Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Pulling it out of my... hat.

I have learned at least one important lesson this week: staying up until after midnight may be fun, but it makes the next morning is a bear. But with Christmas on the horizon, it's time to focus and work harder than ever.

Also, so far none of my growing efforts seem to be doing much except the millet, which is a grass. I'm thinking of seeding the whole yard with it. Then when my husband has to tend the lawn, it's not mowing, it's "harvesting."

I joined the women's land army.
Now I farm dirt.

The biggest news of the week is that I ordered new glasses through my insurance, so it only cost me $100 rather than $500. I love that the insurance covers so much and a yearly exam. I am proud of my eyes and their health. I am sad that I won't be able to get transitions this time, since I have had them since 2000, but as they say, groceries come first!

And these are completely covered by my insurance!

In other news Mr. Tardigrade had a little abdominal surgery. His middle seam split and had to be repaired. I used quilting thread which is lighter than what they used. To be honest, I don't even know how the split happened. But being a tardigrade, he made it through with little scarring and came out of recovery just fine. (Warning: Surgical pictures below. Those of you with weak stomachs may want to click through to cat pictures.)

The original split. 

Checking the sutures. 

In recovery.

Also, the Diva picked up Mr. Smith's cold and got a fever yesterday, but it's just a boring old cold, treated with snuggles, apple juice, and naps. But just this morning, I managed to fix the broken door of the Diva's play kitchen. I have tried superglue, tape, and everything else, so today I used a dowel rod. Getting it in place was a bear, which makes me wonder how in the name of St. Sneaky Pete (KoL) I got the other one in. Maybe I broke it before she finished it off.

American ingenuity meets Chinese toy.
I win.

But to top off the week, I got a christmas postcard from some great people who are putting the Love back into the Satellite of Love. #BroughtbackMST3K I'm so amazingly excited! Cambot, give me Rocket #9...


You'll find us in the credits... under BERT Lowe.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Tumbling towards Christmas

So it's been a roller coaster of a week. Starting on Wednesday, I installed the brand new potty. Three hours of the grossest thing I've probably ever done, but it's all installed and ready to go.

I still reach for the handle to jiggle.

It's a push-button, dual-flush. So instead of using 7 gallons, it uses 1.1/1.6 which is an immense savings, even if we were to use the big button every time. Because of our leveled water bill, the 7 CCFs of water we used ever month is likely going to go down to 4 CCF. In a year, it will pay for itself. Not only that, we are saving water!

We're working on it.

In other news Mr. Smith and I ditched the kids at Granny's house and went to Blowing Rock, NC in search of his weather balloon.

My view on the way to the crash site wasn't so bad.

So I forgot to use my inhaler that morning, but dressed in five layers, aka Die Hard on a mountain, so I was quite toasty. We drove up into NC, down a winding graded road that was, frankly, terrifying. We searched and searched through laurel thickets and amid 80' tall oak trees until, halfway to an asthma attack, I reclined on the ground and saw:

Just 60' off the ground.

We're leaving it to the engineers to design a recovery system.

Probably a pole.

So we trudged back up the winding road. I picked up a little quartz mixed in with the quartzite, slate and limestone. Nothing outstanding about the geology, of course, it's not always what's under the surface that is cool.

Lovely isn't it? Oh, the mountains are nice, too.

We did the other thing that we love to do, we did the tourist thing and went to see THE blowing rock! In the picture you can see the bottom of Grandfather mountain just behind my sweetie, and to his left is Grandmother mountain. I'm not that familiar with the area. They gave us a pamphlet with a guide.

Sorry, ladies, this one is taken!

We didn't have to rekindle the old flame, ours burns stable and bright every day! But I did rekindle my love of National Geodetic Survey markers. There are a few around here to be checked out and I may start "hunting" them, which in my case is taking pics of them, but I popped up on the blowing rock to check out this well worn beauty.

Two pics for the price of one! 

We bought a new mug, which is going to look great on my mug display. Faces on trees were a thing, a little creepy, but a thing. So I bought a mug that had a tree-face on it. It is perfect for hot chocolate!

All the others had goofy teeth.

In other plant-related news, it's a mixed bag. Two of my sage seedlings died, leaving only one remaining. I have what is probably one peppermint seedling, and still have one parsley seedling. The millet is growing like grass, because, well, it's grass. The dwarf sunflower seeds have split but not put out roots, so I am not hopeful, but I'll plant them and see what happens.

