Saturday, January 26, 2013

Not Exactly a Lazy Saturday But . . .

I've been pretty silent here.  I haven't had much free time lately.  This is the first Saturday in almost a month that I didn't have to be up and out the door running errands all day long.  I told my husband last night that I was "sleeping in" today.  I did too ...until all of 5:37 am.  For the life of me I couldn't go back to sleep. I tried, until 6 am, to fall back asleep, but once I'm awake, that's it.  I compromised, and didn't get my breakfast until 8:30, and I didn't take my shower until almost 10 am.  I spent the morning on FB, playing Words with Friends, Bubble Safari Ocean, Solitaire Blitz, and reading my favorite blogs, and a ton of emails.  I did manage to throw in a load of laundry.

It's afternoon, now, and I have accomplished a few goals, all from the comfort of my kitchen!   My neighbor, a hairdresser by trade, stopped by and cut my hair.  What a relief!! It should have been cut 2 weeks ago, but our schedules didn't mesh.  While I sometimes have to wait a bit longer than I like to for a trim, I can't beat the convenience of having the hairdresser come to me!  I also (drumroll here!!!) ordered the appliances for my new kitchen.  After what feels like eons of research - Consumer Reports, websites, talking to repairmen, etc. --- and visiting a few appliance stores, I made my decisions, and got in touch with the salesperson with whom I've been working.  With the exception of my washer and dryer, we ended up choosing Bosch appliances.  We worked with a locally and family-owned store that provides delivery, installation, and service.   We received a volume discount, and we are eligible for a huge rebate from Bosch.  And since all our appliances are Energy-Star rated, we will be able to apply for some further rebates from our state!  I ended up choosing a Maytag washer and dryer over a similar Whirlpool model.  Whirlpool owns the Maytag brand, and the prices were almost identical.  I picked the Maytag because it's rated (by Consumer Reports) as gentler on clothes, it has a hand wash cycle as well as delicate cycle (like my current model), and I've never not used a Maytag. My mother only had Maytag washer, and I've owned 2 in my householding career, both of which lasted 15+ years.

The big appliance changes are that we will be using a gas cooktop and an electric wall oven, instead of an electric range. I'm looking forward to "cooking with gas" -- my mom used to say "Now you're cooking with gas" when she wanted to tell us we were finally on the right track.

So now I have to get the kitchen cabinets ordered.  I am waiting on some specs from the gas installer so that we can double check the cooktop cabinet dimensions.  Hopefully that will happen in the next couple of days.

We're still waiting for tile estimates --- we've pretty much picked out the tile, but we're waiting for the labor estimate on one more installer.  And I have to finalize the sinks/faucets/shower fixtures.  And then . . .. paint colors for the interior have to be decided by midMarch!

Since the house is being built mostly by the building trades program at school, they're hoping to have it done by mid May so that an open house can be scheduled before the end of the school year.  The clock is starting to tick!

Now I just have to spend a little more time pondering the children's sermon for tomorrow.  The pastor is away tomorrow, so another lay leader and I are leading worship.  We've designed a prayer service for our church.  We're about to start a visioning project (we've hired a consultant, and everything!), and we felt that a time of concentrated intentional prayer around our hopes and dreams for the future would be in order.  We've designed a service of scripture and silent prayer, and I want to talk about different ways of praying with the Sunday school kids.  And quite frankly, I want to prepare the adults in the congregation for praying differently from the way we usually pray.  There's very little silence in our usual service, and some of us have been missing the time for silent meditation.  We've focused the service on reflective prayer:  We will read a scripture passage, pose a "challenge" question, and ask the congregation to reflect/pray silently for a few minutes.  After the 3rd scripture passage, we will invite the congregation to come forward with their prayer, and light a votive candle on the altar as a way of offering up their prayer.  I know that some people will be uncomfortable with the silences, but we're doing it anyway!

