Life

The chaos of home renovations

The early days of renovation

It’s probably no small coincidence that my last blog post of over two weeks ago coincides with the progressing and now overwhelming chaotic state of my home which is undergoing (apparently) vast renovation. It started with pulling apart our master bath which left us unable to inhabit the master bedroom. We pulled up stakes and moved into the extremely unorganized guest room upstairs and have been there ever since. It’s a dodgy existence. The chaos has served as a slow moving infection that is seeping into all areas of life.

On day one I came home to find our vanity and toilet planted in the area directly in front of my dresser with only  a few drawers accessible that housed my underwear, pajamas, shorts and exercise clothes. The closet too. This is okay because I don’t need socks or scarves this time of year and was able to pull what I needed to survive in the guest room. We could get to the ironing area by climbing over the bed (now covered with coats, boots and random paraphernalia from our entry closet where the floor is being replaced) which for me has only happened once out of sheer necessity. I figured we’d be back in business in the master room by now but it sits starkly empty down to the studs with the contents sitting patiently in the garage ready to be called into duty.

Day two I came home to find the contents of my office in the dining and living rooms and it has been downhill ever since. Fortunately we will still have our kitchen another few weeks while we wait for cabinets to come in. I’m hopeful that the other areas will be put back together by then and I’ll be better mentally prepared for this transition. Maybe not.

So at the end of week one, on my Friday day off that was full of errands and to dos, the contractor sat me down to tell me his partner has not been showing up to work and basically took some of the money we paid out to start the job and did a runner. Yeah, that day pretty much sucked but I feel confident in the remaining guy who has brought in more help although it’s going much slower than anticipated.

What is the moral of the story? I don’t really know because it hasn’t played out in it’s entirety yet. We’re living in a confined space and even Liam’s room is chocked full of pieces of our house so that he really only has a narrow passage to get to his bed. Partly it’s been a freeing experience because I don’t have to worry about cleaning up (or yelling at Liam to clean his room). I merely have to keep up a bit of laundry, keep the dishes washed and make sure nothing important gets lost in the clutter. It will be helpful when it comes to putting our rooms back together because I’ll likely be able to throw or donate a lot of things I find we don’t need anymore.

Tomorrow is my first Friday off at home without a dozen things going on so I’m planning to take my laptop somewhere to write to escape the noise of the work. I will hang around to talk to the workers who I barely see and to find out how it’s going recovering the money he paid out to his former partner. I hope he has good news. I will also try to get an estimate on our master bath which will begin the return to normalcy in our chaotic home life. Stay tuned.

MC

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productivity

Cracks in the foundation of productivity

Order Or Chaos Directions On A Signpost

I wasn’t planning on writing a post so soon as a follow up to my productivity post. Launching into a new system has been an abrupt awakening about our lack of organization that has been going on far too long. Only three days in and the cracks in the foundation of productivity are readily apparent.  I’m using the hack of throwing all my to do’s for the week on a running list, highlighting what I have to do today in yellow and then crossing off what I complete in green. I also have the full list of my May schedule to refer to. I like to see the green!

One of my to do’s for yesterday was to pay for summer camp since my husband said he signed him up. I got right on it early since the gym was open and guess what? They didn’t have his registration. I keep bumping up against this thing with my husband where he says he *thinks* he took care of something and then I find out he didn’t. Either that or he thought I was going to do it, without cluing me in to what I was supposed to do.  I am not going toss all the blame on my husband because I am just as guilty of this.

This week alone we thought the other was taking care of several important tasks. Sign up and pay for a dinner dance Liam has for Friday (the RSVP has been on the fridge for a month). I had the foresight to order Liam a new pair of khaki’s, oxford shirt and dress shoes for the dance which arrived last week, though. Do I get any points for that? Neither of us had ordered  Liam’s yearbook (weekly emails have been going out for the past three weeks). We have no signed a permission slip for a field trip to the book store (due yesterday). Also not done: find a sitter for Saturday and a dog sitter for the following weekend.  These are the tasks that fall through the cracks!

I wonder to myself how we’ve managed nearly fifteen years of marriage without fixing this grave deficit in communication. We have definitely been running on chaos. All this is further proof a system is needed. The good news is most of these things have now been taken care of and I can breathe a little easier. The sense of accomplishment is motivation to keep going.

MC

 

Musings

The Royals, Not Like Us

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In case you are living without access to information, a new Royal made their way into the world yesterday. And if you’re reading this, you certainly have access to information and a lot better sources than this blog for news about the Royal family. I am not overly gaga about them but it’s hard to miss when they are in the news every day with Kate giving birth and Harry’s upcoming nuptials. And here’s my conclusion: The Royals, they are NOT like us.

How do I know this? Did you see pictures or videos of Kate seven hours after she gave birth to the yet-to-be-named Prince? She looked stunning. Stunning! I cannot look this good on my best day but she was dressed smartly: lovely dress, heels, full make-up and barley a bump where the baby had been and this is her third baby.  She bestowed upon us an ear-to-ear smile as she looked fondly at her newborn boy and then left the hospital shortly thereafter to head home.

