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!

A Mother Of A Drinking Game

Take a sip (yes, sip. Anymore and you’ll be under the table before noon) when any of the following happens with my mother:

1). She uses the word idiosyncratic.
2). You try to navigate the living room only to step into an intricately organized pile of paperwork that’s been filed on the floor.
3). She tells you something can go to Goodwill. Two sips if she tells you something can go to Goodwill then puts it back where it was instead of in the Goodwill box.
4). You find expired food in the fridge.  Two sips if the expire date was in 2009.
5). She uses the word shit. (We grew up in a non-potty-mouth house. I’ve heard her say shit more times in the past three days than the rest of my life.)
6). She asks for your help navigating. Two sips if it is navigating back from a destination she got to on her own.
7). She tells you about this amazing feature on her car that has been standard in autos for a bazillion years.
8). She plays tour guide as if your last trip north of the Mason/Dixon line was 1993. (Seriously. She showed me the town where she gets gas. I have been through that town at least once a year since 2000 and bought gas at that station no less than five times.)

And in case you were wondering, this post is Mother-approved. She’ll even provide the beverage.  Thank goodness hooch has a long shelf life.

The Right Pair of Eyes OR What We Will Put Up With In The Name Of Pets

As you may remember, Tom and I are hoping to find a renter/cat sitter for the condo while we hike.  I don’t know if it’s unreasonable for us to ask someone to pay us in this situation, but everyone with whom we’ve outlined the plan thinks it’s a great bargain and that we are asking, if anything,  for too little rent.  Of course, these people also know how easy-going our cats are, how awesome our neighborhood is, etc.

Hopefully we’ll soon get feedback from renter/sitter candidates on the offer.  Hopefully real soon.  Really, really soon.

In preparing for potential renters to tour the condo, I’ve tried to remove the “We live here and this is just how things are”-colored glasses.


1) Since I moved in, in 2004, there has been a cat litter pan at the bottom of the kitchen pantry.  It was the easiest, most discrete way to accommodate a feline commode on the main floor.  (There is also one on the patio and one in the loft hallway.)  When we switched to an all natural corn litter, it became a huge pain because the litter is very light and fluffy.  I don’t know if it gets more on the cat’s paws or if more gets thrown around when they dig or what.  But the entire main floor is always speckled with corn particles, even with daily cleaning.  HEY!  I thought, why can’t we have TWO litter pans on the patio we rarely use and the floor is a smaller, contained area?  I haven’t run the Roomba since and yet my feet are not covered in the makings of johnny cakes!

2) Speaking of Roomba-ing, we have a wall dedicated to the animals’ food and water.  The cats three automatic feeders are perched together on a homemade platform (they have been modified so little cat paws can’t reach up and self-serve) and then we have the animals’ drinking fountain.  This area was small and cramped and Roomba never could clean it well because the bar chairs backed into it.  Also, the plug for the drinking fountain is so long that unless we remembered to wrap it just right, Roomba always unplugged it.  Sometimes getting snarled and giving up right then and there.  HEY!  Maybe we should move this table and provide adequate room for our animals to eat? And position the water fountain, oh I don’t know call me crazy, two feet further down on the other side of a cat bed so the cord is completely stretched out and pinned to the wall?

3) Maybe a year ago, we started feeling bad for Lady-dog and how hard it was for her to jump up in bed.  (Let’s all remember when Tom and I first moved in together and we agreed we’d keep animals not only off our bed but out of the bedroom entirely.  HAHA!  Those were great delusional times!)  So in order to lower the bed, we put a piece of plywood over the frame and removed the box spring entirely.  This meant getting used to the idea that “crawling into bed” was literal in our situation.  Every night I wondered if I would poke my eye out on my nightstand corner.  Not to mention I could barely squeeze into my side because the only storage space we had for the box spring was against that bedroom wall.  And the thing is, Lady still had a hard time jumping up.  She’s also since had x-rays and been told she has the hips of a five-year-old.  The jumping issue is psychological (isn’t everything with that dog?), not physical.  YET WE STILL CONTINUED TO SLEEP IN OUR HOBBIT BED.  The very minute we re-arranged everything back to normal?  She hopped up there no problem.

