Friday, March 16, 2007

In which I come out of the nerd closet

Hello, my name is Damsel, and I'm addicted to office supplies.

It had been months and months since my last foray into an office supply store, on my honor, until today. Today's trip into Office Wherever for giant thumbtacks was a bit like sending a recovering chocoholic into a fudge shop to get a glass of water.

I stepped in the front doors and was overcome. My heart pounded, my blood pressure rose, my stomach did flippy-flops, I got light-headed and I started seeing ... stars? No! Shiny paper clips and packages of twelve brightly-colored pens for $27! I was back.

During the drive to Office Wherever, I had tried to psych myself up. Only the giant thumbtacks. I don't need anything else. The self-deluding pep-talk continued after I walked in. It became a mantra I whispered to myself. Only the giant thumbtacks.

I wandered down the first aisle, toward where I thought the giant thumbtacks should be. I began to notice that they had rearranged since my last tumble into the deliciously whirling vortex that is known to the outside world as the Office Supply Store. The reams of paper were where they've always been, just on the left, there, but as I moved past that first section, things seemed... different. Darn. I'll have to look around... Only the giant thumbtacks.

The second area contained pens and pencils -- one of my true weaknesses. The teacher in whose class I student taught once gave me a fabulous piece of advice. She told me that the best cure for the paper-grading blues was to go out and buy a new red pen. Little did she know that she was only enabling me to continue down the path of office supply addiction.

Steeling myself, I did not allow my eyes to rove the columns of beautifully-colored pens and fancy pencils. I trained them on the signs above. "Gel pens, felt-tip pens, markers, highlighters, mechanical pencils..." and on and on they teased. No thumbtacks to be found, here. I forced myself to move on. Only the giant thumbtacks.

The next section was labeled "teacher supplies", which is always a euphemism for "elementary teacher supplies". We secondary teachers don't get no respect. This section would have been easily bypassed, except that it also contained index cards and spiral notebooks and please, oh please, oh please, can I be a professional student? Because nothing makes me want to sit in a lecture hall and take notes like a five-subject notebook. *swoon* Weak-kneed, I resumed my search, bolstering my confidence by patting myself on the back for not having picked up anything. Only the giant thumbtacks.

I was now at the back of the store. I turned to scan the signs on the other side of the store. Again, I trained them to focus on those signs, not on the 90+ feet of supplies between me and the far side of the store. One read "Fasteners". Surely, I thought to myself, that is where they are. I'll just pick them up, walk to the front and check out. Only the giant thumbtacks.

I squared my shoulders and strode purposefully toward that sign, hardly noticing the gleaming new desks to my left or the shiny new printers to my right. All would have progressed exactly as planned, had it not been for the organizers and dayplanners lying in wait, ready to ambush as I walked between them to that sign that gloated "Fasteners". As I realized what was on either side of me, my step faltered, then slowed, and finally stopped.

I risked one glance, then two, foolishly thinking I could stop after that. I did stop, however briefly, resolving to get only the giant thumbtacks. I took the last three or four steps to the wall, located the target, and seized the package of giant thumbtacks. I dragged in a deep breath, then exhaled. I had done it. I had found the giant thumbtacks. Unwittingly, my guard slipped.

I turned back around, prepared to march straight to the check-out and purchase only the giant thumbtacks, and casually stepped back into the Land of the Agendas. This planner cover caught my eye, because it was red. I carelessly picked it up, and it was all downhill from there.

I love my planner , but I hate that I can't put papers in it. I'm forever carrying mail or something that I need to follow up on, and forever digging in my purse for those things because they fall out of the planner. I also hate that I never have something to write on. This cover would solve all of that, I thought greedily. I was so light-headed about the organizational possibilities that I immediately began searching the shelves for a planner like mine to see if it would actually fit. In about 30 seconds, I remembered that (duh) I had mine with me, and tugged it out of my purse. It fit! Glory be! A red planner cover!

My only misgiving about the planner cover was that the notepad in the back was a very plain white junior-sized legal pad. We can't have that ordinary thing in my lovely red planner cover, now can we?, I thought. I know they make pretty ones! I'll just go see how much those are.

