Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Beep Beep

Danno went to Vegas last weekend. This is not unusual as we do take separate trips on occasion. He usually goes to Las Vegas alone because I HATE Vegas. HATE HATE HATE it. And he does not accompany me on the camping/birdwatching trips that I usually take with Trillium.  We're both comfortable with this travel arrangement, and we do take vacations together.

The trouble I have with Danno going out of town is that something annoying or stressful inevitably happens to me while he's gone. There was one year I could not go on family vacation because I had a new job. That was the year his 2 year old goldfish decided to die; slowly. I was stressed with the new job and it was difficult watching his fish die, and watching the other fish in the tank nibbling on the sick fish on occasion. Danno told me to go ahead and euthanize the dying fish and I was a blubbering mess putting that poor thing out of its misery.

Then there was the year my new computer gave me the blue screen of death. I wanted to restart the computer, but when I accidentally hit "hibernate" instead of "restart", I got the blue screen and it would not start. I called the service hotline, and when they could not help me, I freaked out. Freaked out. I think I was on the phone with Dan almost as much as I was with the service center. This story does have a happy ending; I had a service tech that did not want to give up on my computer. My original call was nearly an hour of failed troubleshooting, but the tech told me he was going to do a little research and call me back. He called the next day with the fix for my computer woes. Needless to say, that was a 48 hour roller coaster ride of emotion.

Danno left Thursday morning and the first few days was filled with the usual routine of work, housework, relaxing in the evening and sleeping. The trouble began late Saturday night. I went to bed early because I had to get up 4am the next morning. Sometime after midnight, one of the smoke alarms in the house began the low battery warning beeps. I decided I would look at the smoke alarm after work. However, in my sleepy state, I failed to remember that we had 6 smoke alarms and 2 carbon monoxide alarms. I think the number of smoke alarms we have is overkill, but the house alarm company installed all of them.

When I returned home, I went to the alarm in the hallway and found it took 123A batteries, which we did not have. Beep beep. I replaced the batteries in the basement alarm, but the sound persisted. Beep beep.  I went upstairs and looked at the carbon monxide alarm and replaced those batteries. Beep beep. Which one of those damn things was low on battery power? Beep beep. By now the beeps were beginning to grate on my nerves and I was throwing old batteries on the floor.  I walked through the house, pausing under each alarm, but each one of them was silent. But somewhere in the house, the beeps persisted. The only 2 alarms that were untouched was the basement carbon monoxide detector and the hallway smoke alarm that needed the 123A batteries.  I went downstairs to remove and examine the carbon monoxide detector. Unlike the detector in the hallway, this one was wired to the ceiling and did not seem to have batteries .

Frustration continued to mount. It was late in the afternoon and I was tired. I did not want to get back in my car and go to the store for batteries, but it looked like that was my only choice. I went to the supermarket, and much to my chagrin, they did not have the 123A batteries I needed. With a big sigh, I got back into my car and drove to Office Max. Luckily they had what I needed and I headed back home. I replaced the batteries in the hall alarm, and guess what? Beep beep. What.The.Hell.? I got online and researched the carbon monoxide detector that appeared not to need batteries. My original observation was correct, the detector was indeed wired to the ceiling. What alarm did I miss?

Beep beep. Every 30 seconds, all night long. Beep beep. Frustration turned into resignation. Danno would be home the following evening. I could put up with the beeps until then, right? Beep beep. By Sunday night, I was able to more-or-less tune out the noise. I went to work early Monday morning and didn't return home until mid-afternoon. Beep beep. Danno texted me and told me his flight was delayed and he wasn't sure when he would be returning home. That was fine. I could now deal with the persistent noise.

Danno returned home close to midnight. He went into one of the spare rooms and silence descended within 2 minutes.

"Wait, there was an alarm in there? I didn't even think to check in there!" I exclaimed.

"Uhhh yeah. " He replied.


"I noticed there were batteries all over the floor. I'm kinda glad I wasn't here."

If you were here Danno, this would not have happened. I swear the electronic devices don't act up until he is gone. I'm convinced the electronics smell my fear and act on it when they know a solution to their trouble will not be immediate. They know who the boss is, and it surely isn't me.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The Return of the Superman Curl

For the last 12 - 13 years, I have had long hair. Obviously in the beginning it wasn't long, but when all was said and done, my hair reached the mid point of my upper arm. Growing it out was awkward, and because I have naturally curly hair, I sometimes had curls sticking out from odd angles. I had one curl in particular that very similar to the c-shaped curl that went down the center of Superman's forehead. My curl was-more-or-less in the same location and usually in my eyes. Danno nicknamed it "The Superman Curl".

I haven't been happy with my hair for the last year and the unhappiness grew with each passing month.  My hair was a magnet for feathers, food bits and whatever else was floating in the air. No lie, last week a butterfly got caught within my mangled mane. If I wore it down, hair got somehow caught in my bra strap, and if I wore it up, the hair would get tangled or wrapped tightly within the scrunchie that I sometimes had to trim the hair out. When I slept at night, I often woke up because I had shifted to some position that caused my hair to pull down on my head, extending my neck.

