Five Things I Enjoy When My Spouse is Away

Today is Friday and that means it is time for Friday’s Fave Five.  Since the Commander has been off on a business trip this week, returning today, I thought it might be fun to write about five things that I always look forward to doing when he is away.  You see, he rarely goes anywhere on business so these trips are few and far between.  I know that most spouses dread having their husbands away on business.  Well, at least that is what they say.  But for me, I always kind of feel like the proverbial teenager whose parents turn to her and say, “We’re going to be gone for the next week and we’re leaving you in charge of the house.  Bye!”  Whee!  Oh now, don’t let your imagination get the better of you.  I hardly go crazy when he’s away.  But I definitely feel like the adult has left the building.  Time to throw some spitballs.  So here are five things that I always look forward to doing when the Commander is out of town.

1.  I get to sleep with the dog. Poor Fresca never gets to sleep in our bedroom (and certainly NOT on the bed) when the Commander is in residence.  So when he is not home, Fresca gets to not only be in our bedroom but hop on the bed and snooze there all night long.

2.  I get to stay up as late as I want. When the Commander is here, I always feel like I should head to bed around the same time that he goes to bed.  Many times I’m in the middle of doing something on the computer or I’m just not tired and don’t really feel like going to bed but I drag myself off to bed anyway.  Then I like to read for awhile but I feel guilty about reading too long since I don’t want to disturb hubby’s sleep.  So when the Commander is away, I can stay up as late as I want to AND when I DO go to bed, I can read in bed as long as I want to, also.  If I want to keep the light on until 1 a.m. and read, I do it.

3.  I can sleep in in the mornings. Well, in theory this should be doable.  However, since the dog is in the bedroom, she insists on getting me up at the usual time because she wants to eat and be let out around 7 a.m.  So even though I might have stayed up late the night before, I’m usually up with the birds in the morning, too.  But I COULD go back to bed, I suppose, if I wanted after feeding the dog and letting her do her business.

4.  I can eat whatever I want WHEN I want to eat. When my hubby is away, I don’t have to fix supper if I don’t want to AND if I want to eat dessert only for my meal, I can do so.  (I told you it was like being a kid left in charge of themselves.)  I just HATE having to drop whatever I’m doing to go fix a meal.  It would be so nice if house fairies just showed up with a full meal in tow, piping hot and ready to serve each day around 6 p.m.  Alas, that doesn’t happen at my house.  So when I don’t have to feed anyone but myself, it is a luxury.  My diet hasn’t been the greatest this week, but I’ve dictated the terms.  Such empowerment!

5.  I don’t have to clean the house. Whee!  I can leave things laying around if I want to and not feel guilty.  In theory, this is the case.  In actuality, I usually get bothered by the mess and end up cleaning anyway.  This week, one of my girlfriends came over for a sewing lesson so I ended up having to clean the house anyway.  Phooey!  But that was offset by the fun we had sewing and kibitzing throughout the day.

There you have it….the five things I enjoy “when the adults have left the building.”  If you’d like to read what others are writing about for their Friday’s Fave Five visit Susanne’s site at Living to tell the Story.

Ain’t No Sunshine When You’re Gone

So the other day I noticed that one of my medications was running low.  Time to call in for a renewal.  It was one of those automated phone lines and I was expecting to hear the voice tell me when I could pick up my refill.  Instead I heard the words, “This prescription can not be refilled until March 17.”    What?

I looked at the pill container and realized, to my consternation, that I had been taking two pills per day, instead of the prescribed one pill per day.  Yikes!  When did that happen?  I knew that I had been taking one a day because I remembered the conversation with my doctor about switching the time of day to take the pill from breakfast time to suppertime.  But I also vaguely remembered loading up my weekly pill organizer with one pill for breakfast and one at dinner.

Luckily the pill in question was an anti-anxiety pill that I had started taking way back when my son had decided to become a missionary and go live in slums around the world.   It was about that time that I’d started having anxiety attacks and bouts of weeping, sometimes at the same time.  I mean, his dad and I had figured that he was going to be a mathematics teacher, for goodness sakes.  He’d thrown us a real curve ball  and since I’m not the calmest person on the planet, it had hit me particularly hard.

I was diagnosed with “General Anxiety Disorder” – who knew?  I thought everybody worried as much as I did about everything.  But with the help of medication, I discovered what it was like to live a fairly normal life — at least one that didn’t involve constantly imagining doom and gloom.  I wouldn’t want to live a totally normal life.  How terribly boring!  But back to my story.