Mantra forgotten, I took the long way over to the paper section. Heady with the consciousness of having decided to buy something other than only the giant thumbtacks, I browsed several things on my way. Back through the index cards and spirals I trolled, practically skipping by the time I reached the pens and pencils, and ready to break out into song upon reaching the Aisle of Pretty Papers.

Spirals and post-its and markers and pencils,
Index cards, folders, computers and stencils,
Hole-punchers, staples, and binders, d-rings,
These are a few of my favorite things!

They had a package of brightly-colored small legal pads that nearly set my feet to dancing. I collected them and cradled them lovingly with my giant thumbtacks and red planner cover.

Floating through the check-out, I made pleasant small talk with the nice checker-lady about gardening and painting.

Blinking and squinting as I stepped back out into the real world, I crashed hard, realizing that I had failed my mission to get only the giant thumbtacks. No matter, though. I had a new red planner cover.

Hello, my name is Damsel. And I am addicted to Office Supplies.


Let's see what we've accomplished today...

I made the aforementioned trips to Home Depot and Office Wherever (more about that one later). However, I didn't start gardening this morning because it was 60 degrees and breezy. I realize that my northern friends would consider that downright balmy, especially in the face of upcoming blizzards. It's too cold for my blood, at least to be outside shoveling grass.

I put the string and photos up on Jet's wall, and I LOVE it!!!

I put the window blinds back up, moved his bed back in, put up a few other things on the walls, and pulled up all the tape. (I never mastered Heather's cool edger thingy. It didn't like me.) The paint job is so very not perfect, but I'm okay with that. I figure ... it's a two-year-old's room. He's going to ding up the paint in three days. It does look a lot better with stuff in there -- the little mistakes aren't nearly so noticeable.

I treated some fire ant beds that sprung up in spots where we forgot to spread the weed/ant killer, then watered it in. I figure I looked like an idiot, watering my lawn two days after it had rained for three days straight. Oh, well.

I dug up the grass in the front of the house where I want to put in the flowers:

I was about halfway through this job of shoveling grass and mud onto the sidewalk when I realized that I had no way to transport all of the shoveled-up grass and mud around to the back of the house to dump it here:

Hmmm.... I certainly wasn't going to carry it one shovelful at a time. What does a good southern girl do when she finds herself in such a situation? Why, she calls her daddy, of course! And that's just what I did.

Unfortunately, he was still at work and couldn't bring me his garden wagon. I gave thought to using Jet's Radio Flyer, which is currently being used to hold stuffed animals in his room. I decided I didn't want to try to wash all the mud off of it in order to take it back in the house (and you know he would want it back in his room ASAP). Dad said he might bring the garden wagon by tonight or tomorrow. Which is fine with me. So, there the grass sits on the sidewalk. Maybe I'm just using the not-having-the-garden-wagon as an excuse to quit working for the day.

Papa John's keeps running this commercial on TV as I sit here blogging. I'm stinkin' exhausted. I'll let you put two and two together and figure out what we're probably having for dinner.


The Clock

On one of my trips to my parents' house yesterday, I found a couple of our things still there, so I went ahead and brought them over.

Jet discovered one of them in the kitchen this morning, and promptly went to "stand on the clock".

Sorry for the fuzzy image... we've been discussing getting a new digital camera since ours is almost four years old. It was our splurge when we found out we were pregnant with Jet. Anyway, I think it's about time to put it on our wishlist.

I touched up Jet's room this morning. By the time I had finished "touching up", I realized that I had touched up forty-seven thousand spots, and probably should have just done a second coat. I just didn't have it in me, though. I'll admit that, if I were paying someone to paint this room for me, I'd be a LOT pickier about it... For now though, since it's my first attempt at painting a room, I'll be proud that I did it! Hopefully it'll be better once I get all the furniture back in and stuff on the walls.

One of my ideas for decorating the biggest wall is to put up a couple of strings and use clothespins to display some of the artwork that Jet brings home from playschool. I'm also going to put up some 9x12 prints of some of his favorite toys I had made for another project that didn't get done. :) That project is now going in the living room, so I'm going to use family pictures for it. (More on that one later.) I bought twine at Home Depot yesterday, and I'm going to go to Office Whichever-One-Is-In-Town (Depot? Max? I dunno.) to get those HUGE pushpins to hold it up.

