Wednesday, July 31, 2013

WNBP: Tick-Tock

Well, we've arrived at that time of the year I refer to as The End Of Summer Vacation Proper.  Sure, I'm still technically off the clock.  But it's ticking down and the time has come to face facts.

I actually do work for a living and soon it will be time to go do that again.

It's a rather confusing time.  I can go to bed whenever I want and do not fear the alarm clock.  I get as many cups of coffee in the morning as I can reasonably ingest and start my day whenever I think best.  But August means that at least part of each day should involved preparations for returning to school.  It takes a lot to get a classroom ready to go, even for a seasoned veteran such as myself.  If you don't start in August, you won't hit your stride until November and that's right about the time that all the holiday-themed vacations start.  Not ideal...

I don't even know what happened to May, let alone June and July.  We seem to have fast forwarded to right back where I started and I am at a loss as to how to explain how it happened.

In addition to school looming on the horizon, I now feel pressure to finish all the stuff I said I was thinking about doing back when I had all the time in the world and manual labor seemed like a much better idea than it does at the moment.

But it's Wednesday evening right now so I think I'll put all that worksheet prepping and closet cleaning aside for a bit.  It's time for this week's edition of The Wednesday Night Bullet Post!

*Today was the second time all summer that I've stepped out the door, paused for a moment and said, Now that's what I'm talking about!"

*Sunny.  Warm.  No humidity.  No asphalt melting beneath my sandaled feet.  No raindrops threatening my stylish summer coiffure.

*And by "stylish summer coiffure" I mean "hair haphazardly pulled back in a clip because I can't be bothered to do much more than that..."

*I think part of my issue with the summer vacation schedule has been allergy related.

*I lost the first two weeks to snuffling, sneezing and chills and then a cough that wouldn't quit.

*Seriously.  I was expecting a letter calling me before the homeowner's association to explain why I was keeping a pack of asthmatic wolves in the manse.

*Allergies have been making random appearances ever since and I don't think I should be held accountable for time spent feeling crappy when it comes to vacation days.

*By my estimation I am owed about three weeks.

*My car has been nagging me about getting an oil change for a while now.

*Longer than I care to admit.  Let's just say that the reset button on the vehicle's info center got a serious workout.

*The car can complain all it wants.  In the end, I control what I look at on my dashboard.

*But I can only take a stand for so long.  I brought the car in yesterday for the requested service.

*Oil changes are boring.  You sit and sit and it's not like other maintenance when it makes sense to just take the shuttle service home where you can wait in peace and with control over the television remote.

*Of course I forgot to bring anything to do so I ended up wandering around the internet on my phone.

*My 30th high school reunion is coming up.

*No.  I am not going.  

*I went to the 5th.  I also went to the 10th.

*I feel that my remaining years should be spent doing something fun.

*Not looking at pictures of people's kids.

*Or, as the case is now, grandkids.

*But someone thoughtfully put me in the FaceBook group to discuss the matter on so now I am inundated with notifications regarding the event that I have no intention of attending.

*This, however, is a good way to kill some time during an oil change when the dealership is busy, though.

*Stalking former members of my high school class.

*Not too much going on, surprisingly.  I found one name that rang a bell, though.

*"That rings a bell," I said to myself, "I'll bet nothing good happened there!"

*I can be a little judgmental in my own head sometimes.  To be fair, it wasn't like I was criticizing a future statesman or anything.

*This is the kid that my older-than-God first grade teacher made sit in the back of the room behind the piano because he couldn't seem to get a grip.

*That, it turned out, wasn't the most effective strategy because she eventually ended up having to storm back there and shake him until his head banged off the piano a few times.

*Note:  this was back in the days when, if a teacher bounced your head off a piano, your parents were more concerned about what you did to instigate the head trauma than the appropriateness of the discipline choice.

*He settled down after that, though.  

*Nothing like having a ancient powerhouse in a floral print dress come stalking down the aisle at you to bring about an epiphany, even if you are only six...

