Good grief, what a weekend.
This seems to be a trend with me lately, doesn’t it?
Honest to goodness, I have no recollection of Friday. I stopped at Agway on the way home for marigolds and basil, but they didn’t have power in the store so I wasn’t able to look for a rain barrel. I don’t remember anything beyond that. Presumably there was dinner and other sorts of things, but my short term memory has already purged that.
Saturday was a little frenetic. We had a department picnic that day, so I baked up a mess of shortbread that morning – and the batch with Splenda failed miserably. We have a few diabetics in the department (or their family members), so I usually make some for them - but it turned out strangely this time. So I did a quick re-bake, and that batch turned out less strangely, but still not quite right. I’m not quite sure what I did differently, but everyone was happy with it except me. About the time I’d gotten everything together and we were ready to go, Charlotte melted down and needed to go down for a nap. Oh well.
While she napped, we were productive. Bob took my snow tires off and put the all-seasons back on (and I got to admire my new front sway bar links. We’re still trying to figure out how I broke the old ones.) I worked on stripping the paint off of the two deck boards I had treated earlier, and then we cut the pine tree down. *That* actually went fairly smoothly. Bob cut it to a point where when he got out from underneath it, I was able to push it over. Then I took most of the branches off with lopping shears, and he dragged the whole sorry thing back to the brush pile. Around this time Charlotte woke up, and we headed off to the picnic. It was a nice time, but I would rather have been home.
Later that evening dad called. He was very concerned about having all of the family over for mom’s birthday. She’s hurting really badly – taking lots of painkillers, and still can’t really get out of bed. We both know that she’ll want the house cleaned if there are people coming over, so she’ll either kill herself trying to get it done (and get angry that she has to do it), or won’t be able to and will be angry that everyone sees it like that. Not to mention the question of whether or not she’s even up to company. So dad and I agreed that when I called to wish her a happy mother’s day, I would spill the beans and claim the thing was supposed to be at my house the whole time. That way she could opt out if she didn’t feel up to it. On Sunday, she said yes.
Sunday morning I indulged myself by sleeping in later than I had originally intended, but I did manage to drag my butt out eventually, and Bob presented me with my assorted cards. I WISH he wouldn’t hide my mail from me. He saves up his cards and opens them on “the day” (whatever it is.) Fine. *I* like to open my mail as it comes, but I don’t think to go scouring random places for the bits he pulls out and tucks away. The only reason I mention this is because apparently Charlotte actually picked out my card herself. The downside is that of course she picked the picture she liked, and she keeps trying to repossess it.
The first thing we did once I was coherent enough to function was set the sandbox up for the season, which the God Empress of Burlington was very happy about, and moved into before we even had all the sand in it. I just swept the deck down very, very thoroughly to get rid of as many of the paint chips as possible, and we’ll keep sweeping as the summer wears on. I need to go get the Home Depot books on decks so that I can read up on railings for next year. After that, I sat and peeled loose paint off the deck and played with Charlotte while Bob gave the lawn it’s first mowing of the year. The nice part of having such a small yard is that it took ten minutes. Then it was his turn to watch Charlotte as he worked on repairing the archery target stand while I attacked the mountain laurels. Again.
I have to say, I really hope that the fungicide is effective against this leaf spot. Part of the problem I’m having is that there just doesn’t appear to be a lot of readily available information on mountain laurels. The general consensus online can be summed up that a) they’re picky about how they’re located if you plant them on purpose, b) they all have leaf spot, but it doesn’t hurt them, and c) nothing much bothers mountain laurels because they’re so hardy. Well, clearly something is bothering mine, because they’re *dying*. I’ve dragged probably close to a dozen dead ones out of the north side woods. At any rate, all of a sudden since last weekend they’re starting to send out new leaves, so I have to be diligent now if I’m going to have a hope of keeping that new foliage clean. Not to mention if the growth I’ve seen so far is actually flower buds, they should be lovely this year. This is the thing – I’m finding so little information on them that I don’t know if those structures are flower buds, leaf buds, space aliens, or what. Regardless of what they are, I’m spraying them with fungicide.
This week I remembered to switch hands with the tank every other two-gallon batch (it generally takes ten gallons to spray the entire flock). As a result, I now have matching, symmetrical, painful knots in both shoulders instead of just my left one. Isn’t that nice? If it’s going to become an every year proposition, I may take a look at the backpack rigs. I got them all sprayed again though, and pulled some more of the deadwood out of the north side woods. Every time I emerge to refill the sprayer, I drag one or two pieces out with me. It’s slowly getting easier to walk around in there, which is good, because we have several mechanical systems out that way (power and well.) In the midst of the spraying, Anarra and Ana Ilevna showed up to take some of our bookcases off our hands – they took two of the three, and we’ve stashed the third in the basement for the time being until they decide if they want that one or not. It was nice to show someone the progress that we’re making on the yard. The crab apple is in glorious bloom, the forsythia is just winding down, and the weeds haven’t taken over yet. Perfect timing. Even better, when we mentioned that we had just cut down the pine tree, they took the top bit to make a Viking butter churn. I’m not 100% clear on how that works, but I think it’s very cool that our badly placed ex-tree could turn into something useful.
