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Nuisance snow week

I love the fun new ways to describe snow.  The Eskimos and we should have a snow word off because the descriptions get pretty fun after a while.  I’m used to the last few years creations like  “wintery mix” meaning snow with rain and some ice and then “heart attack snow” meaning super heavy wet and people shoveling beware but Nuisance snow is the new one for the season and it means periodic snow for about an inch at inopportune times like rush hour.  It is also little enough you don’t need to shovel but after a few episodes suddenly you have 6 inches compressed into a driveway glacier from driving on it for a week.  Anyway, that has been our weather for the past week.

Fortunately, the weekend was very nice.  We had an event and it went really well overall.  Usually, we have a full house with guests but life etc for our friends left us solo but that works out too and we still had a good time.

My Monday and Tuesdays are now super crazy days.  Monday I woke up ready to get things going for the week and the cat peed on my comforter right in front of us.  That cat is now on borrowed time….  There are some things we can change so we are but washing my comforter 2x on Monday was not in the plan – pushed all other laundry activity for a couple hours.  To further irritate me, I attempted to renew my license on Monday afternoon before I got the kids.  I gave an hour but had to give up because the line estimate was over 3 when I got there.  Usually, our office is no wait or maybe 10 minutes but the ‘real ID’ is just a tediously long process.  The joke that you need an original copy of the Declaration of Independence is really not far off the level of crazy documents you now need.  It is seriously easier to get a passport but that won’t actually count as of October for domestic travel.  Crazy.  Monday now includes #1 going to soccer instead of JuJitsu but I figured out a schedule that works, even includes a workout for me, but I do a ton of driving.

Tuesday I woke up to no cat pee so that was a positive.  I gave another shot to the real Id situation and I brought my passport, tax returns, birth certificate, old license, car insurance (proof of address) and I still needed to fish a bank document off the internet and email it to the clerk helping me.  She was great, the process is just insane at the moment.  I spent a lot of mental energy on the holes in this system including how difficult it would be if someone married a person who already owned a house and then didn’t have a job or their name on a bank account – at that point they just don’t exist?  My dinky job where I earn $40 a month but I get a tax document was truly important.  I am unsure how to try and help this situation and that is troubling because it is a slow-rolling disaster.  The day kept going with a complicated ballet of who has who doing what including girl scouts, choir, feeding kids, and the extra challenge of the day; orientation for middle school for #1.  It worked out but I counted that I was out of the house for 8 hours and that isn’t counting the work I did while at home.

Today is the easy day!  I’m catching up on the undone things of days past and trying to get a jump on the next two days because I’ll be at a conference until Friday.  I’m commuting so I won’t miss the kids, and I’m looking forward to all I’ll see and do, just needing to get ready.  Hopefully, the nuisance snow doesn’t complicate my plans for tomorrow or Friday but that is not up to me.

Finally, I’m still organizing.  Today’s submission is the kid’s bathroom closet.  I did not have a clue what to really put in there when we moved in and it hasn’t gotten more organized in a year.  After thinking about what the uses are, I ended up with all the kid towels, pet/clean up towels, sheets for singles or doubles, and a designated spot for washcloths and hand towels so they don’t all get lost.  I pulled out the lightbulbs, ‘odd’ pillow covers, a stack of table cloths, a collection of extra soaps, and hopefully, this will be an easier system to maintain.

Before:

After:

3 things Thursday

what better way to blog more than the old standby of three cool/good/interesting things from the week.  This week I’m thankful for;

  1. Police.   Waaaaay back on veterans day I promised that on On January 9th I would give the police their due on their day  I also took some time to message all the good people I know who are police.  Thankfully I’ve lived a life where police were never the bad guys.  Sure, I’ve been mad at speeding ticket but it wasn’t like I wasn’t actually speeding.  I do feel safer for the police and I don’t fear that they are out to get me.  I see our police doing their best to spread that opinion with cool things like safety camp and working in the schools and giving out coupons for ice cream when they see a kid biking with a helmet.  I’m in a town that thoroughly supports police, to the extent that the high school did a walkout when the town council was considering closing our local police and contracting with the county.   I get in my bubble that this is a good place and we are safe and while that is pretty true super sad stories like this officer that was shot this week happen way too often.  This officer had nothing but support from his community too and I hope he recovers but even in safe little towns bad things can happy and it is (literally) too close to home.

