Monday, April 30, 2012

And what have we learned today…?

Last night as I was settling into an evening plan that featured a shower, knitting and something martial arts-y on Netflix, someone came upstairs and said the husband wanted me out in front of the house.

For something that wasn’t good.

I was expecting something like a broken tool in the garage, or a fallen-over fence part, or even a stolen lawnmower.

I was not expecting that one of the Denizens had thrown a toy gemstone toward the neighbor’s lawn, instead pitching it into the back window of another neighbor’s Explorer – shattering it in a glorious shower of safety glass nuggets.

Holy Crap, Child!

(And right here I have to own up to a peculiarly bizarre form of pride, because one of my first coherent thoughts upon witnessing this and hefting the Implement of Destruction in my hand, was Wow…I had no idea she had that good an arm on her! Not bad, kiddo! – and then I was all, No! No, Tama! BAD THINKING! You are supposed to be all angry and saddened and SERIOUS right now, not thinking that maybe what this kid needs most is to do time on a baseball time to learn how to AIM a little better…!)

(I am dying to get the girls into some form of sports. They don’t “do” sports. They do chess club and book club and art club, but nothing that involves running / kicking / throwing / sweating. This is called “being exactly like their father at that age.” Whereas I was one of those kids who had to have the {volley, base, basket, foot} ball pried out of her claw-like hands at night and be dragged home kicking and screaming the whole way about how unfair it all was. STUPID DINNER, WHO NEEDS IT, I WAS GONNA WIN!!!)

So I put on Serious Face and made Serious Noises. And I felt bad for Danger Mouse, because she’s crying and embarrassed as all @*^&@, and has that look that clearly says, “Why won’t the earth just open up and swallow me right now?!”

I finally sent her into the house to have a little witness-free panic attack while we grownups stood around and talked about kids today and how they all do that and making arrangement with the neighbors to take ownership of their out of pocket costs for replacing it, and so on and so on.

These neighbors, by the way, are a “no kids” household. Which was part of the reason the kids were all terrified about having broken out one of their windows. We have told them approximately 32 million times to stay the heck away from that house. Right now, there is a (guesstimate) 30-foot boat (not theirs, but parked right there nonetheless because of course it is!), an equally enormous RV, two Corvettes, the Explorer, a vintage VW bug and a very new Civic hybrid in and around that driveway.

It’s just not a good place for a pack of children to be getting all wild and crazy, you know?

They are not “kid people,” either. They’re nice folks and don’t have any active dislike for children, but they’re also not people who are like, um, well, me.

I dote and fawn and forgive just about anything kids get into, really. They’re going to be messy and noisy and obnoxious, they break things and eat stuff you were saving for something else. It’s sometimes really hard for me to act like The Mom©, too; I mean, how do I look them in the eye and be all, “That was wrong, girls, very wrong indeed…!” about something I did about eight thousand times myself at their ages?

They’re more of the “I guess we’ll just have to tolerate this for a while, until they all grow up and leave” variety. And we try to keep the kids from frolicking around their stuff, but at the same time…kids are like cats that way.

Have you ever noticed that if there is one person in an entire crowd of people who has a dislike for cats that borders on a phobia, and there is a cat anywhere in the vicinity, the varmint will hone in on that one person and begin making all kinds of love at them?

Kids do that with people who don’t really like kids, too. My youngsters had to be watched like hawks whenever they had sidewalk chalk, because the little Rembrandts would migrate themselves to the one driveway in the court that was acid-washed annually to keep it in like-new gray glory (whereas the rest of us go with the mottled “interesting patterns created by allowing crap to Just Sit on your driveway, like, FOREVER, instead of sweeping it regularly strategically allowing certain natural elements to imprint random dyes into the concrete over time” look).


Well…it’s probably going to be a rather pricy way to learn a lesson about thinking about what is going to happen before the object has left your hand – which is, frankly, not one of Danger Mouse’s stronger points. She will still do the darnedest things, only realizing it was a terrible idea after the goats are running around downtown eating the petunias and pooping on the sidewalks.

