Abbreviated Version

My brother, sister-in-law, and…sister-in-law once removed?  Sister-in-law-by-marriage? (sister-in-law’s sister) are visiting soon and I am excited about it.

So excited that when they confirmed the dates about a month ago I started a “Prep for their Visit” list in my Bullet Journal.  (The second entry was “Wine”.  Double check.)  I just had a few cool ideas about how to make their time here fun that I didn’t want to forget.

Today I figured I could start some meal planning.  They won’t be here super-long so it will be nice if I am organized enough we have all the fixings/prep work done for some simple meals without having to slave in the kitchen or run out at 7pm for Tumeric.

I opened the prep list, jotted down a few things, then stared at the first entry.

“B & V”*

Bee.  And.  Vee.

What.  The.  Fuck.  Does. Bee.  And. Vee. Stand.  For.  Question.  Mark.

Bread & Vulcan?

Berries & Viola?

Baby & Vicar?

Bisque & Vagina?

Blood & Vacuum?

Boll Weevils & Vaccinate?

Blow & Vellum?

I love it when I am so confident in my memory that I screw myself over.

*Actually, writing this out made me remember.**  It’s a little something for Francesca to feel like she’s on a “real” vacation.

**Not that I remembered to purchase Botulism & Vodka when I went to the store.

Drop and Give Me Ten

It is Sunday again, which is my day to run the shop solo while Tom concentrates on home chores and projects.

It is a slow day here, which sometimes frustrates me because I think of all the things on my to-do list that I can’t accomplish while minding the store.

But we are experiencing some schedule tweaks, and therefore I have been off my game and not very sure what my to-do list should look like.

(We had a good schedule down pat for a few weeks, but now the grocery shopping and meal prepping days will change to maximize our CSA that starts Wednesday.  And this past week was the first of the Thursday night street dances that continue through the summer.  We are staying open during the dances and a 10 pm bedtime definitely is an adjustment in our lives.)

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One of my tools for accomplishing things when I’m not really sure what I should be accomplishing is the List of Ten.  I write down the first ten things I think of that need to get done in the day and I do them.

Often this will jog my memory and list-making abilities so that I can map out a plan for the near-future.  But today it hasn’t, and that’s OK too because I got ten things done.

(Technically, I’ve done 6 things.  Seven, once I hit “Publish” on this post.)

1)  Add One Product to the online store for The Hiker Box.

Looking at all our items to add to sell online is daunting.  So every Sunday this goes on my list.  We are doing it all ourselves so that in writing the descriptions and specs we get to learn new things about the products.  I try to maximize my impact by adding a product that we carry in different sizes, colors, etc so I end up adding 2-4 products at once.

2)  Clean Three Carpet Spots

The store carpet was not anywhere close to new when we moved in.  Then we added a house-training-in-progress dog.  And you know what?  I was not one bit embarrassed about the strains before that.  But now I am paranoid everyone thinks ALL the stains are puppy accidents.  We don’t have a carpet shampooer, so another task I break down in small do-able sections.  (Also hard to do when the store is open with foot traffic.)

3)  Wash Dishes

For years tourists have complained about the lack of public restrooms in the downtown stores.  Now I know the super-secret reason: these places were built a long time ago with little to no plumbing in the store areas.  We have no bathroom or running water on the main floor.  We have to navigate the cramped stairwell to use the basement facilities.  In our “kitchen” area, we’ve placed two bins and labeled them “Dirty” and “Clean”.  This provides some order, storage, and a transport device to get the dirties down in the dungeon and clean.  Tom does most the dish-duty here so I figured it would be nice for me to chip in today.

4) Photos of Wall

If you do not follow The Hiker Box on facebook, you should if only for our Wall photos.  We put up white glossy paneling on our back wall and leave a bunch of dry erase markers out.  People draw pictures, say good luck to us, write where they are from, and all sorts of things.  Every week I post a batch of photos from the Wall.

