Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Friday, February 15, 2019


So.  Friday again.  And the kids were supposed to be turned loose from school today at 11:30; instead, we have sleet, snow, and freezing rain happening, and their school decided to cancel today. 

I sent Odysseus off to work in my car (Subaru Forester) instead of his pickup (Ford F-150).  All wheel drive beats pickup any day for avoiding accidents caused by idiots driving in icy conditions.  We may or may not do our normal Friday night pizza--it will depend on two things: road conditions at quitting time (he's picking the pizza up today) and whether we have electricity, since we're scheduled for up to two tenths of an inch of freezing rain.

Honestly, I prefer sleet and snow. 

Anyway, this is happening while we have about 30% of a tank of propane left, so the propane heater is off.  Propane is being reserved for a just in case we lose power and need to rely solely on the fireplace insert for any warmth at all.  Or the storm stops dropping liquid rain to freeze on the power lines, whichever happens. 

Yesterday was Valentine's Day.  The kids' classes had a party scheduled today.  The imp's teacher has pushed his class's party back to the last 45 minutes of the school day on Tuesday (they're out on a scheduled vacation day on Monday).  I don't know what the pixie's teacher is planning--hopefully the same thing. 

And my other half surprised me with a tee shirt I wanted yesterday.  Has one of my favorite anime characters on it.  I wasn't planning on getting it--usually, the pricing on branded character tee shirts is rediculous.  So it was a very nice surprise.  I think I know what I'm going to do in return.  :)

Anybody subscribe to BookBub?  Gives you daily deals in specific genres for discounted e-books on whatever platform you use.  Sometimes you find some real gems--I have acquired the first three books of Herbert's Dune cycle in Kindle version for $1.99 each, when they usually go for $9.99.  Was handy on the timing, because my books were still boxed up and I couldn't find them when I wanted to read them.  I now have Dune, Dune Messiah, and Children of Dune in both hard copy and Kindle copy (and have since found and re-read the rest of the series).  Sometimes, you find some really fun stuff discounted all the way down to free.  If you haven't subscribed, and you like to read, I heartily suggest it.  Sends the list right to your email.  All you have to do is mark your preferences.

I also heartily recommend a subscription to Kindle Unlimited.  Basically an e-book subscription library.  I've been making use of that on a daily basis recently, reading while waiting to pick up the kids.  Most recently read: The Fae's Amulet.  It was a heartily entertaining urban fantasy mystery.  

I'm not the only one enjoying our Kindle Unlimited subscription: Odysseus makes it pay for itself within the first week of every month.* 

I've got a list of books I want to read in my Amazon wish list.  Most of them are KU eligible, so...yeah. 

But that's for later.  Right now, I'm writing.  I finished the first draft of the fourth installment of the Modern Gods books, and Meg from The Liquid Diet Chronicles is insisting that I work on her second book, now (tentative title: Having a Pint).  Like always, I use a pen and paper for when I get stuck, or when I'm starting a new chapter, and the ink this time is Noodler's Red-Black, in a TWSBI Vac-Mini.  The pen holds a TON of ink, and doesn't burp into the cap when I close the valve, no matter the temperature difference/pressure difference/whether I drop it or not.  I love this ink--it's mostly waterproof, dries fairly quickly, and looks like dried blood on the page.  It suits the character quite well. 

Kids are back out of their bedrooms to watch TV--guess I'll grab my headphones and start writing. 

*Right now, we've signed up for 2 years' worth of subscription for a 40% discount.  He was making it pay for itself at the full price of $9.99/month, much less the discounted price. 

Monday, February 11, 2019

Gonna be a busy day today

I've got things on the docket.  I need to run the dishwasher this afternoon, and then I'll need to do supper. 

I've already gotten several things done--I had to go into the school to take a bag of candy-bribes the pixie's 2nd grade teacher asked me to get for the class, I put more money in the kids' lunch accounts, and checked in with both teachers and the librarian, asking about needed supplies (the 2nd grade teacher needs paper towels, the 3rd grade teacher doesn't need anything at the moment, and the librarian thanked me for asking in the first place, then asked if I can edit her dissertation for her).  I do need to get a make-up shopping trip done, but this morning, I don't have time.  I had housework that needed done before 9:00, and I've accomplished it. 