And I think an excellent way to reinforce that lesson would be to sign her up for a season of baseball. If you wanna be throwing things, here’s a few pointers, honey…

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Never a dull moment...more's the pity...

OK, OK, I admit it: I was kind of looking forward to a protracted period of “puttering around.” With the job market still on the “meh” side overall, and with my last week (my first week of actually contacting people about job possibilities instead of merely thinking about doing so) ending with only one interview actually scheduled, I had even held a small celebration inside my head. Lookin’ good for a couple MONTHS of this sleeping-in, puttering-around, organizing-EVERYTHING thing, woot!

Someday, I expect that I will learn to never, ever do such things; to never congratulate myself on having pulled something / anything off, or decide that this will happen in just so a way…and certainly not to make any acknowledgement of seeming success, even in the silence of my own mind.

BECAUSE, well, y’all can probably guess what started happening, right?

I spent most of the day Friday loading a borrowed pickup truck with dirt and masonry; when I finally called it a day, I was feeling really yucky so I just sort of flopped…and didn’t notice that I had, I kid you not, fourteen missed calls.

FOURTEEN. And ten of them left voicemail messages that I didn’t return until Monday. Oops.

It has not gotten any better in the meantime. I have now come to a point where I have my phone set to silent and am simply not picking up calls from numbers I don’t recognize. My email is a scary place to visit.

I have had seven interviews already this week, and was actually happy that the one I had scheduled for today got cancelled yesterday. Sweet! A whole day to mull over what I already have on offer!!

(Or catch up on my blog reading. Either way.)

Just a hunch…but I strongly suspect I will be back to work rather quickly.

Which has me in this weird head-space where I’m torn between do nothing and do everything.

Part of me wants to have everything in the whole entire house cleaned / organized / purged / put away ASAP. Once I’m back to work, I know my available time for Such Things is going to return to being “sharply limited” again.

Part of me just wants to sit here knitting and watching stuff on Netflix all day. With occasional pauses to walk around the garden looking like I know what I’m doing, bake something, or play video games. Because I also know my time for that kind of thing is going to be even more limited and dammit…it feels pretty nice. I could get used to sleeping in, loafing around, and taking inclement weather as sign that God approves of the work I’ve already done, so I should go ahead and slack off now. (Thank you, God! Love you! Mean it!)

I’m 99% sure I know which thing I’m going to be taking. And I’m 99% sure that if I do take it, I’m going to find myself so fully absorbed in it that I’ll be right back where I was at the end of my work for MegaBank – having trouble disengaging from it at the end of the day, with saying, “That’s enough for this week, let’s pack it in and do something else now!”

It’s the database version of ‘one more row’ syndrome, really; I just wanna get this one more thing figured out, I just wanna get five seconds more shaved off this query, I just wanna fix this one last report.

…lemme just check that real quick…{three hours pass}

Well…at least I’m not bored, right? Which is good, because y’all know how I feel about being bored…and besides, when I am bored, I get dangerous, because I start coming up with all kinds of great ideas that will inevitably lead to shovels, hammers, rakes, wheelbarrows, lots of sweat and grime and other things that can only be called “fun” if you are playing the Opposite Game.

It’s going to be yet another interesting year around here, I suspect…

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Crazy + Spring

GUESS WHAT? It’s spring.

GUESS WHAT ELSE? I am crazy.

Spring + Crazy =

20120414_weeds, Uploaded from the Photobucket Android App
Yeah, GOT to do something about all those WEEDS…

20120414_afterweeds, Uploaded from the Photobucket Android App
Ah, that’s better…

20120414_bricks, Uploaded from the Photobucket Android App
Argh, my TOE! How long are these things going to SIT here, anyway? Been, what, like, three YEARS now or something?!?!

20120414_afterweeds, Uploaded from the Photobucket Android App

20120414_box, Uploaded from the Photobucket Android App
THERE you go!