*I later recall him leaving his jean jacket behind in sophomore anthropology class.  It was easily recognizable when the teacher found it on the floor and picked it up.  

*You kind of couldn't miss the lopsided pot leaf inked on the back.

*And, if that wasn't enough, the giant bag of weed he extracted from the pocket kind of sealed the deal.

*I was strolling down the hallway on the main floor one day, feeling pretty good about myself.  I'd done some self-improvement over the summer.

*Lost some weight, got a few new outfits, and had a corkscrew curly perm to end all perms.

*Shut up.  It was the early 80's.  We didn't know any better.

*Suddenly, I realized that the bleary eyed denim wearing, former resident from behind the piano was matching my pace.  And then he spoke.

"You know, you're looking really good.  Let's face it.  Last year, you looked like you didn't know your ass from your elbow, but now...(waved his arm to indicate my new state of fabulousness)  you look gooood!"

*I do not recall what I said in response to this.  What can one say in response to this, really?  

*He didn't have much of an active social life from what I could tell...

*It wasn't too many clicks on the ol' iPhone before I found his sadly brief obituary.  Survived by siblings, predeceased by parents, no services.

*Also no cause of death which is generally not a good sign when it comes to obituaries.

*It's a cautionary tale, people.  If you have kids, don't let them take drugs and perhaps talk with them about how to deliver a compliment effectively.

*And you probably shouldn't bounce their heads off the piano no matter how many times you've had to tell them to simmer down.  

*And how did I get to the point where I'm not going to my 30th reunion anyway??????

*And how did the little girl I taught when she was in 7th grade get to be a service associate at the dealership?  With a husband and kids?????

*For the record, having a former student who liked you as a teacher working at the service center is awesome.

*If you can get past the whole part where she grew up and can drive and have babies and all that.

*It was a real emotional roller coaster over at the dealership yesterday.  Frankly, I was thrilled to get my keys and leave.

*Yesterday was my parent's anniversary.  I forgot to call them.  

*Happy Anniversary, Mommy and Daddy Sheep!  

*I'm sorry I forgot to call you.  I remembered, but by then it was midnight and I didn't think you'd appreciate a shout-out at that point.

*I blame the oil change.  It got kind of real in the waiting area.

*Also, I was making mint jelly and that kind of took up more of the day than I planned on.

*Part of that time was spent admiring my glistening green jars and saying, "Would you look at that?  I made mint jelly!!!"

*My allergies were really bothering me last night.

*I didn't sleep well.  

*Which is why I was really glad I was meeting The World's Greatest Stylist And Life Coach for lunch.

*The restaurant was close to home and even was a Thai place!!!

*TWGSALC, being Chinese by birth, is very well acquainted with the concept of "spicy."  We both tend to kick it up a notch when we go Thai.

*And these here sinuses were in need of some heat today!

*Sinuses cleared nicely, thank you very much.  And I got the leftovers so I'm all set for tonight's potential clogging.

*If you happen to be in the area and are a fan of Thai food (spicy or otherwise), I'd highly recommend you check this place out.

*It's small, but good.  I've been meaning to try it for years now.  But time got away from me and I never did.

*I was hoping they didn't have takeout, but they do.

*I hope the teacher's association has worked out our contract this year because I think I am going to need a raise.

*Have to fund my mango curry habit...

*I finally started cleaning out the closet in the spare bedroom.

*Now I know where all those Christmas lights I knew I had but suddenly couldn't find ended up.

*Not to mention six bridesmaid dresses, all the paintbrushes I really needed when I started the living room project and a myriad of cords that don't seem to go to anything but do seem kind of important all the same.

*I also apparently thought it was a good idea to store candy canes in there, perhaps in the event of a massive candy cane shortage during the Apocalyptic Holiday Season Of The Future.

*Note:  Candy canes left in a closet for years will not be usable.  Even during the apocalypse.  

*What they will become is permanently melted to various bridesmaid dresses.

