Friday, May 26, 2006

Dear cat who peed in my bed (no, he hasn't done it again!)

Dear cat who peed in my bed,

I'm SORRY. I'm SO, SO SORRY. But really, how were we to know you were in pain and trying to get our attention? Next time, try meowing really really loud for hours on end. I guarantee it'll get better results.

Having a bladder full of crystals, that must be no fun at all. We'll buy you the special food. I'll shove the dropper full of antibiotics down your throat twice a day, even if you claw the heck out of my arm. And soon, you'll be feeling all better.

You really are a good cat. Best animal we have. But you still can't sleep on the bed till you get a clean bill of health from your doctor, ok?


Wednesday, May 24, 2006

My home is not a haven...

I need a maid. That's about all there is to it. I don't think I will ever be a decent housekeeper! By the way, did you know it's not enough just to get Flylady's email? You have to actually *do* what the emails say to do. Huh. Who knew??? :-)

I did really well for the first couple of weeks. Twenty minutes every morning, dishes every night. I never did get caught up in the kitchen. DH cleaned his side of the computer room, and I started to file on my side, but Mount Paperwork won the battle. It's still really deep in here! Last week was lost, with everything going on with work.

So, I won't be enjoying the Bed and Breakfast atmosphere in my home while I have my time off. In fact, I'll probably be cleaning while I have my time off! But, at least I can relax a little in between tasks...

If I succeed in sending the rain down to Linda, I'll be able to get out of my house and sit under my trees with a cool drink and a good book. There's something to aspire to... Linda - the rain is heading your way!

Actually, there are two cleaning tasks I want to accomplish on my time off. I need to clean out and organize the bathroom closet, and I need to clean out and organize the freezers. Who knows what's in any of them - they're all full, but of what???

Monday, May 22, 2006

Thank Heavens for Nature's Miracle

Yep, that's right, Nature's Miracle. The wonder elixir that can single-handedly get all traces of cat pee smell out of a pillow-top mattress. Which leads me to today's open letter...

Dear cat who peed in my bed,

I don't know what you're all pissed off about this time, but I don't think you realize how dangerously close we are to becoming a cat-free household. I'm willing to give you the benefit of the doubt and take you to the vet, but DH doesn't think that twice in ten days (four times in three years) means you necessarily have a UTI. He thinks you're just pissed off. We just don't know why. Your litter box is clean. You have food. Yes, I flushed your shrew yesterday, but since when I almost stepped on it you were nowhere in sight, I ASSUMED you were finished with it...

Going UNDER the covers is especially snarky, don't you think? So I wouldn't notice it till I rolled over in it? Nice touch. Thank heavens I accidentally bought the "for cats only" version of Nature's Miracle last time - it does a much better job of neutralizing the odor.
We'll lock you out of the bedroom for a while and see how that goes. And, if it comes to it, I'll suck up my pride and ask if you can go back to live on the farm, rather than taking you to a shelter. You were really happy the two years you lived there with us. Of course you'd be a barn cat, living in the silo with all the other barn probably wouldn't like that too much!


The one who had to get up at 5 after rolling in cat pee and now has to do five loads of laundry on my day off.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Another event season over...

Event season ended today. Thank heavens! I'm tired. Event season is the dreaded time of year where we in my office attempt to cram two major events into the span of four to six weeks. Yep, we're crazy.

Of course, event season is ALWAYS accompanied by something in my personal life that makes things even more challenging. In 2003, it was wedding planning. In 2004, there was nothing, but we only did one event so it was a weird year all around (we did change the name of our agency during that time but I had little to do with that so it just wasn't the same). Last year, I was defending my Master's thesis. This year, it was the death of my grandmother. Makes me wonder what next year will hold? It had better involve babies, that's all I have to say!

But, the duathlon was this morning. It went ok. Attendance was down, but the weather cooperated! I think just about everyone had a good time (well, except those volunteers who stormed out for unknown reasons during setup yesterday, but they weren't very pleasant to deal with anyway so I'm not too bothered).

And now, I sleep. And get Larry to take me out to dinner tonight because I've seen my kitchen, and I don't have the energy to deal with that hole in the universe right now...

And tomorrow, I have the day off. Woo hoo!

Thursday, May 18, 2006

The Power of Place

I was thinking the other day about the importance of buildings, and how we put so much sentimental value into them. I don't remember where I was or what triggered my thinking, but I remembered two places - my Grandparents' house, and my trip to Charleston, SC, a few years ago.

When my Grandparents sold their house in November, I was extremely sad. Not just because I knew it was a sign that they were getting older and probably wouldn't be with us much longer, but because I knew that in their neighborhood, the old houses don't stay (except for the REALLY old houses, and their house wasn't one of those). I'm sure it will be torn down and something fresher, more modern, and lot-filling will spring up in its place.