After they headed out I finished the spraying, caught my breath, and went to investigate large rocks. We had two off to one side of the driveway turn around that I was interested in. The one I *really* want isn’t movable without a friend with a Bobcat. Probably a bunch of stronger people with hand tools and lots of incentive could move it manually, but I’m insane enough to try. Or strong enough, for that matter. *And* I don’t know what I could hook the other end of the come-along to. So Bob wheeled the cart over, and I looked at smaller rocks. After we poked at it a bit, I decided that it was too heavy for the two of us to pick up. At that point Bob experienced one of those “guy moments” where the rush of testosterone overwhelms the higher faculties, and he decided that he was going to try to power lift it onto the bed of the cart. To be fair, he almost made it – he only missed by a couple of inches. But it was a *very* heavy rock, and gravity works. Unfortunately, it decided to give him a nice case of road rash from elbow to wrist on the way back down. No blood, but it looks terrible. Having determined that *that* wasn’t going to work, we tilted the bed of the cart, backed it up to the rock, strapped the rock to it, and used the bed as a lever to pick the rock up. Damned if it didn’t work – I guess I got my money’s worth when we bought the cart. We pulled it up the driveway, around the house, and set it in place. Flush with that success, we decided to move the second one also, which went as well if not better. I figure we need four or five more like that to anchor the end of my rock pile behind the garage. We’ve got them on the property, the only question is how far out of the woods we’ll need to haul them – these two were easy, which is why I started with them. This all reminds me that as I work at this I need to set myself up a level line out there…
As we finished with the rocks, the sky went grey and we figured we were going to get rained on, so we picked up all our tools and put them away, and then Bob brought the stuff in off the line while I got some of my plants from Agway in the ground. I got the moss roses, the hens and chicks, and the columbine planted, and actually walked down to the street to plant the marigolds. That’s when I saw it – one sprout of Japanese Knotweed. I couldn’t do anything about it then, so my marigolds and I walked back up the driveway, and hopefully I can take care of it before this weekend. Being a glutton for punishment, I took the rake and tried raking out some of the frontage. That was such an exercise in futility that I stopped after a few minutes, called it quits and went inside to where herself was just waking up from a seriously long nap. Bob grilled some leftover kabobs from the picnic on Saturday, and I started cleaning the living room because I had a house full of people coming on Saturday who were going to get the tour – and the entire house needed to be cleaned. I figured that if I could get the living room and the dining room done on Sunday that would put me in a good place to get the rest done over the week. So cleaning occurred, and many things were put away.
The weekend was over, and I was exhausted. Heck, I’m still exhausted. I blame the rocks.
Yesterday I was obviously at work, and when I got home last night I cleaned the library. As I had anticipated, that room took all evening, excluding the filing. I’m so far behind on my filing that it’s going to take a while - right now it’s just in a neat stack. But I got the room picked up, and decided to see how many of the books I could get off of the floor. That led to a moderately distressing discovery. I actually have more books than I thought I did. Despite going through them and weeding them a fair bit, I’m running out of shelves faster than I’m running out of books. The problem with this is that I had conceived of replacing the bookcases in two stages. Phase I, which is completed, was to replace the tall bookcases that are against the wall, and shelve the paperbacks there, where they’re easy to see. Then in Phase II, I was going to replace the “stacks” that are out in the middle of the room (these are shorter bookcases), and shelve the hardcovers on those. It’s a great plan. Except that I’ve run out of wall bookcases, and I haven’t run out of paperbacks by any stretch of the imagination. I’m in the Ls. The short shelves are still full, and I have stacks of hardcovers on the floor. This is… problematic. I have a few ideas that will help. First, I need to make a map of how I’ll shelve the books that are on the short shelves. To start with, I want hard covers on all of the bottom shelves so that you don’t have to stand on your head to see what’s in the back row. I’m thinking that on the shelves that are in the “aisle,” I may want hard covers on the second shelf up also, just because they’ll be easier to browse, given that it’s a little murky down there. Mapping that out will help me figure out what I need to purchase for Phase II. Maybe I need to make that purchase sooner than I anticipate. Maybe I need to weed the hard covers more aggressively. Maybe I need to weed the *paperbacks* more aggressively. Clearly I need to think about this some more.
This morning I received an email from my mother asking to call off Saturday. She’s in so much pain that she can make it from the bed to the bedroom door, but no further. She’s trying to move up her doctor’s appointment, although if she’s like this I have to wonder how dad is going to *get* her there. So I sent Bruce an email to call the whole thing off, and suggested that we try again in the fall. At least I’m now completely cleaned for the opening of the range shoot on Sunday (assuming the weather cooperates), and I’m 80% there for overnight company the following weekend. So it wasn’t wasted effort by any means, but it *is* very disappointing.
I figure I’ll try again to get the family together either in the fall before my nephews head back to college, or around the holidays. I’m sure that Bruce would rather make the drive from Syracuse and back before the snow flies, but it would be awfully nice to have everyone together for the holidays again.
My weekend - the expanded version
Good grief, what a weekend.