Ain’t Nobody Got Time For Titles

Every time I clean the house, I want to tell the internet.  HEY!  Hey, my house is clean! Okay, it’s not pristine but… but I’ve done things.  Adult things.  It’s cool.

Last night I reactivated my Pinterest account, and that was kind of fun.  Everybody likes bookmarking, right?  This gives you pictures as well.  That’s nice.  Browsing boards and updating my own stuff got me remembering how much I enjoy healthy eating (veggies om nom nom), so looking through the pictures inspired me to make a big list of groceries to buy.

Today I went and bought the groceries, am working on meal plans for the week (because you can’t eat good food if you don’t buy it first), cleaned the kitchen (!!!), reorganized the utility area by the washer-dryer (!!!!!!!!!!), updated the cats’ litter area (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!), and put things in the shed (NO PUNCTUATION AVAILABLE).  [FYI, I am terrified of our shed.]

Uh, then I actually put all my groceries away, threw out the old crap in the fridge, cleaned off my desk, and am now getting ready to crochet another cup cozy for J’s coworker.

Woot, I crocheted it! Crotch-et-ed. That’s how we pronounce it because we’re classy. Heyyy it’s a thing I made and it’s functional. Aw yeah.

We don’t have a pantry but I’m planning on reorganizing our storage areas (which are um, not really much of any storage areas).  On top of the fridge, in the hutch, one big drawer, and the shelves on the microwave stand.  I guess that will help me keep on top of what’s available to make and also make it easier to make.

That might not have made sense, but whatever.

In other news, I’m trying to cope with the mental madhouse my brain has become. It feels like lots of little birds are trying to build nests, take flight, and kill each other. And they’re all telling me how awful I am.  I’m not coping really well with all the stress lately.

Anyway, at least my kitchen is clean.

NO SERIOUSLY CATS WHY ARE YOU PLAYING IN THE LITTER KNOCK IT OFF!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Have a great night.

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So We Got Robbed And This Is The Post Where I Talk About That

For years I’ve said – and believed –t hat the only consistency in my life is inconsistency.  My mantra has proved itself correct once again.

I spent a good part of yesterday evening cleaning glass out of our kitchen sink.

It came from a broken window, which is how people got in.

Again.

The FIRST time they broke in they were able to jimmy the window open so there wasn’t really a mess.

Let me reiterate – we got robbed three weeks ago. Nearly three weeks exactly; the first incident was March 26.  I noted (with mild amusement) that my last blog post was made on March 26, about how things were going well but it was a bit hectic.

They took some electronics, jewelry, weapons; little stuff.  They left the window open, didn’t hurt the kitties, there wasn’t really that much of a mess (except a bunch of things hastily pulled open / looked through).  Someone jimmied the kitchen window open, let their partner in through the back door, they were fairly…uh, polite? Respectful?  I only use those words because they didn’t break or mess up things too badly.  It still sucked, but it was kind of easier to cope with because there was less of a mess.  I spent the entire night cleaning, crying a little here and there, and generally feeling disappointed in humanity.

We fixed the window.  We got things set up with the police, our insurance, a security system inspection (originally scheduled for 4/29).  All buzz words that people ask – checkpoints.  “Did you call the cops? Did you call your insurance? What about an alarm?”  Yes.  We got all that taken care of.  I didn’t sleep for two nights but the trauma kind of… was easier to push down and start building a wall around.  We talked about what we should do to make our home more secure and started discussing what we need to do to move.  We told very few people about it – close friends and family, people that we would normally trust to watch our house, that kind of thing, but we kept it quiet.  You don’t really talk about that kind of stuff because of paranoia and also it’s really rather exhaustive.  I stopped checking in on social media, and kind of withdrew overall.  There were a few days of just sitting, trying to reorganize.  The stress did a number on both of us both physically and mentally, but we began to recover and I even started to feel like I had some energy to do anything besides lie on the couch and read.

Yesterday, the house got broken into AGAIN.  Jason came home from work around 330 and found the mess.

The mess.

First, all kitties are safe and accounted for.

Second, aside from a cloth carry-bag from a local hotel and some change, they didn’t take anything, except our remaining peace of mind.

They busted the window over the kitchen sink.  Glass and dishes were everywhere.

Bedroom: all the drawers dumped out, jewelry box again dumped out, closets ransacked, stuff under the bed pulled out.  They stepped on the laundry, messed up the furniture/bedding.   This means that – yet again – all the items that they touched needed to be re-washed, including the bedding. There is no worse feeling than knowing some random person is in your house, TOUCHING WHERE YOU SLEEP.

