Monday, January 21, 2019

parents weekend

We took Meego back to school on Saturday.  He seems happy to be back to it after 5 weeks off.  That is a pretty long break, and without a job or other commitments, there was a lot of downtime.  But he did get in some time with friends and got his dental checkup in - resulting in subsequent dental work :\.

It was also nice to move him into his dorm and have it not be the drug den he was in for most of last semester.  I don't think we'll ever see the microwave or dorm fridge again, but whatev.

Also last week, I'd been talking with Wolfgang who was doing a bit of vehicle shopping.  The time had come to replace his lovable pickup Pablo.  Y'all remember good ol' Pablo?

1989 Toyota that just kept on a-going.  But it's not so great on 2019 emissions standards, and also not so great in the snow or for trips to the mountains.  He'd called me for advice on financing, etc.

My main piece of advice was to NOT commit to a car payment unless he got a 0% financing deal.  I know it's typical for people to go into debt for cars (and other stuff), but Magnum and I prefer the debt-free lifestyle, and since Wolfgang was asking, I was advising. We could help him pay cash for a vehicle with a limited loan and certain payback expectations.

...which was how we ended up helping him fund his new-to-him Jeep.  So, technically, he DOES have a car payment, except it's to us at that 0% interest deal.  He so happened to be test driving as we were on our way up to Meego's university.  Wolfgang lives in university town, so we were able to meet up with him and check out his new wheels and further get him established with insurance and other adulting stuff.

So it was quite a parental weekend, getting one kid settled back into another semester at college and helping another kid upgrade his vehicle.  Saturday was also the first time we'd left Penny home alone for an extended period of time.  Luckily, our oldest son Chaco lives nearby and came by to check on her.  She and the house both survived.

And today, I've got a big pile of stuff out on the porch waiting for the Pickup Please truck to come get the results of my de-cluttering efforts of last week.  It's like Santa Claus, but in reverse.

Friday, January 18, 2019

appreciation Friday

circa 2012
For those who weren't here back then, I once held the prestigious title of "School Crossing Guard".  Our kids' elementary school was not far away, I was a stay-at-home-mom, it was a nice little gig for a bit of mad money.

Some days, it would be FREEZING cold.  I didn't typically have many "customers" on those days, but had to be there nonetheless for the handful of tough kids.

And it wasn't that bad since each shift was only about 30 minutes long.

Here is what my old office looks like today:

There's been a major project on this road for about two  months now.  The city is replacing about a half-mile of the water main that runs from the crosswalk on down.  The road went from 5 lanes to two, and it's been messy and inconvenient.  But I don't care.  These guys are gettin' 'er done, so I'm giving them a shout out!

It's clearly a big project.  Living in the neighborhood, I've seen much daily progress.  Out with the old pipe, in with the new, and all the tearing-up-the-road that entails.  Those workers are out there every day in all kinds of weather and traffic.  New years eve?  When the weather was nearly unfit for penguins?  They were out there!  Just like today.

So I appreciate them working to get this project completed without delay and with minimal inconvenience.  Also, there's been no interruption in water service this whole time.  I probably just jinxed us, but as least we have our backup hillbilly water jugs in storage.

Speaking of projects and storage, I've made inroads on Operation Consolidation and clearing out the basement level.  I was reminded of Marie Kondo's advice (paraphrasing):

Don't look at your stuff and think about what you want to discard.  Look at your stuff and think about what you want to keep.

*looks around at my stuff*


Thursday, January 17, 2019

I'm busy, leave a message

First of all, a Penny-Poo update.  She's still the cutest thing in our home (don't tell the cat).  I think she's growing, or maybe I'm just getting used to having such a small pooch.  Here she is doing her best Sears catalog pose a la ...


Who wore it better?

In getting her used to the outdoors, we take her on short "hikes", which means baby jaunts on the path by our house.  She's pretty leery of strangers, and high tails it when she hears another dog doing something as sinister as... barking.  But she's young, she'll get there.  

She's got plenty of energy, though.  I see much hiking in her future.

