Category Archives: Domestic goodness

Bill’s in Miami

Bill’s in Miami until Friday night. So what am I doing with myself?

Well, I am not working. I thought I’d be watching Owen Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, so I took the time off. Now that Cait dropped her Tues/Thurs class, I have the days to myself. Work is extremely understaffed, but I decided I need this day for me. Although I will feel the appropriate measure of guilt, I will not be helping them out. I have things to do.

Today, I plan to start moving toys up to the second floor from the basement. That should be quite a workout. I also plan to try a Zumba exercise class with Caitlyn at the health club. I think it will be fun. We took a very fast-paced step class Tuesday, and yesterday I went 4.35 miles in an hour walking on the treadmill. I will also probably walk to and from Decky’s school to pick him up later. It’s supposed to be 53 degrees and sunny today.

This weather is so weird. It feels as though winter has just not happened, and spring is starting. The trees and shrubs are budding and the air has that moist fresh spring smell. If and when it ever does snow, we’ll be totally caught off guard.

What’s nice about Bill being out of town? Well, I get to watch TV and read in bed as long as I want. This keeps me out of the kitchen late at night. And I get to watch what I want. I found ‘Downton Abbey’ on Amazon prime so I’ve been really enjoying that. I also watched a new ‘House’ episode. That was great. I really never watch any TV except for Biggest Loser and Dexter, so this has been a treat.

Another big plus is that the house, though nowhere near clean, is so much easier to keep up. I don’t have to pick up after Bill, who is a walking hurricane. I also don’t have to cook if I don’t want to. Bill’s pretty flexible about that, but it’s nice to be able to cook what I want, or not cook at all. I took the boys out to a salad/sandwich restaurant with a groupon last night, and it was nice.

What’s not so good about Bill being gone? Well, of course I miss him. He’s my best friend and he’s so cute. And it can be a pain getting everything done by myself, but it’s not really that busy around here. I think the dogs and cat miss him. It is kinda lonely with just Decky and me rattling around in this big house. I don’t get scared, but it’s really quiet at night. I just feel more safe and secure with that man of mine around.

I hope Bill’s having fun, but I’m totally jealous he’s in Miami and I’m not. I feel a strong need to get away, even if it’s not to a sunny beach. I’m happy he finally started using the messaging feature on his phone. It’s kinda fun to have conversations with him that way.

Oh well. Back to my morning show. I’ll get to work on the basement in a little bit. I’ve got time.

Proud as can be

I’m feeling kinda smug today.

I decided to take all the apples we picked a couple of weeks ago and make applesauce. The apples weren’t in the best shape, but I didn’t want to waste them. I figured How hard could it be? Then I thought I’d take it a step further, and CAN my applesauce. I went to the walmart and bought jars.

When Owen was delivered to my door this morning, he and I put on our aprons and got to work. He washed all the apples in the sink, then I cored and quartered them and cut off all the brown spots. Owen put them all into the eNORmous pot and stirred them so they would be coated with a citric acid solution (to prevent browning). This was very hard work, this stirring.

Then we set the pot to simmer on the stove until the apples were mushy and the house smelled like heaven. After gym class, Owen and I stopped at the walmart (again) and bought a canner (a special huge pot with a rack in it). While he ate lunch, I ran the mushy apples through the blender to make a smooooth tart pink applesauce. It was pink because I was able to keep the peels on – Fiberlicious!

I washed the lids and bands and jars, then kept them simmering in some water on the stove until I was ready to use them. Then I filled the jars with the applesauce, put on the lids and bands, and submerged them into the waterbath. After boiling the water for longer than the required time, I placed my beautiful jars of pinkish-tan applesauce on a towel on the counter. I could hear the lids seal themselves with a ‘thupping’ noise. They all were successfully sealed! I did it right!

I had extra, so I refrigerated some for immediate use, and put the rest in the crockpot. I simmered the applesauce all day until I had some tart apple butter. I like to use that instead of oil in my baked goods, especially in muffins.

I washed tons of pots and pans and utensils, but it was so totally worth it. I feel like I accomplished something I have wanted to do for a long time. I am proud of myself. And when Owen gave his mother two jars to take home, and told her that he and I made them with our own hands, he looked pretty proud too.

Next mission: cheese-making!

Notes from all over

I’ve been so busy lately, I don’t know whether to shit or go blind. So, here’s today’s catch-up post, in bulleted format.

– Declan had his tenth-year checkup today. He is 57″ tall (85th percentile), 101 lbs (95th percentile). His weight has actually come down a few percentage points since we changed our eating habits, so the doctor’s pretty happy about that. Decky also got his flu shot. Doctor says it’s too early to start his HPV series, but as soon as it’s time, I’m on it. I took Declan out to Panera for lunch to ameliorate the pain from the shot, and now he’s back at school, no doubt showing everyone his bandaid.

– We had Ron, Nina and Matthew out to visit from Chicago this past weekend. Bill was freaking-out-stressed-to-the-max and I was dreading what would be an “All Hail King Bill!” weekend, but it went really well. They’re great good people, and we felt so comfortable with them. I hope they felt the same. It was just so special and nice and wonderful to have Chicago voices and attitudes out here in Kansas. Say what you will about Chicago people, but what you see is what you get – no putting on airs, no pretending or posturing. It was a breath of fresh air to hang out with real people. I hope they come out again soon, and for a longer visit.

– I finally finished painting my powder room last week (just in time for company). I had taken down the wallpaper, spackled and repaired the drywall surface, sanded it to a smooth finish, then painted it a rich cocoa brown. It looks brand-new and beautiful! Now, which bathroom do I tackle next?