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5) Clean Wall

About every other week, I make room for more notes and pictures.  A spray bottle with rubbing alcohol and water mixed does the job quite well.  It cost us about eighty five dollars to put it up and we have definitely gotten that much enjoyment out of it.

6) Blog

TA-DA!  (I’m a bit internetted out these days keeping up with The Hiker Box and my own personal social media.  I have actually made a weekly schedule of what to post when so I ensure we keep ourselves current and varied.  I may end up doing that with this blog if I can decide on topics other than “What I feel like right this moment”)

7) Drink Eight Glasses of Water

Probably not necessary, but I had a pretty big food binge yesterday and I want to help my body process it as best possible.  I also have gotten away from measuring my water intake so a brief check-in on the tally isn’t the worst idea.

8) Cook Taco Stuff

The one meal I know I want to make this week to use up some mushrooms.  That will have to be done later on, but good to have on my radar as I sometimes get home and feel like I’ve entered an alien land where I can’t remember anything but where I stashed the wine.

(It is called Taco Stuff because 1) we rarely eat tortillas anymore so it’s just the taco innards I’m referring to and 2) I never make it the same way twice, using up whatever vegetables need using up.)

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9) Re-stock Socks

10) Laundry Stuff

I’m stretching with these last two.  Socks were such a minor task it might have taken longer to write it down than actually do it.  And laundry stuff is something on my weekly schedule that hasn’t changed.  (I’ll wash delicates tonight, pre-treat stains and sort as best I can tonight.  Tomorrow the final sort will occur and one of us will go to the laundromat.)

Stretched or not, there you have it.  My ten things to-do today list because I have no clue what to do.  Do you have a favorite motivator/prompt/fallback plan you pull out when you don’t know what to do?  Let me know!

Tried and True

In my last Healthy Post, I mentioned I was returning to some old methods that have helped in the past on my quest for a healthy me.  I thought I’d go through that list here in a bit of detail.

1)      Weighing myself.  I really, really want to be that person that can use other methods than pounds to measure success in a health plan.  And at my fittest points in life, I have been.  But I wear loose, stretchy clothes that are too forgiving.  I also tend to gain weight evenly on my body.  By the time I do notice a pinch at the waist, damage has already occurred.   The scale is not my friend, nor my enemy.  It is simply a tool.  And for me, it has been an effective one in the past.

2)      Tracking my calories.  My last big push to lose weight I found the LoseIt! App and tracked my calories religiously.  You can set a weight loss goal, help it calibrate how active a lifestyle you lead, and tell it how many pounds you wish to lose in a week (up to 2 pounds and you can also choose to maintain your current weight).  It then gives you a calorie limit for each day.  In theory, if you stay at or below the calorie limit each day you will lose the weight.  As you weigh in it automatically adjusts your calorie limit for continued success.

In the free version, you can also see your macronutrient (Protein/Carbs/Fat) grams and percentages.  The paid version allows for setting more goals including daily macronutrient intake.  (So I hear.  I don’t have it, nor was I compensated to mention LoseIt! in this post.  I like it enough to mention it by name for free.)

Being accountable, even when I go over my calorie limit with a Friday night dinner date, is very helpful.  It is nice to use an App that has a lot of nutritional information already at your fingertips.  It is also pretty easy to add your own recipes or create new food items if something isn’t in their database.

3)      Walking.  Pretty much everyone can benefit from a daily walk.  Whether for your sanity, your fitness, or your vitamin D intake.  I missed it greatly this winter.  I love to get out first thing in the morning, but the bonus with walking as part of my exercise arsenal is that it’s something I am willing to do any time of the day, no matter how run down I feel.  That is not the case with a more intense workout.  (Unless it is a class – see #5.)

