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does this mean they are 'adults'?

Saturday, May 29, 2010
Both daughters have purchased houses in the past couple of weeks. Scare-y? Yes!

F. found one that had been taken over by a bank, and foreclosed. So it will need some work: not a lot, but homeowners learn that 'there's always something that needs doing'. Fortunately she has been in Decatur long enough to know some folks who are pretty handy, and come with a full compliment of tools. She had friends come over last week for a little painting party, with the promised bribe of pizza and beer when it was finished. As it turned it, the paint ran out about the same time the pizza came in the door. Moved over this past weekend, and trying to figure out where things go as the pile of boxes dimishes.

P. and C. did the paperwork yesterday, and are moving this weekend. Looking forward to a space of their own, as they have been living with various and sundry relatives for nearly two years. And will have enough space to put the dog out in the yard (after doing a little fencing) and tilling up some land for a garden (after doing a little tree trimming to get more sun).

How exciting!

doing a little digging...

Sunday, May 23, 2010
I was really hesitant to mail order plants. Having never done it before, it took me weeks to get up the nerve to make the commitment, after deciding and re-deciding at least a dozen times about what to get, how many, which would work best, and how much to spend, I finally hit the send button. You know what a sucker we can all be for a discount/bargain, so when the site offered me a $25 discount, which more than covered the cost of shipping, I was compelled to get off the fence and order. The plants came in the mail one day last week, and I got them in the ground that same day.

One variety was something that is pretty common (gallardia), and could probably have been picked up in the wally world garden center, but the other is something I never saw or heard of (cornflower that blooms a bright, magenta shade of pink, with silvery leaves) before perusing the nursery website. Both are supposed to be colorful all season, and very hardy, heat resistant and ignored by deer unless they get really desperate. I am trying stick with perennials

I've also been very pleasantly surprised by seeing daylillies bloom that have never performed before. Introduced to the ones that are supposed to re bloom all summer long, (thank you, e.e.) I bought a couple of pots several years ago. The deer obviously thought the buffet was open, as they barely had leaves, much less having buds mature to the point of opening. Looking good!

I expect to be digging, re-digging, shifting things to different locations, as my ultimate plan is to do some landscaping out in front of the house when the inside gets finished. Part of my thinking is that the things I have been buying will look good around the entry way when I have a load of topsoil brought in to provide a good bed since everything here is pretty much rock-hard, impervious, tenacious red clay. That will provide a good base, with amendments, to put out some of the perennials for long-lasting color across the plain grey siding. And I can re-locate some of the things I have been bringing home, and make the house look inviting, welcoming, 'homey' and loved before you even open the front door!


Belatedly planted tomatoes in the little back-yard garden plot are really growing, obviously happy to be out of confiment of pots, and the beans out on the home-made trellis are climbing like crazy: fe-fi-fo-fum!

... heading into the 'home' stretch

I am hopeful that the end is in sight with the house renovations. I have moved boxes from one end of the house to the other, emptied them to re-use, and refilled on several occasions. I have moved them from one closet to another just to try to maintain some semblance of order and clear a path for moving around. I have stacked boxes and bins on top of boxes and bins to have space to walk around in rooms. I have piled stuff in the workshop, moved to the porch, and then into the carport in an attempt to feel organized instead of overwhelmed.

But I am optimistic it is all coming to an end. And one of the really good things I have discovered in all this 'boxing up' process is it gives me not one, but two opportunites to get rid of stuff. (That, according to the hard cold facts of Murphey's Law, I will wish I had immediately after dropping the boxes full of flotsam and jetsam off at the Salvation Army Thrift store.)

Guys are coming on Monday morning to move all the stuff out of the carport so the floor will be pressure washed, and have time to dry while the painter is doing the last bedroom and closet. Then he will turn the dirty, dusty, smelly shabby carport into 'like new' condition with a fresh coat of paint: and I can start trying to figure out for the fortieth time which of the stuff that is boxed and piled up is worthy of returning to the house and what is going into the donations to charity dept.

I am currently trying to decide if having a pristine closet, with Nothing on the shelves is worth having to look at a stack of boxes and storage bins piled, literally, within inches of the celing in another room. I love the lack of clutter in the closet, but find it really difficult to squint hard enough to not notice that tottering stack of plastic bins when I go to bed at night.

A small note for future visitors: Do not bring anything here we cannot eat/consume/otherwise use up, unless you are prepared to take it home with you. Please do not be offended, but think of all the pondering, decisions you are now relieved of: 'a gift-free zone'.

it's the season for homebuying!

Sunday, May 16, 2010
Both my girls are signing paperwork in the next couple of weeks to purchase houses.

Lots of mixed emotions accompany this statement. I am so delighted to think they are financially stable, able to make the decisions that are involved, and feel confident that they are ready for such a major investment, giant leap into the Land of Adult-ness and commitment.

But moving into a house they will own and have to support for the next thirty years means they are some distance away: not too far, but not right here. Home-ownership sounds so 'permanent', which is a good thing as compared to living out of your car. Or paying rent indefinitely, which is comparable to pouring money down a rat hole.

One of the things that does appeal to me about this monumental decision they've made: they will have a sense of putting down roots, a bit more settled, and can finally get all the things they have left here in free storage waiting for a place to 'put'. One entire room in my house will be emptied as a result of sending it across state lines. And closet too! Plus they will have lots of wall space for hanging art that needs a home.