In thinking about it, today was a lovely day, feeling like early spring, and I found myself with no appointments.  I decided I deserved a break and took a little solo hike.  Good decision.

I came across a few others who had the same idea, but the trail was mostly quiet.  At various points on my route, I spotted these huge dog prints...

... but never came across the dog they came from.  Slightly larger-than-average woman's foot included for reference.

And I wasn't feeling all that secluded.  I was on a trail near the Air Force Academy, and cadets were literally dropping in.  See 'em?

I also tried to get a shot of a glider and tow plane, shortly after release:

All in all, a nice couple hours of solitude and recharging.

Who can relate?

Monday, January 14, 2019

popping down

Many years ago, when I was a working girl with no kids, some co-workers and I would go for lunchbreak walks near our office park.  One walking buddy was just emptying his nest as his youngest kid was off to college.  He explained to us how he and his wife bought their little single-story house and then added the top level when their three kids started arriving.  Now it would just be him and the wife living there, with no need for the top story.

Another walking buddy was about my age, no kids.

"There should be pop-up houses", he mused, along the lines of pop-up campers.  "One level for couples that pop-up a second story for kid additions.  Then pop back down when the kids grow up!"

Yeah, so we all chuckled, but I'm starting to see the practicality of it.  For a while, after our kids reached their teens, our house often seemed too small.  Now?  I could do with half a house.

I've begun Operation Consolidation.

Our house is a raised ranch with finished basement.  Magnum and I are wanting to downsize to about half the size of our house now.  So, in preparation, I thought I'd consolidate all our stuff to the main floor.  Can  I do it?  Yes!  I think

Well... the laundry's gonna stay downstairs because... that's where it is.  And I'll keep my office downstairs because that's where the internet cable (better than wifi for online tuting) taps in, and I don't feel like drilling and rerouting.

BUT, everything* else is going up!

Which means, I need to de-clutter the main level to make room for necessities from the lower.  I'd been thinking that I've done a good job of it, but then I got this consolidation idea and am looking around...

This should be fun?  Okay, I'm starting today.

Step 1.  Motivation

It's a start.  And I'm actually still in touch with both of those walking buddies.  Empty nester is now a grandpa several times over, and Pop-up guy now has two sons similar in age to our kids.  I wonder if he has a pop-up?

Friday, January 11, 2019

roses in January

I have a friend who says she'd love to live in Alaska.  She might make it happen.  She loves winter and only tolerates summer.  I get it.  But would I want to live in Alaska?  I don't know if I could take the daylight swings.  Could you?

                    "Barrow—one of the northernmost towns in Alaska—has about two
                     months of darkness in the winter, from about November 18 to
                     January 22. But in the summer, the sun doesn't completely set for
                     about 82 days" ~ source

I like winter well enough.  As I type this, snow is gently falling, and it's all grey outside, and, well...

It's so much nicer than lightning, thunder, and hail.  And yes, I do "love" winter.  Let me count the ways

  1. No bugs.  Yes, we need (many) bugs for our survival, but they bug me.  Plus, if it has a stinger, I'm probably allergic to it.
  2. No pollen. Yes, we need plants for our survival, but I like it when they're asleep.  If it's a tree, grass, or weed, I'm probably allergic to it.
  3. Playing in the snow.  I live in Colorado, but I haven't downhill skied in YEARS - since before we had kids and Chaco's 25, so yeah.  Skiing and snowboarding are fun, but relatively expensive and crowded.  There are other enjoyable things to do outdoors in Colorado in winter - often made more enjoyable by points 1 and 2 above.
  4. Warm and cozy.  When not playing out in the snow, inside is warm and cozy as opposed to swelteringly uncomfortable as summer can get.  And I'm thankful to have a roof over my head. Not warm and cozy?  Add another layer.  We can only take off so much when it's hot.
  5. Cooking.  I (sometimes) like to cook.  I enjoy it more in wintertime than in summer when it's either grill or make the house even more hot.  No baking takes place in summer.
  6. Wildfire season takes a break.  Enough said.
  7. Reservoirs get filled up.  Get ready for spring thaw!
  8. Revenue for our state.  While I don't personally ski, lots of in- and out-of-staters do.  I'll take it, while avoiding the crowds.  Pot money only goes so far.