I was also becoming rather unhappy with the increasing silver that was popping up uninvited on my scalp. Seriously. My mom pretty much had salt and pepper hair by the time she was 40, and I'm going to be the big Four-O later this summer. My hair is rapidly heading in the same direction, and I just can't deal with it.

I scheduled an appointment with my cousin-in-law (if the person is a cousin by marriage, does that make them your cousin-in-law?) who is a hairdresser, for a cut and color. I saw her last Saturday and it was an adventure for me. Beyond the occasional trim, I have not had my hair cut in over 12 years. She gathered my hair up in one hand and with scissors in the other hand, asked me if I was absolutely sure I wanted to cut it off. Yes. Are you really sure? Yes, yes and yes. She then told me she has been witness to cutters remorse, where the person receiving the cut regretted giving her permission to chop the long hair.  Nope, not me. I had no second thoughts or regrets after she made the initial cut.

We discussed hair colors and she pasted my hair with a smelly white concoction and left me to percolate for about 35 minutes before returning to wash and then fine tune the haircut. When all was said and done, my hair was "medium brown" and curled just above my shoulders.

I didn't realize just how miserable I was with my hair's appearance until I looked at the new me in the mirror. I knew I was unhappy, but the depth of that emotion surprised me sitting there in that chair Saturday afternoon.

I returned home and after Danno made the appropriate oohhs and ahhs, he paused and looked at my forehead before saying "Your Superman curl is back."

Welcome back Superman curl; your presence has been long overdue.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Crocheting has brought out my obsessive tendencies

Last July I started crocheting but didn't really get into the craft until my sis-in-law and I went on a yarn crawl. I started small, only making dish cloths. Patterns initially intimidated me and it took a few weeks before I took the plunge into making things other than dish cloths. When I finished my first pattern (a cowl with an attached scarf), my confidence grew, and before long, I was making purses, scarves, hats, mittens, coasters, gift bags, baby afghans, flower embellishments, yarn animals and ornaments.

Once I found Ravelry, FaveCrafts and the websites of yarn companies, I began amassing patterns and even made copies of patterns from library books.  So much creativity and so many colors. 'Wow, look at that beautiful scarf. I wonder if I can make that' and 'that baby hat is adorable!' and 'I LOVE the design of that afghan'. Click, click, click. Saved in Ravelry.  The change purse fat with dimes shrinking in size with each copy made.

And the yarn. My goodness the yarn. When I first began crocheting, I swore to myself that I would only buy what was needed and initially it wasn't difficult to stick to that promise. I was still getting acquainted with the various weights and types of yarn, and still in the process of learning which brands I liked, and which to avoid purchasing. But when the after-Christmas clearance sales hit, my self control melted like ice cream under a hot sun. My weaknesses were Lion Brand, Caron and Michael's own brand, Loops and Threads. 3 skeins of Lion Brand for $5? Sweet! Loops and Threads $2 each? Wow!  Pretty soon I had a large bin, before adding a huge bag, then another bag. Recently I added 2 baskets to the containers holding yarn. 

I've finally decided get organized. Rather than have my yarn spread out in boxes and bags,  I'm going to buy shelves and store that growing stash of yarn in the spare bedroom closet.  The patterns I've printed and copied are already in binders (yes, binders), and unless I'm going to make a particular object, I'm going to refrain from printing the multitude of patterns in my Ravelry library.

And here we thought my obsessive tendencies was only concentrated on the birds.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Transplanting and the outdoor nursery

I know by now you're all sick of hearing about my baby plants, but here's another entry. Hooray! Some of my native flowers-to-be have grown big enough to be transplanted into larger pots and sit outside during warm sunny days. Yesterday was a beautiful sunny, albeit windy, day. My plan for the day was to transplant the biggest plants and build a squirrel-resistant enclosure to protect my plants while they make the transition from indoor to outdoor life.

Turns out some of my plants were way overdue for a new container. Yikes!

After a trip to the hardware store, I gathered the plants to be transplanted and went outside. I took almost all of the Bee Balm and Black-Eyed Susans as well as a few of the Purple Coneflowers. Did I mention it was windy outside? Taking the Bee Balm outside was a mistake. The wind had those plants nearly touching the ground. I quickly transplanted the Bee Balm and set them inside the garage before moving on the shorter plants.

Before I started hobbling my enclosure together, I noticed I already had one premade squirrel container. Several years ago, Danno bought a small fire pit to burn leaves and branches. He used it once and was not comfortable with the strength of the fire so we stopped using it. The pit has sat unused, collecting moss and growing weeds, until today.

It's a tight fit, but my Rudbeckia and Echinacea plants have a new daytime nursery, at least for a while.

The enclosure took a bit of work, but after many scratches and swear words, I finished before the end of the afternoon.

I hope it holds up OK. I know it will be able to withstand a windy day, but I'm hoping it can hold its own against hungry squirrels.  Several years ago, my father-in-law made several smaller  squirrel-proof enclosures that could protect one plant, and he offered to lend them to me. I'm going to take him up on his offer.

You know you're going to get another plant entry sometime in the foreseeable future, right?