Monday, January 25, 2010

The Signs Were All There

When you get out of bed on Monday morning and head to the kitchen to make coffee and you look out the kitchen window and see a dead armadillo in your driveway you should know that is the First Sign.

So, a couple hours later when you scorch the homemade chili in your very very favorite stock pot, a sensible person would just take some Tylenol PM and go back to bed and pull the covers up over their head and remain there for the rest of the week, right?

Obviously, I am not a person with that much sense so the aforementioned trip back to bed didn't happen.

Maybe I'm a bit stubborn, or maybe I'm an optimist with faith that things won't be bad for that long; and in the grand scheme of things, I guess a dead armadillo (HOW redneck can you get?? LOL!!) in the driveway isn't really earth-shattering - at least in this part of the world.

All of this is before noon. In the afternoon I spent a few hours trying to help a family purchase a headstone from e-bay.

Yes, e-bay.... Anyway, I finally got that task behind me, including doing a bit of photography work the family needed.

Then, the beginning of The Bad Thing happened.

It started innocently enough. A dear friend of mine had come over to sit and drink coffee in front of my big back window. You see, I have a 4 foot by 5 foot picture window that overlooks my back yard and my friend and I often sit here in the back room/pantry/utility room/computer room/Gayla's Cave and watch the birds come to the assortment of bird feeders I have out there.

On this particular Monday, since I had so many other things going on, my bird watching buddy decided to clean the window. She understands my physical limitations and claims me even if I do drift off to sleep once in a while - that, folks, is the sign if a real friend!

Anyway, as Maddy was cleaning the huge window she noticed there was a gap at the top - about a half inch or so between the glass and the wooden frame. Kinda like the window pane had decided to try the new "Pants on the Floor" (POTF) look.

A bit of window history here. When Rick and I first bought this old rock house, there was an addition built on the back that had obviously been intended as a utility room. There was a washer and dryer hook-up and such but the entire back wall had rotted out. The small aluminum-framed window had fallen out of the wall, the wall studs were mostly rotted out and the wall was pretty much ready to fall in.

Shortly after we moved in, I had a yard sale and the neighbor asked if I would mind trying to sell this big window he had. No one bought it and it ended up in a shed in our back yard.

But one morning a group of folks from church descended on us and tore out the rotten wall and built a new one. There was a bit of discussion about a window for the new wall and the big window was put to use. What a wonderful wall! New paneling on the inside, the rest of the room wainscoted with the paneling, wallpaper above. A beautiful, room with lots of light and a view of the back yard with the five mature oaks - birdwatching paradise! A 12-inch wide window sill completed it and I moved in a recliner, a love seat, and my laptop. It was perfect. I could do laundry without walking far, and I had a quiet, relaxing place to watch TV, visit friends and write.

But now the big window had a gap at the top. Maddy showed the gap to Rick and we showed the gap to Steve - our jack-of-all trades friend. Rick and Steve decided they could fix it - but a bit later in the week. So for the moment, we filled the gap with weatherstripping.

Really, the weatherstripping could have stayed there until summer - or at least spring.

But the attempt was made to fix it. Now there was 2 guys with big suction cups tugging at the window and it broke. So now, in middle of January I had a 4 foot by 5 foot hole in the middle of my wall - and it happened in the middle of the Bad Week.

So I decided to do something happy. Doing something happy has to improve this week, right?

Our church collects toys for a local hospital, we wash the stuffed animals and the emergency room then has a warm fuzzy for sick kids who need something to cuddle. That might sound gross to some people, but really, by the time we run them through the washer and dryer, they are probably cleaner than they were when they first came out of the store. But last week we were given a doll with no clothes.

It was a nice doll so it was in a "too good to throw away, not nice enough to give away" category so the Deacon who had brought it in asked if maybe I could find something for the dolly to wear. Since I was in the midst of the Bad Week, I decided to tackle the Naked Dolly issue and I got out my sewing machine.

I have never, never in my life made a doll dress - and I had no pattern. So I laid the doll down and marked off a couple of dimensions and cut out a trial dress top - sewed it together and tried it on. Too small, so as I was cutting out the second attempt Maddy arrived and after pouring herself a cup of coffee, she was offering moral support. I though I was doing pretty well considering everything and I had to show off the burgundy apron I had already assembled. Soon I had a dress made. Well, almost made. There was a bit of trial-and error through this whole process and since my fine motor skills are fading a bit I was thankful for the help getting Dolly dressed and undressed with each new fitting. I gathered up some hook and eye fasteners and a bit of lace and some of those pearls-by-the-foot they sell in the craft section at Wal-Mart and by the time all was said and done, I have to say, Dolly made the week improve when I saw her all finished wearing her tan calico dress with the full skirt and the print burgundy roses all over it. She had a burgundy apron and a nice lace collar that was topped with a row of pearls sewn all the way around.

So, I still have no window - but hopefully, someday, a little girl will have a doll with a pretty dress, and inside the dress, at the back, she will find a label that says "Made With Love and Kisses". She won't know I was having a terrible week, but maybe her week will be good.

Friday, January 15, 2010

The Big Squeeze

You probably already know I am not a big fan of buffets. Hubby loves them and I go along because in most places I can order something off of the menu. I end up taking half of it home with me anyway.

But there is another angle. Most of you have already read my rant about restaurant booths being too small; well, news flash - in many restaurants the tables are entirely too close together.

I always try to guide our party to a table around the edge of the seating area so when I try to slide my chair out I will be sliding into the aisle, rather than being packed in back-to-back with someone at the table behind me; especially if we are at a buffet-only place.

Then there is another aspect - for me, at least. Hubby is right-handed; I am a lefty. He always wants to seat us where we won't be "bumping elbows", even though, in the 10 years or so I've been eating with him, I can't remember us ever bumping elbows. If we are eating at a buffet place and land in a booth, if anyone is dining with us I always get shoved to the "wall" side of the booth, then have to try to scrunch up as much as possible to fit my purse on the seat beside me and leave room for Hubby to sit since he makes many trips to the buffet - and I can't exactly say this makes for a relaxing experience.

We have a few restaurants in our town that have non-crowded seating, places where I actually "fit" and I can have a nice relaxing meal. Needless to say, I tip better in the places where I am more comfortable.

So I will say, IF you are one of the folks I have (through no fault of my own) been placed back-to-back with in a restaurant, and I have bumped your chair trying to get in or out of my seat, I am truly sorry. Now, come complain to the management with me!