Wednesday, August 26, 2015

The past week

We had a full weekend with several out of town relatives coming for a family celebration.  Brother who lives in Europe and can’t really tell me what he does for a living came as well.  There aren’t too many people under 50 who aren’t on Facebook or aren’t found on a Google search.  He is one of those people.  Nothing.  
His wife, SIL, grew up in Appalachia in a pretty poor family.  Sometimes she has to be reminded that she can buy good food.  She knows how to make moonshine and her relatives brought bottles of it to their wedding.  I was giving SIL a tour of our house since she’s never been here.  When we walked into the home store I said it was my favorite room and it would probably be hers too.  She then made a comment about how Brother requires that they have at least two years worth of food in their home.  She said they do but it’s hard because they don’t have a specific room to store it all. They also grew a large garden. 
I found her conversation really interesting because Brother always tries to say things are fine and nobody should worry.  His job has to do with analyzing all the evil in the world yet he when he talks to family and friends he downplays the evil in the world.  I know he can’t give away secrets but he must be worried if two years of food storage is their plan. 
He also said that he only has one more year overseas.  After that they are coming back to the US to stay and they need to figure out where they will be.  He mentioned Colorado, which would make us happy since that’s where we are going next year.  About 20 years ago he worked at NORAD so I’m sure there’s work for him back there again. 
I got a Facebook message from a realtor who said she may have a buyer for the Bug-out place.  She wanted to know if I’ve picked out a realtor yet.  I told her I hadn’t because I was waiting until I was finished with the house.  She is going to come up to the property on Saturday morning and look at the place and give me a pitch on why I should choose her.  Her last name is an old family name in the area where I work.  I thought she may be the wife of my coworker so I asked him.  He said that she was married to his cousin about 15 years ago.  The marriage lasted for less than one year and produced no children.  She kept the last name.  It makes me wonder if she did to try to drum up new business. 
The boss is still off work.  It’s been about a month and no word as to whether he is getting fired or is coming back.  It’s interesting because we really don’t miss him.  His boss (who works 5 hours from our office) shows up each week for a day or two.  Anything that’s come up he has been able to deal with. 
I finished reading the book that I won from an Apartment Prepper give-away,   A Time To Endure by Kyle Pratt.  It wasn’t great but it was not bad.  It’s ok for Boy and Girl as well.  It’s much less graphic than some of the books I’ve read and again makes a teenager a hero.  The shootout scene with the teen and his girlfriend against the gang was farfetched, but boy liked it because the teen made some mistakes but reasoned out his strategy.  The main character is a few years older but still on the young side.  He has a lot of integrity and is very sensible.  Those are good qualities for a main character that I like having the kids read about.  It’s the second of a series and I haven’t read the first.  Max in Colorado Springs gave Boy Curtain Fall and Lamp Black written by Kenneth Cary.  Boy is half way through the first book and is enjoying it.  I told him to hurry so I can read them too.  Girl said she wasn’t interested but if Boy and I like them then she will want to read them to see what she is missing.
I can’t believe the price of eggs.  I went to the store to shop for the family gathering.  No, I wasn’t buying eggs.  I just noticed the price as I walked by.  One dozen cost between $4.75 and $6.99.  For one dozen!  In some places in the country I’ve been told that egg prices are up because birds have died of disease.  That’s not the case here.  A couple of years ago a law was passed that hens needed more room to be happy.  The farmers have cut the number of hens in half in order to provide additional cage space.  There are also a lot more who have gone to free range.  It’s just a lot more expensive and makes my home grown eggs much cheaper! 
While I know that I’m moving and I am very happy about that, it is still an uncomfortable feeling to sell the bug-out place.  It’s also uncomfortable to not be putting away more and more supplies.  While it’s nice to be saving a bunch of money right now by using up the supplies, I sure will feel better once the new place is built and we’ll be able to start stocking it. With the stock market going crazy this past week, I think many people are on edge.  I am a little but only because I've pretty much stopped my prepping due to the upcoming move.  I really could stay away from all stores for the next year until our move, if I choose to do so.  That would mean no dairy until next spring since we dried up all the goats, but we'd get through it fine.  I haven't thought about putting money that would normally be spent on preps into a separate account.  I am going to do that so when I get to Colorado I wouldn't be breaking the bank when I go make a mass purchase of all the things I'm not buying this year. 
We ended up canning 20 jars of applesauce.  I would normally can more but since we are moving I wanted to can just enough for the year.  Not canning a several year supply is another thing that’s bothering me.  I am getting impatient for my new home and new garden. 