My point is, none of the things I’ve changed around the house have really inconvenienced the animals (I was a bit worried moving the litter, but it was readily accepted and is now the “favorite”).  And all of these things GREATLY improved the living quality for the people.  So why didn’t we open our eyes to these changes when we could enjoy them ourselves a bit longer?  Are we so kowtowed to our pets that we just assume we must live uncomfortably for their benefit?

Yes, I’m aware that’s rhetorical.

2012 Resolution Recap

Sometimes I have horribly flimsy excuses for why my resolutions didn’t stick.  Not so much for 2012.  I almost did not want to recap my resolutions because I felt I had for once earned a pass.  Except I like to look back and remember why I made resolutions in the first place and how I’ll use that moving forward.

(Also?  I just spent three hours moving all the furniture/packing/cleaning the floors and I need a sit down.)

My 2012 was solidly defined as BGF and AGF – Before Gma Fell and After.  I’m slightly ashamed how much I let slip away in the latter part of the year.  But wallowing doesn’t get shit done so I’m moving on!

A quick reminder of my 2012 Resolutions…

Pretty much my “More Birthday” resolution to send my friends and family true snail-mail cards went perfectly – I even sent a few out before the hike to catch some people early lest I forget them – and then I completely discarded the concept entirely.  It’s something I definitely want to work on again, but no promises in 2013.

Less Water…  I did a pretty good job of this, and I commend the hike for teaching me how to ration water and understand thirst.  In general I’d say I need to do a better job of understanding how and when to change my intake (both liquid and solid) for my activity level.

More Music.  Hmm…I definitely bought more music this year than last.  I slipped out of the habit AGF, but picked it up again for the holidays.

Less Recycling (more re-using).  Yes…and no.  It became unrealistic for us to use glass containers for leftovers and I am still uncertain/scared of plastic containers not made specifically for re-use.  Since Tom and I work hard on a small carbon footprint already, I feel OK about this one.  It was an experiment and there’s no shame and admitting it wasn’t for us.  Will we re-use glass containers after the move?  It depends on our eating habits.

More reading (less re-reading).  A great success, except that I did stop keeping track AGF.  Tom and I went through our books to make keep/toss piles a few months ago and that was the perfect opportunity to consolidate genres including an entire shelf of “Need to read before March” that I have been chiseling away on.

(I will admit I also did a bit of “re-reading” via Paper Back Swap.  I fell in love with “The Cat Who…” series as a pre-teen and at one point in time the whole family read them.  I spent several credits this year re-building my collection.)

Less Email Checking.  Fail.  Before Gma Fell…After Gma Fell…complete fail.  I was probably checking my email WHILE Gma fell.

Cooking, etc…  Definitely a BGF/AGF accomplishment, although several other things contributed to this.  One biggie is that I started working Saturdays so no more Saturday Morning Markets to scope out new produce.  Another is that Tom no longer travels for work and I have fallen back on one-pot meals like soup/stew/chili to which I can add tons of vegetables, make in bulk, and freeze so he has adequate lunches.  But even with this kind of auto-pilot cooking my forays into different foods BGF helped me have more recipes to fall back on and broaden my mind on how to get vegetables on the table.  (Zucchini.  It’s for everything.  EVERYTHING.  I put zucchini in my taco mix.)

Except for “More Birthdays”, all of these things have more of a daily/weekly to-do/checklist/reminder flavor.  I remember how antsy I was at the beginning of 2012.  I could not wait to start my hike and I was also terrified of it.  I think I latched onto a ton of small self-improvement projects to keep me busy.

And that’s great.  But this year I’m thinking of resolutions in an entirely different manner…

Unpaced – A List

One thing I am still terrible at in the adult world is pacing myself.  Anyone who’s seen me eat inhale food knows that.