I'm also going back to Home Depot today to get bulbs to plant in the front yard. I picked out gladiolas, but my flower-growing Grandad Bill says that they may not do well on the north side of the house. He recommended cannas, so I'll look at those. I think they'll be great! I also have to get some mulch.

I'm making another trip to my parents' house to borrow some of my mom's gardening tools. (I hereby solemnly swear to promptly return them.) I also need some rocks. ("I know it's a rock! I spend a lotta time around rocks!")

First, I have to clean out my trunk to hold all of that stuff... and this is the reason why I'm procrastinating by writing this post first.

So, more pictures later!


Thursday, March 15, 2007

I believe in miracles

I won't even tell you how long I thought it was going to take me to paint Jet's room. It's embarrassing.

This was Jet's room at 8:15 this morning:

Eight hours, two trips to Home Depot, two trips to my parents' house, and one lunch with Knight later, this is what we have:
I can hear you now. "Damsel, did you get any paint on the walls?"

Why, yes...

Yes, I did...

I'm really happy with the results. It's a fabulous color. I hope Jet likes it, too!

I'll admit that, at about 2:00, my post was going to read, "If I ever say that I want to paint a room again, I give permission to anyone reading this post to come over and slap me silly on a daily basis until I come to my senses" among other unpleasant things.

My body may agree with this sentiment, but I'm pretty proud of myself for getting it done.

I have some great ideas for decorating. I'll post more pics tomorrow after I get the touchups done, the furniture back in, and the stuff on the walls. For now, I'm off to get Jet and meet my Dad and Knight for Mexican food at my favorite restaurant. Yay!


Wednesday, March 14, 2007

I'm so excited!

I just can't hide it! I know, I know, I know... and I think I like it! (Okay. I'm done. But I really think life should just break out into musical numbers now and then.)

I was sitting at home today, pondering a mysterious feeling I had. It took several minutes to put my finger on it. While I was trying to figure it out, I mentally walked through my list of things that are ALWAYS having to be done, things that stress me out because I'm never caught up on them.

Laundry. Done. What's for dinner? BBQ sandwiches, already made. Clean the house. Done. Do the dishes. Done. Grade papers. Don't have any. Balance checkbook, work on budget, pay bills. Done.

Wait a minute?!?! I think that feeling is... could it be?? ... Boredom!?!? I reveled in it, rolled in it, embraced it, pink-puffy-hearted it. I started thinking about things I could do because I didn't have anything that HAD to be done.

So, I went to the new library. It opened a few weeks ago (months ago?), but I, of course, haven't had the time to go. Plus, I needed to take back a book that I found under the bed while I was cleaning. They had sent me a nice letter saying it was "categorized as lost". I didn't even know I still had it. Anyway, the librarian was really nice and thanked me for bringing it back and only charged me a five-dollar late fee. I told her that I had to bring it back because my Granny is a retired librarian and would have flogged me with a wet noodle on the bridge of my nose had I not.

The library is so cool. I'm a nerd, so I've always liked libraries, but this one is all nice and new-smelling and big with LOTS of space to just sit and read. One of the things I'm looking forward to this summer is taking Jet to the library for stuff. He's just starting to "read" books to himself. He'll open up his Sam and Ham book and say things like "not in the dark, not on a train, not with a goat", etc. Too cute!

So, I wandered into the HUGE children's section. It's bigger than my house (which, honestly, isn't that hard to do), with lots of adorable tables and chairs, and a stage with a puppet set-up and huge colorful murals on the walls. *sigh* That's what I'm so excited about. I went over to the Children's Librarian's office, and inquired about summer programs. She laughed at me ("It's MARCH!") , and then told me that it would be up on the website before they had hard copies. Anyway, I still think it will be fun to take him this summer.

After that, I went to Starbucks to work on our Love and Respect study. I felt like I was playing hooky, being there at 1:30 in the afternoon. It was wonderful! I sat with my Iced Caramel Macchiato (a la Miss Congeniality) and my Ipod...

I love reading in coffee shops. It's where Knight and I spent most of our time studying in college. Our favorite was Daybreak Coffee Roasters at 19th and Quaker. (Their website is down at this moment; hopefully not for good!) I love that they roast their own coffee -- it's one of my favorite smells. Somehow it's relaxing and stimulating all at the same time. Maybe it's more comforting than relaxing. My grandparents or my aunt always buy us a pound or two of our favorite coffee for Christmas.

