Of beer and home improvement projects


Something that I really enjoy is pizza. The best thing to have with pizza is a cold beer. Just one, and it has to be really cold.

I’m very blessed that my younger son has discovered the joy of cooking, and sometimes he makes supper.  Tonight he made calzones. They were just plain pepperoni and cheese, but they were really good. There’s extra yummy goodness in all things home-made. No lie.

So, what beer did I drink with my fabulous home-made calzone? Now, I am a huge Guinness fan. I like a beer with some backbone, and am not prone to drink light beer. I thought about getting some Guinness tonight, but chose to try something new today. I like to try new things all the time, and very often I will choose an adult beverage by the creativity of the label if I just can’t make a decision, but the name of this beer caught my eye. Tonight’s choice is Heavy Horse Scotch Ale, which is made by Big Sky Brewing Company in Missoula, MT. This is the amazing company who are the creators of Moose Drool, another good beer.

I can’t say enough good things about this beer. Not only is it not overly carbonated or hoppy, but it has a lovely smooth taste without being a light beer. Oh, it is a fabulously smooth beer. Hm!! Heavy Horse is a limited run beer, so I think I will go out and get another couple of six packs next pay-day.  Something I’d like to have in my new pantry is not only a wine cellar, but a beer cellar too.

Speaking of my new pantry. It appears that it won’t be built just yet. I still have a few boxes upstairs (left over from bringing everything up from the flood in June)  that need to be gone through and the contents to be kept will have to go in totes and returned to the basement. I have Christmas decorations still stored in my room, and they will have to go downstairs too. So, still having things that need storing in the basement, I’ll need to get those things pared down and squared away so I can get my upstairs finally squared away. Once the upstairs is back in shape, I can pay better attention to the basement. I have some before and after pictures of the organizational project I have going on down there, but I’m saving that for another post.

So, having gone on and on about the stuff I have to get done, I guess I’d better go get something done!

 

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Flogging depression with gardening


Apparently, I’ve been depressed.

It sounds as though I make it out to be like it sneaked up on me, and caught me unawares. Well, that’s sometimes how it happens…at least for me. I realized recently, that I’d been falling into old patterns and having no feelings other than unhappy. Today I heard stories about two people I work with at The Big Box Store, who have decided to move away because they lost their homes, and most everything in the flood. There’s nothing holding them here, so they are moving to where they have family, and starting over. It really made me think about all the things that I have taken for granted, and how  fortunate I have been.

Do I have more bills than I can keep up with? Oh, yeah. Do I run like a chicken with my head cut off most days? Yep. Do I feel overwhelmed all the time? Most definitely. Has my ex-husband served me with a legal motion because he thinks he’s paying me too much, and wants a refund? Yes he did, that rotten so-and-so.  Has the heart of my city been destroyed, and so many people I know been displaced and won’t be able to get back into their homes before the snow flies? Yes, and it makes my heart ache.  Have I got more things around the house that need doing than I have time and energy for? Oh, man, do I. Did my engine light come on? Unfortunately, it did. Ugh.

I’ve been feeling really down because of all of this stuff on my plate, and didn’t realize how down I was until I realized I have been having a continual internal pity party for quite a while. Hearing about these two families who have had to make such a hard decision really jerked me out of my rut, and I was able to actually get up and do something. Feeling depressed is very much like wearing weights around your neck…it’s just so hard to get up and do anything. I wish I had realized I had sunk down so far before things got so out of whack.

The thing is, I have got so much to be grateful for, and that really should outweigh the bad stuff. Do I have a home to come home to at the end of a long day, that is dry and safe? Are my kids healthy? Am I gainfully employed? Do I have parents that have stuck by me and helped me every step of the way my whole life? Do I have good friends?  Did my garden produce food for me, even though I neglected it all summer? A resounding yes to all of these things and much more. I am so blessed, and it’s a huge bummer that I lost sight of that.

Before - ugh!

So, after I got home from working at The Big Box Store this morning, I took Older Son shopping. We came home, and then Younger Son and I spent three hours outside. He changed light bulbs over both doors and washed the van, and I spent my time cleaning up and organizing the rock beds that surround two sides of our house. The front one was especially bad, but it turns out that it didn’t take as long as I thought it would. Since I had extra time, and was on a roll, I weeded out my strawberry/herb garden and found some interesting things.