Specifically, I am very prone to start the week out with a bang and end up whimpering.  I have never found a good flow of chores and work and workout out with my new schedule.

But today is Monday!  Bang day!  Since 5:30AM this morning, I have:

1) Run/walked three miles.  First time I needed to add length to my neighborhood loop to complete my C25K!

2) Washed/Dried/Folded three loads of laundry.  Another sits in the dryer.  Bets on how long it will stay there?

3) Showered and shaved my legs.  Please remind me to let Tom feel them up because silky smooth is a rarity around here.

4) Picked up Tom’s dry cleaning.  This is a fun chore now that the dry cleaner brings her dog to be washed by me.

5) Sent off Mom’s stocking stuffers.  (We’re visiting George and Franscesca this weekend, so no need for USPS there.)

6) Gassed up the car.

7) Drove like a maniac to Lakeland.  Literally.  I kept slowing down then accelerating hard to try and get my Service light to light.

8) Sat and did paperwork while the car was inspected.  They put in a used engine coil for free.  This is why I drive to Lakeland for auto repair.

9) Had lunch at one of my favorite little sandwich places (although I had a salad, I did get high off the panini press fragrance as the crowd started ordering).

10) Did Gma Estate Stuff at Bank #1.

11) Came home, 11.2) re-started the Roomba who had eaten a cat toy, 11.3.14159) took out my contacts, 11.7777) grabbed some coupons and some paperwork so I could…

12) Do more Gma Estate Stuff at Bank #2*.

13) Grocery shop, including my first ever “coupon stacking” experience.  I will never become extreme, but it’s kinda fun.

14) Finally home for good!  Now I…

15) Walked the dog before the storm.

16) Paid off some bills online.

17) Wrote a blog post.

*At one point in their lives, my grandparents were well-off enough to warrant all these banks.  Monies dwindled as they put grandchildren through school, but the accounts stuck around.  I always told Gma it was fine she kept them and I would sort it out later.  FAMOUS.  LAST. WORDS.

Up Late Squeezing Lemons – A List

I’m having the kind of week so far where things are going wrong except they are really insignificant things that further drive the point home that I have a pretty sweet life but it is all the more infuriating that I cannot make lemonade from these pretty, insignificant lemons.

1) My hot yoga studio has, for the umpteenth time, cancelled a mid-week AM class that fit into my schedule well.  Now my only sure-bet option is a Thursday morning with an instructor I find too…perky.

2) I felt a bit sickly after lunch so I lay down for a minute and BOOM it was 5pm.

3) So now I’m up at 2AM.  But back-dating this post so I don’t miss a day of writing.

4) Because of feeling sickly/tired in general, I haven’t done my usual beginning-of-the-week cooking and ingredients are taunting me every time I open the fridge.

5) The grocery store right outside my neighborhood is a smaller version of the usual store set-up and they have been lacking in sale items lately so I had to take a rain check today and how excited am I to have to remember to use it?

6) Speaking of out-of-stock, my neighborhood superstore has suddenly become incredibly unreliable for the few items I require of them (100% recycled paper towel, ditto toilet paper, and all-natural corn-based cat litter).  Not a huge list, but rather important things.

7) Tom and I had some AT hike and WI move planning in the works that were on hold because he had a huge important thingy at his work.  Now some other huge important thingy has come up.  It’s not stuff I can do on my own, except the worrying part.  I got that down pat.

8) I have been at the very end of the 2nd Game of Thrones book for forever because I find it uncomfortable to hold such a thick book open that unevenly (too many pages on one side, not enough on the other).  I don’t really plan on reading Book 3 (there is a book 3, isn’t there?*) because we seem to not own it and I haven’t found the plot interesting or any character particularly compelling.  Yet it bugs me to leave a book unfinished.

9) In general I’ve been feeling the itch to finish the unfinished.  Yet it seems some things are unfinished because I never really was interested in completing them in the first place.  Although I am sure I could find more examples, the one haunting me right now is that I paid for an instruction booklet and set of lessons for Scuba eons ago and can’t seem to get motivated past the first chapter.  At what point do you allow yourself to be a quitter and be happy about it?