I have a half-load sitting in the washer, I have a half load of clean clothes to put away, and I've got a basket of kid clothes they need to sort and put away.  I got the quilt pulled up over the bed in the master bedroom, and the pixie's floor space cleared. 

Today, we're going to have an electrician in to put up ceiling fans in the living room,* the master bedroom, and the pixie's bedroom.**  And a new light fixture in the kitchen.

Tomorrow, though, I'm going to have to get the catch-up shopping done.  There are a few things we ran out of unexpectedly, and my time Friday's going to be cut short by a half-day at the kids' school.

I've got the housework done, at the moment.  I'm just waiting on the electrician to come start doing the work.  And writing the last chapter of Gods and Monsters (Modern Gods book...4?  Yeah, book 4).

*When we bought this place, we replaced a pendant light with an LED fixture that snuggles right up against the ceiling in the entry hall (immediately after Odysseus whacked his head on the original fixture), and a wagon-wheel style "chandelier" over the dining area--both were really straighforward and easy, so we blithely moved on to replacing the ugly "crystal" chandelier in the living room with a more practical ceiling fan and fixture...only to find out they'd used something weird to put that damn thing up, and there was no junction box to hook the fan into.  Nor did there seem to be one over our bedroom, when Odysseus went up into the attic to see if he could figure out what the hell was going on.  

**We weren't PLANNING on replacing the kids' ceiling fans.  And then the pixie broke hers.  Snapped one of the fan blades right off where the metal part goes into the fan itself.  It's just as FUBARed a fixture as the living room's and the master bedroom's, so it has waited more than a year.  

Saturday, February 9, 2019

I did it.

And I'm not done quite yet.

I had a productive week with writing.  I set myself a goal of 10K words for the week, and then got smacked with a migraine midweek.  And then a snow day.*  And a scheduled day out of school for the kids.**  But I did it anyway.

I have also managed to keep the dishes (mostly) caught up--not all of the clean dishes have been put away, but I've kept the dishwasher loaded/run/unloaded for a new load.  I've also managed to keep my family fed, keep the cats' litter box cleaned, and get most of my and the kids' laundry done (the imp's still needs to be done, but hey), and mostly put away. 

All this with most of my energy sucked dry by bad cycle timing and bad timing on the migraine (any other time, and it would already be gone, instead of just fading). 

I did it.  I survived the week, managed to not get snowed under too bad with housework left undone, and have not killed or maimed anyone*** in the process.

*Snow day, hah.  More like ice day, considering.  We had rain, fog, freezing rain, freezing fog, thunderstorms, sleet, thundersleet, tornadoes in parts of the state, and a bare dusting of snow and blowing snow.  And temperatures dropping from Wednesday through Friday morning. 

**February has two scheduled days out of school--last Friday, and President's Day--and one day where they let out early (Friday, 2/15).

***Not physically, nor yet emotionally.  Despite occasional heavy temptation.

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Gonna murder someone or something, so help me...

1. It's cold.  Really cold.  Like, 18 degrees or a bit under cold.  It's also windy, iced over outside (we've had rain, freezing rain, and sleet last night), and snowing. 

2. The imp has been unwilling to get dressed, and hasn't been feeling really good today. 

3. The pixie is prone to really bad earaches when it's cold and windy (much like I am). 

4. Schools are out all over the place today.

5. I have a migraine.  Have had the migraine for two days, now, and it's likely to not let up until Saturday afternoon or Sunday.  My migraines aren't as bad as my aunts' migraines, but they're light and sound sensitive.

6.  The neighbor's grandson came over and rang the doorbell to find out if the kids could go out.  I pointed out 1 and 3 above, and said no because the weather's too bad.

7.  The weather is still nasty, despite initial predictions of it clearing off.  It's still snowing.  Still windy.  Still cold.  So, 1 and 3 still apply.  So does 6. 

8.  Neighbor's grandkid rings the doorbell again, about an hour or so after the first time.  I had to explain, in small words, that it is still snowing, still windy, still icy, and neither of my kids even wants to go play outside. 

9.  I am going to murder either my doorbell or the neighbors' grandkid.  The doorbell would get me in less trouble. 

Sunday, February 3, 2019

productive day, for feeling this awful

I got the cat box cleaned, the dishwasher unloaded, reloaded, and run, got 1600 words done writing (1200 on Liquid Diet Chronicles Book 2, and 400 so far on the last chapter of Gods and Monsters--not counting the side plot I came up with that needs written and inserted).  I'm not done writing yet, either. 

