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December

Hey, November got crazy, I did finish the shed but it was a marathon!  I had tons of help and it was like a party, I can see how barn-raising used to be a community affair.  We did get the snow, as expected, and the weather just kept on for the entire long weekend.  However, it was not that cold so for me, that was really good.  Sure there was snow on the ground but my fingers and toes were cozy in normal layers so the finishing bits got done.  On Thanksgiving day I pulled out the ladder and air nailer and finished the roof tarp properly.  Then we installed the door.  It may have been what I was most worried about and in the end, it was the absolute easiest!  We had everything going for us;

  • High-quality Anderson door that was well built and had fewer steps for installing than my doorbell
  • We built the opening to match the door so we didn’t need to adjust anything
  • everything was square to start!  that was a big surprise to us all but it shows that being careful at the start pays off in the end.

The only snafu was the cat stepping in the silicon gel and we wasted a little time laughing at the cat (and googling if it was toxic) (it was not).  The thing was heavy but between 3 adults we shoved it in and that was more or less that.  It makes the shed look like a real building, I’m very pleased.

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roof tarp secure, door installed.  (Lars’s look of concern is not about the door)

Thanksgiving afternoon, post-construction projects, progressed as holiday normal.  Friends came over, the table was set with cheer, food was cooked and consumed and everyone had a good time.  I went to bed happy, and, for the first time in weeks, I slept well because I had ZERO crazy deadline projects on my mind.

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Our crew this year

The kids had off from Wednesday through the weekend, but, it was very crappy weather with snow, freezing rain, more snow interspersed with random decent weather.  This is NOT GOOD for going places but the kids really did have a great time playing in the snow around the house.  I can’t express in words how good it feels for them to decide to put on snow gear and go out and play.  They play nicely for ages.  It sounds dumb but it makes my heart full and happy, I hope I always remember this.

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they ended up with 3 snow people and a fort started in the front yard

There was a vague plan to go get a Christmas tree ‘from the wild’ but the weather just wasn’t on our side so we went with our traditional visit to the Home Depot to pick a tree ‘from the not wild’.  It is still a fun little trip and I love the tree we picked.  The Home Depot must have extra jolly criteria for working the tree lot because like last year, the people who helped us were fun and happy and made the experience more than transactional.

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“helping….”

In the past I’ve stressed about the ‘holiday card picture’ and over the past years, I’ve realized that I do better trying all year to get good pictures and then one low-stress fast fun photo if the opportunity arises.  The perfect opportunity presented itself on Sunday – we had been unpacking the decorations and found all the assorted shirts so everyone put one on, also found were the assorted Santa hats.  The day moved on and there was a break in the weather so everyone ran outside with boots, hats, scarfs and no other changes to outfit or hair or makeup and we took about 15 pictures in under 5 minutes and it worked great.  I have two great shots and zero crabby kids.

The balance of this week has been all about putting the house back together post project and 5 days of lazy vacation life.  I finished our Christmas card today and its at the printer and this weekend santa comes to our town to light the tree so I’m working on decorations and gift ideas too.

It is a different type of busy, Christmas still has its stresses and I create my own extra for wanting to do ‘all the things’ but it is a fun busy.  Who knows how long the particular magic of Santa will last but I plan on enjoying it all.

 

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Racing the weather

Since Sunday I’ve been spending all my time shed building.  Timeline got critical because a big (early) snowstorm is predicted for tonight so it was pretty much the last chance to build my shed.  The shed has been pushed off all season because;

  1. very very wet spring, like standing water all spring
  2. Needed to research and decide and research and read and ask etc this takes a long time in my world, I probably should have started last January to actually be ready for a May build.
  3. You know, life, and kids and extra kids, travel, and the summer just flew and I’m not a fan of working in super hot sun either.
  4. Other projects stole time and resources, I did build a Pergola and a garden structure this year as well as some indoor things but the shed was always on my mind.
  5. Fall went back to rain every weekend, very non-conducive to getting something built.

Finally, I decided what I wanted, how it should go, and the weather was not wet and so last week I started digging foundation just in time for a hard freeze BUT there was a predicted nice week (this week) so in many ways this entire shed has been actually built between Sunday and today.

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this was all I had done before Sunday.  Square and Level is a good start though.

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Kids loved banging nails.  We had to add a little support to most wisely use our wood.

It was a team effort, even the kids helped, and everyone had fun doing it.  The impending snow was the challenge we needed to really get moving.  I have worked pretty constantly the past 3 days with breaks to drive kids or go to the hardware store.  If it was summer we could have done so much more because it is light out until 8pm but a 4:30 sunset adds to the difficulty and also makes it harder to over-do it because there is no way to push on and get to the stupid stage of the day.

