Friday, June 28, 2013

The Decluttering Begins

Another drippy, rainy, humid day.  Everything feels like a wet sponge, including me.  But at least the heat is at bay for now --- 70°'s instead of high 80°s.  So I decided it was time to start weeding out.

I tackled something relatively easy and painless --- Kitchen drawer #1. And this wasn't even the junk drawer!


I had a bit of a battle to take the drawer out as you might imagine, so things got a little more disorganized, but you get the general idea.  Don't know where to put something?  Need to clear a counter fast?  Put it in the closest drawer.

Here are the after pictures:

This is the collection of stuff to clean up if possible, and either put in the yard sale (yet to be scheduled), or give away.

Here is the trash:

For some reason, each battery package was either empty or had only one battery in it.  I also tossed some plastic cards with info regarding a car we haven't owned for over 10 years, some broken crayons, some beyond hope serving utensils, a bunch of sketchy bamboo chopsticks, unidentified appliance cords, some ear buds for defunct media players (CD player that is long gone!)  WHY oh WHY do we keep this stuff?

And here's the result of my work:

Now I have 8 more kitchen drawers to go through.  I am sure that the final result of all the organizing will result in discovering items that can be consolidated even further.  Just what do you do with a vintage brass whistle that belonged to my father-in-law?  Or the wooden dreidel my husband played with?  And the sugar spoon that belonged to your grandmother?  And the multitude of screws, washers, nuts, and keys?   For now, I have a jar of the hardware, and the keys will all be tested to see what they might fit.  

This isn't even a drop in the bucket of decluttering that has to happen, but I'm at least I've turned the faucet on!     

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

It's FINALLY Summer

The last week of school was endless.  We've gotten out this late before, even later, but for some reason this end-of-year passed much more slowly than usual.  The kids are "checking out" earlier and earlier too which doesn't help.  The week passed in a blur of 2 field days, some grade level happenings, and the school talent show.  And finally, 11 am on Friday arrived, and the kids departed.  I spent the afternoon packing away my room and pushing the furniture to the perimeter of the room per policy.  I'm curious as to what other teachers in other districts have to do to "close" their rooms.

School ended none too soon with the advent of very hot, humid weather. I had to go into school yesterday briefly to hand in my purchase orders for next year, and to bring in some old sheets and tablecloths to cover up my bookcases and computers.  My room was 87°F at 10 am so I was very grateful that I didn't have 22 kids to control.  I only spent about 45 minutes there.

Since school got out I've been reading up a storm and watching Netflix.  I've been enjoying two very different Netflix offerings.  The first is called "Lilies."  It's a BBC offering from a few years ago about 3 sisters in Liverpool at the end of WWI who are trying to earn a living.  The accents are sometimes a little hard to follow, but after a short time, I get acclimated (mostly).  I've watched about 6 episodes - I think there are another 3 or 4 left.  The other series I'm watching is "Brothers and Sisters" with Sally Field.   I never watched it while it aired since the time slot was too late for me and I had too many other shows I was following.  But I have gotten hooked!  I just finished season 1 which had 24 episodes!  Nowadays you're lucky to get 13 new episodes each season.  I also recently watched "House of Cards" - the Netflix offering.  This was terrific!  I'd seen the BBC version a number of years ago which I thoroughly enjoyed.  Netflix did a great job of Americanizing the characters and plotline.  It's "West Wing" on steroids!

So that's what I've been up to since vacation finally arrived.  I have a ton of house stuff to do - both new and old, but that's the subject of another post.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

I Know, I know

It's been over 6 weeks since last I posted.  I've either had too much to say, or nothing to say.  I think I'm in the same boat but decided to put something out there into the blogosphere.

In no particular order of significance:

1.  We still have 10 days of school.  I have 4 more lunch/recess duties, and at least 3 more bus duties.  We have 5 days of actual teaching - or what passes for actual teaching-- and grades close on Friday.  That leaves 5 more days to fill.  Two of the days are scheduled as field days.  Why 2?  Who knows, we've always done it that way.  One day is a trip to a camp where kids can swim, play basketball, climb a rock wall, play ga-ga, and soccer, and hang-out.  The other is at school where we have a mock Greek Olympic games - foot races, long jump, our versions of javelin throws, shot puts, discus, and a few group games like "Drip, drip, drop" and a tug of war.  The other 3 days include 2 assemblies --- a school wide talent show on the last day of school, and a grade level awards ceremony fitted in somewhere.  We will also have the kids race the Roman "chariots" they built out of shoe boxes and recycled materials, and a sponge war using the shields made out of cardboard and the Roman military formations we've practiced.   There may be a real estate show too, using the dream homes the kids designed  in their math classes.

2.  Our own dream house construction is ongoing. We've run into a few glitches --- who doesn't.  One major glitch is a design flaw that resulted in our custom kitchen cabinets not fitting correctly.  There was a change in contractor between the time the measurements for the cabinets were taken and a wall got built that wasn't supposed to be there. The 3 inches of wall width was needed for the cabinets.  The tiler who's doing the bathrooms is very good, but very laid-back. He works on his timetable, not ours, and he's not a great communicator.  We just found out after a week wondering why he hadn't shown up that WE needed to order the grab bars and soap dishes.  He allowed that he didn't remember telling us that.

3.  We went through a spell of unseasonably cold weather followed by a spell of unseasonably hot, humid weather.  That was followed by the remnants of Tropical Storm Andrea.  The mosquitos are ferocious.

4.  Someone I got to know over the internet, who became a friend, was diagnosed with cancer, had surgery that resulted in many complications, and in the space of a few weeks died.  That has made me very sad.  Although we were only internet friends we had a lot in common:  teaching, church, knitting, building retirement home, and we both kept the books for family businesses.  We both read many of the books too.  In my personal life, a very active member of my church also died and that has left a big hole too.  The daughter of one of my colleagues was in a freak accident last weekend.  While she will eventually make a full recovery, her injuries were pretty serious.  My teaching partner is also dealing with some potentially serious health issues.

5.  On the bright side of life, I've seen two good movies in the past 6 weeks. First was the new Star Trek movie.  I enjoyed that a lot, surprisingly so.  It was classic Star Trek -- action and humor, mixed together.  I also went to see The Great Gatsby which I also liked.  My biggest quibble with that movie was the sound track.  I wish they'd used 20's jazz instead of current day hits.  I loved the costuming!

6. I"ve read 2 books back to back that impressed me.  The first was "The Paris Wife," about Ernest Hemingway and his first wife Hadley Richards.    The 2nd was "The Orphan Train."  Both are well-researched historical fiction, and well worth the time to read. You can see my reviews on Goodreads, here and here.

I think that's about it for now.  I hope that it won't be another 6 weeks before I write again.