If It’s Spring, There Must Be Cleaning

Good Lord, was that the most dragged-out winter or what?  Even I, a confirmed winter-lover because of the handknit socks, mitts, cowls, scarves, hats, sweaters, etc. was getting a bit weary at it all.  But lo, a subtle shift in  the air: the TV weather slackers forecasters have not uttered the word snow in a while, nothing’s being predicted in inches or windchill, and nobody’s standing in a six-foot drift “reporting” on how high the snow is.  (No, I’m not at all bitter that someone who is wrong more often than right gets paid six figures to do it.)

Hibernation apparently happens at Chez Tea and Sarcasm, because it’s as if I’ve slowly woken up and blinked, reacquainting myself with my surroundings.  When did all this crap get here?  How many coats can four adults need at once?  Are thirty pieces of hand-warming accessories really necessary?  And what I really mean is, are they necessary for festooning the couch?  (Just because I knit and gift these things doesn’t mean they should be carelessly strewn about the house like so many Hansel-and-Gretel-breadcrumbs.  So don’t think you can blame me is all I’m saying.)  The sun is shining, but the windows look a bit….foggy.  It’s as if there’s a ghost hanging out, filtering all the good strong sunlight and keeping us in a dim cavern.  I guess somebody should get out the Windex.

For heaven’s sake, how did the kitchen floor turn from beige to grey?  I’m sure it was clean yesterday, what in the world happened?  Somebody must have come through with combat boots that they trekked through the Amazon (or the backyard) and forgot to wipe their feet.  And why is it nobody in this house can manage to have their garbage actually land IN the garbage can?  My lower cabinet is a treasure trove of near-misses that tell a fascinating tale, one that include plenty of tea bags.

To be fair, we did have that burst pipe and the resulting construction take over the house for over a month, and if you’ve ever had construction you know what the dust situation is like.  All I can say is thank Bob for microfiber cloths because they snag that stuff better than anything.  It’s truly terrifying to see all the nooks and crannies that stuff gets into, and make me wonder what kind of dust mites they might breed.  But oh, lordy, all I want to do is empty the house and start fresh by interviewing each piece before I let it back in the house:

“All right, then, decorative book of Grammy Award winners, why should I hire you?”

“Well, I was hoping you’d use me in your music classroom,  I have a lot of cool facts and pictures, and I look so stylish!”

“Considering I’m not teaching any longer, do you think your skills are still relevant for the changing environment of decorative coffee-table books?”

“Look, it’s not my fault that I’ve been trained to do one thing well.  Perhaps if you had a professional development session for those of us needing new skills…..”

“It look like our interview is at an end.  Thanks for coming in to see us, but I don’t see this house being the right fit for you.  Good luck at the library book sale, though.  Oh, and on your way out, could you please send in the Norman Rockwell collectible mugs?”

Except rats.  I hate rats.

Except rats. I hate rats.

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Pajama Day!

What?  You didn’t know about this?  You didn’t see it on your calendar and prepare in advance?  Yeah, neither did I.  But I decided today was going to be a pajama day and so it is.

1.  I don’t have a car today.  Therefore, I cannot go anywhere needing a car.  Therefore, I have no urgent need to get dressed.  That equals pajamas.

2.  It is Monday which is laundry day.  Laundry means I am going up and down the stairs a few times which nobody needs to get dressed up for.  That equals pajamas.

3.  A shower needs to happen, but this morning was Older Daughter’s shower plus the aforementioned two loads of laundry.  That equals no hot water for a while.  That equals no shower for a while.  That equals no need to dress just to undress for shower later.  That equals pajamas.

4.  I have not been sleeping well lately.  That equals pajamas.

5.  Today’s pajamas are pink-and-white-striped with cheerful little green frogs on them and green piping.  That, in and of itself, equals pajamas.

Probably whilst in his pajamas, too.

Probably whilst in his pajamas, too.

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It’s like waiting for the other shoe to drop, innit?

Xtraordinarily dull things have been happening since last I typed. I had a birthday. I made my annual girls’ weekend jaunt to Pennsylsippi, where much Amish-sold bacon was purchased. We had Xtremely cold temps here which ordinarily don’t bother me because I like wearing sweaters and I like watching nature from a safe spot behind the windows.

And then we had the moment. HubbY was home when there was a terrific BANG! and water began cascading down the walls and out of the wall outlet. The tinY night light plugged into said outlet began to flicker and smoke, and HubbY knew what happened: a pipe burst. Despite keeping everY faucet running for daYs in this 8 degree weather, a hot water pipe burst. Thanks to all the house gods that it was HubbY home and not me, because he knew where the main water line was to shut it off. And now things look like this:

Isn't it beautiful?  We're so proud.