 

2. Sister Christmas.

Other years, because I don’t really love hauling gifts from MN to NY to open there to then haul back we have had 2nd Christmas and it is always fun.  We drove this year and the gifts do get smaller (and more electronic) as they age so most could make the trip, I thought I was in the clear but…  We have another mini tradition where we let the girls shop for each other and this year that got lost in the flu so we did it last week with an agreement that we would have “sister Christmas” this past weekend.  I love how well they know each other and what they would each like and the care that goes into choosing.  Personally, I love the gifts my sisters choose, they are always ‘right’ somehow even if it is nothing I knew I needed or wanted.  They had the best time with this mini Christmas both with the gifts themselves and the wrapping was even fun.  Niamh did the crazy classic of 5 layers + of wrapping, including packing tape for Zoe and to add to the fun, Fiona had an identical outer box and after Zoe was expecting the same BUT Niamh had wrapped an empty box that included a note that was directions to a different location.  It was awesome.

 

3. img_3539Last is an item that was part of my world for my entire childhood.  It was my grandmother’s’ whatnot’ and she acquired it when she purchased the house so its actual age is unknown but I’m guessing 150-200 years old.  For my growing up it was covered in crystal and I remember dusting it often.  When my grandparents downsized this lovely piece went with them but didn’t have such a prominent place in the house.  As old age and illness took over it became less used and dustier and eventually, after both grandparents were gone it became an item in the estate.  I never thought I would end up with it, but I did, and we brought it home from Christmas and I spent a good long time cleaning and then polishing and then assembling it.  I’m not sure what to put on it in our house but I’m looking forward to it being part of my kid’s memories too.  Oh, I might have said I inherited it because I cleaned it most (probably not true) but that put the idea in #3’s head that she would be cleaning it as often as possible to make a claim now…

 

Those are my 3 things – anyone else doing this challenge?  Even if you are not, take a second to thank a police officer today, it is their day.

Desk

Clean stuff update;

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I really should remember ‘before’ pictures, this is a vast improvement even if it still has a few working documents out

I found the surface of my desk!  I went so far as to go through every pile of paper in the house and I would say I’m up to date (for 2020lol).  This is my honesty post to make sure I get one thing done a day and today was the desk, yesterday was all the other papers.  I filled a pretty big bag with recycling last night, kids create paper.

There are still a few things I feel I need to physically hold on to like warranty papers but the rest got tossed, or, I took a picture and then tossed it.  Not exactly paper-free life but close.

Since I was going through all the papers I followed up and;

  • ordered more kitty litter because I found an awesome coupon I was saving for $15 off at Chewy.com.
  • started the long fun job of figuring out dr stuff from when I had the flu
  • did the minutes for my PTO and sent them in a week *early*
  • updated my calendar with school board stuff for the year
  • emailed the builder because a few things *still* are not done
  • did accurate accounting of all the receipts from the driveway and shed and townhouse cluttering my desk and then only kept the ones I need for taxes
  • updated my association dues since they raised it $4 and I noticed now instead of in 6 months when I get a fine because it finally hits $20 past due
  • followed up on random items from kid folders that they have no idea what is going on
  • Deposited 2 checks that were in the mail that I wasn’t expecting <- this is why we open all the mail…
  • Learned that all the ‘star’ stickers I’ve been holding on to for Starbucks are not necessary, apparently, you need to email the receipt.  Good thing Ive been mostly ordering online so I had all my receipts digital and I sent them all in.
  • found a nice rebate I was hoping had not gotten lost.

Amazing what opening all the mail and doing all the ‘I’ll do that later’ pile.  For all my muttering about nobody else ever tidying up, I think I would have been more upset had the pile of papers that has waxed and waned but never zeroed out for months had just been recycled.

I also folded all the laundry and I’m composing a new open item list that I’ll be keeping track of.  Nice to actually close out some stuff from last year though, that is something I miss from traditional office work – the ‘finishing’ of a project.  I talked to my sister and went and worked out with a friend, pretty good for today and I’m not done yet.  Kids go out tonight and usually I work out but since I already did I can choose my own adventure, what exciting thing will I clean?