This is what spring tends to look like around here; as we were building a second, smaller box with (almost all) of the remaining bricks, I asked the husband (rhetorically, since I already knew the answer) if All This would ever be, you know, done. Would I ever, ever have a “finished” yard?

He, of course, responded by giving me A Look, laughing, and saying, “Um, no. You will never stop tweaking and fiddling around with stuff out here.”

Sigh. He’s undoubtedly right. But I have to say, my empire is beginning to resign itself to being under my rule again. We have artichokes.

20120414_big_artie, Uploaded from the Photobucket Android App

And cherries starting to form.

20120414_raniers, Uploaded from the Photobucket Android App

And baby apples.

20120414_apples, Uploaded from the Photobucket Android App

Brussel sprouts (with bonus potato, because of course a potato plant came up).

Uploaded from the Photobucket Android App

Beets and bell peppers and a few stray carrots.

20120414_add_bells, Uploaded from the Photobucket Android App

And even a few wheat stalks that survived the Bird Invasion of Just After Planting Time.

20120414_wheat, Uploaded from the Photobucket Android App

20120414_wheat, Uploaded from the Photobucket Android App

I planted some corn and pumpkin among the wheat, and bordered the whole bed with yellow onion sets; later, I’ll drop some scarlet runner beans among the corn and let them climb in and around the stalks.

There are twenty-four roma plants in the back bed, with basil planted all around them, and four Blue Nile potato bushes in the apparently now Forever Blue Nile Potato Bed. (There is also what I’m pretty sure is another Blue Nile bush growing in the compost bin. Heh. Persistent little dickens, ain’t they?!) Four cucumbers in the front box. Two container zucchini flanking the sliding glass door. Peas all around the Found Object, with a curving of pak choi around it.

There are bush cherries coming to go along the sunny back fence, and a morel habitat to take up residence along the dark-side side fence…we’ve already been finding a few morels back there for the last few years (I KNOW, RIGHT?!?!), so I figured since they obviously already like it back there, we’d go ahead and spore the dickens out of it and see what happens.

The blackberries have been gently tied up to their new trellis. The second brick-box is full of butternut squash (which I’m going to encourage up a tripod as it begins to vine and get all crazy like it always does), and the first one shown above is being held for the strawberries that are on the way. Stuben yellow eyed beans are all around the bean towers, soon to be climbing up the strings in determined vines.

Hopefully, tomorrow I’ll finish scraping the old mulch from the big patch around the play structure, and drop the watermelons into the back part, and okra and spinach around it.

A small army of heirloom tomatoes are waiting for their enormous pots and why-are-these-so-complicated cages.

Uploaded from the Photobucket Android App

There are also jalapenos, and lettuce, and a tremendous variety of herbs and flowers waiting to be planted. A few pots of ginger to be started. More potatoes to be planted.

Oh. And then, something will have to be created with these.

Uploaded from the Photobucket Android App

Ah, Freecycle, how I love thee…

Uploaded from the Photobucket Android App
About 27 retaining wall blocks worth, at the moment…I’m thinking Herb Garden, y’all…!

Friday, April 13, 2012

A week of mostly nothing

It has been raining all week. Which is awesome because here in California, we can use all the water we can get, thank you very much…but at the same time, was a little bit meh for me personally because I have an awful lot of gardening I wanted to do this week, since (according to theory) next week I’ll be getting serious about getting a new contract or something.

The reason I have that “according to theory” in there is, well, this just in: The novelty of staying in bed until a ludicrous hour in the morning still hasn’t worn off for me. This morning, I even got up and then went back to bed to wait for my cold medicine to kick in.

Yes. The cold, it is trying to make a comeback. I am furious, because NO, PLEASE, I ALREADY-ED on the whole having-a-cold-thing.

But at the same time, I have to admit: If it weren’t for the headache/body ache/sinus-pain-and-pressure parts? It would be worth it, just for that ability to holler out the bedroom door, “I dink mah cobd ib back…iz goink badh do bebd!”