*And, as we professional bridesmaids know, this is a tragedy because any taffeta pink garment can be tailored to cocktail length and worn again.  

*Or so I've been told by many an earnest bride...

*Rule number one:  Brides lie.  They will tell you anything to ensure you match the cake and cummerbunds.  

*Rule number two:  Becoming a bridesmaid does something to your brain.  Suddenly, in spite of all evidence to the contrary, you will believe that you go to cocktail parties all the time.

*Wearing pink taffeta.

*I am past bridesmaid age now.  I know this because my 30th reunion is coming up.  Also, I'm going back to start the school year and get my t-shirt for being in the district for ten years.  

*And that ten years represents less than half of my teaching career.

*Ten years in the district means you get a long sleeved t-shirt.  That's way better than my regular t-shirt I got after five years.

*I'm nowhere near the sweatshirt level, though.  And I doubt I'll see the fleece vest in my lifetime.  That's something like 30 years.  

*Although, if time continues to blast past as it has lately, perhaps I have a shot!

Speaking of time, I have somehow managed to lose an hour blathering on and now the cats are cranky. I think it is feeding time for all of us if my rumbling tummy and the screeching coming from the kitchen are any indication.

So I'll wrap this up here and call it a night.  May your downward slide towards the weekend be a good one and may time treat you kindly.

Or, at the very least, have the decency to move at a reasonable rate...


Wednesday, July 24, 2013

WNBP: Choices. Questionable And Otherwise.

OK, I know.  I missed last week.  In light of that not-really-so-much-of-an-oversight-as-a-last-minute-decision, why don't we just dive right in?

Here's a two week version of the Wednesday Night Bullet Post:

*It was hot last week.

*I'm talking stoopid hot.  Crazy hot.  Too hot to even function without sweating buckets and becoming socially unacceptable.

*So I decided to paint the living room.

*Which was, by any definition, a questionable choice.

*The only way to really do this was one wall at a time.  

*It was really hot.  And humid.

*One wall at a time was all I could tackle on any given day.

*Except, ironically, Wednesday.  Wednesday was Family Lunch day with the Sheepish relatives.

*I probably could have blogged.  I didn't have the painting thing going on.

*But I was really hot and really tired and really sore from clambering my aged self up and down the makeshift step-ladder.

*So I didn't blog.  I feel very badly about that...

*Not really.  I only feel a little badly.  It was hot and humid and I was sore.  Plus there were paint fumes.

*I take full responsibility for my choice, questionable or otherwise.

*I forgot all about renewing my teaching certificate this year.  

*I realize that sounds kind of irresponsible.  Teaching is my livelihood after all.

*But I have three endorsements, two of which were still current.  

*The first of those is the endorsement under which I am currently employed.   The middle one I've never used and didn't really ask for but got it anyway.   The third is my school counseling endorsement and I don't use that one anymore.

*It's the latter for which the clock is ticking.

*But I don't want it to expire.  I worked hard to get it and my certificate looks kind of cool with all my mad skilz laid out for the world to see.

*So I had to drive down to school last Tuesday to meet with the certification coordinator to get her signature on all the paperwork.

*At first, she was concerned.  I didn't have enough contact hours by her estimate.

*Then I showed her the nine billion hours I put into the Autism Leadership Team, including the off-site training which involved staying in a hotel and leaving Da Boyz to fend for themselves.

*That put my hours over the top and left me half-way certified on all my other stuff which isn't due for another four years.

*Signature obtained.

*I've since forgotten to mail it to the state, but there is still time for that.  

*Although my decision to leave the paperwork on the counter where the rest of the mail piles up probably isn't going to facilitate my remembering to do that...

*It was even hotter when I left Ms. Certification Guru's office.  Hard to even conceive of "hotter" at that point, but it was.

*So I came home and painted another wall in the heat of midday.

*Which wasn't a smart thing.

*What can I say?  The urge to paint my living room doesn't come over me very often and I sort of have to go with it when the mood strikes.