4)      Yoga.  I have continued with my yoga practice through the winter.  Practicing yoga 40 lbs heavier than I was when I first started is at times frustrating and humbling.  There are poses I excelled at in the past that are off limits right now.  But there are also poses that I can flow into as easily as before.  Yoga is one of my anti-scale measurements of how healthy I am all over.  Am I enjoying class?  Can I modify a pose to progress in my practice?  Is my breathing steady and calm?  I take yoga classes here with two different instructors at two different studios.  One of the classes is on Wednesday evenings which incorporates another old trick of mine for healthy living …

5)      Sign up and pay for evening exercises classes.  I am a frugal person who hates working out after 10AM.  While I will always be kind to my body if I am truly sick or too tired, knowing hard earned money is wasted if I don’t show up is a major incentive.  (I don’t need extra motivation in the AM to workout.  If you’re the opposite, consider signing up for morning exercise class.)

And there you have it.  Five tricks I pull out and count on to get me on the road to healthy.  Three of them address exercise and moving my body, while two of them are more about tracking and holding myself accountable.  Tracking helps me make decisions about my food and lifestyle versus going on autopilot and hoping things will magically change on their own.

You’ll notice nothing regarding what I stuff my face with is in these “Something Old” tricks.  I have never had one specific way of eating that has worked to achieve my health goals.  I generally prescribe to counting calories, getting 7 servings of vegetables a day, and limiting flour/sugar products.  But I will address foods that I love and foods that love me in another post.

The Older And Wiser Gal For Me

What I have been “up to”:

1) Coming off the wagon.

After a month abstaining from wine, women, and song whiskey (which spellcheck will not let me spell the Irish way) and alcohol in general, I am enjoying a nice white as I type* so I better type fast before there are more parentheses and squiggly red lines under words.

I took a month sans liqueur to jump start healthy habits.  And I think I am not alone in that every person who knows of addictive personalities in their family tree tries to balance having fun with having too much fun.  After this successful stint I feel balanced.  Bring on the JD.

2) Signing up for Zumba classes.

Entirely unrelated, I have tripped over carpet 9 times this week.  Not even shag carpet.

I took advantage of a “first class if free” trial at a fitness center.  I had been worried it would be too high intensity and hurt my knees.  But evidently years of step-ball-chaining to videos has helped me learn how to modify hoppy, jumpy, moves to stuff less…exciting.  But still sweat-inducing.

3) Turning 39.

I am honestly too busy right now to mid-life crisis this.  Please feel free to do so in my honor.

4) Getting snowed on.

It’s snowed a few times in the past weeks, the last a heavy, 2-3 inch fast snow fall on Thursday evening that set me on despair.  (One setting click over from “self-cleaning”, in case you were wondering.)  But I woke up Friday and all the dirty, nasty snow was gone and in its place beautiful, white, this-is-why-you-moved-north-Jessica snow.  It was hell to drive to work but by the afternoon it was melting.  The high is 47 today!

We have dripping inside both the cabin and the shop.  Thank goodness we are delusional.  And also too busy.

5) Setting up shop.  Literally.

I wish I had more pictures to share, but when we get into a groove there is just no time. In fact, one of things I loved about yesterday was that I had so much to do I didn’t get out my phone until it was time to go home.

We’re waiting on only one big order now.  Everything else is kinda sorta out on the store.  Maybe even one or two things in a spot they will stay for over a week!  Although probably not.  (That’s actually fun, not frustrating.  The idea that it is OUR store and we have the power to change it as we want/need.)

The weekday balance is still not there for me.  Too many responsibilities and directions.  But I remind myself (and you) that it has been almost 4 years since I was required to be out of the home from X in the morning until Y at night.  There have also been extracurricular activities such as taxes and the final, nagging touches of the condo rental just in case my plate wasn’t full enough.

6) Trying to figure out how to end this blog post.

Monday – A List

1) The “Open Gym” hours my fitness studio were cancelled today.  I’ve been on a small roll health-wise so I’m bummed I didn’t get my cardio in.  But,

2) My left hip has been aching.  Like “slept on it wrong” aching for two days now.  Maybe another day of rest will set it right.