Bathroom: Two tiles that haven’t been sealed onto the bathtub frame had been taped on. They pulled those off, apparently looking for a hidden compartment underneath.  The cats were hiding in there/under the bed, thankfully.

Office: pulled some stuff off the shelves, overturned things under the desk, pulled the drawers out of the storage armoire and pulled more stuff out from inside of it.  Toolboxes we’d nearly forgotten about were dumped out.

Living/dining room: couch cushions flipped, some stuff pulled off the bookshelves. Books on the floor (thankfully not a lot, and MORE thankfully all the library books I borrowed seem to be all accounted for).  The memory box that I made with our wedding stuff was dumped out all over the couch. They ripped an envelope that held my veil.  I thought I would be prepared, but after seeing A) my wedding stuff everywhere, the sugar bowls opened up and rifled through, and a recipe box on the floor, the complete senselessness of it all then resulted in hysterics.

I don’t get hysterical. I don’t have big weeping fits or …scenes.

This time I went outside and sobbed on the porch.  Just a mess.  I tried to take some photos to document but can only post a couple because looking at the rest sets off the terrible thoughts in my head. Jason was able to clean up a little bit, but I was shaking pretty badly so most of the photos came out blurry.  I started shaking when Jason called me to give me the news, and continued on throughout the evening.  I’m still shaking and can’t get warm and it’s 70 degrees.

I’d apologize for Brak’s hair being all over the couch but I just hand-vacuumed it two days ago so I don’t care.  I’d apologize for the mess but …yeah. Whatever.  I want to apologize for not having more stuff but IT GOT STOLEN ALREADY BEFORE WE GOT RANSACKED.

Uh, so here’s what I saw when I walked in. Then I walked back outside and sat on the porch for a long while.

1


Hey check it out here’s all my memory box stuff from the wedding dumped out and kind of ripped up. That’s cool.

2

My French press appears to be alright.  Sort of pictured, some broken glass. Not totally pictured, how the sink is filled with broken glass. That’s a big painting that we were using to block the open window to keep the cats in while we cleaned up.  Also the [expletives] left the back door open so thank whatever you want to thank that they didn’t get out.

3

That’s cool. Just dump that stuff everywhere. I didn’t mind having my laundry hanging up. Or my sheets and towels folded.

5
I am 900% sure this is not how I left it.

4
Brak & Loki, accounted for and cute. Still freaked out. In the background you can sort of see how stuff was piled up in the office. 6

Pris was not having any of it.  She stayed passed out for several hours.  She is accounted for, and equally cute.7

I’m not okay.  When stressful things happen to me, my way of coping is to look at each little fact and then find whatever ‘bright side’ can be found within each bit of logic.  It keeps me sane.

That isn’t working here.  I can’t pull any logic from any of it.  It was senseless, reckless, disrespectful, insane.  I can kind of imagine what it feels like to be raped, because I have no sense of safety or peace of mind.  I’m jumpy and unable to relax, plus I don’t want to go home, because the house just feels like a weird hotel.  None of my stuff feels like my stuff.  I feel very homeless; like the only thing I have is our little family, my purse, my Kindle, my computer and my car.

Our plans to move have been bumped up to ‘as soon as possible’.  Obviously we can’t just give a 30 day notice, and obviously we need to save for a down payment.  I am considering starting one of those crowd-funded/kickstarter projects to help us get going but right now though I can’t wrap my head around any of this.  I can’t really process more than one step in advance of what I need to do right this minute.   Like…. okay, next step… shower, set your alarm for work. You have to be in the office at 830AM.  (I’m there now, FYI.)   Okay, that’s good. How about cleaning up the glass on the kitchen counter. Not the floor, don’t think about vacuuming yet.  Okay, go pick up the laundry and just put it all in the hampers. Deal with it later. Just get it off the floor.

Today is hard though.  I’m very exhausted and can’t do anything much except stare out the window of my office, where I am now.  There is a bunch of work-related paperwork to tackle so my next step is to start on the stuff in Inbox 1.

Hopefully the insurance can help us with a little more money so we can add extra bars to the windows, fix the busted window, fix the fence, and replace a couple stolen items.  Our security system install got bumped up to high priority with the company and I think they’ll be able to do it today.

The mess was cleaned up, a very long shower was had, but I still feel broken inside.

This is very draining to talk about which is why I am making kind of a long post in hopes to not talk too much about it further.  I’m not looking for sympathy but this is too much to just hold in.  I am not okay right now though.  That is all.