*My living room is now a pleasant combination of Fresh Baked Pumpernickel and Toasted Coconut.

*My bathroom and the connecting hallway were painted last summer.

*In Belgian Waffle.

*I am going with a food theme, paintwise.

*These were exceptionally good color choices, if I do say so myself.

*I'm not normally "good" with color.  I tend to take the safer route because I don't match things very well.

*But going with colors that are toasted, roasted and baked seems to work for me...

*I have high carb walls.

*Please Stand By For Sheepie's Official Statement Regarding The Royal Birth:

*Good evening and thank you all for coming.  I'll be brief.  Or as brief as I can be given that I am cursed with the need to explain things until they scream for mercy...

As a member of modern society, I cannot help but be aware of certain newsworthy tidbits.  Royal weddings and births seem to get a great deal of attention.  Hence, I take notice.  I can, however, choose my response.

I bought into the dream of Happily Ever After these people sold me back in the 80's.  I bought in fully and well beyond my credit limit.  I was promised a newer, cooler monarchy with awesome outfits and even awesomer modern attitudes.  And, for a while I suppose, I got that.

But then it all fell apart and I was left with the depressing realization that my royal idols were really just flawed human beings no different from me.  (Except for the part where they get into more trouble than I do and and lack the ability to understand that no bad deed goes unobserved in this age.)  The dream was shattered and Happily Ever After was relegated back to fairy tale status.

I wish the royal couple well.  Good job giving birth and all that.  Seriously.  I would imagine that isn't exactly a walk in the park, especially with a crowd outside wondering what is taking so long.  But you'll forgive me if I change the channel after seeing the same footage of a hospital door for the umpteenth time because I am busy and can't get to the remote fast enough.  I really do hope it all works out for them.  Honest.

But I am choosing not to attend the christening.  I'm fairly certain I'm not on the guest list anyway.  Still, it never hurts to put it out there early just in case I'm taking up a seat better given to someone more interested in the whole business.

And that concludes Sheepie's statement regarding all things royal.  We now return you to your regularly scheduled blog.

*Somehow I knew that wasn't going to be brief.  It never is...

*I didn't go to the Farmer's Market last week.  It was hot and I had to put part of my living room back together.

*I am very much behind on my End Of The World Is Nigh Supply restocking and have only canned potatoes.

*I went today, though.  

*I now have four pounds of green beans in my fridge.  

*I did not can them today.  We'll get to that.

*Home improvement mania struck again and I chose to reupholster the seat of the chair I used as a step stool because I don't have a real ladder here.

*There is a great deal of paint on that chair.  Why I thought reupholstering the seat would detract from that I don't know.

*But once the idea took hold it was kind of hard to not do it and I already had some decent fabric on hand.

*Decent fabric located whilst clearing out the back bedroom.  

*It's amazing what I find when I clear out twenty years of back bedroom crap.

*I keep expecting Jimmy Hoffa to pop out from under a pile of old linens.

*Jimmy Hoffa or a really scary bug.  

*I should seriously consider moving the piles of old linens around more often...

*I am going out for lunch with Mommy and Daddy Sheep so I probably won't can beans tomorrow either.

*Beans will have to wait until Friday.  Friday seems like a better canning day anyway.

*Friday has a canny sort of feel to it...

There.  That covers most of what I did for the past couple of weeks.  I'm not saying that all my choices were good ones, but the living room does look pretty nice with all it's Toasted Coconutty goodness.  And getting my teaching certificate straightened out was probably the right thing to do.  I have to pay for all this paint, you know.  Paint doesn't grow on trees and a girl needs employment to make paint happen!

Of course, being employed and then paying someone else to paint the living room during a heatwave might have been the smarter choice altogether.  In fact, most of the projects I've done around here over the past few weeks would probably have been a lot more fun if I'd been watching someone else complete them.