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Girl's surprise

Today Girl turned 14.  I hope this year is better because 13 was a terrible year.  Girl is very musical and of her long list of gifts that she wanted, and most were absolutely never going to be given to her by me, I saw one item on the list that I thought would be great.  She asked for a clarinet.  Here at home we have a piano and accordion.  I don't think the piano is going to make the move, and who, other than me enjoys accordion?  She wanted a clarinet so I figured that would be a good gift. 

I didn't want to buy a new one and I saw an ad for one that was being sold by someone who buys used instruments and repairs them to sell to school kids.  Perfect.  So he and I made a deal that we were going to meet at a McDonald's in V-town, about an hour from our home. 

Yesterday Girl asked what we were doing for her birthday (other than her party on Saturday).  I told her that we were going to V-town to have lunch at McDonald's with one of my childhood friends and her mother.  Then I had to work for about 15 minutes another hour further away.  Girl was not happy about having to eat lunch with Boy, and three old people, then sit in the car for several more hours.  She wanted to hang out with her friends but I said no.  She'd see them on Saturday. 

I gave the clarinet seller a description of what we looked like and the vehicle we were driving.  When we got there we sort of stalled in the parking lot looking for my friend.  I noticed a person inside McDonald's staring out at us.  The clarinet seller.  I told the kids that I didn't see my friend's car so we were just going to go in and wait inside. 

When we walked in I said to girl, "Look, that looks like a clarinet salesman. Let's see what he's selling."  She's so gullible!  We walked over and I said, "That is a beautiful clarinet.  It is Girl's birthday and Girl, would you like the clarinet?"  She said she would so the clarinet seller took it out of the case, put it together, and handed it to Girl.  She started playing there in McDonald's.  I sent the kids to a different table and I paid the man. 

When I went over to our table Girl started quizzing me.  What perfect timing to have a clarinet salesman sitting there at McDonald's in V-town an hour from home.  Was that really a coincidence?  I thought about my answer for a second.  No, it was planned.  Then I showed her the texts on my phone and told her that was why she couldn't send a text to one of her friends. 

After lunch she serenaded us for the hour drive to where I had to work.  It was nice.  Tonight she told me that the older she gets the more she realizes that birthdays aren't really fun but they sure are nice.  This is the best birthday that she can remember.  Yes, I hope this year is a good year. 

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Fitting Everything into the Schedule

What a title!  I can't ever fit everything into the schedule.  If there's free time then I have something to fill it with.  Each weekend I make a list of about 20 things.  I'm lucky if I accomplish half.  But, I'm realistic and know that I won't actually finish it.  I don't feel bad at the end of the weekend because of the unrealistic list.  If I did then I'd cut down the list.  After all, if you feel like you aren't accomplishing enough you become less motivated. 

I think the less motivated part has happened to me lately on weekdays.  I feel overwhelmed when I get home from work. It's still light out and not too hot so I should be taking advantage of the time and DO SOMETHING.  Lately though, I come home, make dinner, and sit down and sort of read. Just sort of, because it's taking me forever to get through my book.  That makes me feel bad because I won it from Apartment Prepper and I wanted to write a nice review.  I will, just really late.

This week I decided to make a change. I'm not going to put off all my chores on to the weekend.  I WILL accomplish something when I get home from work.  It won't take up too much time and I'll still be able to end my evening reading. 