In searching for a website for my favorite coffee shop, I ran across this guy who seems to be entirely too full of himself to be living in Lubbock, TX. If you've never lived in Lubbock, you won't understand. If you have, then... you do. (?) Don't get me wrong; I loved living in Lubbock while I was there. The thing I loved most about it, though, is that it's pretty laid back. It's a college town, pretty easy-going, and you can get from anywhere to anywhere in less than 15 minutes. So that guy just doesn't seem to fit in, if you ask me.

Anyway, I spent about an hour at Starbucks having some "me" time, and it was lovely. And I can't wait to take Jet to summer library progams.


"Before" pics

Here is the sidewalk photo:

I'm talking about the part on the other side of the sidewalk. Too narrow to mow; must be dealt with before it becomes a jungle. My mom has plenty of rocks I could use to line the area. I think that will come in handy because we don't have gutters, and the drip line is just inside the sidewalk. Placing the rocks on the drip line will hopefully help keep the rain from pounding down that part of the ground, and also keep the mulch from flooding out.

I know I want to put rosemary on the end closest to the front door. Mom has some near her front door, and I absolutely love the fragrance of it. Plus, it'll be easily accessed from the kitchen.
I browsed the grocery store, looking at the herbs. I want to hang a container over the railing of the back deck for those. I like the look of this one, but not the price.

Here's the back deck, for those who are curious:
It's been raining for three days, so I haven't done much with the gardening, but I'm hoping to do some stuff on Friday. Mom says I can just put newspaper over the grass and poke holes in it where I want to plant stuff. Then I cover it with mulch, and the grass won't poke through. Sounds easy enough, huh? I'm looking forward to it.

Next up on my list was to paint Jet's room. Here's what it looks like as of 10:00 this morning:

I think I have my work cut out for me on that one. I'm going to clean up and tape in there today; hopefully tomorrow it will dry out and I can paint. I don't think it'll take that long once I get a the furniture moved and a dropcloth down.

And, for grins, one "after" pic:



Just because it's cute

I love the back of Jet's head and neck. I don't really know why, but it's just so sweet to me! He stores lots of sugars back there, too, and giggles like crazy when I get them. :P


Further Update on the Spring Break To-Do List

Yesterday, I finally felt like I was on Spring Break. I had a friend and her little boy over for lunch, and my house was clean, and I didn't feel like I should be doing something else! It was a really awesome visit.

Here are the updates on my list (completely out of order, but ... whatever).

Knight helped me on Sunday, and we did a ton of housework. The only thing I really have left to do is dust. I hate dusting, even with the Swiffer thingys. It doesn't take much time to do it, but for some reason it's ALWAYS on the bottom of the list and NEVER gets done.

Knight also mowed the lawn and put down some fertilizer/weed-killer/ant-killer (yes, we have lovely infestations of the dreaded fire ants). He finished up just as it started raining. It's been raining since then, so we should have a beautiful lawn soon. He's so cute -- he's loving having a lawn to care for. It's so manly of him. :) This stuff is supposed to work well. The fire ants disappeared pretty quickly, and the ones we could see were pretty sickly. I hope they stay away!

Check on the "Eating Breakfast with Grandparents". We went on Monday morning, and it was very nice. Yummy food and great conversation.

Then, my Granny took me shopping on Monday -- I consider this to be spontaneous because it was not on the Spring Break To-Do List. It's something we love to do together, but haven't been able to do the last several times they've come to visit. I had tossed most of my spring/summer wardrobe last fall because it was just worn out, so she bought me several pairs of capri pants and some new shirts. Thanks, Granny! I'll look fab when I get back to work next week.

We're still planning to have a garage sale on Saturday, but it may be postponed for a couple of weeks. I don't know that I'll have time to get everything together, and I'd rather get Jet's room and the gardening done. Plus, I forgot to put an ad in the local paper.

I have been picking up Jet early, but we have yet to get to the parks to feed the ducks, due to the aforementioned rain. Maybe tomorrow!

I'm on book two of the series I brought home from the library. It's not all that riveting; otherwise I might be further along.

So, there you have it, folks. More pics tomorrow, I hope!