*…and google has informed me 1) there is a book 3 2) I should call it book 2 in A Song of Ice And Fire and 3) now that there is a TV series it is much harder to get info on the actual books.  Bah.


Grunt- A List

The dumpster arrived. In it so far:

1) My father’s old sailboat. Dad developed numerous passions in his life. Some stuck (gardening, cooking). Some didn’t (kite-making, sailing). I vaguely remember being in the sailboat. Although perhaps I am making memories from photos. But for at least the past 20 years, it has sat decaying and making a great home for chipmunks. The chipmunks aren’t happy, but the sunflower god (Tom) is appeasing them.

2) Thirteen lampshades. Because the obvious thing to do with an old lampshade is stick it in a closet.

3) Four electric blankets with no electric cords. I briefly considered donating these somewhere, but I just couldn’t bring myself to believe someone would thank us for them.

(The car is full of items to be donated. Lest you think we are using the landfill and destroying the earth all willy-nilly. Some of these items were here with the purchase of the cabin in 1947. Some things get better with age and a patina of mold. Like Brie. Mattress covers do not.)

4) Mattress covers. Assorted linens including He-Man & My Little Pony sleeping bags. If only George and I weren’t such destructive children!

5) Two rugs older than me. One was under the dining room table…it stuck to the floor. The other, in the living room, had an entire beach underneath.

6) Various unusable electronics including a frying pan that barely got to warm and a TV unable to connect to a VCR, DVD, or the outside world in general.

While not cost efficient, the most awesome thing about having the dumpster is that come Monday we can just throw our last bits of trash in it and go!

Except I really don’t want Monday to come. Frozen toes and grunt work and all.

Weekend Love – A List

1) I heard from someone who thought I was back on the trail based on recent facebook activity.  (I changed my profile pic, then Yoda – who summitted Katahdin early August yay him! – got around to posting his photos including one of me, him, and peenut.)  I love that someone thinks I’m spontaneous enough to say eff all and go hike.

2) While not on the AT, it is finally, FINALLY getting cool enough to hike a little here in FL.  Unfortunately, it is still the wet season.  Even with bushwhacking, Tom and I could not find a dry avenue to complete the 6.2-mile loop at Little Manatee River.  I do think we still managed 5+ miles.

3) We then went to the outlet mall to check out the Columbia store.  This combined so many of favorite things – hiking, the outlet mall, and perhaps most importantly, multitasking the drive over the bridge.

4) It was also an impromptu mall outing.  As much as I hate shopping, I love impromptu add-ons to trips around town.

5) While I still have rage and frustration over how people design women’s hiking pants, we both managed to find some clothes we needed.  (I shaved 4.5 ounces off my base weight!  Only 3 lbs to go and I can safely consider a ULA Circuit, which I have been drooling over for months.)

6) Octoberfest beer.  Duh.

Stranger in my Skin

My flight home was late, late Sunday night. So I stayed home Monday to detox and prep to come to Gainesville for an extended period of time.

Look, I know it’s not like I hiked out into the tundra for a year. But still. I am having some reintroduction problems.

1). I own too much clothing. I needed some shorts so as not to moon the golfers from my porch and had to dig through five pairs of pants to find some. Five pairs! How do you choose which to wear? The whole “wear the pair that’s not as dirty” method doesn’t work.

2). Other shoes feel weird. Even though my trail runners were (definitely past tense. They need to be retired) just glorified sneakers, I’ve never worn the same pair day in and day out like that. When I put on my regular running shoes I thought I had put my inserts in backwards.

3). My car goes much faster than 2 mph. Perhaps not best to have your first drive after a month be 2 hours on the highway. Almost did 100 past a cop.

4). My shower is too hot. And while I shaved my legs first thing, I didn’t actually shower and wash my hair until Tuesday morning. And somehow Campsuds left my hair feeling cleaner than shampoo/conditioner.