Luxury: It has many faces.

SPEAKING OF…on my last day at MegaBank, we did indeed go to Art Fibers. And my coworker (just one person!!!) bought me this.

Carezza #3
~1,000 yards of Carezza, 30% silk, 30% baby alpaca, 40% extra-fine merino…rather on the pricier-than-I-would-generally-buy side!!

Now, people…this was a ludicrously costly sort of going-away present to buy somebody, and I wasn’t going to let her do it; at the very least, I was going to get just enough for a nice scarf or something.

But…well…you’d have to know this lady. Trying to make her not do something she is dead set on doing is kind of like telling an oak tree not to drop acorns on your lawn anymore. And will go about as well for you. Except you’ll have to make the oak tree rather vocal and fast-moving instead of being, well, a tree.

They mostly just stand there and ignore you. She doesn’t really do that. She just charges ahead and the only way to stop her would be to get extremely vocal and pushy right back.

And I am not an overtly aggressive person.


I am passive aggressive.

Which is why I was already plotting my revenge on the walk back to the office, and it involved some moderately-hot-pink cashmere/merino wool and…a pattern of some sort…revenge, it shall be mine, miiiiiiiine, bwahahaha…

So, since I was thinking, you know, like, “hat and hand-warmers of some sort,” obviously I started with this, which is a shawl/scarf (what? I find this to be a perfectly logical start to a hat + gloves set!) called Flowers on the Edge - a free pattern download via Ravelry.

Flowers on the Edge

It’s proving to be a very agreeable knit. The pattern is easy enough to be done while watching a movie, but also interesting enough that I’m not clawing at my face groaning, “When will I be done with this, u-g-h, why did I START this, oooooooo, I hates it…!!!!”

And the yarn is lovely. It’s a Newton Yarn Country score from last year’s Stitches convention, and is positively luscious…it just has an incredible feel to it: soft and warm, and knitting up very light.

And it’s a very pink sort of pink. Which is her favorite color. See? Revenge! Mine! Shall be! Bwahaha!

Meanwhile in other other news…did you know how easy it is to make paneer? (Which is that soft cheese in some Indian dishes, like saag paneer, which is like a sometimes-spicy creamed spinach with a soft cheese in it?)

Eight cups of milk, heated to boiling.

Hot milk

Add lemon juice about a tablespoon at a time until it starts to curdle – it took about half a cup altogether for my eight cups of milk to get to this point, using lemon juice courtesy of our tree (which unlike bottled juice is subject to having more variety in terms of acid content – hence the ‘one tablespoon at a time’ part instead of “dump in half a cup of lemon juice and be done with it”).


Pour the resulting curds and whey through a couple layers of cheesecloth to drain; if you catch the whey, you can use it to make bread (I made some naan with some of the whey from this)…it can also be used as a substitute for buttermilk.

gross curds
Yeah, I think that looks a bit gross, too…

Add salt to taste, then form it into a square-ish thing that is about 1” thick.


Now, this is the part that uses some pretty darned fancy kitchen tools, ONLY available for $$$$$$ from high-end kitchen stores. I’m sorry. There’s really no way around it…if you want to press the cheese into a firm block, you’re going to need something like this.

Jury rig du jour
OK, fine, yes…it’s a cheap Target tea kettle full of water and two equally cheap plastic cutting boards. And yes, the dish rack is pretty much ALWAYS that full. 24/7, 365 days a year.

If that looks a little crooked – it is. That way, the whey being pressed out by the SUPER FANCY AND EXPENSIVE CHEESE WEIGHTING DEVICE (ahem) runs into the sink, rather than pooling up around the cheese.

Wait a couple hours, and then you can either cube it up and toss it into your saag paneer (or whatever) or put it in the fridge to continue firming and even ripening a bit…eaten right away, it’s very mild to the point of having no flavor of its own at all – if it were tofu, you’d think it had “too much” flavor, but if you’re thinking “cheddar,” it’s…not like that at all. More like ricotta (which is exactly what it is, actually…except that pressing it instead of merely draining it, plus using “fresh” milk [that is, not re-using the whey from some other cheese-making exercise, like mozzarella, say] makes it less spread-able and more cube-able).