One of the new homeowners told me about a musical group self-named as: 'Excited but Nervous' and said that pretty well describes the rollercoaster ride of emotions that occur as you contemplate the obligations, weight of commitment that goes with waiting for all the paperwork to be assembled, prior to feeling like you are signing your life away.

it's looking like 'progress'

The house renovating is really beginning to come together. Pretty much down to getting the last bedroom painted and then trying to figure out where everything goes to put it back into place. If I were not so anxious to have it looking 'normal', I would take the time to go through all the boxes and get rid of more accumulated stuff. And the truth is: if it's been boxed up for so long, you don't know what's in it - chances are you don't need it, and won't use it, and will not miss it when it's gone. (Unless you Do give it away, which is when Murphy's Law says you will be so desperate for the 'whatever' you will make a special 'dedicated' trip to Wally-world to replace it with a new one.)

I have been trying to stay a step ahead of the painter, so pretty much had everything moved out of a bedroom before he started. Then moved everything out of the next bedroom into the one that just got painted: junk 'on the move'. So I will try to shift around again in the next couple of days, and move everything out of the last closet/room before he comes back on Wednesday. After that last bedroom is done, all that will be lacking is the carport - so I have to figure out where to put that stuff that has been accumulating for nearly thirty years: when that gets painted, it will finish everything.

It will likely take months to get everything cleaned, and all the dust from destructing the bathroom, and sanding sheetrock cleaned up. What dusty dust smoothing out sheetrock mud can produce! But it will be so good to feel like I am somehow transported to a 'new' house while still living in this familiar nest. All the things they have done to transform look so fresh and updated, down to little things I have long ignored: like ugly hardware on cupboard doors, and hideous light fixtures even a contractor would have to put on dark glasses to look at.

We're looking good... and on the home stretch!

so... how's 'cheerfully unemployed' workin' for ya'?

Sunday, May 9, 2010
When I made the decision to quit the job that was a constant heartache and drag, nearly two yeras ago, it took me about (snap) that long to get to the point of knowing that I would rather be unemployed than miserable. So I have enjoyed the recent months of Early Retirement and telling people who ask that I am currently Cheerfully Unemployed. But that's not 100% accurate: the 'unemployed' part is fudging -only a bit.

I have been able to hang on to the Publix job by a slim, frayed thread. The floundering economy has had a big impact on grocery sales at the place that 'is not cheap'. As a part-timer, at the lowest (below ground level) point on the totem pole, at the tail end of the pecking order, when the schedulers run short on payroll, I am the one who takes it on the chin. So there have been months when I would work four hours: we are talking 4 hours per 30 days. Just enough to keep me active, to not get dropped off the computer that manages the accounting system. It was a struggle to keep up my game face and go in to work as a bagger/carry-out 'geezer' with a good attitude. (And admittedly there were times when the positivity must have flown out the window on the way down Macon Road, as I could not find it when I pulled up in the parking lot and clocked in for a four hour shift.)

But lately, with a change in middle-managers, and a new, young, go-getter, enthusiastic, high-energy (probably ADD) guy as the big dog in the produce department, I have been working three or four days a week for the past month. Mostly in the floral area, but some doing the onerous work of salad making or melon chopping. It's prom season, and wedding season, and miscellaneous holidays and graduation and vacation time. (I'm thinking M. has so diligently earned many vacation/paid holidays, he could finagle his way into a four day work week for most of the year with just a modicum of forethought and planning/effort!??)

Nice to get a paycheck that actually jingles in my pocket instead of the ones were so miniscule they were hardly worth the gas it took to go and pick them up!

I've been so busy I fear I will get dropped out of the substitute teaching computer for not accepting any 'day labor' jobs! Which is probably not the worst thing that could happen, except it is such a stinking hassle to get back into the program. If they are so desperate for subs., why do they make it such an aggravating process to get into the system? I recently discovered that there are so many unemployeds trying to get work as subs., the MCSD will not accept anyone who has less than a Master's degree into their pool. Those already accepted, un-degree'd are 'grandfathered', but the school system has decided they won't accept apps. from people with 'only' undergrad. Wow!

more hole digging 'therapy'

Saturday, May 8, 2010
I have had such a productive day. I got those gazillion little tomato plants that have been struggling, exhausted, limp, leggy, yellowing in pots, competing with one another for nutrients, desperate to stay alive: in the ground.

A couple of years ago I decided to dig up a strip of that hard, tenacious, ornery orange virtually 'un-diggable' clay along the property line that is about the only full sun location in the yard, replace with real dirt so I could plant tomatoes and then tie them up to the chain link fencing instead of staking. I mixed lots of good stuff in, thought it is actually pretty decent dirt from all the mulch I keep adding and turning over. I am hoping the adddtion of: osmocote, lime and something that is supposed to make nematodes say 'ick', make a U-turn and head for Alabama, stirred up together will produce a good crop.

There will be lots of suprises in store: I have NO idea what kind of tomatoes to expect from all those many wee plants. All 'donations' and mixed up, so we will have an interesting time watching and waiting to see what happens. A couple of plants that were rescued from Publix and sat in pots by the front door for a month, got in the ground a week ago, are already producing: fruit the size of the end of your thumb. Get out the mayo. and white bread!

I planted some peas weeks ago, though don't recall if the see packet was 'English' or 'snow', and I notice they are trying to make a crop. But every time I see a little pod, I pick it and open it up to discover two or three or four little bright green peas that I immediately practice my 'quality control' skills on: so no peas yet.

And some climbing beans that I was told would be so prolific I could expect nearly overnight results, and anticipate someone named 'Jack' to come along asking if I need any help to shinny up the beanstalk. Fortunately I did not have to trade a cow or any cats for the bean seed, though the possibility of seeing the twining vines shooting up into the clouds seems imminent.