Adventures in Domesticity

Hello!  It’s been a minute.  I’ve been busy in that way that completes the things you need to get done, but not the things you want to get done.  It’s all for the greater good, apparently.

Essentially time after work is spent corralling, feeding, herding, and cleaning up after the cats.  We’re all on a pretty good schedule and things are finally settling down.

Last weekend I was rather domestic and built a succulent garden (and cleaned, and .  I finally got everything properly potted, but here’s what I’ve got so far.

before1

Before

I had to dig out a bunch of that dirt that neighborhood strays had crapped in, scour the bricks of the porch (causing hordes of ants to climb everywhere), and paint the bricks.  Whomever ‘built’ the weird little planter area  decided the best way to do it would be set concrete blocks in cement.  I doubt there was any measuring or leveling.  In theory it’s a nice idea, it reality it made things a hassle.

The next step was to measure the area, head to Home Depot, buy the wood, stain and paint it, then put it together to cover up everything while being strong enough to hold the brilliant plant idea I came up with.  (“Brilliant” typically means “In Over Your Head” with my projects.)  After we got everything situated, the only thing left to do was add plants.

garden1

After

This makes me much happier. It also rained all week, and two days ago one of the strays knocked over a rectangular planter, but it seems to be mostly okay.  Jason straightened it up and I’ll deal with making sure all the plants are snug in their homes (they don’t look too bad).

Oh, I also re-did the container gardens on the porch.  There are two small succulents at about 1100 and 1200 in the left arrangement, and those are from the wedding.  THAT makes me happy.  Now that they’ve been replanted in good soil and watered, they’ve come back from being dormant, and are blending right in with the rest of the crew.

arrangements1

Container gardens

Did you guys know that I have another blog?  Yes.  Domesticity (http://dmestic.wordpress.com/) except I haven’t updated since 2010. Everything seems to just fall into place in this blog, so this is where most of the updates happen.  Also, as the kittens slowly settle down and stop requiring me to pay attention to them every single nanosecond (else they’ll destroy everything), I have a smidgen more time to do things not involving them.  Things that are a touch more relaxing, like drinking tea, or writing an email, or looking at the internet.  That latter part is tough because they tend to want to jump up and down on the laptop specifically when I’m using it, making updates rather difficult.

Bonus round: my home office finally has a desktop system, which is loaded up with Adobe’s CS6 Suite.  It only took me five years to get back on track, but there was that whole search-and-buy a house thing, and that wedding thing, so life was a bit hectic.

See, there’s this thing floating around the Interwebs, one of those memes, and it says (essentially) that “When I was younger, I couldn’t wait to grow up. Uh, this sh/t is NOT what I expected.”
Here’s the part where (if I was a kid), I’d brag all about how I cleaned my room AND put away the laundry AND made my bed.  Then I did the dishes! They’re put away!!

Anyway, since I’m an adult, you get to hear me being excited over my accomplishments of that single day last weekend, which include:
-going to the doctor
-going to Home Depot
-bought a ton of plants and supplies for the succulent gardens
-brought the plants and supplies home AND set them up (the painting/potting adventure (during which I spilled white latex paint all over the driveway had to wait until there was more daylight)
-made yet another homemade smoothie and dinner in efforts to get myself healthy and back in shape (now I’m drinking juice concoctions on a regular basis, mostly thanks to Casa De Juice)
-washed and put away the majority of the dishes (which is impressive because the majority of all dishes we owned were everywhere but in their proper place)
-cleaned out the spice drawer and made a spice area elsewhere (!!! there was stuff from 2004, you guys! it’s cleaned out! we now have a cat food drawer, oh man. OH MAN.)
-reorganized the kitchen and cleaned it
-SWIFFERED
-cleaned out the utility area and made room for the kittens’ litter to be moved over
-actually cleaned the litter (argh)

I know there was more, but that’s a metric ton of stuff for me to do on my day off, which is typically reserved for sitting on the couch With Snacks, reading and passing out when whatever’s on TV bores me to unconsciousness.  I even broke a sweat.

That was two weekends ago (oh, I had a birthday on Jan 10th, so last weekend was all about partying it up). This weekend was reserved for more standard cleaning involving laundry and vacuuming; psuedo-spring cleaning.  My next domestic project for today/tomorrow is to reorganize my linen storage area and office, then tackle the huge pile of freshly cleaned laundry.  I need to reorganize the office to make it more conducive to art stuff and also kitty-proof it.  The sun is out but not strong and there’s a nice breeze, so I’ve got the house brightened up and am hoping my allergies stop sucking my life away. I’ve sneezed more in the past two months than I have in my life; seriously.  Sneezing fits are not something that happen to me, nor are constantly itchy eyes and throat.  People that suffer from this constantly have my sympathies.