 

First real week of the year

Last week the kids went back to school for Thursday and Friday.  My brain treated Thursday like a ‘Monday’ but it was a sick joke because I wanted to do all the normal week stuff in 2 days and that isn’t possible.

This Monday I think we were 5min early for school, like the doors were hardly open, I was very ready to get back to my life.

On the other hand, one really does get used to the company and Monday was productive but on the lonely side.  Not so lonely that when #3 said she was too tired to go to school today I didn’t stand firm but I’m glad that regardless of the mess, fighting and general frustration I do still miss them.

I can’t help but think back on church when they would have ‘Ordinary time’ and whether the church agrees with me, January – March are the epitome of ordinary.  Because there is very little innate excitement I do tend to invent things to do.  There is freedom in the unstructured time and like an empty fish tank, I’m adding fish until its an aquarium of epic proportions.

Boring as it might sound, I actually am looking forward to getting my cabinets organized.  You may think I should say ‘re’ organized but there is still stuff that is where it was unpacked from boxes and definitely not optimized.  My goal is 1 a day, that is pretty easy, that should fit in around this and that.   Up first was the odd corner cupboard.  If you aren’t careful you have to crawl in to get the stuff in the far back corners.  I’ve put my least used items in the way back top, and two very large pots in the back corner bottom.  I added a freestanding shelf to better use the right-hand side and that has all my pie and cake dishes and front left are all the muffin tins and cookie sheets.  Finally, the air fryer, a christmas gift that I love, air frying is just so fast!  I’ve used it nearly every day and not just for novelty items like fried oreos, it is pretty great for frozen eggrolls too.

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first organized cabinet.  The new home of the air fryer, a very useful tool that hardly needs a home because it’s on the counter half the time. 

Trite as it might sound, I was a sloth for December when it came to exercise.  The flu and travel ate half the month but before that, I actually met with a friend for a workout and we went shopping instead!  Vacation Mom, my workout buddy, also had a shift in the schedule so our routine is out of wack and I need to get back to it.  I’m off to a good start, I did a workout on Sunday while the kids swam (and if they were fighting I couldn’t hear it, yes, it was that sort of day). Monday does offer a perfect evening opportunity when #2 and #3 are at gymnastics.  I have a workout plan for Wednesday too and things are looking good for going with Lars today and Friday.  We had a discussion about the price of our family Y (gym with pool etc) membership.  One of us wonders if the price is worth it based on how often we all go, one of us thinks that we should just use it more.  I’m not saying who ‘won’ because I think exercising more makes us all winners.  I should not sound so smug, I need to get over the fact that time spent working out is time I’m not using to clean or do or fix or any number of things I’ll prioritize over myself.  So, if you come over and it isn’t tidy, please forgive me, I’m working a bit more on living a longer life then leading a spotless life.  (this is hard)

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us on the row machines, gyms are pretty empty at 3pm on a Sunday.  Not so much Monday nights

The ordinary time will fill up fast.  We are already getting info about girl scout cookies, the lobby dates are out, I have a conference for school board stuff next week and last but not least there is a big event this weekend we are having friends over for and there are lots of fun little events within the event to prep for.  I’m starting my pile of ‘don’t forget’ today as well.  I also need to do our yearbook and calender, the goal for finishing is before end of January.

This first week back feels pretty odd.  I have muscle memory of all the activities so I don’t think I’ll forget anyone anywhere.  Back to gymnastics Monday, choir Tuesday, jujitsu Wednesday, my board meetings Thursday and Fridays are flexible but fill in fast.  I’m looking forward to at least a few weeks of school and the opportunity to get ahead on some stuff.  How do you fill your ‘ordinary time’?

Top 40

I turned the big Four-Oh on December 18 (1 week before Christmas) and I wanted to do something special.  The downside to birthdays close to Christmas is not the gifts like everyone immediately assumes, it is the attention sink of Christmas.  All time and energy are going toward the holiday and nobody has time or energy to do something ‘not’ Christmas that close.  *Including me* I also love the magic of Christmas and love making it special for my family so I also had no real energy to plan a party for myself and Lars, wonderful in many ways, is not a planner (and then I got the flu so I’m glad there wasn’t a party planned).