Maybe we'll consider that for The Next Brilliant Idea I Get In The Middle Of The Night.  I've been thinking a lot about tile for some reason.  Given that I have no idea whatsoever how to tile anything I can't help but wonder if that is going to be another one of those questionable decisions.

Questionable and, perhaps, unavoidable...


Wednesday, July 10, 2013

WNBP: Upgrades

Last summer, while I was lying on the sofa and pondering what to do with my day, I suddenly realized that the manse was looking a bit dated.  Shabby, if the truth be told.  Downright sad in certain infrequently visited corners.

So I decided to do a few upgrades.  Nothing major, mind you.  Just a coat of paint here, a foray into the technological marvels of the 21st century there and many, many trips to The Dumpster Where The Zombies Live.  (I always kick the side once or twice before opening it just to make sure they aren't home)

This would have been a great summer plan had I activated it in June.  Or even July.  Sadly, it was August before the Upgrade Fever set in and I had little time before school started.  The whole fervor lasted until about October and then I kind of fizzled out.  I spent the winter months staring at patched nail holes in drywall and not really seeing them  after a fashion.

This summer has gotten off to a slow start.  The first week was spent in the grip of a summer cold/sinus thing/allergy outbreak/plague to be named later.  The ensuing days have been spent dealing with the insomnia caused by a lingering cough and a sudden heat wave, complete with high humidity.  Getting motivated to finish this stuff while I still have enough summer to make it doable hasn't been easy.  Slowly, though, I seem to be making some progress.

Let's explore that in this week's Wednesday Night Bullet Post.  I'm hoping that by writing it down, it might seem like more than it actually is...

*Last Friday represented a surrender of sorts for me.  It was hot.  Very, very hot.

*I finally broke down and decided I needed some air conditioning.

*This required a trip to the store, though.  I needed a portable air conditioner, not a window unit.

*My reasoning for this is threefold.

*First, the wiring here at the manse is a bit dicey.  Circuit breakers are flipped if I try to live too far outside the building's semi-Amish code of conduct.  A portable unit would be easier to move to a different outlet in a different zone if needed.

*Secondly, my window units tend to drip in humidity.  I've had problems with that in the past.  Namely, my neighbors nicely pointing out that they do not care for my air conditioner dripping into their windows.  I can never seem to get the thing angled well enough in my window casing to avoid this.

*Thirdly, air conditioners are heavy.  Very heavy.  Granted, a window unit isn't as heavy as a portable air conditioner.  But I'd only have to lift it the one time. It will never have to be hoisted again, not even in the winter months. After it was settled into its new home, lifting would not be required again unless I move.

*And I have way too much crap here to consider moving.  I'm just going to live out my days in semi-Amish conditions and call it good.

*I bought the second-to-last air conditioner they had.  It weighed 70 pounds.  

*I got it to my car by myself.  

*I got it into my car by myself.

*I got it up the stairs and into my second floor condo by myself.

*I also may have peed myself a little bit doing this, but I'm not confirming that.

*I opened the box by myself and began setting it up.  By myself.

*Which was when I discovered that it was missing a part.  A very important part.

*I was not going to lug that thing back down the stairs.  It just wasn't going to happen.  I was out of clean underwear.

*And it was 95 degrees.  

*The store was just going to have to give me the part.  Which they were willing to do.  It was a simple matter of getting one from another air conditioner and giving it to me.

*Except they were sold out.  And rather unwilling to do much of anything beyond letting me return the unit for a refund.

*Which would mean lugging it back down the stairs and I think we have already covered why that wasn't going to happen.

*Fortunately, another store branch nearby had one.  And they were amazingly good about the whole thing.

*Once they understood, that is.  Twenty minutes of my life that I will never get back were spent explaining the situation.  It was only when I was standing in customer service with four FEMALE employees that I truly felt some kinship.  

*They knew perfectly well why I wasn't bringing the air conditioner back.  They didn't so much as question why I was only asking for the exhaust nozzle.  