I threw the cubes into a skillet of hot butter and gave them a quick fry on all sides, removed those from the pan and replaced them with diced onions and garlic, cumin, hot pepper flakes, salt, pepper and some of our home-grown blanched-and-frozen spinach.

And then I put the cheese back into it and called it saag paneer, and ate it with basmati rice and the naan I made with the whey.


(The children…ate naan and rice, recoiled in dramatic horror from the spinach-dish, poked suspiciously at some chicken [like, what, they thought I had stuffed it with spinach when they weren’t looking or something?!] and called it a night. Sigh. Someday, they will voluntarily eat real food, right?!)

Monday, April 09, 2012

Money Monday: April 9, 2012

So. Here we are. A full week after my last day of the contract. The cold has (mostly) run its course, I think I’m almost caught up on sleep, and starting to get into all those things I said I wanted to get into while I was between contracts…one of which was, of course, a more in-depth scrutiny of what-all we accomplished over the last thirty months.

I’ve been a little afraid to look, actually. Math can be rather cruel, you know? You can “believe” that things are “about” here, or that it “should” be about right…but then math comes along and is all, “ACTUALLY, if you subtract 32 from 9? Negative number.”

And no matter how hard you believe, expect, or want it to be otherwise…math is mean that way. Subtracting a number greater than the originating number will result in a negative number. Period. (WAIT! Unless you use ABS(x – y)! I smell loophole…!!!)

I finally screwed my courage to the sticking place and started looking – long, and hard, and with merciless refusal to use any “special” functions [dammit! Another brilliant plan, thwarted!] – at where we were and where we are.

I have to say: I’m rather impressed with what-all we accomplished over the last thirty months. We have paid off…get this…$83,340.69 in assorted non-mortgage debts. I know, right?!

The loan on the van, all the credit cards, and the whopping-huge tax bill I’ve been pissy about for going on four years now are gone, and the larger and nastier of the two medical gotchas is well on its way to being nothing more than a peculiarly angry and frustrating memory.

Yeah…we did good. Which is good, because if we hadn’t I think I might have suffered a complete mental breakdown.

Which leads me to where we are.

On the one hand, we definitely are in a much better position than we were; we’ve got a lot less being forked over in interest and payments, which means we have a much better ability to ride things out while I look for my next Adventure in Employment.

On the other hand, there’s still a fair amount of work to be done. I decided to forgo putting a whole lot of cash into the emergency fund in favor of paying off those debts, so we have a fairly thin bank account balance right now – and we have a lot of goals coming up that are going to be hitting the “write a check” line all too soon.

I looked at Eldest the other day and had one of those moments, you know? She’s off to high school next year, which means that college is only five short years away…and her college fund is woefully inadequate right now. Eep.

I look at our retirement funds and almost want to weep. We are not only behind where we wanted to be, but behind where we should be for “average” retirement savings.

We’re still underwater on the Den, and laughably far away from being able to even dream about moving somewhere with a little land around it.

But, you know…in terms of how things could have gone…we came out pretty darned well, all things considered. When I look at the kinds of things that we have simply absorbed, and how little direct harm we actually took from them…I have to say I feel like I just climbed over a fence, turned around and saw a big old sign on it that says, “Danger: Mine field! Do not enter!”

…wait…sooooo, that field I just walked across…was a…?

The husband is making about 15% less now than he was in 2008; my price book tells me that the cost of stuff like flour, eggs and milk has meanwhile gone up between 18 and 24% in that same time. We’re paying about $700 more a month for healthcare premiums and such, too, which makes it no wonder that I’m finding it awfully hard to yank the ends far enough to, you know, meet.

But when it comes to this household, crazy as we are I can say this one thing for us: We ain’t no bunch of whining crybaby work-fearing wimps. Nobody around here wasted much time sitting around sobbing and carrying on about things – nobody pitched fits about vacations not taken or stuff not bought.