The juicing thing has been good. I’ve been making daquiri-looking concoctions at home, and drinking juice blends as meal replacement every couple days.  It’s helping a lot, because my weight and skin were making me very unhappy.  Now that the house is much more organized, the space is here to do that stuff at home.

Anyway, it’s been a long strange trip, but for the most part, 2013 is off to a great start.  I’m even doing yoga a bit more frequently.  Now to remember this feeling when it gets crazy…

Nip and Tuck

I’ve owned this bamboo plant, Harold, for about three years. He’s hanging out on the little table there, just chillin’, as he is often wont to do. He went from a small standard “lucky bamboo” plant to a 3-foot-tall BambooZilla. I’m a proud plant mom!

Harold and his now-deceased fam

He’s been named because that’s the only way that my plants survive: name them, talk to them, give them plenty of water & sunlight. Sometimes food/soil, but that last one is optional. He did really well on my desk at work, but then my coworker tried to kidnap him (and did, for several hours on several occasions), so he needed to come home with me.

A couple weeks ago, Harold’s leaves started yellowing. He wasn’t looking too good, perhaps more sun? Less sun? New water? Less water? Bamboo is kind of hard to kill off (just make sure it’s got fresh water and filtered sunlight), but it seemed like that’s what was happening. He wasn’t getting much better.

This past weekend I noticed that the water was very dark, and the bottom stalks were turning yellow. Generally that means something is really amiss. Then, switching out the water, it dawned on me that the Really Awful Random Smell that seemed to be lingering over the past who-knows-how-long was coming from Harold. A couple weeks at least, long enough for me to not remember when it didn’t smell like something died. It wasn’t overpowering, but every so often when I went by the fridge there would be a whiff of something like food gone bad. It wasn’t pleasant, but it seemed like something that would just randomly waft in through the open window.

Anyway …BAMBOO ROT.

Now, it’s been a very hot week. It’s hot right now. I don’t do well in the heat, much like a delicate flower (or mayonnaise). I get nauseous very quickly and essentially can’t do much more than sit in front of a fan or A/C unit, eating a popsicle and trying to remember when it was cold enough to wear socks. My office and car has air conditioning, my home just has a window unit in the bedroom (which is on for the first time this year).

Keeping all that in mind, I’m not going to search for images of “bamboo rot” or anything else with the word “rot”. My stomach is already giving me the side-eye just thinking of that smell. We are barely on truce terms.

Digressing: back to Harold. About an hour ago I walked by and noticed the smell was stronger. A closer look confirmed the water was cloudy. The plan with “Operation Save Harold” was to drain the old water and add new water every day for a week, hoping to flush any toxins. This was day 3, and if the plan was to work, the water should have been fairly clear today. The smell definitely shouldn’t have been as strong.

I went into the kitchen and dumped out the water/rocks into a mixing bowl …and the smell was horrifying. There was a weird glaze of growth inside the vase that he’d been transferred to.

At this point, people are probably saying “JUST TOSS IT”.

You guys, I can’t. Harold’s been around for too long. I wanted to save him.

Upon closer inspection, he was made up of three separate stalks that were held together with twine or floral wire. That material had rotted, as did the bottom of all the stalks, as did the root system. Only one of the stalks had any green left – below the curl near the bottom of the stalk was all a yellowish-brown sick color, but the curl and above was still green. This rot appeared to only be coming up from the bottom and not infesting the entire stalk, thankfully. Made the cut under running water, tossed the whole root system and 2.5 stalks of the three. What remains is a small portion in a little round container filled with fresh clear water that I plan on switching out on a weekly basis. The only crappy side-note is that I have been sick over the past few weeks. It started with that summer flu/cold that was going around and my cough has lingered. My throat feels weird. I’m hoping/wishing/praying that all the lingering stuff is just that, and not some crazy illness from inhaling mold spores or some other such crap for me to get paranoid about. I’m sure all the A/C in my office/car is also a lovely home to mold, so let’s not think about that – but I do tend to run my car’s A/C with the windows open so the air circulates. Hopefully that helps any flying mold. Or whatever.

Ugh!