One answer is to move my birthday celebration to a more dead spot on the calendar but that brings back the issue of planning a party for myself, that just feels odd.  So my answer this year is to do ‘something special’ with my top 40 friends and family.  The ‘rules’ are that it has to be for my birthday, not just that we happen to be out after an event and sharing a meal or something, social time is great but the intention for birthday is a key element.   Also, no double counting, even if some of the same people are there they don’t count again.  I like this system because while I have an odd internal issue with throwing a big party for myself, I have zero issues telling a friend “hey, lets go do a XYZ for my birthday” and personally planning the activity and date and they come and say ‘happy birthday!” and we go from there.  I’m equally open to a friend inviting me to something for my birthday quest.  This also gives me the freedom to celebrate my birthday with all my favorite people at times that work for each individual and I can see people from all over and include them in the birthday quest because my timeline is long.

So far the plan is working well and I’m excited to keep rolling with it.

My first celebration was the weekend before my birthday and the serious top people in my life attended.  1. Lars, 2. Vacation Mom 3, 4, and 5 were my kids.  We had a great little dinner party in my beautiful front room with candles and the Christmas tree and a lovely lamb meal.

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only took the one picture, Lars is blurry but he is in a lot of the others too.

The second celebration included Lars again but featured our friends Lou and Lisa; for my 40 count, they are #6 and #7.  We went to a very nice French restaurant that we had been to before.  They had a crazy day with plumbing issues but I really appreciated that they came out per plan. (plus after their day they needed a glass of wine).  Side bonus of this celebration was a fun kid party where #1 watched their kids who are very good friends with #2 and #3 so everyone was a winner.

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pre dinner, we didn’t just drink wine (but I’m not opposed to wine events)

The third celebration was in NY with my family.  The restaurant was a comedy of errors but we all had a good time anyway.  My BiL is in restaurant management so his running commentary of ALL the things they did wrong was hilarious.  We common people notice some wrong things like a long wait or getting the wrong check but he noticed dozens of little things.  I think he (semi) secretly reveled in their ineptitude because the owner is someone he is not a big fan of.  For my count; I add my parents, #8,#9 without whom my birthday would not have ever happened.  My two sisters #10, #11 who I wish I lived closer to but maybe someday … and their husbands who are cool enough guys to count as friends/family and are #12 and #13.

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getting 8 in a picture isn’t easy

#14 is a high school friend who I have a fun relationship with basically centered around phone games and technology.  He also shares his working life in NYC and I share my mellow country life with him.  It is fun to have someone in your life for basically 30 years.  We did a perfect for us birthday event; we went and played the Wizards Unite phone game from 10pm to midnight.  Lars and my mom came too (but don’t count per the rules) but having a team of 4 playing together was truly fun.

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two professors, an Auror and a magizooligest

#15 is on reserve for Miss Math.  We were both sick and she did actually come visit but we did not have birthday intentions.  We had planned on going out but neither of us was up for it SO she has a reserved spot because she BELONGS in my top 40 and whether we get together in the spring if she can visit or maybe we can watch a movie or read the same book in our respective houses and then talk about it we will figure it out.  Miss Math is one of my oldest friends and we have talked basically every week (or more frequently) for 30 years.

**no photo because we used our time to chat and blow our noses**

#16 is my designer friend who drove up from NJ to see us.  She arrived with a bottle of champaign to celebrate 40 and we did the visit thing.  Seeing her is always fun, she is full of energy and creative ideas and I always want to do something more after we visit.  We have pretty different lives now but there is still plenty of common ground and I’m glad she made the drive.

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birthday mimosas!