Everybody just pulled up their socks and got to work, did what they needed to do and didn’t fuss about it.

And we did some amazing things.

I’m so proud of this family I could about bust.

I’m also kind of excited about the next phase; this last one was a bit dark and gloomy, actually. I mean, it felt good to be taking a hatchet to all those bills…but at the same time, it was also like endlessly picking at scabs on my knees or something.

Most of those bills were the direct result of something at best ill-advised (and at worst, flat-out stupid) that I’d done…and every time I looked at the bills, it was like taking a little jab, you know?

Yeah…that also was not one of your brightest moves ever, right there…sigh…

When I get started on the next contract, that money will be going into far happier things – into college and retirement funds, into those future dreams, and hey, while we’re at it? Some right here and now stuff too.

Two words for you, people: New. Ovens.

I wants them.

Working ovens, that don’t get to 225 and say, “Eh, that’s close enough to 375 for ya, right?” or zip up to 475 and then go, “I dunno what you’re all pissy about…350, 475, they’re practically identical! Oh, fine then, I’ll just s-l-o-w-l-y lose heat so that in an hour, I’ll be at, like 117, bwahahaha…”

That’s the stuff I couldn’t bring myself to spring for while working on this last contract; I was so determined to pay all that other gloomy stuff off first, get rid of it, make it not be there anymore.

Destroy the evidence, as it were.

Now that I’ve done that, and I’m sitting here with nothing left at over 5% interest, I’m ready to start adding back in those things that are not necessarily “needs”…but which sure would be nice to have, nevertheless.

That was a rather long, steep and dark hill to climb – I’m ready to do a little coasting in the sunshine now.

With maybe a hint of spoiling on the side.

Friday, April 06, 2012


One of the things I wanted to work on while between contracts was taming the paper monster that has begun to grow into this crazy, nine-headed beast with venom-tipped fangs and an unfathomable appetite for storage space.

For the past few years, I’ve tried (and largely failed) to go as paperless as I possibly could – I have most bills set up that way, and try to stay on top of scanning and electronically filing everything I can’t get sent to me electronically.

…but it gets away from me pretty easily, frankly…even with the relatively new printer that has the groovy document feeder, which speeds the whole thing up considerably and allows me a fair amount of multi-tasking ability while things are scanning (as they are right now – tax stuff from 1999, oooo, the EXCITEMENT, can you feel it?!).



Plus also, it is boring. BOR-RING. It’s just babysitting a machine, really, splitting up very large piles of documentation and stuff into smaller piles so that it fits on the feeder, making sure each pile is all the same-sized paper and general paper weight so it doesn’t jam…clearing the inevitable jams that will happen anyway…hand-placing the ones that are weird sizes that won’t make it through the feeder…reviewing the {yawn!} scans to make sure they aren’t, you know, upside-down or hopelessly crooked or blank…and that all the mind-numbingly dull pages are actually there…and then confirming that the scanned document actually saved…blah blah blah {yawn yawn yawn} ugh

I don’t dare do anything that would be more interesting while I do this, like try to play a video game or watch a show and knit while doing this – I know what happens next.

…hang on, I’ve hit the fiddly part with the weird-sized forms that I have to do one at a time by hand, be right back…

Ugh. I hate those. SO irritating. Anyway, where was I…oh yeah. I know what happens if I try to do something more interesting while I’m doing this, and it goes like this: One (1) stack of no more than 25 sheets of paper will get scanned per day.

I will notice that the scanning has stopped “at some point,” but will be caught up in the ‘one more row’ syndrome (here expanded to also include ‘one more level’, or ‘just until the end of this show’)…but rather than actually stopping at the end of $Whatever, I will move straight into the next Whatever, then wander off to make food for everybody or something, and then, when getting ready for bed and preparing to shut down the computer, will find myself confronted with the “add more pages or save to file” message and will then suffer some kind of mental collapse because I have only scanned 0.025% of the stack at that point.