3) And (see the But in #1), I started a small at-home exercise morning routine today.  Nothing huge but I’ve done this program before successfully when I’ve needed to ramp up the movement level from “sloth” to “something more than sloth”.  So even without the gym hours, I did move myself more than usual today.

4) I heard small good things from two favorite people.  It’s amazing how happy you can be for someone else.  Not just happy for them – the news made me happier in general.  It was like my own personalized cat gif.  (Please note if you would like to make me a cat gif I’m willing to be happier in general other days of the week as well.)

5) I felt out-of-sorts at the shop today.  Just not motivated.  So I decided to take on my least-favorite task: cold calling (two dealer reps, one service person).  Evidently if I already feel apathetic about how the day is going, I don’t get as bad phone anxiety.

6) Part of my apathy was getting some installation/training scheduled during my usual PT job hours.  Not that they care.  But we got it squared away and then the time changed and I know they STILL won’t care, but I care.  Fuck with my schedule all you want, just don’t let it fuck those down the line.

7) I am making cornbread right now.

8) And roasted broccoli, brussel sprouts, and carrots.  (After roasting carrots with broccoli I find them undercooked and tell myself never again.  But then they are just sitting in the crisper.  Waiting!  And it can all be cooked as one big happy vegetable medley!  I shall report back if doing the same thing time and time again does indeed give the same result.)

9) Not a Monday thing exactly, but we had an awesome do-nothing-but-what-we-want weekend and it was so what we needed.  It got Monday off on the right foot.

10) One thing I wanted to do but didn’t was drink.  Whiskey and wine are off my table for a bit.  I don’t have room for the calories either in the drinks themselves or the snacks they make me gravitate towards.  Le sigh.  So if you’re reading this and are so inclined (and legally able), have a glass for me.  Keep them in business until I get back, please?

 

Magic InProgress

We’ve had a wonderful weekend with lots of holiday cheer.

1) I attended yoga again.  This teacher subbed for my Wednesday teacher and I was able to ask her to help me with low lunges (not putting weight on your knee) that night.  At class on Saturday, my legs SHOOK after a lunge/warrior sequence.  Always nice to learn something and apply it.

2) Then that teacher and her SO came over for a meet-n-greet with their dog and our cats.  We will be dog-sitting for them over the holidays and they in return will cat-sit for us in February.  Their dog is beautiful and well-mannered and had no problems with the cats.  It will be kind of nice to have a dog in the house again, even for a little time.

3) I got down to organizing/wrapping/mailing presents.  I am very excited this year to be able to offer to a few friends something from my canning cupboard.  If you think you are someone who should have been offered, you’re absolutely right.  You are, and I’m sorry you were missed.  I had very limited quantities once I parceled stuff for family and co-workers.  I hope to do this again next year on a bigger scale.

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Co-workers gift bags

What was extra fun was to see who responded (and how quickly) with requests.  Some people who are usually HORRIBLE at keeping in touch responded in less than an hour and offered something of their own in exchange.  (Not necessary or expected, but…Whee!)

Being able to share something with friends really got me in the spirit of the holidays.

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Thank goodness I remembered my USPS account. Just need to be dropped off!

4) I finally scrolled through the free Holiday movies on our streaming video.  It was slim pickings. (My favorite?  After “It’s A Wonderful Life” (which we own) is “White Christmas”.)  But I found an indie film “Jingle Hells” which was cute and snarky yet subdued.  And then I watched, “Santa Claus Conquers The Martians.”  Because of course.

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This is “The Nest”. It is in reality a twin bed for guests. But we have pillowed up to the nth degree for a pseudo squashy couch while TV watching. Also my go-to spot if I can’t sleep at night. Quite possibly the most comfortable place in the house.

5) I am getting all crafty with some weird potpourri tops for mason jars.  I’m making a Christmas wreath.  The last one we had, made by a dear friend years ago, was in too sad shape to make the trek north with us.  I’m not one for crafts and glue guns and such, but it’s fun to try every once and awhile.  Also, I plan to incorporate tree ornaments into the wreath.  I have way too many ornaments and am near the point even *I* think I shouldn’t buy anymore.  Re-purposing some for other decoration will allow me a little wiggle room.