*They got it.  I wanted to hug them all but I was kind of gross and sweaty from all the lugging.  

*Not to mention the stair climbing and strain-induced incontinence...

*I've had the parts to repair the drain plug mechanism thingy in the tub for months now.  

*But I just can't bring myself to do it.

*Drains skeeve me out.  Badly.

*When I was little, I believed a frog lived in the drain.  Or a toad.  I can't remember which.

*Or why I believed that.  It is possible I just made it up.

*It is also possible I was told this by one of my parental units.

*It is even possible that there was a frog in there.  Or a toad.  I swear I saw it down there.

*But I was four so I can't entirely trust my judgement on this.  

*I just know I don't trust drains.

*I'll keep working on it.  

*Meanwhile, the paper clip I'm using to hold the drain mechanism open is working nicely.

*I decided a long time I ago that I would use the paint left over from the accent wall in the living room to do one of the small walls in the kitchen.

*Open concept living plan.  Both walls would be visible and would look lovely together.

*But I wasn't going to do this until I dealt with the giant hole in the wall.

*The giant hole in the wall isn't entirely my fault.  I put it there, granted.

*But it isn't my fault.

*I am not the one who decided it would be super cool to put a cassette deck/radio unit in the wall.  That was the builder's decision.  And its lovely plasticized faux wood grain worked in 1990.

*Not so much after that, though.  It had to go.

*But that left a hole in the wall the size of a cereal box.  I covered it with a poster.  

*You can only live with a hole in the wall the size of a cereal box covered with a poster for so long if you are over the age of 40.

*Less if you are closer to 50.  

*On Monday, I finally decided to stop living like a frat boy and do the drywall patch.

*On Tuesday, I sanded the patch.  Then I didn't like the way it looked so I put more joint compound on and sanded again.

*This morning, I did it once more.

*Then I decided that it might not be a good idea to keep slathering stuff on the wall only to sand it off and called it Good.

*I primed the wall.

*Then I went to the farmer's marker for my weekly Visit With The Vegetables.

*I thought it would be dry when I got back.  It wasn't.

*There is humidity.  Humidity makes watching paint dry even more like watching paint dry.

*I have one coat of paint up, but another is needed.

*I'm estimating that it will be sometime around 9:00 this evening before I can do that.

*My smoke detector has been driving me crazy for the past couple years.

*It hates the humidity even more than the paint.  And it made its displeasure known.

*I have disconnected my smoke detector and I don't want to hear a word about it.  

*And before you ask, here are the answers to your questions.  I've already heard them a few times.

*No.  I did not check the battery.

*Yes.  I will be replacing it shortly.

*No, I did not consider that it might be carbon monoxide setting it off.

*Yes.  I realize I should have dealt with this years ago rather than just complain about it.

*No.  I do not believe that I am less safe without a smoke detector.  I am more safe.  I believe that relationships should be built on respect and trust.  

*And I did not respect my smoke detector, much less trust it.

*How can you trust a device that blares when you open the dishwasher two rooms away?  Or stand too close with a steaming cup of coffee?

*It was the reaction to my running warm water to wash my face the other morning that did it, though.

*I'd had enough.  I stomped off to the breaker box, shut down the circuit and disconnected the 25 year old nag.

*It takes me a while to work up to tasks involving wires.  And my ancient smoke detector was hard wired into the Amish circuitry.

*Which might explain why it hates hot water, now that I think of it...

*I'm getting a new one with batteries that I can easily replace.

*But now I have a hole in my ceiling.

*Which is much worse than a hole in the wall, but you have to look up to see it so it's not as big a problem.

*Has anyone else discovered SnapGuide?  I love SnapGuide.

*Once you reach a place where you can forgive people's shaky photography and typos, it is as addictive as Pinterest!

*And it gives directions which is better.

*Once you get past the aforementioned spelling issues.

*Perhaps SnapGuide will give me even more inspiration to tackle my upgrades!

*And maybe even some direction.  That would be good.