An interesting fact (thanks, Internet!) is that yellowing of the leaves and rot can come from too much sunlight, but typically more often from heavily-fluoridated water. Right around the time Harold started to get sick was about the time I saw an influx of articles that San Diego water has a higher fluoride content, which means while I still have no idea on if fluoride helps or harms (there are far too many people on both opposing and proposing sides), it’s just something to add to the thoughts. Anyway, the majority of the water I drink is from a Sparkletts jug at work, because it’s free and I love hydrating myself.

Stay tuned and keep your fingers crossed for Harold. And me.

Harold ...in happier times

Daily Zen

A more appropriate title will be forthcoming. For now, that fits.
It’s my blog, I may keep that title. So there.

Just a little bit of daily routine, shared with all y’all, in hopes that it might add a little zest of zen to your lives.

When it’s almost time for bed:

This site reminded me to clean up after myself (although I’ve been much better lately). For those of you who eat in front of your computer (or tv), go put your food trash/dirty dishes in the kitchen. Where it goes.

-Put away your shoes. Just do it. It sucks, but just do it. You can grab them on your way back from putting away your stuff in the kitchen and toss them in the closet/shoe basket/shoe rack. Then, surprisingly, you’ll know where they are in the morning. It may take a couple days but suddenly you realize that shoes have homes and those homes are the only logical place they belong when not in use.

-Stretch. One or two good full body stretches will get you comfy and ready for sleep.

-Go to bed half an hour earlier than you normally would. This way you’re probably asleep before you would have normally even gone to bed. Seriously, I know some of you (including me) have an Internet addiction, but you know roughly how long your daily e-rounds take. If you start doing those rounds a little earlier that’s helps, and for the love of all that is holy don’t get sucked into surfing Myspace, Facebook or Livejournal when it’s getting close to bedtime. No matter what, just try not to surf endlessly into the wee hours of the morning. Perhaps end your rounds at an inspiring site, a daily quote site or something that is not constantly updated. Bonus points if it’s a health/fitness site, maybe you’ll be inspired to do some yoga in the morning. 😉

-Read in bed if you want, or maybe play some mediation music to fall asleep. Nothing crazy, just some nice nature sounds or maybe monks chanting if you like that sort of thing. SomaFm.com has 2 great playlists (Groove Salad & Drone Zone) that can help you pass out.

-Bonus points if you get up a little earlier than normal due to feeling more rested (hopefully from going to bed earlier)!

Have a good night, everyone.

Spinster in the Making

It’s been some time since my last venture into this blog. The WordPress side of things has been neglected in lieu of my MySpace, Vox, and LiveJournal… but I’m back now!

The word count that updates as you’re typing an update on here is really distracting.

My newest obsession is home decor. It all really started when my boyfriend’s parents came to visit. Truth be told, home decor and general interior design has always been in my head, but they are the ones who made me feel like we really should be doing more with this place. Not only that, but that things actually could be done with this apartment. The local Ikea here was built only a year or two before my move to San Diego, however I’d visited the one in the Pittsburgh region many times prior.

“Two people are needed to assembly this furniture.”
It says that on the tag as well as on the website.

We almost bought this sofa in this color, but it was either the new entertainment/storage monstrosity or a baby shelving system and the new sofa. I also wanted these open-back wooden boxes (kind of like shadowboxes) that could be mounted to the wall separately; so I could put them between the little round mirrors that are up. That way there would be somewhere to put all the CDs and DVDs and my art crap.

Anyway, since we haven’t sold our old sofa yet (and it’s too huge to get out of the apartment alone), I said who needs groceries?! and bought the Shelving Beast.

I’m not sure where this blog will go, but I’d like it to focus on reviews of my attempts at being domestic. Let’s start off with window shopping. The links in the following post will be embedded into this blog at some point, but for now we can just peruse the Links of Ultimate Want.

Something I’ve been looking into lately is shelving systems. When you have a tiny apartment, or at least an artist+gamer boyfriend+cat living in less than 1000 square feet, you need to think of how to store all their unique items. My last trip to Ikea introduced me to wall-mounted shelving, and this T-Shelf over at Chiasso does something very similar.

The one at Ikea could, I believe be separated into multiple tiny storage units, and would look great between the small round mirrors hanging up here in the bedroom. Another option would be a quick purchase of wood from Home Depot, and you could make your own custom sizes, which you’d be free to paint however you wanted. Now if only we could find that hammer…

Apparently enjoying organizing my apartment and making little crafty things means I am now boring, but at least my knitting needles won’t get rusty, right?

Scratch that – I actually like embroidering better than knitting.