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parenting

Letting our kids grow up

Children at school classroom

Hello, readers! Today I’m tackling a hairy parenting topic known as letting our kids grow up and find their way. I feel this is necessary after I witnessed a meet and greet with a new teacher this week that can only be described as a well intentioned assembly that went off the rails. Yes, it’s late in the school year. Yes, our school had to replace one of their teachers (who I previously wrote about here). Yes, we can do this.

If you don’t want to click the link for the backstory, here’s a brief synopsis of the issue. New teacher acts inappropriately many times. New teacher enjoys a great deal of “bathroom/locker room humor” with 10-14 year olds. Kids, of course, love said teacher because he acts like a peer and not an authoritative, adult teacher. Teacher not a good fit and leaves with seven weeks to go in the school year. I don’t know all the whats and whys behind the leaving but I trust the school did what was appropriate. Yesterday we got to meet his replacement, a highly qualified individual with a doctorate, and from what I could tell from his message to parents, many years experience with a variety of grade levels and sound teaching practices.

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Life

The Philosophy of Kanye West

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Yesterday as I was perusing my Twitter feed and something weird kept popping up. Retweets of random messages from Kanye West. I am not a follower and I don’t subscribe to the whole Kardashian way of living so I was a little surprised by this.  How did these tweets make their way into my timeline? Why is everyone retweeting Kanye? Why did The Skimm’s top link today reference this tweet storm? Turns out Kanye is writing a book about philosphy. And guys, he’s doing it in real time on Twitter. I am questioning what kind of parallel universe I’m living in.

I like to go right to the source of things so I made my way over to his Twitter feed and clicked follow. Am I falling into a trap here? Thanks to my stint working in a newsroom, I think I have a healthy dose of cynicism skepticism and so immediately tried to discern a motive for his sudden interest in writing these brief tweets. Is Kanye’s philosophizing all about drawing eyeballs to himself? So he can sell more whatever? Albums. Clothing. Lifestyle. Page views. Some of the things he was saying seem to go against the entire grain of what the Kardashians seem to be about.

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travel

A Walk in the Jungle

Today is already day six of our Costa Rican adventure with two very full days left. Yesterday was a very long day of travel from the eastern Caribbean coast of Tortuguero Nation Park, where we explored the jungle, to the northern area where we are staying at the base of the Arenal Volcano. You know how you get a butterfly feeling when doing/seeing something awesome and new? I’ve had that fluttery feeling so many times on this trip. And we have yet to do zip lining which I imagine will be a new level of flutteriness (and fear).

I have to say, I’m not adjusting to the two hour time difference well. I’m wide awake at 4:15 every morning but not too tired until late evening which is good. It gives me time to lay in bed to reflect on our time here and how blessed I feel for the life I have. We have passed through many poor looking towns on this trip and have seen some of the hard physical labor that goes into harvesting bananas from the soft, air conditioned seats of our tour bus. It gives me pause. Today we have a tour of a coffee and sugar plantation which will likely be eye opening too.

Our visit to Tortuguero was quite interesting and a little different than what I had in my mind as a rain forest. We have been so lucky with the weather and while it was fairly hot directly in the sun, the jungle allows many opportunities to find shade. It is humid, though, and when I went to unpack at our next stop last night I found much of my clothing to be damp from the humidity. I realize I also didn’t pack enough clothes as I was taking a couple of showers a day while in Tortuguero. Fortunately they have a laundry service at the Arenal hotel and I could get a few things washed.

I was kind of hoping for rain in the rainforest. I have always loved listening to nature sounds, especially rain. Our accommodations would have been perfect for an evening rain shower – with a long rooftop porch and comfortable rocking chairs, surround by palms, flowering trees and grasses. White headed (capuchin) monkeys have been as prevelent as our northeaster US squirrels, but much cuter in my opinion. We took a canal tour and a jungle walk and while we saw a variety of wildlife, the sloth, disappointingly, remained difficult to spot. There were lots of weird spiders and beetles and yours truly dained to try a termite as if I were on Survivor. My report is they are minty.

The jungle walk we went on was paved and highly civilized which was not what I was expecting. We saw more wildlife walking around the grounds of Evergreen Lodge where we were staying, so that was a little disappointing. On our way back to the boat, near the pool of the resort where we took the walk, we saw the biggest Iguana I have ever seen and the boys were estatic!

This has been a fantastic adventure for the eleven year olds. They still have that unending sense of wonder, playfulness and energy that starts to dissipate as they head to their teenage years. It has been wonderful to watch this experience through their guileless filter. Of course there have been moments where we’ve wanted to throttle ours for his sarcasm and moments of insouciance. I try to remind myself it’s the hormones.

In addition to the sugar and coffee tour, today we’re also going on a long horseback ride through this part of the country. Hopefully I’ll be able to walk tomorrow!

Until next time…

MC

Life

A Quartet of Decisions

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First, I let myself loose in Sephora last night. This is not a strategy I would suggest if you don’t have loads of time to kill. I went in specifically to buy a travel sized bottle of this magical stuff and also a small eye shadow palette for my trip. I expected this to take five minutes. Have you ever been in and out of Sephora in five minutes? Right.

