Thursday, July 29, 2010

No Kids + No money = My Summer Staycation

Well, Summer 2010 (as far as vacation goes) is almost in the books for me this year.  Having no money this year to go anywhere I am staycationing at home by...are you ready for this...Cleaning.  Yep.  I spent my summer cleaning every single nook and cranny of this house.  I scrubbed the walls, sorted through and organized drawers, shampooed carpets and wiped down every surface (even candles got a wipe!).

I found the perfect dry sink for my kitchen gained a bunch of storage-and found my countertop again! I cleaned the basement-dusting and vacuuming all the cat hair up.  We spent a Saturday having a yard sale--and supposedly we will do it again in August.  We donated to goodwill.  I pitched a bunch of stuff (old spices and just general junk not worthy of goodwill even.)  I even managed to convince the husband (aka Pack Rat and Future Hoarder) to sort through some of his stuff (15% of it maybe but it is a start!).

I even went into work one day for 3 hours and did some organizing there (my office supplies and some of my therapy material since I can't dot it during the year (no time and my office is a desk, cabinet and filing cabinet in a therapy room and she always has kids in there so I can't do anything "distracting")

I took it slow-one room a day with some breaks in between (1 break because it was so freaking hot and we lack AC, 1 break because my asthma flared up from all the dust (?) and 1 break to go help my Mom harvest, freeze and can the early garden stuff)

I do have a couple things left:
-the oven needs cleaned.  It is self cleaning and it is still too hot to have it exude extremely high temps into our already too warm house
- I need to somehow organize home office supplies and my scrapbooking stuff (but I can't until someone gets his electronic (dvr, dvd,burner, vcr, cd and who knows what else) mess off of it all)
Redust the basement since my Mom's cat came for 2 weeks and he just doesn't shed-he leaves hair bunnies everywhere (and they get together and multiply!!)
-I need to figure out how to store my grandma's paintings and get them under the bed.
-Figure out how to get Mr. pack Rat to go through the other 85% of his stuff.

Somehow, all this cleaning makes me feel good-but at the same time it makes the other stuff that needs done stand out:
-refinish the 1/2 stripped coffee table
-declutter all my email accounts
-clean my car (traveling office really-the trunk and back seats are jammed with toys and therapy stuff)
-color, cut and laminate the bad full of therapy materials I copied to make
-I have a shoe (boot) box of recipes (from friends and magazines) that need gone through and made into a home made cookbook.

By the time I finish everything it will be time to do this all again, Sigh

Monday, July 26, 2010

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Random Stuff

I should really stop composing posts in my head while traveling in a car.  Apparently there is a mind block between the car and house-I can't ever remember the bright and witty post I 'finished' when I pull in the driveway.

I dropped my Jetta off at the VW dealer where I bought it for a look-see because it sounds like there just might be a hole in the exhaust (and of course there will be since just this week we overhauled the brakes and rotors on the Nissan-it is some law that both cars must have major repairs at the same time).  As I was dropping my key into the overnight slot my I noticed a tiny sign on the window that said, "As of May 2010 we will no longer be an authorized VW repair place."  Seriously?  I called and made an appointment for my VW.  I called and doubled checked the day.  You called and reminded me.  I have been a customer for years and YOU NEVER MENTIONED THIS on the phone or dropped me a FYI postcard!  Apparently they dropped the whole VW line at this dealer.  Customer Service

A friend of mine is ditching Disney for vacation and going to Cleveland-what is in Cleveland that surpasses Disney?  I mean, you can day trip to Cleveland to see anything worth seeing.

I know why they call it "Spring Cleaning."  You should do this in the Spring-when the temperatures are lower.  I have cleaned all the rooms in the house except the kitchen (scrubbed the walls, sorted, organized and trashed things.  I have shampooed the carpets.  I got the pack rat my husband to go through some of his stuff.  I vacuumed and dusted (ick cobwebs!) the basement.  I still have to do all of this (minus the carpet) in the kitchen-and vacuum the basement again (once my Mom's cat who leaves fur bombs daily leaves.)  I have done all of this so far in the heat-with only one room having AC.

This year it looks like we are not embarking on a summer vacation-unless you count my trip to St. Louis for my Grandmother's funeral.  Other than the obvious sad parts-I DID have a little fun-my Dad drove all over his old neighborhood and related stories about his growing up there.  Anyhoo-I stumbled upon some posts I did on facebook last year about our vacation then and, since it was a funny adventure (involving cockroaches, prostitutes and being mistaken for a stripper)-I think I will post some tidbits in the next few days for some lighthearted reading. 

Why can't my husband do anything on his own?  He can't schedule appointments, order something online, troubleshoot anything, make a decision or just plan something in general.  Is it a man thing or am I just the only lucky one with a co-dependent husband?

Edit:  I am off to my Mom's (no internet!!)  for a couple days since the garden is overflowing and she needs help.  I will post my vacation redo when I get back.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Writer's Workshop: Earthquake (and not where you would expect one)

I have decided to give a go at a Writer's Workshop because *wow* do I need to work on my blog writing. 

I have never lived in an earthquake zone.  That being said, there was an Earthquake here in Pittsburgh last month-which i didn't feel (I was driving and I never noticed it).  I was kind of bummed...Since it was a only mild one I wanted to feel it...but then again feeling a mild earthquake twice while living in non-earthquake areas would kind of be like being struck by lightning twice, right?