According to the weather people, we should start seeing snow in about half an hour but at this point we are ready.  The foundation, frame, sheeting, and house wrap are done.  The roof trusses are up and so is the plywood and underlay for shingles, and, about 2 rows of shingles.  We put a giant tarp up, in the dark, because nobody was willing to shingle in the dark *even though I found a shop light!!*.  I also didn’t get the door in so there is a tarp over the opening.  The door is something I can get done in the snow but the roof is just going to wait until spring.  My fondest hope is a warmish day this week, I can shovel a path and it will be snug in there to put in the door and then add a few shelves, hooks for bikes etc and haul the stuff from the garage so then I can park in the garage for the rest of the season.  We will see…

My brain is super energized for getting so much done so fast, but, my body is telling me I used a lot of odd muscles.  Right now I’m tucked in bed early with my laptop enjoying putting my feet up and surrounding myself with pillows.  Tomorrow I tackle the things not yet done in the week, and, prep for Thanksgiving.  It is a mellow holiday with 2 friends families joining and provided we are not snowed in, I will shop tomorrow for all the things for a proper feast.  No other plans (other than the shed finishes) for the holiday but I foresee puzzles, games, TV and maybe some Christmas shopping and decorating.  Sorry, I didn’t post daily, hopefully nobody thought I was overcome by sleepover kids.  (that was a busy day, maybe I’ll post about it tomorrow)

 

Sleepover

We imported 3 extra kids for a last minute sleepover. Our house is full of muffled giggles.

when a bad thing is helpful

Yesterday I mentioned the Volvo and how it was in need of sorting out.  What was on the surface an annoying battery issue was actually a bit of a gift because we found a much worse *potential* problem.

Last week Tuesday we used the Volvo, it is not our primary car, we were also having a bit of a cold snap and it gave a little struggle starting last Tuesday but started.  Thursday I was in too much of a rush to swap cars.

Friday morning it refused to start, we did a pivot and just took the van to the airport, and Vacation Mom squeezed the kids into her car for the weekend, it worked out.

Monday we were going to jump it right before Lars was driving 20min to go to jujitsu so he could charge it with the drive up but it wasn’t going to have any of it.  Try as we might, we could not make it start.  We juggled and it worked out but it was just a bit annoying.

Tuesday we called the tow truck to bring it to the mechanic in town, expecting to need a new battery.  The tow truck driver, in his infinite* wisdom, tried to jump it using his big fancy jumper and while he did manage to make it turn on, he took the battery away fast because ‘the engine was smoking’… um… yeah, smoke is never good.  I told him to take it away please, and we waited on the mechanic.

The mechanic called and guess what?  We needed a battery!  We also needed a new hose because a mouse with a taste for rubber had moved in, he also took out the mouse nest.  No evidence of a mouse, but, the cat was pretty interested in the car so maybe he did his job. The battery, to its credit, was original so a solid 7 years and it died on just the right day so I’m not unhappy at all with its loyalty

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So, an annoying battery issue actually saved us from overheating and possibly breaking our engine.  Not bad universe, I’ll take it.  Thank You.

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Photo by Giftpundits.com on Pexels.com

 

*the driver was truly not bright so infinite was actually rather finite.

 

More testimony

I missed a day!  After being all careful while traveling I missed yesterday because all day I was listening to the trial and when I got home from getting kids it became clear that our friend needed some friends around so we had an impromptu party.  It was time well spent.

During yesterday’s testimony I again did useful things;

  • cut out and mostly sewed a new pocketbook
  • cleaned out my current pocketbook (part of the reason I decided the new one was necessary)
  • unpacked from the trip – going with just 2 carry ons really does cut down on the unpack task
  • went to the hardware store to buy bags of rocks to finish the shed base
  • stared out the window at the fog and frosting of snow slowing me down on my shed project
  • cleaned the kitchen
  • organized the mudroom, found a dozen pairs of gloves, far more than the “I have no gloves!!!” assertion from my children.
  • dealt with an annoying car battery situation – still un resolved – but steps were taken.
  • and plenty of other little things

 

Today I am again listening.  It is getting interesting here.  I’m not sure how it will turn out, politics are not easy and the stakes are high.  Respect levels are falling.  I’ve kept busy though

  • cleaned all the spots that the builder will be working tomorrow fixing drywall
  • special attention to the office, it needed some attention.
  • folded all the laundry
  • attempted to go work on the shed but Lars left for a meeting with the materials I needed
  • swept all the floors
  • minor email and facebook – I can DO things and listen but I can’t read/write and still listen well unless I’m taking notes on the thing I’m listening to

 

Speaking of notes, I said this during another public hearing I listened to the broadcast of; I do indeed take notes, good notes, of important things in books that I keep for a very long time.  Maybe my childhood dream to be a diplomat would have been good in my skillset because I take notes as part of listening.  The poor guy now who is floundering for lack of notes has my sympathy.  I hope to never ever ever ever be in a position to need my notes in an investigation but I do actually page back often enough to be useful (and it is a bit of a compulsion).