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Weird lid

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Wreath InProgress

6) Sugar cookie dough is chilling.  Perhaps even maxing and relaxing.  (Probably not.  Not if it knows what’s in store for it.)

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This is how I bake something I really want to get right. My copy, my Dad’s, Gma’s.

Running On W

It’s been an odd week around here.  For one, I STILL sound like I’m channeling Bea Arthur.  And I get a small cough attack two or three times a day, need extra kleenix, and feel the need for a nap after exhausting tasks such as breathing.

But…I’m not exactly sick either.  In fact, I managed through a yoga class with nary a cough. Although I did wish I’d grabbed some tissue from the bathroom before I was barefoot.  I am beginning to think the exhaustion is more about a status quo my body fell into rather than actual need for Zzzs.

Another thing is that I finally got to sink my teeth into a new responsibility at work and I’m not exactly sure how I feel about that.  Except I’ve also been given the task to re-vamp the procedure on this responsibility.  That is not in the repertoire of tasks I’ve done previously anywhere ever.  So…maybe I do have a little reason to feel tired in the not-so-PM.

Lastly, Tom has started working on the business.  Capital W.  (Which is not the W suggested in the title).  We’re looking at spaces, contacting vendors, making business plans…basically acting like a real business.  And that’s cool but scary.  I have the added element of balancing-act.  I do not want all decisions and work to fall on Tom.  However we agree it is best if I keep my part-time gig as long as possible (i.e. into the first year of business, perhaps longer) because statistically we won’t break even for a while.

Other News And Events…

1) My new tires rock.  I thought, the day I got to drive the truck and Tom took my car to get the tires installed, that I loved driving the truck in the snow.  Then I drove my car with the new tires.  LOVE.

2) Today the temperature did not hit a negative number!  We celebrated by taking a quarter mile walk to the public boat landing then walking out onto the lake.

3) Tree is up!  Decoration achievement unlocked!  We will, once again, be alone this Christmas.  There was no way we could convince his family to come here and my family has some goings-on in New Mexico.  We didn’t want to leave here because of the cost and because of the logistics of the house and the cats.  My whole point is that sometimes its hard to get into the Spirit Of Things when it’s just the two of us.  I still haven’t figured out which is more depressing – trying to get the Spirit and failing, or not trying at all and then sitting around December 25th realizing you didn’t even try.

But last year, we didn’t even have a tree.  I sold our fake one and our tree stand before the holidays as part of prepping for the hike and the move.  So at least we have that.

And we will definitely have a White Christmas.

Insert “I Love Living At The Cabin” Qualifier Here

Things I hate about living at the cabin:

1)  The laundry.  Taking laundry to the laundromat is actually no big deal.  How many people have wished for multiple washers and dryers in their own home to do more than one load at a time?

For me, the first agony comes between washer to dryer.  I haven’t gotten a good stain pre-treat system down, and even when I do some of the stains I’m working against are decades old (I’m looking at you, yellow rug).

If I were in my own home, I might let it soak in the sink for a bit.  Try a toothbrush.  At the very least stick it back in the washer.  But at the laundromat, it is wash, dry, fold.  NO EXCEPTIONS.

I also hate trying to decide what to do with the stuff that can’t go in the dryer.  They have those laundry carts with the metal bars for hanging, but I haven’t figured out the correct car-repacking with these wet/damp items that doesn’t make me feel like I’m getting everything, including my car, kinda yucky all over again.

The last thing to hate about laundry day is the folding.  OH MAI GAWD THE FOLDING.  Remember when you kinda agreed with me about doing multiple loads?  TAKE IT BACK.  It takes forever and you would think I’d appreciate the tables because I had exactly zero tables at the condo but somehow that was better.  I start out all tri-folding towels and neat piles.  In the end it doesn’t look much different than when I brought it in.

