge was easy to clean, just reorganizing. We threw away a lot of outdated food and things like funny-colored olives. The freezer was scary. We took two coolers, one for her and one for me, and sorted, sorted, sorted. I am extremely pleased to tell everyone that the only thing in my garage chest freezer is bird seed (the squirrels get into the bags in the garage) and two big bags of fridge/freezer trash that will be thrown out on Monday. Jamie went home with her cooler filled, plus a garbage bag full of fridge/freezer items. It was a great day for both of us!

Squirrels are My Dog's New Friends

I got a bird feeder for songbirds that holds only sunflower seeds and hung it from a metal pole outside the family room window. The birds haven't noticed it, but the squirrels love it! Juliet stands at the window and makes all sorts of noises, none of which are barks to scare the squirrels away. Regulars are Lumpy (he has tumors), Big Momma, Slim (he won't be for long!), Bubba (in the picture), and Grandma. The males eat and run, but the females are curious and will sometimes hang on the screen or sit on the window ledge to look at the dog. Juliet wants to play, and when she pounces on the window, the squirrels take off. The nice thing about this feeder is, they can only pull one seed at a time from the screen container, so it lasts. Last night a bear came and dumped our garbage can all over the yard and mutilated the seed feeder. Mark cleaned the garbage up while I bent the damaged feeder back into shape. Lesson learned, we'll bring both into the garage tonight.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

My Busy Day

It feels like I've broken a bone in my foot...all the feelings of a break, but without any swelling or bruising, so go figure. Maybe the joint has deteriorated to the point that the bone disconnected. My pinkie toe doesn't move when I will it to. After a restless night, I was miserable this morning, but tonight things are much more tolerable.

Today was a busy day for clearing stuff out. Sure, my foot is a pain (hah!), but life goes on. I cleared out the cabinet over the stove. Standing on a ladder, I found a bunch of junk that the tall men in my life have stashed up there...cough drops melted with age, kitten formula that expired in 1999, ancient sunblock, and dozens of rolls of Ace bandages. I kept what we needed and then filled the trash can. Now it's home to a glass teapot and teacups with diffusers. I don't want to drag a chair over, I can always ask a giant to reach.

I have a green thumb and my houseplants are taking over! With two porches full of hungry overgrown plants, I just couldn't face repotting. In fact, I decided don't want plants anymore! I put an ad in craigslist for free house plants and posted some pictures of a couple of plants, plus a glider/rocker that I a friend gave me, but I decided I didn't want it either. Gliders make me seasick.

The nicest young lady replied to my online post and happily drove off with a truckload of potted plants. She has two very well behaved little boys, and offered to "do anything" to repay me. I've been dreading cleaning out my overflowing pantry and freezer, and so this is truly her lucky day. She plans to come by tomorrow or the next day with a big cooler and boxes and will go home with quite a bit of food. After recently losing her job, and with little boys at home, she was overjoyed at the prospect of free groceries.

For dinner tonight I made a chili-potato bake that Rachael Ray made today on TV, served with a simple lettuce salad and homemade buttermilk ranch dressing. It was unusual, as I normally try to avoid potatoes and additional starches in our meals. Everybody liked it, but Mark complained about the kidney beans. For dessert we had carrot cake that Mark brought home yesterday. It looked alot like the Spanish Bar Cakes that daddy used to often buy when I was a kid, except this one had an icing carrot decoration on top.

My dog Juliet is taking weekly AKC dog behavior classes. Being a four-pound peanut, training is difficult for me. Other dogs in this class are a german shepherd, boxer, bishon, a herding dog, and a few other mid-sized dogs, but no other tiny Yorkie doglets like Juliet. The instructor tells us to hold a piece of treat in front of the dog's nose and lead them across the room at your left ankle. Have you ever walked across a room holding a piece of chicken four inches from the floor? Use your imagination - my rear end high in the air, all the way across the room. Not very ladylike, and terribly uncomfortable. After watching a dog training show tonight on TV, I got an idea! A quick trip to Lowes, and now we have a half-inch dowel with a small ping-pong sized rubber ball on the end. She follows it anywhere I point it! " Juliet, sit!" plop. "Juliet, down." plop. "Juliet, walk with me." walk walk walk, right at my left ankle. The stick is a charm! She loves it and understands to follow it. I can't wait for tomorrow night's class!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Rearranging Furniture

Mark doesn't like change, and that includes the placement of furniture, and what could have been a joyous day of happy change, well, hasn't. I didn't want another recliner, but Mark grew tired of sharing his and insisted that we needed two. Isn't that what 70-year old couples have?? I have wanted to rearrange the family room furniture for ages, but am physically unable, so this was the perfect opportunity, and I made a deal!

I am the perfect wife for a thrifty man! I don't want surround sound, with its ear-rattling bass. I'm not interested in a complicated sound system. I don't care if the TV is HD LCD, and can't see or hear any difference. A nice radio and a normal TV is fine with me! Mark just loves his huge television with all the bells and whistles. We have surround sound that rattles the rafters, and I'm counting SIX electronic component boxes stacked up on one of two matching shelf stands that compliment the TV stand, bought as a set when we got the huge LCD HD monster. In addition to all those components, we have speakers on shelves, speakers on stands and a bass speaker under the table. It glows at night like a spaceship in the family room; six different digital clocks displaying six different incorrect times, and some of them just blinking 12:00. I'm thinking some black electrical tape would fix this problem!

I want a pleasant view when one enters the family room, and it only makes sense that the ugly shelves of components should be moved to the opposite wall, a switcheroo with a matching shelf unit of pretties. I don't love to dust, so I don't have a lot of chatchskis, just these few special things: a set of sweet ceramic bird/plant bookends momma bought me, flock (haha) a handful of useful books - Etiquitte, Home fix-it, Foxfire 1 & 2, Small Batch Baking, Florida one-day trips, etc., a wooden bowl my cousin made, a small flat handcarved loon purchased on a long-ago trip to beautiful New Hampshire, a realistic ceremic blue jay with his tail and wings out, protecting a ripe raspberry (a gift from Mark's dad just before he died in 1984), some silk greenery in handthrown pottery made by a friend as a wedding gift, and a decorative plate my dad gave me of an old-fashioned gas station that reminded him of his boyhood days. It's an unlikely combination, but these things are precious to me.

The component shelves and miles of wires need to be moved! Met with resistance and a stubborn, "Looks fine to me," this part of the furniture moving will be done solo. If their TV and stereo won't work anymore, I guess the men in my house will have to figure it out. I'll just smile at the perfect arrangement of furniture and say something like, "Guess you should have helped," as I tap away on my little latop from this very ugly -but extremely comfortable new recliner.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Helping Kat

Still in Jacksonville. Mark came in town for the weekend and I'm still here. I have helped Kat with laundry, cleaned out he fridge, freezer and deep freeze. Tomorrow morning we'll clean out the pantry, scrub it down, and put back what we'll keep. Then I'll drive home.