Here I was, puttering along, feeling great and every so often, wondering why I wasn’t crying my eyes out at the thought of our son, daughter-in-law, and grandbaby leaving soon, only to discover that it was probably because I was on a double dose of “happy pills.”   I called up my doctor.

“You see, I think it started when my allergist said to cut back to one Allegra-D a day and that pill is a white pill just like the other medication,” I explained.  “I’m used to seeing a white pill in the organizer for morning and evening.”

“Dee,” she said.  “Usually we just have this problem with our elderly patients.”

“I know, I know,” I chuckled. “I guess I’m going to be a holy terror when I really get old.  But will it kill me to suddenly halve my intake until I can get a new prescription?”

She assured me that I’d survive although I might be a little more emotional than usual.  Oh boy, just in time to say “goodbye” to the kids.

OK, kidlets…listen up!  I’m giving you fair warning.  Momma might need some extra help with this pill organizing when she’s old and gray but for now, I’m doing just fine, thank you very much.  Could you pass me a kleenex?

I’m the Bag Lady!

No particular reason for inserting this picture except for the fact that it cracks me up every time I see it AND that the Commander is in this little vignette of my day.

Today, after church, a group of us trooped down to the Fellowship Hall to volunteer to stuff 5,000 bags with brochures that will be hung on doors around our community soon in an outreach campaign.  We listened to the instructions which consisted of….1.  Find a partner and 2.  One of you put the brochures into a specific order and the other hold open the bag for the brochures to be stuffed in.  The bagger was supposed to keep count and when there were ten filled bags, the bagger was supposed to tie the bags together with a ribbon so there would be groups of ten filled bags.

A friend and I grabbed the brochures and empty bags and we started our assembly line going.  She assembled the brochures and I handled the bags.  After we’d been doing this for awhile, the Commander showed up.  I told him we’d be done in a bit but he sat down and started grabbing brochures and stuffing them in bags and then throwing the bags on my pile.

“Honey, how many bags did you just put on there?  I’m trying to keep count,” I said.

“I don’t know”, he replied and kept on stuffing and slinging them.

“Well, hold on.  I have to have just ten bags in a group.  Don’t keep putting them on here.  Start your own pile,”  I suggested.

He switched gears and began a pile of his own but when he came up short and needed another bundle of brochures, he reached over and grabbed a set from a neighboring team.  Now I happened to have observed the other team carefully arranging these brochures in groups of ten.

“Honey,  you can’t do that.  You just messed up their piles.”

“What difference does it make which pile it comes from?  They’re all the same brochures,”  he answered.

“But now they have a pile that is going to come out short,” I replied.

He looked at me and then reached over, grabbed some of our brochures and plopped them back on the other team’s pile.  I looked at his pile of filled bags.

“You have some bags with the brochures facing down and some with them facing up.  They should all be facing up, don’t you think?”  I suggested.

“Why”, he challenged.

“Because it looks neater that way,” I countered.

It was a stalemate.

I glanced over at the other team, who were giving me the old fish eye.  “And that’s why you never have two leaders on the same team,” I told them.

“Look, Honey.  I’m the bag lady.  Why don’t you go around and collect the filled bags or something?  We’ll be done here shortly.”

Once he’d gone, I turned to my partner and said, “We just don’t work well together.  We both have really strong ideas of how things should be done.”

“But your marriage has worked well,” she said.

“That’s because we learned a long time ago that we just can’t work together on anything,” I laughed.  “It’s even uglier when you get us both in the same canoe.  Lord have mercy!”

Is the Week Over Yet?

What a week this has been.  I’m pretty glad that it is wrapping up, to tell you the truth and not just gearing up.  But since this is the day that I talk about Friday’s Fave Five, I guess I’ll have to talk instead about the five “challenges” I encountered this week.

1.  The Nose of Doom – this nose has been the bane of my existence since I was a kid.  It never lets me breathe freely at the best of times and, when it’s congested, it leaves me gasping for air.  It torments me in the night by closing off air to first one nostril and then the other, making me toss from one side to the other trying to get the darn thing to unclog.  This week I’ve been struggling with a sinus infection which moved into bronchitis.  That lowered my voice and set me to coughing.  You wouldn’t believe the number of times I answered the phone this week and had people think I was my husband.    And I can’t sleep at night because of the coughing.  Enough, already!