I decided now would be the time to investigate a new facial moisturizer. This is an impossible task. At Sephora. I tried on so many moisturizers, lopping one on top of another until my face was shining like nobody’s business. I was also not in the right frame of mind for such an assignment as I couldn’t see past the lines, the tired eyes, the pasty skin. You definitely need to be at the top of your confidence game to take on such a task as you are creeping into your 50’s. An hour later, I went to the register with the two items I went in for. I had been excited that the eye shadow was $10 off but then forgot to look at the receipt until I got home and saw they didn’t give me the sale price. I think that’s part of the Sephora mystique. Confuse them with all the products so that by the time they are at the register, they are completely unfocused about how much everything costs.

Secondly, somewhere along the way, I lost my hearing aid. I didn’t notice this until I was leaving Sephora and panic set in! I did a quick look around the circuitous route I took in the store but didn’t see it anywhere. Do I tell someone in the store I lost this tiny little thing that will be impossible to find or go back to where I was before coming into Sephora (getting my brows threaded) to see if I left it there? I didn’t want to make any undue fuss so I hiked back to the threading place. It was lodged in the seat and the confused lady who did my brows was explaining that two other customers probably sat on it and hoped it would be OK. It was. Relief was palpable because I was already running scenarios in my mind about how I could get a replacement in less than 24 hours. It would be impossible.

Thirdly, I decided to get a pedicure. This has been a rare event for me the past couple of years because I keep losing the nail off one of my big toes. That is a whole other story that involves my toenail rubbing against the top of my ski boot. One of my big toenails is currently light purple so I wanted to get a color that would go over it before the trip. I chose a shade and made my way to the pedicure chair. The salon lady did not approve of my choice and sent me back to the varnish display insisting I go for something more spring-like so I chose a pink shade. Apparently it wasn’t springy enough because she went over and chose something herself and since I was brain-numb, I went with it.

Fourthly, I get very panicky about having something to read on the plane before I head on vacation. To save on space, I’m only bringing my Kindle and I just finished a page-turning book that would have been perfect for the trip. It’s really not easy to find page-turning books, especially ones that would be available to check out from the library at the last minute. While I should have been getting my beauty sleep, I spent a good 90 minutes scouring the library e-book site for books that would be easy to get into before I leave. I ended up downloading five e-books and one audiobook but was not satisfied they would be sufficient and so I scooted over to Amazon where I debated about buying a book I wanted that was on Kindle Unlimited (which I used to subscribe to) or to re-subscribe to Kindle Unlimited. I decided to re-subscribe since there were a few books that looked interesting. Do I  have a page turner? I do not know.

I’m trying to keep my decision making light today since I still haven’t finalized my clothing choices. This is also something I overthink. every. time.

MC

Daily prompt: quartet

 

 

books

Loving a book-to-movie adaptation (no spoilers)

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There are many book-made-into-movie scenarios and for book lovers, there is an overriding passion for books over movie. I couldn’t agree more. I have seen so many of my beloved books turned into movies only to have them disintegrate on the big screen. Gone Girl, My Sister’s Keeper, Girl on the Train, Mystic River to name a few. There have been many that were well done, too, and I enjoyed the movie apart from the book (The Help, Eat, Pray, Love – I wanted this movie to be a full length adaptation, The Fault in Our Stars). And there have been many, many more that I refused to see due to not messing up the picture that was already in my head.

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Writing

Coffee house writing

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Coming to you this morning from a new (to me) Starbucks. I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve stopped into a coffee shop such as Starbucks, on my own, to sit down. I don’t know if this is a cliche but I feel like I’m always reading that this is where writers hang out to write and as I look around I don’t really see any writer types.

I wonder what everyone is doing here on a Friday morning during normal “working hours”. The comfy chairs are all taken (I was fortunate enough to nab the last one!) and the tables with singles here and there are all in use, laptops open. Free internet browsing? Something to pass the time? People watching (like me)?

I have to say, it’s quite loud here. I don’t know if that’s typical for Starbuck’s with high exposed ceilings or just this location. I’ve never looked up before. It’s a good sized location, about twice the size of the one near my house. It’s also in a strip mall twice the size of the one near me. I do a disservice, I guess, by calling them strip malls since the stores in these malls cater to the upscale shopper (fine dining, fur coats, fancy clothes and jewelry alongside a pharmacy, post office and dry cleaner). This particular shopping venue is near my doctor’s office where I just came from.

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travel

Blue skies above

Today is supposed to wrap up my Florida vacation but a storm in New York may keep me here for a couple more days. Jim has sent me a picture of our snow covered cars along with the news that school has been canceled. I have refrained from responding with a picture of my blue sky above. I guess I wouldn’t mind being stranded here a couple more days while the snow sorts itself out.

This is my cleaning day here. Time to do the laundry, run the dishwasher, vacuum and clean the bathrooms. Unfortunately, I don’t know whether I won’t be flying in the morning so I’ll have to do all this “just in case”. It’s ok though because cleaning this house is a piece of cake because we don’t have a lot of stuff here and I’ve been keeping it up as I go.

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