5). Conversely, my AC is too cold. The artificial breeze is getting on my last nerve.

6). I am cured of my 9L a day water habit! I was down to maybe 3L by the end of the trip? Not sure that’s going to stick with the FL heat, but we’ll see.

7). In packing to drive up, I somehow was compelled to grab a granola bar and my leatherman.

8). While I lost weight and can fit into skinny jeans, I’m practically bicep-less now. Blech.

Hello/Goodbye (To February)

Huh.  So that was February.

On the 12th, I drove Tom to the airport.  I haven’t seen him since.  He had it in his head that this time around he was just going to stay up at the new warehouse until the other manager got there and took there.

But on the 3rd I squeezed him in at the dentist who sent him to another dentist who said he needed to see a third dentist.  Dentist #1 took x-rays and referred him for a root canal.  Dentist #2 said the tooth was a total loss and referred him for extraction.

He wasn’t able to get to Dentist #3 before the 12th.  And after two weeks I finally put my put foot down and said I didn’t marry stupid so get back here to fix that tooth.  Yeesh.  (Dentist #3 has performed other oral surgeries on him so he wanted this specific dentist versus finding someone in Atlanta.)

He’ll be back next Tuesday, and fly out that Sunday again – just squeaking out the “no planes for three days” rule of having a gaping bloody clot in your mouth.  I’m happy he’s coming back because it means if things run longer than planned he’s taken care of.  I’m sad because I’m pretty sure this means he won’t be home for my birthday.

But.  All that is a great excuse for why Tom didn’t write the month the February.  It doesn’t explain my absence.  Except to say that I used to keep my weekends completely clear for spending time with my husband and without that criteria I got a little overbooked.

In February, I:

-Ran 6 miles for the first time ever.  Then did it again.  And again.  And again.  And again.  And again.  I am afraid I am a runner now.

-Attended a free conference on fundraising.  The gist was, our software and coaching skills are the only model that work.  Surprise, surprise.

-Made jam.  Strawberry jam.  In quilted glass bottles that could sit out on the shelf and not grow mold or anything.  I gave some away and the verdict is I make damn good jam.

-Volunteered with a group at an ape sanctuary south of me.  I’ve never been very interested in working with primates, but I have to say chimpanzees and orangutangs are pretty awesome.

-Saw a movie in a real movie theater.  You may say that’s not list-worthy, but it tops the number of movies I saw in a real movie theater in 2011 by one.  (It was the Decedents and I loved it.  I saw it with a friend who has been to Hawaii several times for work and plans to take me with next time so we can hike!)

-Camped out carrying/using all of the gear Tom and I usually carry/use together.  K, my planned hiking partner for a month on the AT this spring, was with me and used all of her two-person gear as well.  We compared everything to determine what would work best for the both of us.  Extra bonus to me is the knowledge I can hike with two-person gear solo if needed.

-Got a little head cold.  It’s gone, thank goodness.

-Attended some fun but time consuming meetings.  One with K to get started with hiking plans.  One with the other leaders of the volunteer group to determine how we can do more outreaches to help other sanctuaries.  (Yeah, I said “other” leaders.  As in, I’m one too.  Gah.  The introvert in me hates stepping up to the plate.  But the animal lover in me knows this needs doing.)

-Kept Tom’s fish alive.  Not a hard or especially time consuming task, granted.  But still.

-On top of running, basically kicked my ass from one side of the gym to the other.  Without my usual weekend indulgences, I’ve managed to keep the numbers on the scale moving in the right direction.  I just signed up for the first day of a one-month boot camp.  Fingers crossed I’m not the slowest person in camp.

-Got my oil changed.  Only 8,000 miles apart this time!

Now that Tom’s coming home in a few days, it’s super lucky I’ve got a pretty clear schedule for this weekend.  I’ve kept up on the basic necessities, but you will notice my February list did not include cleaning/changing the linens.  Or mopping the floors.

Most importantly, I have not scoured the internet for the perfect “I’m sorry I’m a crazy workaholic and missed your birthday” present.