– The deck is no more. They demolished it last week, and now it feels like we live on a cliff. It’s very naked out there. The guys were kind enough to leave us a big pile of decking that the boys can use for future Fire Nights. This week, utilities will be marked and holes will be dug. After inspection by the city, the building will proceed. I have no problem being patient with this process, since we hope to pay for the rest of it with Bill’s December 1st bonus. When it’s done it will be bigger, stronger and prettier. I am really looking forward to seeing the finished result. And I’m already sick of walking the dogs all the time.

– Decky’s Birthday Month is just about over! A party in Chicago, a weekend trip to Omaha, a Fire Night celebration on his actual birthday, and I think we’re finally done. Whew! I’m exhausted. What a happy, lucky boy he is.

– Our volunteer lone pumpkin and two squash are ready for harvest. Owen will help me put the garden to bed today and Wednesday. We all went to the pumpkin farm this weekend for our requisite wheelbarrow-full-of-pumpkins. This week we’ll carve them for display on Halloween. Decky still hasn’t figured out what he’ll dress up as. Harry Potter is under consideration.

– Bill is still losing weight. He’s starting to train for a half-marathon in June (13.1 miles!). I envy his willpower and strength. I find myself falling into old unhealthy patterns lately. Time to get back on the wagon. I bet a day of green smoothies will start me on my way. Tomorrow. 🙂

– I got my raise, and although it’s only retroactive a few weeks, I am glad that mess is done with. I also was able to have a friend cover my Thanksgiving shift. This will fulfill my major holiday obligation for the year, and I will get to go to Chicago for Thanksgiving as I had hoped. I win!

– Broke the old carpet shampooer, bought a new one. I swear we go through one a year, we use it so much. I warned Bill that we will soon no longer have enough carpet left to shampoo. We’ll have to recarpet next year, I think. Ugh. It never ends.

– I was informed by our weekend guests that Ryan’s old room in the basement is now the Putting Room or the Golf Room. The boys have erected a putting green with a large dinosaur on it. More holes are planned.

– I have many icky apples from last week’s apple picking in Iowa. I plan to make homemade applesauce and apple butter. I like to use apple butter instead of fat in my baked goods, so that will be wonderful. Boy will the house smell good Wednesday, when the wind whips up and the temperature drops, and we’re in the kitchen working!

– Gary the Cat is determined to leave this place. He darts for the door each time it’s opened. He’s speedy fast, too!

– Time to go use the new shampooer to clean up the mess the old shampooer made. TTYL.

Toe-lio

Yesterday, Decky, Bill and I took a three-mile walk. We showed Bill the way to and from Decky’s school in the drizzle, Decky talking all the way. It was actually fun. Then, while Decky had his tennis lesson, I ran myself ragged in the hitting lanes for an hour.

Today when I got up to walk Decky to school, the bases of both my great toes screamed with pain. It was a struggle to walk, but I loosened up after a while and toughed it out. This afternoon, Owen wanted to go with me to pick the boy up, so I put him in an umbrella stroller, thinking it would be easier than pulling him up and down the hills in a wagon.

I was wrong. The stroller forced me to walk bent over, and it was a lot harder to push than it was to pull. Let’s face it, wither way it was hard. But again I got through it, toes screaming the whole time. Owen had fun.

Owen and I had made dough for homemade pizza, so Caitlyn, Koby, Owen and Ryan stayed for dinner. Bill was out with his boss for dinner, so we all had a carb-fest without him, which I’m sure he’ll appreciate. The boys played wildly downstairs until Ryan ran over Koby, Koby ran over Decky and Decky ran over Owen. Who cried. Then everybody came upstairs and Cait read to Owen on the couch while he ate a cookie.

When they all left, I cleaned up while Declan practiced drums and took a shower. We read a chapter of Harry Potter, then I put my exhausted boy to bed. He tucked the tooth he lost today under his pillow and probably fell asleep within seconds. I intend to do very much the same, as soon as I pack my lunch for work tomorrow and perform tooth fairy duty.

I am hoping my toes will feel much better tomorrow. They never bother me at work – I think it’s the shoes. I can’t take another day of toe-lio again.

Fire and rain

The kids all came over yesterday.

We ate bean soup, even Tommy for whom I made a vegetarian version. The boys had tilapia. Koby became the Fire Night King, who facilitates all things chiminea-related. Dani gave us all haircuts. Caitlyn brought over the official wedding pictures, which I now have on my computer and will make copies of for interested parties.

Koby walked in with a big cardboard box, which contained a firelog, giant marshmallows, chocolate bars, and graham crackers. Miles enjoyed his first Fire Night with his best buddy Owen. Tommy played guitar while we all made sure the boys didn’t set themselves or anything else aflame.

The men played video games, the boys watched Toy Story, Cait curled up on the couch, and we all ate chocolate chip cookies.

Bill and I watched Dexter (to which we are unhealthily addicted) after the kids went home and Decky went to sleep. Then I read until I faded.

This morning I woke at 9:30. The windows were open, curtains closed. It was cold in the room, but the blankies were warm. The sound of the constant soaking rain eased me gently into the day. I walked out of the room to a note taped to the lamp: I’m downstairs, signed Declan. Bill was at the gym. I joined my boy, straightened up the basement, then had some breakfast. Now Bill and Decky are watching the Twilight Zone, and I’m reading the paper.

Some may call this boring, but I call it heavenly. So we won’t be able to hike or go golfing. I’m okay with that. The universe has decreed that this be a lazy day. I’m going to enjoy it.