2.  Popping Pills – To counteract the “Nose of Doom,” I had to haul out the Sudafed and then the Mucinex for the coughing.   Unfortunately, I’m real sensitive to meds and that means that I’ve been going around pretty groggily all week.  Of course, the fact that I’ve not been able to get much sleep might have something to do with it, also.

3.  I melted the oven. Well, technically, I don’t think I had anything to do with it except for turning the oven on.  I was hosting a luncheon at my home and one of the guests had brought some appetizers that needed to be warmed up.  She told me to set the oven to a certain temperature and put the tray in.  I did and went about my hostess duties.  About 10 minutes later, I suggested we go check on the appetizers.  When I opened the door, the heating element was collapsed on one side and reduced to ashes in parts and was burning on the other side.  Yikes!  My poor friend thought it was her dish that did it but it wasn’t.  It was just the element’s time to go……AGAIN!  This is the second element we’ve gone through.  I think this stove is the original one that was put in when the house was built so that means it is at least 18 years old.  Well, it’s out of here.  We’re going to be shopping for a new stove next week.  In the meantime, the stovetop still works so I’m still cooking.

4.  We had a gas fireplace insert installed this week. Now this isn’t really a bad thing but getting it done wasn’t the greatest timing.  First we had to have the chimney sweep out earlier in the week.  That meant I had to shut Fresca the Wonder dog in a back bedroom so she wouldn’t eat him and then I had to listen to her bark non-stop for 2 hours.  Then today the fireplace log guys arrived and I had to listen to another 2 hours of Fresca barking.  She is certainly persistent.  Once it was installed, they instructed me on how to light the pilot, in case it is out.  My “deer in the headlights” look must have caught their attention because they wrapped it up quickly and kindly mentioned that everything they’d just said was written in the instruction manual which they’d be leaving with me.  Hallelujah!  Of course, now that I can have a nice, crackling fire, I’m more than ready for a lovely blanket of snow to fall so that I can snuggle down on the couch with a good book, a cup of hot cocoa, and a cozy fire.

5.  This last thing is not a bad thing at all.  Mika turned one month old this past week. It is amazing to realize that one month ago, our little granddaughter was just coming into the world.  And now, in four short weeks, her little personality is already showing itself and she has endeared herself to all the family.  Plus I am amazed at how much a baby can change in just one month.   I know this must have happened with my own two but somehow you forget as the years go by.

That’s it for my Friday Five.  Visit Susanne’s Living to Tell the Story to see what others are writing about for their Friday Fave Five.

So Easy a Child Can Do It

I’ve been watching what I eat since last summer and losing weight slowly but steadily.  Since I’m on the right track, I figured perhaps I should also add some exercise to the mix.  The problem is that I hate exercising anything but my brain.

Well, I was up on the Ravelry knitters’ website the other day and some of the knitters were talking about how much they were enjoying “hooping.”  What in the world?  It sounded intriguing?  Several ladies posted links to some hooping sites on the Web and some YouTube videos of just normal, everyday folks hoop dancing.  Wow, they looked so graceful.  The YouTube ladies looked like they were having a blast.  This was not the type of hula hooping that I remembered from my high school days.

Impulsively, I decided to order the exercise DVDs and an exercise hoop from one of the sites.  I could hardly wait for them to arrive.  Well, this week the box was delivered and my joy evaporated when I saw that the hoop was coiled into a small coil.  There were instructions included showing me how to uncoil it into a big, beautiful hoop.  I was going to be in BIG trouble.  I knew this from past experience.  Nothing has ever gone smoothly for me that has involved assembly, unless you count my children.  Lucky for them, I didn’t get my hands on them until AFTER they were born or who knows what they would have looked like if I’d tried to put them together in the womb?

I tried to uncoil that darn hoop but it was not cooperating at all.  I swear I followed the directions as best I could.  I referred to the pictures and tried again and again but the hoop was not having any of it.  I really should have just set it aside at this point and waited until my hubby came home and asked for his help.  The Commander has no problems at all assembling things.  It’s a knack that he has.   It’s just that I couldn’t see how hard it could be to uncoil something into a circle.  I did NOT want to admit that this thing had gotten the best of me.

The result is one spectacularly “kinked” hoop.  I seriously doubt that I’ll be doing any hoop dancing with this thing.  Do you think it’s a sign?  Maybe hoop dancing isn’t for me.  On the other hand, they DO sell collapsible travel hoops that are shipped in four pieces and all you have to do is pop them together like pop-it beads  when they arrive.  How hard could that be?