Rosemary on the right, Thyme on the left

I planted rosemary, thyme and oregano this spring, which grew fabulously. Now I have a nice bunch of fresh herbs to cook with. Actually, I like to just rub them in my hands and sniff them. There’s nothing that drops my blood pressure quick than smelling fresh thyme. Who needs drugs when you have a good kitchen herb garden!

After that was done, I took a look at my VERY over grown vegetable garden. We planted snow peas, corn, carrots and pumpkins. The only thing that did really well was the pumpkins. The vines and flowers are so pretty! Younger Son has been telling me for a couple of weeks about some really strange-looking pumpkins, and he thought the vines might be infected with something and the pumpkins were deformed. I finally made the effort to take a look tonight, and it turns out that not only do we have genuine baby pumpkins, but also spaghetti squash! I had a spaghetti squash that I ended up throwing in the compost heap this Spring, as it went bad before I could eat it. Apparently, they are very easy to grow!

We also have ground cherries and dill that re-seeded themselves from last year. The strawberries looked a little worse for the wear, but were holding their own and had sent out runners. We even had some carrots that survived all the rain we received. Even though Younger isn’t a veggie eater, I talked him into trying a carrot straight out of the garden, since he was the one that planted them. I was surprised that he actually ate it, but he did. I ate some too, and it was a little woody as it should have been picked earlier, but it was good anyway.

So, by 7:30 this evening, the rock beds had been cleared of all weeds, one garden had been weeded and watered, and the van had been scrubbed for the first time all summer (There wasn’t

Whoa! Now you can see the rocks in my rock bed!

much car washing going on with the city requesting water conservation during and after the flood, until just recently),  and I was able to sit down and eat supper with a genuine feeling of having accomplished something for the first time in a long, long time.

Tomorrow, I work on the inside of the house!

 

 

 

 

Where is Barbara Eden when you need her?


Holy cow…life has taken be for quite a ride these last two weeks. The end of the school year, combined with everything else that’s going on has left me with my head spinning and my house is a complete disaster. Here it is, Friday already this week, and I have company coming this weekend. Uff da.

I woke up today thinking how lovely it would be if I could have mad skills like Barbara Eden’s Jeannie. I would love it if I could clean my whole house with just a sharp bob of my head.  In my youth, when I spouted off about how I wished something could be different, my Dad would ask me if I had a pile of wish in one and a cow patty in another, what do you get when you rub your hands together? Better to get your hands dirty with work than to rub them together wishing things were different. Well, I’m unhappy to report that Dad was right. Wishing doesn’t quite fix the problem, so I guess I’ll stay up a little later tonight and get everything in order.

In other news, we’ve had a few gloriously sunshiny days. We deserved this nice weather, and I even got a little bit of a sunburn at the garage sale last weekend. Today we have 100% chance of rain, but I’m hoping that things will dry out enough this coming week that we’ll be able to put the garden in.

In North Dakota, we have a LOT of different Seasons, all of which overlap each other. For example, right now it is Spring, but it is also the beginning of Road Construction and Home Improvement Seasons. We have a lot of pot holes in the streets after a long hard Winter…axle-busting pot holes…and it could very well take most of the Spring and Summer for them all to get repaired. Home Improvement Season will be long too. There’s just no end to the work of art in progress that is my home. Thank goodness for my Dad, who has a handle on all things that have to do with home improvement.

Last year I had the roof replaced, the bathroom gutted and redone, and all of my windows were changed out. This will be the Summer of Small Projects. Lots of paint, lots of organizing and much getting rid of stuff that I don’t need anymore. I’m looking at doing some different things with my garden this year too, but more on that later.

Today it will rain and wash away the dust and dirt that covers everything, and make the air smell good. I have lunch with my Sister by Choice today, and work should be light….at least at the Cube Farm. It’s going to be a good day.

Windows are going in!!!


Joe, the Weather Man, had the audacity to come on the television today and tell us that we were getting snow today. What the heck? This is New Window Day! We can’t have snow. How can Dewey the Windows Guy put my new windows in if it’s snowing?!

At that point in the morning, I was having a Hee Haw moment of epic proportions:

(Doom, despair and agony on me. Deep dark depression, excessive misery! If it weren’t for bad luck, I’d have no luck at all. Doom, despair and agony on meeee! – This pity party moment brought to you by the good folks at Hee Haw)

But wait!  Dewey, my trusty Windows Guy, called and let me know we’re still on for the windows!!