2) The Water.

We’re on a small, shallow well here in Iron country.  It’s potable in the sense it won’t kill us and I use it for some cooking.  But it isn’t truly drinkable.  We have a cute little crock that holds 5-gallon jugs and every store around here has reverse osmosis dispensers because it’s that big of a problem.

I don’t really care that I’m not interested in drinking what comes out of my tap.  What does annoy me is that the iron rusts everything.  Until we figure out a better filter system, I can forget getting a washer for the cabin.  The iron would color our clothes and gunk up the machine. Ditto dishwasher.  (Although…well, see below.)  And any water-based appliance like the toilet or sink or shower is going to be an awful shade of brown without lots of chemicals and scrubbing.  Then it will be an awful shade of light brown.

3) The Deer.

Bambi is no longer cute when he jumps in front of my car.  I joke with Tom I might get a deer before him this season.  Between the deer and no experience in winter conditions, that scenic drive to work is rife with anxiety.

4) The Dishes.

About a year ago, Tom and I started hand washing the dishes.  It was in part to prepare for moving here to figure out how horrible we’d feel without a dishwasher.  But it turned out, we kinda liked doing dishes.  We have sort of hard water at the condo so hand washing got them cleaner.  And more importantly, we still had a dish washer!  Not only could we break it out for special Jessica-Just-Cooked-Four-Weeks-Of-Food-In-Two-Days events but IT WAS A PLACE TO PUT THE DRYING DISHES.  Here we have a drying mat/rack on the counter top and then a second rack inside the right half of the sink.  This is no where near our old capacity and there is a 100% probability that washing more dishes will get the right half of the sink rack wet/soapy/dirty again.

5) The Bathroom.

Cramped. Poorly laid out. Full of old fixtures that are an awful shade of dark brown. I especially hate the toilet that takes 1,704,528 minutes to re-fill AND has a tendency for the flapper to not catch every 20th time so I am paranoid to pee in a hurry leaving the house that it will run the entire day. (Yes, we’ve replaced it. But this appears to be an issue with having a really old toilet.)

6) The Splinters

Old wooden cabins and fixtures have not always been oiled and waxed and cared for. Splinter rate for opening the 2nd bedroom closet door is 100%.

7) The Lack Of FrouFrou Shopping

Ok, there are actually pretty good options for groceries including an Aldi in Rhinelander. But where do northwoods people get their quinoa in bulk?? (Bonus: you now know what to get me for Christmas)

This is not a complete list by any means. But as I sit here with Tom and a cozy fire after a good meal, nothing else comes to mind. Plus, I gotta go do dishes.

Peaked

I am tired from a productive day but still feel like I should be more productive.  So…voila?  Here I am?

Let’s list, shall we?

1) I’m tired not only from work but from almost no sleep last night.  My right hip (which I usually sleep on to alleviate left shoulder issues) has hurt the past couple of days and I didn’t notice until I felt it was too late to take any medicine.  I attribute the hip pain to both exercise and in-exercise.  (Of course you do, Jess).  The exercise is that I am trying to get back into running, alternating with App yoga.  The in-exercise is that I now drive an hour every day for work and that’s more regularly-scheduled-car-sittin’ than I’m used to.

2) I will give myself a tip of the hat for the fact that while I couldn’t sleep, I didn’t STRESS over the fact I couldn’t sleep.  I’d reposition as pain needed, read my book, and relaxed; happy have some down-time.  That’s not behavior I could mimic with Broadway coaching a few years ago.

3) I like work.  I like the people I work for/with/around.  If I had one wish to change an aspect of the job it would be that it would introduce me to more people in the area.  I work for a small family company with little foot traffic in the office.  I’m not dying for more human companionship exactly, but I feel I should probably at least make ONE friend around here.  And work is always a good place to start.

4) I am doing accounting-type stuff for the first time ever in my administrative and mathematical career.  I love learning new stuff.