That reminds me. I need to gather some candles and a tray!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

My Reading Goals for 2013

Somebody asked me yesterday how many books I was going to try to read this year, and I replied, "No idea."  I decided not to set a goal for myself; I don't need the pressure.  Last year I set a goal of 125 books, and I did achieve it.  However, as 2012 approached the end, I found my self in a panic that I wasn't going to make my goal.  And because I'm someone who hates not meeting a goal, I found myself stressing over the attempt.  Not a good thing.  So this year, I decided  not to set a goal.  I am going to read because I love to read, not because I have to keep pace with some sort of target.  So what?  Who cares how many books someone reads?

My goals for 2013:

  • Read for pleasure, escape, and relaxation
  • Learn some new things or gain new insights by reading nonfiction occasionally
  • Find some new authors to follow
So far this month I've made progress on the last goal.  My son recommended a science fiction/fantasy series that starts with Ilium, by Dan Simmons.  I reviewed it on Goodreads.  I found the book interesting and challenging, and I will look for the next one Olympos later this year.  

I really appreciate suggestions that some of you have made.  I am usually not disappointed, and that's mostly how I find new authors nowadays.  I sometimes feel guilty that I don't get into my wonderful public library often anymore.  It's a function of the disjoint between their hours and my schedule. That's where I traditionally found ideas.  So since I can't get into the library often, I really do depend on digital recommendations.   Keep the suggestions coming!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Looking Like Home

As the interior walls go up and the plumbing/electric decisions are being made, the new house is looking more and more like my future home!

The front door has been installed!

And so has the bathtub in the guest bathroom.

I also stepped out on the deck off the dining/kitchen area.

I was blindsided (as usual!) with the fact that the plumbers were starting to install fixtures.  I haven't even picked them out.   When I expressed dismay to my DH, he had a hard time understanding why I wanted a say in picking them out!!   I received a phone call yesterday afternoon while I was on my planning period at school. The conversation went this way:

"You have to go over to the house and let the plumbers know how high you want the shower."


"Right after school.  They're there until 4 pm."

"But I have a staff meeting, and then I have a meeting at the SAU. I won't be home til around 5."

"Yeah but they're at the house, and they're going to install fixtures."

"Wait, a sec!  I didn't know the plumbers were installing fixtures.  I thought they were doing the rough work."

"They are, but while they're here, they are going to starting putting in the fixtures. The bathtub is in."

"What?? We haven't picked anything out."

"What's to pick out?  A tub is a tub.They're going to work on the master shower next."

"But we haven't even finalized what the shower's going to look like!  We're still waiting for the 2nd quote from the other tile guy.  We don't even know which wall the shower head will be on."

"But there are 3 plumbers here all day.  They have to get to work."

And so forth.  So, last evening instead of getting some schoolwork done, I spent 3 hours going through the Kohler and other websites, trying to figure out what type of showerhead, faucets, and toilets I wanted.
My eyes started going buggy.  I chose a couple of items, but I really wish I had time to go to a showroom or even Home Depot!

My biggest complaint about this construction project is the double speak I get.  "You don't need to make this decision right now, you've got plenty of time" on Monday, and on Tuesday, 'We're here to install X"  A bit of exaggeration, but you get the idea.

The universe is taking pity on me.  We have a totally unexpected snow day today!! So, once more into the breach.  At least I can review the choices I made last night and continue the search for faucets.  I didn't realize that your sink choices (which I haven't made yet) can impact your faucet choices! And I certainly haven't escaped the "champagne taste, beer budget" conundrum that most people face!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

What Keeps Me on the Run!

It was an exhausting and busy week and I'm still recuperating.  Wish the exhaustion was the result of all the fun I've been having!  It was a pretty full school week - 5 days that included 3 parent meetings during my planning time, plus an association meeting, and a meeting with a teacher about a potential grievance issue.  We also had a workshop on Tuesday in lieu of our staff meeting.  On Wed. I was out late at church, moderating our annual meeting.   I stayed at school until 5 pm on Friday, getting all my grading done, planning this upcoming week, and copying all the resources the kids will need.