Of Babies and Bedrooms

Well, today is the day that my daughter-in-law who is expecting our first grandchild is supposed to be induced.  She was supposed to be admitted into the hospital last night and the induction was to start today but she was “bumped”.  Guess all the labor and delivery rooms were full last night.  So the hospital will be calling them this morning to tell them when to come in today.    So while I wait, I might as well show you how the bedroom renovations came out.

When last we spoke about the master bedroom, I discussed how we had to resort to painting over the atrocious wallpaper because the previous owners had glued the darn stuff directly onto the drywall.  That stuff was on there so tight that there was no way it was coming off.  So the picture on the left is how the bedroom looked prior to our redecorating.

Here’s the bedroom now.  Do you like the difference?  We painted the walls a warm chocolate color.  The wood trim was painted ivory.  I donated the lamps and bedspread to charity and got new matching lamps and a bedspread set from Penney’s.  The curtains are also from Penney’s and a champagne color.  Our rug was a bright blue.  We replaced it with a rug that is between an ivory and champagne color.

I would have liked to have replaced our two recliners with two coordinating chairs for a lounge area but the recliners were still in excellent shape and quite comfortable.  So I ended up finding some light beige stretch slipcovers and we put those on the recliners and they work fine.  I originally had both recliners in my little seating area but my hubby really wanted the one recliner back beside his side of the bed so back it went.  That still leaves a little reading area on one side of the room.  I put a little round table that we had in our sunroom over there and covered it in a rich ivory tablecloth and lace topper.  A cheap $2 rattan placemat gives it some interest on top and I topped the whole thing with another cheap “vase” I found at T.J. Maxx which is actually a spaghetti holder and tucked some coordinating fake flowers in it.

The Commander replaced the pink accordian shades with these light beige accordian shades that don’t have cords.  You just push them up and pull them down to whatever height you want them at.  I really like them.  I had originally thought I wanted something a little more customized but when we started looking at blinds and window treatments, I discovered that they cost an arm and a leg.  No thanks!  We got these at Home Depot right off the shelf and they cut them to our measurements.  The only other thing I would have liked to have done was to have some light sconces installed on the wall here by the reading nook and on either side of the triple dresser but the Commander said that it would be beyond his electrical capabilities.  Well, that’s not entirely the case.  He could have done it but he didn’t want to drill holes in the wall.

In case you want to know how we painted over the wallpaper, here is the method we used which worked for us and gave us very nice results.  It was recommended to us from a good friend who first used it in her home, also with great results (thanks, Kat!):

  1. Remove any old wallpaper that isn’t adhering to the drywall.  This includes seams as well as edges of the old wallpaper, including what is underneath light switch and outlet plates.  Also check for any bubbles in the wallpaper.  If you find some, cut these out with a razorblade or exacto knife.  You want to make sure that all the old wallpaper that remains on the wall is really stuck in place.
  2. Put on a thin layer of joint compound on the areas where the old wallpaper and drywall meet as well as along the old wallpaper seams so they can’t be seen.  Let this compound dry.
  3. With fine sandpaper, lightly sand the dry joint compound to make a smooth transition between the old wallpaper and the drywall.
  4. Vacuum all of the walls and lightly wipe them down with a damp (not wet) cloth to remove any dust, especially from the joint compound so that there is a clean surface.  Let dry.
  5. Apply KILZ brand Oil-based primer, covering the whole surface well.  Depending on the pattern of the wallpaper, you might have to do several coats.  Let dry.
  6. Once the oil-based primer is dry, then you can apply the desired top coat of latex paint.  Don’t worry about using latex paint on top of the oil-based primer.  It is best to paint on this top coat as soon as the primer has dried so that it will adhere better.  However, our friend had a family emergency after putting the primer on and had to leave it for 2 weeks before putting on the latex top coat and hers turned out fine.
That’s all there is to the procedure.  Of course, if you can get the wallpaper off, that is always the better fix but there are times when getting wallpaper off will damage a wall more than leaving it on so if you find yourself in that boat, this might be of help.
Now, I think I’ll go back to playing the “waiting game.”  Who knows, I might be a grandma the next time I blog.

Fave Friday Whoopees

FFF fall leaves 2It’s time for Friday’s Fave Five and today I’m going to give you a Fave Six.  How’s that for a bonus?  I had such a good week (well, if you count my week as being from last Saturday to today) that I have at least six things I can list for you.  So let’s get right to it, eh?