My first earthquake took place in an even more unlikely place than Pittsburgh: Florida.

I lived 2 blocks from the beach in a small coastal town (embedded in the larger St. Pete/Clearwater/Tampa area) in a duplex that was up on stilts.  Stilts! you say?  Yes-but having gone through 2 (category 2) hurricanes sitting inside it I can tell you it is actually very stable.  Anyway-the house did vibrate a little when someone moved quickly up the outside steps...or romped next door-or on the Washer's spin cycle...and other times I just won't relate here.  

So-one morning, after a late night out, we were sleeping in.  I remember the house shaking and it woke me up. I drowsily thought to myself "Oh, we must have neighbors" and "they must have kids" (sidenote: the apartment next door was a seasonal rental and we had neighbors only about 8 weeks total a year).  Then I drifted off for a second and then thought "That washing machine is off balance".
That was it.  I fell back asleep for a few more minutes, got up and began the day.  We went for brunch out-and as we backed out of the driveway I noticed that there were no signs of a neighbor-which struck me as odd but I figured it must have been maids I heard readying the place for renters.  We went to brunch, ran errands and got home a few hours later.  I turned on the TV and  the cable company's news channel Bay News 9 came on by default (the one thing I loved most about our cable company, seriously-a channel devoted to the bay area-that ran 24/7) There was a red warning scroll at the bottom so I glanced at it..took a couple steps..went back and re-read.   Apparently, we had slept through an earthquake.  It was 6.0 in the waters of the Gulf of Mexico and my town had felt it the strongest (a measley 3.5 or so).

I asked my husband if he felt the house shaking that morning-and he did.  Then he said, "but we don't have neighbors so it was weird".   Yes it was, honey-it was an EARTHQUAKE!

I am glad, in the end, that we basically slept through it.  It was not too long after an earthquake caused that devastating tidal wave in Thailand, etc.  We lived 2 blocks from the ocean behind us-and across the street from the backwaters so basically a long heavy rain would make those stilts we lived on useful.  I know now that the Gulf isn't deep enough for a tidal wave-since the news people went on and on for days about our little earthquake--but I didn't know it that morning.  I would have been more than a little worried.  In the end, no one anywhere suffered any damage-just a scary moment or two.

I can only imagine what I would have thought if I had woken up that morning and walked outside to find that my house was now beach front (or middle of the ocean) property-or worse-if it was a strong quake that did damage.   But it gives me a story to relate when people ask me about living in Florida with hurricanes...I say "and don't forget about the Earthquakes!"

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Happy Birthday Husband!

Way back in March-when winter still had its grips on me and summer seemed like a far way dream-my husband asked me to buy him 2 Iron Maiden concert tickets for his (June) birthday.  He planned this well.  Had it been warm and sunny out I would have been thinking clearer.  I agreed.  He wanted seats, not lawn because he has a back issue that flares up unexpectedly....and I am not a fan of the Lawn at Star Lake...Post Gazette... First Niagara Pavillion.

I bought these tickets with the understanding that we were not going to have a repeat of the Judas Priest concert of two years ago-where I ended up being the person he chose to take.  While I like some of this genre of music, I don't LOVE it and 1) I am not a headbanger, 2) I don't dress like one and 3) I only recognize a couple songs from the group playing-and that is because my husband plays their CD's in the shower.  But, guess what-my husband couldn't get one of his 2 friends to go (one of whom really wanted to, but 4 kids, a 4:30 am job and wife studying for exams = no go) -and wouldn't take my offer of introducing him to my friends fiance-a metal head---I got to be the proud holder of the second ticket again.

It was the typical scene-lots of black clothing...lots of hair...many more men than women (I walked right up to the body-pat search while my husband had to wait in a long line).  Many of the women wore very little-some should have worn much, much more.  There was a mix of ages-from 4/5~ish up to a couple I am pretty sure are retired/near retirement since Iron Maiden has been around forever...I saw fathers (and maybe one mother) passing on the Iron Maiden musical experience to their kids.  I saw a few young kids (too young IMHO) on their own And (major kudos to these men) some fathers obviously there to chaperone their rocker pre-teens/eraly teens.  These Dads were so NOT wanting to be there..obviously not even a little bit-but they were there because their sons wanted to go.  (How to spot them?  They are dressed in khaki's and dress shirts/golf shirts and have a uncomfortable looking young boy next to them).

So-all of this I noted prior to the opening act (Dream Theater-and in between acts.  But in reality, these groups put on a good show-great voices, lots of movement and good set designs.  I actually had a good time even if I recognized only 2 or 3 songs total.  I took lots of pictures (but we were too far back for them to be great, even with a zoom) for my husband.  He told me the basic pictures he wanted and I tried to accomodate him (I say try because the guy with the huge cast on one arm, a big head and a large  uncasted arm holding an equally large cell phone kept getting in my shots.  I took 3 videos and 120 he will be very happy-I guess this means I have to edit them and scrapbook them or something.

My only complaint, other than the guy 3 rows ahead that blocked all my shots, is that the people on our left took over one of our seats when we stood-I literally had to stand in front of my husband the entire time-and he would reel me back in when I drifted in front of the boy on my right (sorry about that) trying to get a shot around the bighead/arm/cast guy.  The couple next to us refused to move back to their seat area.  Oh well.

In the end-my husband had a good time--which was the point of it being his birthday present... and don't tell him-given the choice- I would go to a metal concert any given day over a country concert.