I think I’m going to go finish my sewing while listening – good luck to all

A marathon weekend

Someday I’ll plan a cruise or relaxing vacation.  This was not that at all.  It was very fun and we stayed up so late so many days in a row last night I put the kids to bed and then I think I was asleep faster than they were.

Recap:

Friday I woke up early to get some housekeeping done pre trip and ended up having 3 kids with homework need so less time for what I needed to do but I’m very glad I was up early.  Drama#1 – the car we planned on using to go to the airport refused to start.  We had to take the family car that we intended to leave for easier weekend kid transport but it worked out.  We got to the airport and (drama 2) the flight was delayed for an ‘unknown’ amount of time so we went to get lunch.  Lunch was uninspired but when we went to check back on the gate we narrowly avoided drama 3 because they were on final boarding already!  This wing of the airport is new/under construction so the announcements didn’t acutlaly go out over the area we were eatting even though it was the absolute closest one.  It worked out and we were only about an hour late landing and that was all the drama for the weekend.  I much prefer getting it out of the way!

We saw our friend’s new house and then hopped in the car to drive to Canada.  Only a 2h drive to the border and that 2 hours is obviously the buffer since there is NOTHING there, no trees, a few little hills, but if Canada invades we can see them coming for a long way off.  Crossing the border was super easy, they took one look at us and decided we were no trouble.  It was dark, but, looks like the Canada side of the border is also using the flat and empty technique to see if anyone ever invades.  We got to the event site around 8 and had dinner and then event part 1 started at 9.  Tons of friends, snacks, mingling and catching up and we forced ourselves to go to our overnight accommodations at 1am.

8am start the next day, can’t be late for the actual event!  I was excited to see an event in a totally different kingdom and to see how it is the same and different.  Our group both stood out (in a good way) and also fit in and we did the normal event stuff for the next few hours.  The main event happened at 1pm and the performance and presentation were worth the drive.  By 3 we decided we needed a nap because the dinner was scheduled to start at 7 and the next court to start at 9pm.  For us, events tend to end about 6:30, this was fun but added to the marathon feel.  Post nap and mostly refreshed we had a great time at the dinner and then the second court of the day lasted until well after 10.  At this point we are more than 12 hours of social on 6ish hours of sleep but still so fun we kept going to the after-party back at the hotel.  By midnight we were getting low on energy so we went back to the house to talk there for an hour before actually sleeping.

Up early again because we wanted to visit just a little more with our hosts and the other friends before everyone needed to get going.  I wish we all lived closer but the trip does make the time more special.  On the road by 10am full of Canadian unique goodies to share, leaving them fun American ones like Girl Scout cookies, super-strong alcohol, and crazy sugar cereal we reversed the trip and got back to Minot with a brief stop for lunch in a Canadian grocery.  Drama 3 (knew it could not go perfect) was our credit and debit cards refused to work in Canada, we ended up overpaying for things using American but I have a stern phone call in my future to the bank.  It is fun to play tourist in a different countries grocery, I can imagine parrel universes because basically they already exist.  There are so many small quirky differences between virtually the same location – a 200-mile drive is not that much in the scheme of things but crossing a border is really like stepping left or right into an alternative reality.

Back to our friends house who insisted that we truly did not need 2 full hours at the small regional airport (they were right) so we relaxed and took a dip in their hot tub and discussed options for their new house and when we might see everyone again.  Airport was small but quite professional.  We had more stuff investigated in our carry on than at the giant one we live by.  They actually found something we had been missing for ages in Lars’s backpack!  All good-natured and friendly and the flight was on-time and easy.

The last step of the trip was walking over a mile from our gate to the terminal, getting the luggage back to the car and out of the maze of parking and home again.  By this point the lack of sleep and general travel was condensing into a massive headache but we made it home and did dinner and bedtime and I only started losing it a little and then I put myself to bed too.

This morning I still have a little fog from such a busy weekend but got the kids off and I’m starting the shed base today and all the things of the week.  It was a grand marathon up and back and we certainly maximized our social time,

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