Yesterday I stopped at Home Depot and picked up another gallon of paint. (After my typical 12 1/2 hour workday including commute, spending an hour running into the big city to pick up paint is an accomplishment!) Today I finished painting the mud room.  I started the room on Sunday and would have finished except Girl helped roll out the walls and knocked over the paint can in the process.  OK so knocking over the paint can didn't help... Tomorrow the coat hooks and shelf go back up on the wall. 

Girl has been behaving very well the past couple of weeks.  She is even being nice to her brother, in an almost 14 year old sister to 12 year old brother way.  Why?  Her birthday is coming up and she has planned a party for herself in town.  I told her that she could invite 7 friends, plus herself, Boy, and me.  She knows if she isn't good I will have no problem cancelling her party.  Too bad she can't have a birthday every month or so! 

Our division's new VP started today.  This is the 3rd VP in my 2 1/2 years with the company.  Our supervisor has been put on leave of absence for the past two weeks, as well.  Who knows if he will get fired.  The first one I had did.  So glad I am no longer a supervisor!

Work was crazy today.  I was told about a project over one year ago.  About 2 months ago the company had a job walk so everyone involved would be on the same page. They are in a huge "rush" to get this done because it's mandated by the state regulators.  At that time I found out that it wasn't my project, I was just supposed to provide support to the other specialist.  Great!  Then I was asked to actually take the lead because I had more knowledge on this topic.  I've been asking for specific documentation since even before the job walk.  Every week I get a different story about what their project is, which then changes what I need to accomplish.  Last week I got what was supposed to be their final decision of how the project was going to take place.  So, I again asked for a copy of their documentation.  I can't do my work without including a copy of what they said.  Just today at noon they finally emailed it to me.  Then one person wanted to know if I could get my work completed either today or tomorrow.  Sure, even though I had something else planned for tomorrow, I could start today and finish up my document by tomorrow.  Then someone else emailed to say it has to be in the mail today.  This was at 1:00!  I only had 3 1/2 more hours to work and I didn't feel like working extra. Normally I say sure but my response was I'll try.  Then I realized their documentation was flawed so I asked more questions.  They got pissed and someone else sent me an email and asked if I wanted the original person to take over this project.  Of course.  After all, it was supposed to be that person's project and I was supposed to be the technical expert.  It wasn't supposed to be dumped on me at the last minute.  Anyway, our local post office closes at noon.  Even if I had finished my part today it wouldn't have made it into the mail.  I didn't see a copy of the other person's report tonight, so I wonder if it got done.

I have two fun days for work tomorrow and the next day.  Tomorrow I have to go to a federal office to look at some of their documents.  Oops, the company planned a project and I realized that part of the project is ok and the other part is would be breaking some federal regulations.  So we are going to work out a deal.  We will do the federal government's work at no charge to the government.  They should like that.  It's reasonable so probably not!

Then on Thursday Boy, Girl, and I are going to drive for two hours to get to another project.  This project isn't mine to work on but it's at a facility that I'm responsible for so I need to do a double check.  If I recall right, I saw something a little over a year ago there that wasn't documented.  On the other hand, I keep thinking that maybe I'm imagining that I saw something and I really didn't.  After all, if it's been inspected a dozen times and nobody else has noticed then does it exist?  Perhaps I'm just that good at my job?  We will see on Thursday! 

The apples are almost ripe on the trees.  They are very early this year.  I will be doing a lot of canning.  We only have two jars of applesauce, four jars of cinnamon apple slices, and three jars of apple syrup left from last year.  That's pretty good planning.  But now should I make double the jars of apples because I doubt I'll be wanting to can apples next year right before we move.  If I make lots of applesauce the kids will be happy.  One thing I do with the apple sauce is put it into the dehydrator (on plastic wrap) and make fruit rollups.  I can add a tablespoon of any flavor jam to about a cup of applesauce and it will change the flavor.  I like blackberry and the kids like strawberry rollups. 

I think the pears are going to be about a month early also.  That's too bad because we always have pears on the trees at Thanksgiving and I doubt they will still be on at the end of October if things progress like they are.  But canning a bunch of pears will be good too, so I'm not complaining!