I need a bigger window, and grow lights.

And Steve had three female blossoms in the rush of a dozen blooms, I accidentally picked one, but the other two were pollinated and little Steve now has five lemons. Of course, I'd be happy if he'd keep a few more of his leaves through winter. It's making me nervous.

Steve, noir.

And to wrap up the week, the boy got his magnetic laces in, which is both good, as it only takes a moment to get his shoes on and off, and better because I've figured out that I need to work on developing his dexterity and fine motor control. This is why he has trouble. I've been doing some reading from pros and parents for inspiration. I also managed to win at parenting while trimming the Diva's nails, and trimmed some dermis instead. I called the nurseline, but honestly, it's just fine. She's had her shots and the clippers were fairly new. But from now on, I'm going to file her nails.

Little monkey!

And, of course, the reason the post was late this week was because our previous internet provider decided not to TELL us that they forgot to bill us for three months. We have a lot going on, that's why the online bills are important! Well, we switched to their competitor to get faster, cheaper internet--which will still be cheaper than the previous provider once the special year-long promo ends.

And on Monday, I have an appointment for an eye exam. I'm looking forward to it, and to regular appointments from now on, because I'm a grown up.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Sunshine and Rain

It's Tuesday, and I'm back! Whoa!

So, first the fun:

Last weekend, I spent Sunday decluttering my only shelf under a window so I could attempt to grow things through the winter.

Steve, the Meyer Lemon is doing fine. Out of twelve blooms, I got three female blossoms, one of which I accidentally deadheaded but its sisters are still alive and pollinated. I transplanted the parsley into its own container. One plant survived. I could cry. BUT as the song says, life goes on!

From the seeds I planted and sprouted this weekend, the clover sprouted and was planted in a little green container which is not pictured above. The millet has sprouted from both sprouting containers and will be planted in another white pot. The sunflowers look like they'll sprout and I'll have yet another white pot waiting for them as well. The green pot above is still empty, but I have high hopes for the peppermint seeds which I'll plant there if they sprout. If they don't I might sneak off to the garden center and buy something else green. This is the beginnings of my victory garden, or as I have been referring to it, my Herb Moat.

I am still in need of lavender to replace the hated forsythia, my seeds were a no-go, but I am keeping the sachet stuff. I'm planning for the future.

I HAVE gotten some amazing help with Mr. Smith's Christmas present. I've been planning it for months, but after hours of trying, I couldn't get it right. I consulted a professional, and she fixed it better than I could have imagined. Thanks mom!

Stock image of a gift.
I'm crazy, not stupid.

So hours of work, but I know he'll like it. This is something he didn't even know he wanted.

I am in need of new glasses, which will be covered by insurance so, that's not even a problem, though finding time for a trip to the optometrist is as always difficult. While decluttering the shelf, I found an old pair that fit better than a new pair, and I'm going to see if the glasses people can't put new lenses in the old frames. They fit better, they suit me better, and really, they are better quality. And of course, reusing the old frames makes me happy in my 40's heart. I never liked the plastic ones.

I recycle every way I can.

To be fair, I probably should have put up a water conservation poster. As water is the name of the game this week. Not only have we had good soaking rains for the first time in ages, meaning we are reminded of all the leaks in our house, but at long last, our 5-gallon flush toilet, which started to spend an extra couple of gallons a day, gave up the ghost in a sitcom style comedic disaster.

It started a couple of years ago when one of the tank bolts gave way. It had been there for 25+ years and was basically made of rust. I replaced it with a drink cap sealed with silicone. Then the flush valve started to stick. "Did you jiggle the handle?" became the daily nag. A couple of months ago, the flush valve started sticking a little, which caused a little drippy leak, so I just tapped it. Today, I came home to find it had bopped the top of the toilet tank up and was flooding through the overflow pipe, and had probably been going for over an hour while I had been dropping hubby off.

Goodbye old friend.

It sounds terrible, but it's been headed for disaster for a while now, so I just turned off the water, and we'll finally replace it in a couple of days when hubby gets paid. It might mean a couple more casserole based dishes this week, but heck, casseroles are a great convenience food when you have a busy life but not a lot of money.

In good news, my doused keyboard has been replaced and a silicone keyboard cover is now protecting it from most future disasters. It also needed replacing. If you'll pardon me, I need to get a new fridge.