At this very moment, even though it is snowing, there are two guys installing my new windows. I’m just blown away by the fact that it doesn’t matter that it’s snowing. So far, I have two windows completely installed. After over 10 years of  not being able to open but one window in the house, I can now just waltz over to both of those windows and open them. With one hand. Even though it’s snowing. My life is so fabulous, I just can’t adequately quantify it, and I’m just barely holding it together against crying for joy. No joking.

Most of you, my Eleven Faithful Readers, are probably wondering what the fuss is about. Just the act of being able to open my windows is such a huge deal, you can’t even imagine. This is just the gravy on top of this yummy pile of mashed potatoes, as I will also have a lowered heat bill, and some sound proofing against noise from the road, the train and the helicopters. The old saying is true…little things count. They count for a lot. I am so blessed.

Of Windows and Aliens


I am so happy today. I got the final word from Dewey the Windows Guy that I am definitely getting my new windows Friday and Saturday. Finally!!!

You might wonder why I would be getting new windows when the temperature is generally just barely above zero? Well, I did too. At this late date in the year, I figured I would just have to wait until spring to get my new windows. But no! According to Dewey, they put windows in all year round without any trouble.

I’m so jazzed about getting my new windows, I can just barely hold still in my chair! I can just imagine how much money I’m going to save on my heat bill, and boy will it be nice to be able to open the windows again!!  From what I understand, they should block more sound out too, so that will be another plus. I can’t wait!

Now, what does this have to do with aliens? Absolutely nothing.

I mentioned aliens in the title of the blog due to an announcement from NASA I was made aware of, which states:

“NASA Sets News Conference on Astrobiology Discovery; Science Journal Has Embargoed Details Until 2 p.m. EST On Dec. 2

WASHINGTON — NASA will hold a news conference at 2 p.m. EST on Thursday, Dec. 2, to discuss an astrobiology finding that will impact the search for evidence of extraterrestrial life. Astrobiology is the study of the origin, evolution, distribution and future of life in the universe.

The news conference will be held at the NASA Headquarters auditorium at 300 E St. SW, in Washington. It will be broadcast live on NASA Television and streamed on the agency’s website at http://www.nasa.gov.”

Generally NASA doesn’t have things to announce that are Earth-shattering, and I don’t think this one will be any different. However there is already speculation running rampant on the internet saying that perhaps they are going to finally make the big announcement that we are not alone. Riiiiight…and I have a bridge in London I’d like to sell you dirt cheap.

I’m betting that the announcement has to do with finding a good candidate for a planet in “Goldilocks’ zone, or some kind of unexpected foreign bacterium unearthed from a meteor buried under an ice pack somewhere, or perhaps some telescope has viewed a cache of water on the moon or another planet that was formerly undisclosed.

Yep, that’s right. It’s stuff we’ve all heard before. Nothing to see here folks…same old, same old.

One thing does make me curious is the usage of the word “embargoed”. I mean, who is Science Journal, and who are they to tell NASA what they can and can’t disclose and when? The opening sentence of the announcement makes it sound like it’s some amazing, can’t believe it sort of thing that someone had to keep a lid on for some reason. Personally, I believe the reality of it is that The Powers That Be at NASA like to get people riled up by posting incendiary things like this.  This wouldn’t be the first time it’s happened, and I’m sure it won’t be the last. It’s just a cheap publicity stunt.  Shame on you NASA.

 

New windows and the arrival of Winter


As my 11 faithful readers may remember, I’ve written before about getting new windows. I’ve been expecting them all Summer, but I was on the bottom of a loooong list, and the weather didn’t cooperate. As a result, I’m still waiting for my new windows…until today.

While I was working at The Big Box Store last night, The Windows Guy called me and left a message that my time has arrived!! Hazzah! I was really worried about having to go through another North Dakota winter with these old, decrepit windows. Not only are they drafty, but they don’t do much to keep noise out.

Oh wait…

The Weather Man is on the TV, right now, talking about how we are expecting 2-4 inches of snow tonight and tomorrow.

So, the question I will have for The Window Guy is how the heck he’s going to put windows in when Winter has finally arrived and won’t likely be giving us another break, like the one we just had, until April?

Well, I’ll sure be interested in finding out. Perhaps they have some kind of suped-up Winter installation plan? Time will tell. Wish me luck!