5) A nice side effect of work is that I now have weekends!  I don’t think I’ve officially felt like I had a weekend since I was a software engineer.  Since then, I’ve always either worked too much or too little to feel like I could just goof off on a Saturday.  We got up an hour a half later and sat around in PJs until 10:30.  It was awesome.

6) Then we went to the cranberry festival.  It’s a huge to-do around here and I get the feeling lots of locals wouldn’t touch it with a ten foot stick.  But there is good food (with your purchase helping various local institutions like the high school hockey team or whatever) and lots of craft tents to start Christmas shopping.

7) Of course, there are also cranberries.  I picked up 5 pounds but I don’t think that will be enough.

8) It was pretty crappy weather all weekend, but all the forecasters agree that we have peaked in terms of fall foliage.  The leaves will probably start to fall by next weekend.  We happen to live on a gorgeous stretch of road, and I drive along side the Wisconsin river during my commute.  It’s absolutely break taking.

9) If you’re reading 9) then I was too tired/and or lazy to insert a picture of fall here after posting.

BONUS 10) Evidently I was so out of it Monday that I didn’t realize this was saved as a draft and not published.  Even though I am subscribed to receive an email every time I post.  (You can too!  Put your email address in under “Subscribe Here” at the top of the sidebar and click “Subscribe”.)

PS EXTRA BONUS 11) It’s Tuesday (the date this got published) and today was a much easier and energizing day.  Or so I thought.  Then I came back on the computer to print just one more coupon for tomorrow’s grocery shopping.  Clicked the link, hit print, and got sidetracked by blogs.  A half hour later?  I realized the printer was out of paper.

At The Laundromat

Tom made it a priority to get Internet access at the cabin. Unfortunately, the easiest solution, DSL run over existing phone lines, is not proving easy. No big surprise when you consider the phone line hasn’t been used or tested in four plus years.

(I am secretly OK with this because I hope we get something better than DSL. I foresee much video streaming in my snowed-in future.)

We did bump up our phone data plans, but that just puts a small dent in our needs. There are several establishments in town that provide free wireless. Most are coffee shops, which means we have to feel leisurely and wealthy enough to use them. We average one day a week right now for lunch.

The other most convenient place to get some free data is the laundromat. Sometimes our decision to wash-n-fold is dictated by the number of App updates we need.

Other items to mention:

1) Family visit went well. I got the deep cleaning done and enjoyed prepping for guests in a place with real guest bedrooms. We had bonfires, ate at a favorite breakfast joint (Donna’s), cooked out twice, and had a real hot day where George, Mom, and I swam in the lake. Good times.

2) Lady dog traveled back with Mom. They really bonded while we were gone. I thought I was OK with this. Now I’m not sure. I’m giving it a little more time.

3) Things are progressing on the winterizing front. If “things” are dollar bills and “progressing” means leaving our bank account.

Actually Tom is doing a lot of research on parts and fronting most of the labor himself to keep costs down. But there’s a lot he can’t do, like running natural gas lines.

4) We have settled on hydronic radiant floor heating to warm us. It is non-evasive (no need to run duct work and cut holes on the floor), cost-efficient, and has the added bonus that running it under our floors will heat the crawl space so our pipes won’t freeze. It’s actually recommended for old, poorly insulated homes. And that we have!

It’s a little daunting to not go a traditional furnace route, but several of the people we’ve talked to about working on the house have seen them installed and approve.

5) Today I commence looking for a job. I put it off until my family was gone. I’m looking forward to the idea of work. We’ll see if that holds true when it is more than just an idea. (I am not looking forward to the job search. Fingers crossed my computer skills impress.)

We are definitely planning to still start our hiking store, so don’t let my short term traditional route towards cash fool you. But there are a lot of questions we need answered to even know where to start and Tom’s time is better spent on the house right now. So I hope to find something to being in a little money, keep me busy, and hopefully get a feel for the area from a retail perspective.

OK. Gotta go fold!