It's hard to give up a building like that. Not because it's prime real estate, of that I am glad because it means that my Grandpa (and, therefore, my parents) never has to worry about money again. No, it's because of the buildings. Every room, every corner, every inch of flooring holds a memory for me. Rolling down what used to be the hill in the backyard when I was five, then swimming in the pool that later took the place of the hill. Santa Claus brushing my cheek as I slept next to the Christmas tree in the living room. Painting sweatshirts with Grandma at the kitchen table. Running, screaming from excitement and fear after seeing the statue in the closet under the stairs. So many memories.

Several years ago, I spent 10 days in Charleston to attend a software training class. During that time, I had the opportunity to do a lot of sightseeing. I went to a lot of old buildings, places where a lot of history happened. I don't remember the names of all the buildings now, but I remember a little about what happened there. These places represented great times in our history, and they represented tragic times. I stood where George Washington stood, and I stood where Civil War shots were fired. I stood in slave houses, single, small rooms with a dirt floor, barely the size of my bedroom, where whole families lived, and I stood in a basement that was once a prison, where people were chained to walls and sat on a dirt floor.

They're just buildings. Wood, stone, plaster. Inanimate, unfeeling. And yet, they have so much life in them. These are powerful places. You can read about them in books, see them on TV, and yet when you are actually there, when you stand in the place where you know things have happened, it's so alive, so, well, real.

There's power in places. There's magic in structures. History is real.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Creating a Haven

I'm taking a long weekend off of work over Memorial Day. It'll be a six-day weekend. DH will have to work, maybe all but Saturday and Sunday, so I'll have some time to myself. I've been vacationing at home ever since he was first laid off, over three years ago, except for our honeymoon, when we actually went away. I'd like to travel, but it's just not in the budget or the timeline right now.

So, it occurred to me, why not spend a little time BEFORE my long weekend getting my house spruced up, so my vacation at home can be more of a REAL vacation? I am the world's worst housekeeper. I hate cleaning, and I'm really not very good at it. But, if I put a little effort into it, maybe I can create my own little "resort haven" on my own turf. Then I can kick back and enjoy the fruits of my labor while I'm off. Pretend I'm at a nice B&B. Relax in comfort and style. I'm going to go for it.

So, room by room, I've developed a list of everything that needs to be done between now and then. Ok, I may not get to it all. But I'm going to spend 20 minutes every morning and 20 minutes every evening working on it. That's my goal. Just on the weekdays, though - the weekends are kind of booked up at the moment. Maybe (perish the thought!) this will even become a habit and we can start living in a clean house!

So, in order to accomplish this goal, I've devised a new morning routine:

5:15: Get up, get dressed in workout clothes, turn on computer
5:20: NordicTrak, 20 minutes
5:40: Cool off/Computer time
5:50: Morning cleaning
6:10: Shower
6:30: Breakfast/Computer time
7:00: Make lunch, get dressed
7:30: Leave for work

I did it this morning and it worked pretty well, though I only had 15 minutes on the NordicTrak (that's a cross-country ski machine, for those who don't know) because I had to get it out and set it up - haven't used it in a while. I'll try this for a while. If I feel like I'm skimping on my computer time (that's when I peruse my many forums), I'll just start getting up at 5. We'll see how it goes, and I'll keep you posted on my progress!

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Be Prepared, Part 2

I've been thinking about emergency preparedness again. Playing the "what if" game. What if I only had a few minutes to get out of my house because of an emergency (I don't mean an emergency like a fire, in which case I'd grab the animals if I could find them and run, I mean an evacuation-type emergency). What would I grab? Would I be organized, or would I just take the first things I could see? I know lots of preparedness-minded individuals have what they call "bug out kits" - everything packed in one convenient location, you just grab it and run. Instead of actually packing a kit, I've decided to make a "bug out list" - things I'd want to take with me if we need to leave in a hurry.

Which makes me think, I really need to make sure that 1. I know where all these things are (my list is grouped by location in the house), and 2. I stay well-stocked on all these things so I have them if I need them.

We are fortunate in that we are tent campers, so a lot of this stuff is already grouped together in what we like to call the "camping closet". That's where we keep all the camping equipment. On my list, you'll see the "camping box", which is like a kitchen in a crate. It's a big plastic box that has everything I need to set up my camp kitchen - dishes, pots, pans, towels, soap, knives, silverware, a can opener, and so much more.

Now I know that, depending on the emergency, we might not need all this. But wouldn't it be nice to have in case we do! Here's the list - have I forgotten anything? Making this list reminds me - I really need to buy a water filter and more water storage vessels...they'd be nice to have for camping even if we never have an emergency!

Camping box
Sleeping bags
Camping table
First aid kit
Dog kit
Fire starters
Toilet paper
Water jugs (full)
Dutch oven
Lighter fluid

Dog food
Cat food
Peanut butter
Canned eggs
Canned meat
Dried fruit/vegetables
Canned fruit
Canned veggies
Powdered milk

Chili powder
Baking powder
Dried onions

Flannel shirt

Choke chains
Cat Crate

BP medicine
Allergy medicine
Pepto caplets
Important papers – birth certificates, marriage license, car titles