And half of it is one-at-a-time hand-placed fiddly stuff.

And it is now 1:45 in the morning.


And as I’m sitting here…with approximately thirty-seven thousand more neatly organized stacks of crap that fall into that category of “probably will never-ever need to look at again, but, Lord Help You if you need it and can’t produce it”…I find that I’m suddenly remembering why I’ve never quite managed to get around to actually finishing this task before.

It’s because it’s really, really, really boring.

OK! Just wanted to share that!

Happy Easter to those who celebrate – may the returning warmth and light of spring bring hope and joy to one and all!

p.s. Seriously, how the heck many places did I work in 1999…there have to be over a dozen W2 slips in all this…!!!

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

This still counts as ‘working,’ right?

I have a ton of items on my “things it would be really awesome to deal with while I am between contracts and the Denizens are in school / we still have Vanessa the Great handling most of the Crazy” list. Naturally, I have therefore spent the last four days…um…well…I did bake bread yesterday. And cleaned the kitchen. Most of it. Except the parts I skipped.

And I spent almost the entire weekend watching Netflix and working on this.

Hopefully Fast Sweater
Just in time for warm weather! Woo hoo!

I finished almost all of this in a single marathon burst on Sunday…which was not how I’d planned to spend the day, BUT…see, I had decided that I would do a little gardening first thing in the morning, while the nasal spray from the night before was still working and I felt more or less almost in the same ballpark as OK.

I had this passionate need to do this because…well…my empire has been under siege while I was away.

Weeds of Doom
…yeah…those are ALL weeds…

These suckers exploded into being over about three weeks, fueled by rather copious rainfall and relatively warm weather. We literally couldn’t open the side gate, they were so big and strong.

Three weeks ago, that area was bare earth.

Amazing. Some of these were so big, I had to get a shovel to expose their tree-trunk-like roots, and the tree-trimming shears to clip them out.

I got most of the path you can’t see under all that cleared…and then I was leaning on my shovel wheezing and gasping and kind of fuzzy-headed and thinking, OK…I don’t think this is my best plan ever…I’d better give this up, go inside and siddown for a while here, before I fall over…

The husband came outside about that time with his silly gardening hat on, took one look at me and said, “OH no. Put that down and go in the house, right now. You shouldn’t be out here. Go sit down and knit for a while, you’re too sick to be doing this kind of work today.”

So naturally, I then said, “That is a very good idea, dear, I shall take your wise counsel, go inside forthwith and sit with a nice cup of herbal tea to knit while my body does battle with the disease that plagues it, forsooth. Do you know what day it is, do you? IT’S FRICKIN’ APRIL, and I don’t have onions in the ground yet and the whole place is one huge weed patch and furthermore I need to get those starts hardening off plus I have to drag all those mulch-chips off the squash area and GOSH ONLY KNOWS what’s wrong with that bed and I have never seen so many weeds in my whole life and furthermore there’s something wrong with the water over there and holy crap, Easter is next weekend do you hear me, there is way too much to do, AAAAAAAAAAH, I CAN’T SIT DOWN, THE WORLD WILL END!!!!!”


Sometimes, I really wonder why that man puts up with me. So he just stood there and waited while I grumbled and ranted my way back to not saying anything, then said, “Yeah, no. Gimmie the shovel. And don’t make me hit you with it. House. Now. Sitting. Now.

And I would have argued with him, but I wasn’t sure he was kidding about the shovel thing. So I went inside and sat down and ugh…you know how sometimes you know you don’t feel particularly good, but you’re moving so you kind of…keep moving? But then you sit down and it’s like, oh, wow, I’m…dying, over here…?

I spent about the next twelve hours sprawled in my chair in front of Netflix knitting, occasionally getting up thinking I was at least recovered enough to…ugh, no, no I’m not…{flop!}…

But boy, did I make progress on the sweater! Which totally counts as working, right?!