Redecorating your blog


So, I’m sitting here spending some time on the computer, and waiting for the children to come home. Older Son has been out with his father, and Younger Son is four hours away from home playing football. Feeling out of sorts because the house is so quiet, so I thought I would just play around on the computer for a while and listen Lost in the Static out loud, rather than have my headphone plastered to my head.

I’ve visited most of the places I usually haunt on-line, and have read the news. Housework awaits, but I’m in no mood. So, I thought I’d write something in my woefully empty blog. I’ve neglected it in recent weeks, but I’ve just been so completely uninspired that I had nothing to write. What to do?

Redecorate!

I’ve had the same background on my blog for quite a while, so I thought I would change things up and make it more seasonally appropriate. I didn’t have any appropriate wall papers, so I went searching on-line for free wallpaper. It was a little like shopping, only cheaper! The place I finally found the wallpapers I liked is Vlad Studio, and so I did some redecorating.

Speaking of redecorating. As soon as this last episode of Lost in the Static is done, I’m going to replace all of the handles on the cupboard doors in my kitchen. Nothing fancy, just plain silver door handles, but it will be a nice sleek upgrade compared to the miss-matched hardware I’ve got now. Baby steps…little by little I’ll make my rickety little fixer-upper a cottage-like little home.

Ka-bang, pow! Time for a new water heater…


Today and tomorrow I have off, and I am grateful. Tomorrow will be kind of a general house cleaning catch up day, but today is special. I’m getting a new water heater.

In the last year, my water heater has begun making these loud banging noises, and they’ve gotten progressively louder over time. The train is near my house, and when the trains bang together it’s a loud noise, but the water heater has started to be louder. And it’s started to leak water and minerals out of its over-flow valve. Sometimes the water isn’t so hot in the morning, either.  When I looked at the date on the inspection sticker from when it was installed, it said 1988. Definitely time to get a new water heater!

So, the poor old thing managed to hang on for another few weeks, and today my trusty plumber put it out of its misery. Now it lays by the side of the road waiting to be taking to its final resting place. For being 22 years old, it’s been a good one, but I’m looking forward to our new, quieter, more efficient water heater. I’m also looking forward to getting some of the cost of its replacement back on my taxes this spring.

Also, I’ve been meaning to spruce up my basement floor with some nice sealing paint that will make the floor easier to keep clean. Now that there won’t be any more construction in the utility area after this, I’m free to go ahead with that project. Lots and lots of stuff going on with the never-ending work-of-art-in-progress that is my home!

The joys of central air, and the lows of moldy carpet.


I was able to get someone in to fix my broken central air today. It’s been a rough couple of days with no air conditioning, and high temperatures and humidity. I think I could

Courtesy of mofoyo.com

handle the heat, but the humidity is what kills me.  Years ago, Ex-husband, in his infinite wisdom (and after I told him not to FOR THIS VERY REASON), insisted on painting the windows shut. Did I mention I was getting new windows soon? Anyway, I digress…I arrived home just after the fix-it guy left, but it’s working again, and the cold air is coming out with more force than it did before and my house is cooling off nicely.

Coping with a hot house is something I hate doing, but remember well from when I was a kid…we just laid there and sweated at night. Poor Younger Son slept with a small fan in his bed blowing right on him, as we couldn’t get our windows open. Older Son got off a little easier since his room is in the cool basement. I took a cold shower and didn’t dry off all the way. I just laid in bed with my long, wet hair dripping all over me and the sheets. It sounds messy, but it sure did the trick. I was actually able to get a decent nights sleep. (Note to self, put ceiling fans in the bedrooms)

So, the bad news is that there was some kind of a leak in the condensation tube and water has been seeping underneath a wall into Older Son’s room, as I described in my last post. Not only is his carpet moldy and ruined underneath, but the very bottom of that wall is moldy and eaten away. It’s one of those slow-growing hidden problems that you just don’t know about until something out of the ordinary happens, like the carpet being wet. There was no smell before, but now that I have pulled up the carpet there’s a pervasive stink in the house I can smell all the way up stairs, even after we dried everything out. So, the carpet is coming out and the wall board is being replaced. It’s a darned good thing that I sealed the cement in that bedroom before we laid the carpet down, or I might never get the stink out. Blech…Thank goodness for bleach!

Still, with all of the commotion this has caused, I can still find a blessing. Today’s blessing? It’s not snowing!

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