New Painting Job1.  My hubby has begun the daunting task of painting our Master Bedroom. I say “daunting” because we have a very BIG bedroom and because it is covered in a very gaudy wallpaper that we inherited when we bought the house.  Not only is the wallpaper gaudy but the previous owners actually glued the wallpaper to the dryboard.  No way is all of it coming off without super-human efforts.  So the Commander got some tips from a friend who recently tried this in her house and he is painting over the wallpaper.  It is working like a charm.  But it is at least a 3-step process.   I decided on a warm chocolate color because I have always found brown to be a very calming color in a bedroom and because I needed a color that would cover the horrible wallpaper.

Old WallpaperIf you don’t believe me, here’s a peek at the old wallpaper.  Yup….horrible.  I know, the lamps are horrible, too but they are old lamps that we’ve had since we first got married and they will soon be out of there, too.  The previous owners also painted all the trim and doors a yellowish  color.  We’ll be painting them a nice ivory cream color.  Then there are the pink accordian blinds that came with the house.  Ugh!  Those will be going and replaced with ivory cream sheers over shades.  The last fly in the ointment will be remaining for awhile.  The previous owners carpeted the whole bedroom in blue.  The carpet is still in great shape but it is the only blue left in the entire house.  I have gradually gotten it all out but here.  I have been putting a palate in place in the house of tans and greens and browns.  So I would love to replace that carpet with something neutral so that I could finish the decor in cream, Decoratingpalest beige, spring green accents, and a touch of paprika here and there.  But that’s just not going to fly with the blue carpet and it looks like we’ll be waiting to replace that until at least Spring.

2.  So I’ve been having fun dreaming up decorating schemes. The challenge is to neutralize that blue carpet and I think I’ve got it figured out.  I’m leaning toward a pale, pale seafoam turquoise color for the bedcovers with creamy ivory accents and some cafe au lait accents thrown in.  I’m hoping to create a little seating area where I’ll have a cream colored chair and round table where I can sip coffee and watch the news in the morning.  Tres European, non?

Aran Afghan3.  I started the “Great American Aran Afghan” class at my local yarn shop.  When I first signed up for this class, I just signed up for it to give me an excuse to go and hang out with other knitters.  I didn’t even know what the afghan looked like.  Then I got home and looked it up online.  Yikes!  I almost backed out because it looked really complicated.  But I’m glad that I decided to stay in the class.  We are doing one square a month and for our first class, we started with a square that has a miniature Aran sweater appliqued to the background square.  I have finished one sleeve and am just now starting the body of the sweater.  Loads of fun and also very challenging.

Kindle New Generation4.  My new Kindle arrived this week.  This is the latest generation Kindle (well, not the big DX one or the international one).  It actually stores up to 1500 books in this tiny little device AND it can read the books aloud to me.  My other Kindle was one of the first ones produced.  I love it but it looks like a full-size van compared to a small sedan when I compare it now to the newer version.  Luckily, Amazon lets you share your e-book purchases among Kindles within a family at one address so my hubby is getting my old Kindle and we can read the same books  together.  He doesn’t know this yet but I suspect I’ll tell him soon.  And I actually purchased my new Kindle with my own earnings from selling off some of my excess yarn stash.

Author Tour5.  Tonight the Commander and I will be going to hear one of my favorite authors speak on a book tour. I have read most of Don Miller’s books and he is going to be in York, PA tonight.  Whee!  Joining him will be Susan E. Isaacs, another author and an actress.  She recently wrote a book chronicling her rocky relationship with God over the years that, I understand, is REALLY honest and open but also funny.  It’s based on a one-woman show she has done and I think it will be quite interesting to hear her perspective on her faith journey.  I first became acquainted with Don Miller’s writing through the book “Blue Like Jazz.”  Don marches to a different beat also but first and foremost, loves the Lord.  I always enjoy his honesty and his quirky way of looking at things and have identified so much with some of the things he has said and questioned in his books.  Can’t wait to hear them speak.

6.  I attended a 12-hour Croptoberfest last Saturday and made lots of progress on my digital Digital Scrapbookingscrapbooking. I finished an album of our Minnesota trip and finished pages of quite a few events that have happened this past year.  Now all I have to do is send those off digitally to be printed.  In just a few weeks, my daughter and I will be attending a weekend scrapbooking retreat so I’ll be heading into that well-prepared with a nice list of projects to work on.  I feel SO organized.  We’ll see how long that lasts.

So what are YOU raving about this Friday?  To see what others are talking about, visit Susanne’s blog at Living to Tell the Story.  You can add your own Fave Five from a link there, as well.