I had the bottom third of the body and one sleeve done and the other sleeve about five inches from done when I started…finished the sleeve, got everything back on one needle, around and around and around, straight up through the color chart and decreases and three inches of collar in a single weekend.

I still have a couple ends to run in (details!), but otherwise – it’s finally done: The “quick” pullover that I started back in November.

I have quite a few projects like that lying around here…things that got too big for the train, or where something had been not-quite-right with it, that I meant to figure out in good daylight here at home but never did.

All the other stuff is arguably more important…like finally getting all those IEP goodies scanned onto disk, and taming the paper-monster that has begun erupting out of my filing cabinet, sorting through all the ancient manuals for equipment we haven’t owned in eight years, filing the various tax forms, and figuring out where The Randomizer™ has put everything while I was away. (Not Me and Ida Know have been real busy around here lately…I’ve got more missing kitchen tools than you’d believe, a few of them a bit on the scary side, like the missing mandolin insert that will slice the tip of your finger clean off if you grope blindly into a drawer and it is lurking around in there.)

But there’s still something deeply satisfying about being able to put away the leftover yarn, fold up the project bag that I’ve been tripping over for months now, and mutter, “Done!” to myself.

One down…couple dozen to go…

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Strange new world

It has been a very strange couple days so far this week; I feel as though I’m playing hooky or something. Like, any second now, my cell phone will ring and my manager will be going, “Yeah, hi, so…where the hell ARE you?!

Oh, will you look at the time, heh heh…yeah, I was, um, sleeping in…a bit…?

I am very slowly beginning to understand that I am not simply having a long weekend, or taking a few sick days to get over this cold – which would have been a good idea were I not between contracts, because dudes…seriously.nasty.bug.

My last day was downright surreal, and I’m honestly not sure how much of it was the fact that Fridays are always a little surreal because of the Friday Is Congressionally Mandated Work From Home Day We’re Pretty Sure And If It Isn’t Actually Mandated, Well, It Totally Should Be™ thing…and how much of it was Wait, But I Have Fifteen More Things To Do It Can’t Be My Last Day Syndrome…and how much of it was due to the possibly unwise amounts of cold medicine I was tossing back throughout the day.

Layering, baby: It ain’t just for cold weather.

I ended up working an hour longer than I meant to, because a bunch of functions I hadn’t even glanced at suddenly jumped up in front of me going, “Ha ha, never looked at us!” and I didn’t want to leave potential land mines behind me – there’s this (faulty) assumption among the current tech team that I never miss ANYTHING, which can lead to a certain blithe I’m sure she looked at that, because, after all…NEVER MISSES ANYTHING…that could become a rather large problem if I actually did miss something.

So I went looking. And I found two things we’d need to deal with pertaining to the project actually at hand, and one “oh, so that’s what causes that!!” answer to a long standing, very frustrating problem.

…item three, function 39 of 40 is overwriting current data with data from 2007. Somebody should tie the table tft_emps_override_assign to a stake and throw lit matches at it until it catches.

I sent the items off to the tech team, double checked that I’d actually moved everything I had meant to move, sent that last “hey guys, been swell, I’m outta here” email, set up an out of office to let people to know to bug my boss instead…and shut it down.

And packed it in.

And handed it over.

And walked out the door.

And freaked out, twice, on the way home when I picked up my stuff and it was too light…ohmygah, I left the laptop on the…oh…no, no I didn’t…

I’m sure I’ll get used to this feeling of no-corporate-responsibilities eventually…probably right before I get back to work…in a little while…after the onions are planted, and the paperwork tamed, and the taxes filed, and the spring break accomplished…

It’s been a long time since I didn’t have to leave the Den while darkness still covered it. I’m kind of enjoying watching the sun come up through my own windows for a change, and hearing the Denizens pelting into the house after school yelling, “What’s that yummy smell, did you make bread?!” again.

I’m going to enjoy it, however long it lasts…the only constant I ever have is change, after all, so change it will, and probably before I know it.

Onward and upward and onward again…