And I made supper.  And lunch for Odysseus for the week.  Tacos.  Only, I didn't have the canned Old El Paso Refried Black beans I usually use. 

I wanted to try to recreate it.  With my instant pot.*  I think I did it. 

Refried Black Beans

1 c dried black beans
3 c water
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp minced garlic
1 1/2 tsp salt
splash RealLime

1. Put ALL THE INGREDIENTS in the instant pot.  2. Set vent to seal.  3. Choose the beans function (this is going to take a while).  My version of the electric pressure cooker only goes up to half an hour of cook time--others go all the way to an hour.  It takes the full hour of pressure cooking to get the beans done without soaking them, half an hour if you do a soak, first.  I set it to the maximum it goes to, let it go to done, then set it to the maximum again.  4.  Drain beans into a mixing bowl--keep the liquid so that you can add in as much or as little as you  want in mashing the beans.  5. Put beans and as much liquid as you want into a blender and puree it. 

I have the little bit that didn't go into the tacos set aside in the fridge for something yummy later in the week.  Might be nachos, might be Mexican pizza (on corn tortillas). 

I still have more that needs to be done.  I need to make egg muffins for my imp (egg wedges for Odysseus is going to wait another couple of days).  And make up and box up the soft tacos for Odysseus's work lunches. 

I'll finish up with the food, then get the chapters I was working on for the two distinctly different books finished.  And then...then I'm gonna pass right out. 

*My pressure cooker is the brand Sam's Club sells.  I still say this was one of the best presents I've ever gotten. 

Friday, February 1, 2019


We're working on home repairs, now that we got the old house sold, and our breath caught after that.

We knew, when we bought this place, that it would need some work.  A good bit of it has already been done--we replaced all of the carpets, and we replaced all of the plumbing drainage within two months or so of buying the place.

We were also trying to stretch to cover some basic repairs to the old house at the same time we were doing some work on the new one.

And then...then the budget shrank dramatically.  The university I'd worked at part time for twelve and a half years decided they didn't have any sections for me to teach anymore, and let me go.  It's fine--I don't miss it, and really didn't have the health to keep doing it--but it put a real strain on repairs, so we...paused while we were getting the old house fixed, on the market and sold.

So.  Breath caught, I started looking for local handymen.  No dice.  Signed up with a leads generator for home repairs--Home Advisor--for the top two priorities in the repairs and improvements.  Signed up last week, then kinda forgot about it while I survived a CFS flareup. 

I got two different quotes day before yesterday, thought about the businesses, and picked one* of the two.  I made the call to the guy we decided to go with this morning, and have a tentative date scheduled for the work to be done.

The roof repairs, on the other hand...that could end up being problematic.  To the point we may have to schedule some time off work for Odysseus so that WE can do the work ourselves, to the best of our ability (and hope it holds for a while).

So far, before today, I hadn't had any luck with trying to find someone to do the repairs we need.  Local roofers don't seem to want to do anything but put a whole new roof on, even when all you want/can afford is repairs of a few minor issues.**

Even that is moving--I literally just got off the phone with a roofing and construction company.  The owner is a town over right now, at his aunt's funeral, but says he'll try to swing by and take a look at what needs done this afternoon.

Hopefully, before long, we'll have the repairs done, and some overhead lighting in the living room/library for gray, dreary days like today, and not have to depend solely on floor lamps anymore.

Update: The roofing and construction guy showed up--turns out the world is, indeed, tiny.  He's done work for us before (couple of years ago), and his wife was one of my all-time favorite students.

*One guy's young, and his business is 3 years old--this is the guy we're going with.  The other guy plans to retire in ten years, assuming he survives: he has a habit of making sure the right breaker's been turned off for the work by crossing the live wires to throw the breaker before he starts working.  

**We need a few joists braced and repaired--they're cracked, from what looks like an impact on the roof.  There's a small leak where one of the turban vents' flashing isn't sealed properly, and a small hole that looks like a branch punched through into the attic above the garage.  Oh, and the carport will need repaired, but that's a longer term project.  We don't need a whole new roof at this point, yet.  The rest of it is sound, and we can't afford a whole new roof at this point.