*If nothing else, I now know how to make a pinwheel...

So that's where we stand as of today.  I think the paint in the kitchen has dried enough to consider a second coat.  We are trusting that there is just enough in the can left to make that happen.  I'm sure it will all work out just fine.

After all, what could possibly go wrong?  Upgrades only make life better, after all!


Wednesday, July 03, 2013

WNBP: I Blame The Rain Because I Lack Perspective

Well, it's been a week since last I posted and what a week it's been!

OK.  That is something of an exaggeration.  Perhaps not even really "something of."  It's more like an outright exaggeration, but I live a pretty simple life over here. My standards for excitement are probably not like everyone else's.

That said, let's take a look at how things went via the Wednesday Night Bullet Post.  If it's not as exciting as your own life, so be it.  You can at least marvel at my ability to make something out of nothing...

*When last I checked in, it was the first week of my summer vacation.

*I marked the occasion by becoming deathly ill within two hours of arriving home from school.

*"Deathly ill" being my descriptor for a summer cold.

*Like I said...I lack accurate emotional and experiential measuring tools.

*I remained sick for over a week.  Hacking.  Coughing.  Snuffling.  You get the idea.

*The cough lasted long after my actual recovery and, at first, I blamed the pollen.

*The pollen has been very bad this year.  Very, very bad.

*I have to shovel through piles of the stuff just to get to my keyboard.

*So I blamed the pollen for my woes.

*But then it started raining.  And it didn't stop.  At least not for amounts of time that might make it noticeable.

*So I decided to blame the rain for all my sinus-related difficulties.

*Low pressure systems have not been my friend for years now.

*I couldn't lay down for many a night, lest the wet, soupy hacking begin.

*Which, as you can imagine, did not make for a well-rested Sheepie.

*It's only the past two nights that I've been able to manage actual "sleep."

*Wanna know the secret?

*Sure you do.  It's all about honey.  And peppermint.  And fresh ginger.

*Those are all wonderful old-timey cures for what ails ya!

*Especially when the whole mess is liberally mixed with cheap whiskey...

*The internets are really all you have when it's 3:00 in the morning and you can't lie down for fear of waking everyone in a ten mile radius.

*And you can learn a lot when you put "it's 3:00 in the morning and I'm coughing so much I'm afraid of waking everyone in a ten mile radius" into the old search engine.

*Last week, I braved the rain and the coughing to go to the Farmer's Market.

*Yes, the Weekly Visits With The Vegetables are upon me!

*I decided to buy a little basil plant so I could have fresh basil of my very own this summer.

*I also bought some mint.  And some cute pots.

*Which I carefully placed where they wouldn't be harmed when Overly Enthusiastic Mowing Guy came to do his thing.

*Bonus:  It has been raining.  One does not need to water one's little herb garden when it rains almost every day for a week.

*One should, however, check to see if one's cute pots have drainage holes, though.

*My basil was swimming when I checked on it today.

*Basil soup...

*Holes were poked.  Drainage has commenced.

*Oddly enough, the basil didn't seem all that bothered by the two inches of water over the soil line.

*In fact, the whole thing had grown about five inches.  I had fresh basil on my little luncheon pizza.

*I wonder if the lavender plant I bought today would prefer the swamp life?

*Probably best not to test that theory.

*Hey!  Good news!  Here's something the rain didn't wash away!

*The new garlic is in!!!!

*I get very excited about the new garlic.

*Again, my perspective is probably limited.

*But I do loves me some new garlic.

*I forgot to put that on my luncheon pizza.

*If I ever get around do making my dinner pizza, perhaps I'll have some then.

*It is almost 8:00.  I am a little behind schedule today.

*It didn't rain.  I was waiting for the rain to start.  It rains every afternoon and today it didn't rain.

*Hence, I think it is still 10:00 in the morning.

*Last Friday, I took SIL Sheep in for elbow surgery.

*Everyone at the surgical center was very, very nice. We had a lovely time.  Our spirits were quite high.