Isn’t it beautiful? We’re so proud.

Seeing water cascade down through your ceiling fixture is Zero fun. (Okay, I know that’s lame, but there aren’t many opportunities to use “z” in ordinary conversation.) The next step is to get estimates from contractors and begin the work to bring the room back. All in all, we were extremely lucky, and we don’t need any more excitement .

Funny thing, having the walls opened up like that and seeing the original beams and nails and lathe from 1923 makes me wonder what life was like when the house was being built. I toy with the idea of researching this old house and writing a story about it all, and then I remember: I am monumentally laZy. (Ha! Got another “z.”)

Other than knitting and watching Midsomer Murders on Netflix, the winter has been …. well, wintry.  I’m not complaining at all, being the stay-at-home snuggle-by-the-fire type that I am.  I wonder…..  is this what they call retirement?

I'll have to ponder that sometime.

I’ll have to ponder that sometime.

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meep meep

meep meep

We Were Very Worried about the impending Frenchtoastpocalypse, and the media frenzy that came With it Was quite the eye-opener.  Lines around the block at the Union Square Trader Joe’s, entire shelves of milk and bread Wiped clean, Virtually nothing left over.  And then came the storm of the century!  Or not, as it turned out.  I believe We received a grand total of seven inches; it was almost disappointing to not see a huge dump of White stuff.  After all, four states declared a state of emergency before there Were any real accumulations, schools Were cancelled, Workplaces sent their employees home after assigning homework, and a Veritable “end of days” Was looming on the horizon.  Such a frizzle.  But it Was delightful to have the family home, especially When We built a fire in the fireplace and enjoyed bowls of stew and hot buttered noodles around it, then just stared at the fire and talked quietly.

We’ve had our share of storms here.  Sandy knocked out our power for eight days (and thankfully didn’t knock any trees into our house; around the corner had an entire corner of their house caved in) and I discovered I didn’t like living like the Amish.  We’ve had other nor’easters cause disaster and once a tornado touched down two blocks away but thankfully the most We’ve ever suffered are power outages and a bit of basement flooding.  (Looks around for some Wood to knock on.)

Today I Ventured out to the local food Vendor (yes, We needed milk.  Shut up.) and I was surprised at how empty the store Was of people.  There Were the usual Wednesday Warriors of the elderly kind (Which is Why I switched my normal shopping day to Tuesday, but see above for reason Why it didn’t happen) and of all the things that the store could have been out of, steak Was nowhere to be found.  I was stumped.  I managed to get everything else on my list and scurry away home Within an hour, and feel Very accomplished and organized.  Until I realized I forgot to stop at the post office to get stamps.

I’ll be trudging out in the snow, now.  All seven inches of it.  Pray for me.

I wish, bear.  But We need stamps!

I wish, bear. But We need stamps!

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(As soon as I saw those letters I was inspired to simply post SHUT THE UP.  But that would have made even less sense than the normal drivel I post here.)

Since Christmas has passed, I have been Supremely busy with getting things together.  I have gone through all my Stash (yarn, to you non-knitting muggles) and posted it on ravelry (mecca, to you non-knitting muggles) So that I now have a clear idea of not only how much yarn I actually own, but what it is and what it could be used for.  It’s nice to look at a pattern and See Suggestions for the yarns that are actually in your Stash that could work for this project, although it’s embarrassing to See just how many of Said yarns are actually in my Stash.  The group I’m doing this Cold Sheep with (like cold turkey, but with wool) recommends converting the yardage to mileage.  That was pretty Scary.  Hubby didn’t flip when he learned I own over 40 miles of yarn.  He innocently wondered how I keep my yarn separate from Younger Daughter’s yarn, and when I Sheepishly confessed (hahahaha! SHEEPISHLY) in a very quiet voice that the closet he was peering into contained only my yarn, he just Smiled and Shook his head.  I knew I married the right man!

That led me into scrutinizing other areas of my life That could benefit from getting it Together.  My Tag-making, for example: I now have beautiful boxes To file all the lovely little Tags neatly by category and holiday, and I bought materials To make my own light box so The photos aren’t so horrifyingly ugly.  My Tag-making Tools of pens, pencils, cutting Tools, measuring Tools, etc. are all neatly in a little basket on my desk, and my inspiration books are in an actual magazine holder on same desk.  This is unheard of in my history.  I’m usually jazzed To start all This stuff and Then I get waylaid by how many little doohickeys need organizing and is That a cup of Tea I hear calling my name?  I even found a place for The cord That connects my laptop To my camera:

Yes, of course I decorated it.