On the home front, we finally got the upstairs toilet (which broke New Year's Eve day) replaced.  The water tank fell off the back of the toilet and couldn't be fixed.  It took almost a week to get that taken care of which meant a long trip down the stairs in the middle of the night for that 2 am trek!  And then on Friday, we discovered that the fridge was malfunctioning.  We pulled everything out and thoroughly cleaned it, and unplugged it overnight because apparently ice had built up at the bottom, preventing cold air from circulating. It's still not 100% but it is working better.  I'll have to call the repairman tomorrow to take a look.  I certainly hope that it can be fixed because I do not want to purchase a new fridge for this house.

Yesterday we spent most of the day meeting with various contractors.  We spent an hour with the electrician figuring out where we want outlets, appliance hookups, and lighting.  Decisions, decisions, decisions!  We met with the insulation person (who happened to be a former student of mine!) and decided on the type of insulation to use.  Then we headed to a tile store to meet with the tile contractor, and to look at possible tile for the mudroom entry, and the guest bath floor, and the master shower and floor. I had wanted to tile the bathroom walls up halfway, but the budget won't support that right now.  Then we headed to some appliance stores to get some research done in person instead of just online.  Wow!  Are appliances expensive nowadays!!

Today was mostly bookkeeping and laundry.  I had hoped to get to church but it didn't happen.  I still have a few chores to get done, and then I hope I can get some down time.  Another busy week looms!

                                                          Looking into the master bedroom.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year?

We were out at friends until just after midnight, so I didn't crawl out of bed until almost 8 am.  I had a lot to accomplish today since Elder Son announced that he and some friends were going to go skiing Wed and Thursday at a mountain about an hour north of us.  He wanted to bring his friends home Wed. night to sleep so they didn't have to spend money on hotel rooms.  Being an accommodating mom, I said of course they could come.  I then realized that meant I had to change the sheets in the bedrooms since Elder Son hadn't stripped his bed when he left after Christmas.  And of course, the upstairs bathroom needed a good cleaning and I needed to get some vacuuming done.  So I started in on my chores about 9 am after a couple of cups of coffee.  Stripped the beds, got 2 loads of laundry done, and got the living room dusted and vacuumed.  My husband went out to do a few errands and chores, and I headed up to the bathroom.  That's when the day started going downhill!  As I was scrubbing the toilet bowl, I heard something drop, and next thing I knew the water tank leaned forward and water started leaking out of both sides of the tank!  I grabbed the wastebasket to try to catch the water, and realized I needed at least 2 more pairs of hands.  The tank was threatening to fall, water was pouring out of the tank, and I couldn't reach the valve shut off.  To make a long story short, the water tank eventually drained, I managed to contain about 1/3 of the water into a wastebasket, and the rest of the water . . .. leaked through the ceiling into the family room below, soaking a chair.  However, it narrowly missed a bag of yarn, so I took some joy in that!    So now we have a broken toilet in the upstairs bathroom.  That means that until the plumber can fix our problem, I'll be trekking downstairs at 2 am for my usual bathroom sleep interruption!  And of course, tomorrow is the first day back to school!    I emailed my son to let him know that he and his guests will be sharing the downstairs bathroom with us.

But wait!  That's not all.  I had decided to wash my shower curtain, and I carefully double checked the washing instructions.  When I took the curtain out of the washer, the fabric backing had shredded!  I can still use it; because it's a fabric curtain, I do have a vinyl lining under it, but it doesn't hang right.  I'm really annoyed with that because it took me a long time to find a curtain that worked with my color scheme and my taste.   I will have to buy another curtain, but since we'll be moving later this year, I really don't need the expense! Our new bathrooms will not need shower curtains!  Oh well.

I'm not a good housekeeper.  I hate cleaning, and my standards are not high.  But occasionally, (like when there will be guests), I do get motivated.  And I WAS motivated today.  But somehow I feel I got the message that I should have left well enough alone!