*We were the life of the party at the surgical center.

*For the first hour.

*Then they ran behind because someone else's elbow wasn't cooperating.

*Our sparkling conversation kind of ran out and we were left with SIL repeatedly asking if she could have a cheeseburger and me running Zombie Apocalypse Scenarios past whomever cared to listen.

*After surgery was done, the first thing the nurse in Recovery asked my SIL was, "How you feeling about that cheeseburger now?"

*Since the pain medication-induced nausea was in full swing by then, the cheeseburger was declined.

*The question was rhetorical, I suppose.  I doubt they actually have cheeseburgers there .

*Nobody asked me how I was feeling about a Zombie Apocalypse.

*But that isn't all that unusual in a hospital recovery room, I find.

*I got SIL home without incident, got her medications without being questioned too closely and left her tucked in for Baby Brother Sheep to manage from there.

*When I checked back on Saturday, things were improving although the pain medication was still making cheeseburgers something of a bad idea.

*I'm assuming that an Apocalypse of any kind would also be ill advised at this juncture.

*I did, however, bring her chocolate chip muffins because you only have to be told fifty times between admission, recovery, transport and final tuck-in before you realize that the patient is serious about this.

*I wasn't sure the first thirty six times she said it because it was raining so hard last Friday that it was discernible even in those interior hospital rooms with no windows and extra sound proofing so you can't hear the patients begging for beef-based treats.

*I cleaned out my wallet last week.  I was stuck inside with nothing else to do, after all.

*So that is why, while my SIL was having her elbow put back together, I was at Town Hall replacing my vehicle registration form.

*I also had to replace my insurance cards because I am so totally NOT getting caught up in that kind of mess again.

*Note:  The state of Maine takes proof of insurance very seriously.  Very, very seriously.

*As in "a middle aged school teacher with a spotless driving record suddenly became the victim of a paperwork error that ultimately led to hundreds of dollars in legal fees after being charged with a class E felony" kind of serious.

*I bought a new wireless printer to ensure that acceptable proof of insurance was in hand.

*And still ordered new cards be sent to me even though I was assured that what I printed from the website was just fine.

*And put a picture of the insurance card on my phone.

*Just in case.

*The local constabulary are probably also a little put out by all the rain.  Not going to test their limits.

*And the moral of that story is this:  It never pays to tidy up.  Just leave your wallet in whatever state you find it.

*It could also be: Pay attention to what you are tossing in the trash."

*But I like the first one better.

*Now that I'm feeling better and can't really go anywhere without drowning, I've been catching up with some reading.

*First Grave on the Right (Charley Davidson, Book 1) was on sale.  I'd been eyeing that series for a while and figured, "what the heck?"

*Also picked up the next one since it was on sale as well.

*Interesting premise.  Really snappy dialogue.  And a very likable main character.

*Perhaps not my favorite all-time read, but everything can't be.  I like it.  That's good enough for me.

*Although I'm not commuting these days, I still can't get past the need to have someone telling me a story while I'm in the car.

*So I picked up The Ocean at the End of the Lane: A Novel.

*What can I say?  It's Neil Gaimon.  Of course it's brilliant.  It hasn't even gotten to The Good Part yet.

*And it's still brilliant.

*Do yourself a favor and get the audio version if you can.  It's read by Neil himself, as most of his books seem to be.

*You won't be sorry.  But you can also read it if you want.  

*Who am I to tell you what to do?

*I'm just a gal sitting here thinking I've had Quite The Week and blaming the rain for that which may have gone awry.

*I'm probably not the best judge of your reading experiences...

Well, it is now after 8:00 and it still hasn't rained.  So I haven't done any of the things I said I was going to do back when it was really 10:00 in the morning and I told myself, "Oh, you have plenty of time.  Besides, it's going to rain this afternoon and you'll be dying for something with which to occupy yourself!"

Stupid rain.  Even when it's not here, it is messing with my life!