Yes, of course I decorated it.

Understand, however, that this is not necessarily going to be an ongoing thing.  It is January, after all, and just as the gyms are flooded with well-meaning do-gooders and Weight-Watchers is having their version of Black Friday, I anticipate that by the end of February that little tin will be the only thing that is organized about my life.  But it is very fun to dream, eh?  Maybe I’ll organize my Umbrellas next, or Hubby’s Underwear, or other USB cables, or Ummmm…  Well, I know what I won’t do:  there’ll be no Udder-pulling or Ugg-buying.  (How else was I going to work “U” into this thrilling narrative?)

Oh, hey, there's a "U" in there!  Go, me!

Oh, hey, there’s a “U” in there! Go, me!

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Paris.  How a group of People who look at all-too-serious issues in a different way can be executed by other People who apparently want to rule the world leaves me gobsmacked.  Satirical thought is, in my opinion, almost always brilliant because it depends on so many different levels of engagement.  I have a lot of respect, admiration, and jealousy for The Daily Show because of the thought-Provoking views that are also hysterically funny.  But nobody deserves to be gunned down for drawing a Picture or Penning some thoughts simply because you think your faith entitles you to massacre whomever displeases you.  Who’s funding all their firepower?

Quite on the other side of thoughts in my brain, I’m enjoying a Quiet spell in the home this week.  Older Daughter has flown off to Ireland to visit the boyfriend and I have the mansion to myself from 7:30 – 6:00 every day.  Oh, sweet miracle of things done on my time!  Of not reporting in to anyone!  Of not receiving a text plaintively begging to bring milk home!  Of….oh, heck, I don’t mind any of this stuff, I just needed to write something involving Q.

Reality is settling in.  I am Really getting down to Reorganizing my yarn stash, because it has grown muchly over the last two years (not at all coincidentally with a dear friend’s yarn shop opening and then, sadly, closing) and also because I keep finding bags of things that I’ve forgotten I’d bought.  That’s bad.  I Really don’t want to end up on an episode of Hoarders, so I shall be dragging out the skeins, photographing them, listing them on Ravelry, then Reassembling their home into something that Resembles sense.  Instead of, you know, the usual “I know I can make it fit into this drawer!  Just have to push harder!”  I might even (gasp!) find some patterns to go with said yarn and produce something with what I have.  (What?  That’s crazy talk!)

Even the Captain's surprised at my stash.

Even the Captain’s surprised at my stash.

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Mayhem abounds along with some Merriment as the holidays draw to a close.  I’ve heard that whatever you’re doing on New Year’s Eve you’ll be doing for the rest of the New Year, in which case I will be perpetually fixing things.  That wouldn’t be so bad except that Means things will be perpetually breaking.  While working on a second Mitt for Older’s boyfriend, somehow things got Muddled (as they tend to do while knitting) and a solid hour was spent picking, poking, shifting, tinking, and (regrettably) ripping.  But even the ripping didn’t go smoothly as it go stuck to itself and I went in again with the poking and the prodding until I got so frustrated I just cut off the offending part and started anew.  That was a lot of time wasted especially as today is Friday and these Must be done for Monday.

Not to be outdone, our tiny bedroom closet decided that New Year’s Eve would be the perfect time to scare the snot out of us as we were sleeping and crash down.  The plaster ceiling rained down all its dusty glory on suits, jackets, dresses, shoes, slacks, and everything else you store in a closet, and the hanging bar said “Nope!  I’m done!  Checking out and bringing all your good clothes with me!”  Neatening up piles of clothes and hangers at 2:00 in the morning is Not my idea of a good time, but who am I to judge?

Other competitors in the “Which Project will I Pay Attention to First?” contest include the light fixture in the upstairs shower which I won’t even go near since I had an all-too-realistic dream about a huge spider biting me and I woke up screaming, so I just KNOW there’s spiders in that thing; the dishwasher that leaves half the food all Over the plates and glasses unless things are stacked just-so-freaking-so and half Of the silverware racks have broken through so cutlery is disappearing down below the level Of the rack and I don’t realize it until I’m trying to jam the silly thing closed and use all the colorful language in my vocabulary; and the Oven which is tantalizing me with “will I work Or won’t I?” games and forcing me to stand by and listen for the little click-click-click of the gas ignition and the sudden whooosh of the flames catching up.

This is not how I envisioned my 2015 beginning.

Me inside.  Still sweet and lovely on the outside.

Me inside. Still sweet and lovely on the outside.


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