What do you love most about winter?  Would you live in northern Alaska full-time?


Linking up with Mama Kat this week for the prompt:
1. List 8 things you love about winter.

Monday, January 7, 2019

it's shop o'clock somewhere

Today is sort of an unofficial official back-to-the-grind.  Magnum had a full two weeks off from work due to holidays and accrued vacation.  This was one of the reasons we decided it was puppy time.

College boy Meego gets a whole month off due to life of a college kid.  It's not really enough time to get a job unless he had something lined up (he didn't), but almost seems too long (he's not complaining).

As for me, I've actually had a nice trickle of tutees in the days since Christmas, but not enough to usurp the slug time.  Working for oneself makes it easy to go with the flow, whatever that flow may be.

So Christmas is not even full two weeks past, and I don't know about anyone else, but I'm getting "special deals!" offers in my email.  I don't really like to shop as it is, let alone after the national over-consumption holiday.

From the suggested offers, I'm thinking there's a new year's resolution theme going on.  Deals include reduced gym memberships as well as fitness related gear.  They tryna tell me something?

One offer I got suggested a running belt.  I don't have a running belt and haven't felt a need for one.  I don't like to carry stuff  - including my phone - with me when I go running, but I could see a thing being handy for short hikes and walks.  I've tried the armband phone cases and have determined that they are best suited for people with decent sized arms... which I do not have.

I was half-heartedly perusing running belts and their associated reviews when I came across this top rated review and got a kick out of it.


Cute review.  But I'm still not buying it.  The emails can feel free to stop.

Friday, January 4, 2019

Honey I'm still free Take a chance on me

I've been doing a bit of decluttering.  No, it's not a new year's resolution, it's just something I'm COMPELLED to do and do often within limitations - those limitations being that I live among other people's stuff that is not mine to chuck.

Many are familiar with Marie Kondo's BookI got it (checked out from the library of course) thinking that she wouldn't have much to tell me = card carrying clutterphobe.

But I really enjoyed the book, it gave me a different perspective.  The nonbelievers make fun of the whole "spark joy" thing, but I totally get it!

I looked at my "stuff" with fresh eyes and...

I will not, however, be watching Marie Kondo's new Netflix series.  I saw the trailer and nearly hyperventilated looking at the joyless piles of non-sparkle Marie was having to wade through.

But this is all not to say that I don't acquire stuff.

I mentioned a few weeks ago that we'd gotten  a Ring®️ doorbell.  So far, we really like it.  We have actually had a couple of questionable characters approach the porch, seemingly notice the Ring, and abruptly leave.  What's that about?

About the same time we got the doorbell, I learned that amazon has secure lockers in various locations, and shoppers can forgo the packages being delivered to an unsecure porch.  I thought, "Ooh, Ima try!".  I did and here is my...

Well, actually, my review is not very deep, because the process is very simple.  When selecting an address for delivery, there is an option to select an amazon locker.  I found one about a mile from my house at Whole  Foods, but there are many other locations - mostly at 7-11s.  I saved the Whole Foods lockers to my account so I can easily select it again.

As soon as my package was delivered, I got a notification that included an - I think - 6-digit code.  Magnum and I did a March-of-the-Penguins-esque walk to Whole Foods on New Years Eve afternoon when it was like Antarctica outside.  I felt we needed an adventure.

It was all very simple, we walked up to the bank of pumpkin-colored lockers, I punched in the code, and *sproing*, one of the compartments opened up revealing my package.  Done and done.

Except we had to trudge back home through Antarctica.  I think I might be able to keep all of my toes.

Bottom line:  yes, I would recommend amazon lockers to a friend or colleague.

Just try not to go crazy and --> clutter plus bankruptcy.


Oh, and I'm linking up with Mama Kat this week for the prompt:

1. Take a line from a song you love and turn it into the title of your next blog post. Let the content follow.