Not bad for having the flu on my real birthday.  So! friends of mine, let’s do something for my 40th birthday!  I’m open to most things, the gift of your time is all I ask, and this is going to be a fun challenge for the year.  Someone asked if I know 40 people and my answer is “Absolutely” I’ve been really lucky to consistently meet awesome people over my 40 years and I’m pretty good at keeping in touch so I still have friends I’m in contact with from elementary school, middle/high school, college, my first job in MN, SCA over a lifetime in 3 kingdoms plus the international event of Pennsic, recent friends made through kids, PTO, school board and other causes.  I would likewise count some internet friends because some of my online-only relationships are pretty fabulous and have persisted for years.  Maybe I’ll make it part of my quest to have a birthday event with someone from every category in my life…. let’s make that a stretch goal.  Regardless every one will get documented here and I hope to have the best epic odyssey of a 40th year.

 

*Honorable mention for the list has to go to my Ny friend, who also reads this, who I ended up sitting next to in church on Christmas Eve.  Given we were there for Jesus’s birthday it certainly couldn’t be for my birthday but it was such a great extra for my visit it had to have a mention.  Sometimes you work hard to have plans fall through, sometimes you have a friend land in the seat next to you unexpectedly.  I have known her since 1st grade so if we can make a birthday thing work then I could get that fairly rare category because my class was only 11 kids.

 

Happy New Year

Look!  a post written and published in a timely manner 🙂

For the first time in FOREVER, we went out for the evening with friends.  The kids had a ‘kid party’ where I put my trust in their collective good sense and left them with snacks and 2 bottles of 7up and unbreakable buy quite pretty wine glasses.  It was a bit more of a party then I expected because a friend going with us suddenly had his kids and we had already invited a #1 friend so we had 6 kids.  We got home at 12:30 and they were all in bed but nobody was asleep.  Based on footsteps they saw the headlights and scampered.  The house was in good order so I’m really pleased with how that all worked out, although, I miss having my ‘midnight’ with them, but, things change as they age and I need to be ok with that.

As for us, we went out to a local party that had no cover and drink/food specials.  I *really* wanted to go to a roaring 20’s theme event but we didn’t get tickets so I just wore my outfit anyway.  I was happy with the outfit, especially my hair, and got tons of compliments from strangers.  We went with a little group of close friends and we all dressed up and more or less had a party within a party but it was still fun to be out.  Midnight toast and a dance and then home again because I only trust the kids so long.

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This is my hair AFTER the whole night out.  

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two of the friends we went out with, Lars was the (reluctant) photographer but I really wanted a picture of my fun outfit. 

Given my age and year correlation, hitting a landmark 40 in 2020 is a big reason to pull out the reflect couch but I just have not given it that much thought. Lars and I started dating just after New Year 2000 so our relationship is always marked by new years for me.  This is my first full year on the school board and I feel like I know what I’m doing much more now.  I’m tempting fate here but I generally feel like I know more of what I’m doing overall.  We are much more settled in the house, PTO and kid school are going well, general relationships with friends and family are pretty good.  Sure there is room to grow and also things I have to accept like hormones invading the body of #1 but realistically they are all good kids and I have a nice group of friends.  I’m in good health and I’m able to do most of what I want to, I almost feel like I’m wasting potential because I’m not doing enough!  Over the next few weeks I’m going to give the past year, decade, and 20 years the reflection it disserves; I blame the flu for not doing it already.

If I didn’t give a lot of thought to what I’ve done, I’ve given almost less to what I’m going to do.  I’m ok with letting a path emerge.  I did realize that I spent every single day of my 30’s managing kids and changing a lot of diapers.  I can probably get away with not changing a diaper in my 40’s and that is something for sure.   I feel like there are a few options worth looking into and this might be the year (or decade) to actually look harder.

Just writing this all has me thinking about the ups and downs over the past year and I’m mostly proud of where I am right now.  I have not been passive even though I’ve let opportunities pass.  Sometimes I am wistful of what I did not do or did not chase but I am ok with that (most of the time).  Maybe there is a Kate in a parallel universe doing all the things, who knows.

So I started this at 10 am and it is nearly 8 so if I want to publish on the day I said it was I need to just publish.  Our New Years Day was mellow fun, friends dropped over, games were played, I put lots of food into my new air fryer and we had a nice vacation at home day.  Tomorrow the kids go back to school and I hope to get back on track, I miss my routine.

Cheers to 2020!  If you have any ideas on what I should5 do I’ll consider all options in the comments.  Are you up to something great?  I’m all ears.

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