Sunday, August 28, 2005

Tall kid, short cake, more smoke, less mess

It's been awhile. I've been so busy I haven't even read my mail in a few days, much less blogged. So I'm gonna write one of those update type posts that jump from subject to subject without warning. Maybe I'll put a space between the subjects to help the reader, if you ask nicely.

William had his first football game on Saturday. An almost all day event since we had to drive to Reno. After panicking the coaches by arriving an hour late with one of their key players for the jamboree last weekend (William told us the wrong time), I thought we'd make it up to them this time by being the first ones to arrive. Okay, so I had an ulterior motive. The sooner I dropped William off before the game, the more time I had to SHOP before the game started. I hit Ben Franklin and scored, finding a lot of the new Halloween fabrics I wanted, as well as a some Halloween "garland" marked down to a dollar a swag. Not sure what, if anything, I'll do with sparkly black swags, but hey, it was too weird, fun and cheap not to buy it. I'll figure out how to use it later.

The game was fun. The boys had a great time. They particularly enjoyed winning 39 to zip. I thought you'd enjoy seeing a pic of my tiny son out on the field. He's number 66.

Jeff had to miss the game because he couldn't get the time off work, but he wanted to go out to celebrate when we all got home. By then there was only our one 24-hour restaurant still open, so off we went for dessert. Usually their food and service is fine. Nothing great, and a buck or so more expensive then I'd like, but hey, if it pays to keep it open for us night owls, I'm fine with it.

Only last night, we didn't get good food OR good service. I ordered strawberry shortcake. It was supposed to be FRESH. The strawberries weren't fresh - they were frozen mush. The cake wasn't fresh, it was stale and/or freezer burned, couldn't tell which but does it really matter? Of course I didn't figure this out until we'd been sitting there foreeeeeevvvvvvveeeeerrrrrr. Our waiter, appeared to be the only employee in the entire building. He went to the kitchen after taking our order (after we'd sat there for 20 minutes first) and was apparently growing, harvesting, and cooking our order.

At one point a gentlemen came around and offered us coffee. I asked him to bring me decaf and he pointed out that he didn't actually work there, he was just another customer who'd gotten tired of waiting and had helped himself. Good plan, I went behind the counter and got my own decaf. Eventually everyone, about six tables, figured out that we were "on their own" and we all began to help ourselves to sodas, water, and more coffee. The waiter never noticed.

I would have felt sorry for the kid but it didn't seem to be solely a case of being "busy". It was more like a case of being busy AND completely inexperienced (that's a polite way of saying not particularly sharp, y'know) I asked him what pies they had that night and he said "Uhm, I really don't know." And then stood there, as if that answered THAT question. Now this is a restaurant that prides itself on it's pies, sorta a Marie Callender kinda place. So the correct answer should have been "We have apple, peach, pecan, banana cream, key lime, and cheesecake." Or at the very least, "I'm not sure, let me go check for you." NOT "I don't know" followed by a dumb stare as he waited for me to decide I'd rather not order pie!!! I'm kinda thinking I might mention this visit to the manager next time I see him.

Woke up this morning for the third day to the smell of smoke in the air. If it's not one thing it's another, one needs something to complain about. The high temps are gone, whew, but we now have forest fires in the nearby area, nearby geographically speaking. We're surrounded by a triangle of three large fires, each one about 100 miles in a different direction. It's hard to sleep when you smell smoke - it keeps waking me up and my maternal instinct, or maybe my personal instinct for survival, keeps wanting to figure out WHAT is on fire. The intellectual me knows the smoke is far away and the fact can be filed away as a nuisance and slight health risk. The animal me wants to grab up my family and run.

I took William and some of his buddies to the matinee today to see The Brothers Grimm. It was air conditioned and smoke free inside the theatre, which was a treat. The movie was also a treat. True to Grimm's Fairytales, the story was NOT all cleaned up for children. It was rich with both frightening and fantastical imagery. It was also amusing. I kept thinking of both Van Helsing and Tim Burton's Sleepy Hollow. We all enjoyed it, so that's four thumbs up from Susanville.

After the movie (and hoo boy, it's really hard to come out of a dark theatre in the middle of a bright sunny afternoon and then DRIVE home - my old eyeballs don't adjust that fast), I got busy. I have four days until I go to Reno to pick up Joe and Lisa at the airport. Three days now, if you assume, rightly so, that I'm not gonna get much more done today. I was very pleased with my efforts this afternoon however.

It's not that I have to clean up for Joe and Lisa. Hey, they've been here, they know the score. Love me, love my mess. (Although I'd like to state, for the record, I used to be a really good housekeeper. I don't know HOW the house imploded into such chaos - I'm sure it has something to do with teenagers, exacerbated by both my mom (who moved and gifted me with a lot of goodies - welcomed, but a lot of goodies nontheless), and multiple life whammies.) I don't have to, but I want to see how much I can get done between now and then, because it gives me an artificial deadline and keeps the clean-or-scream hormones (similar to the fright-or-flight hormones, but domesticated) running high. If I'm lucky, I'll get more done in the next three days then I would in two weeks of a non-deadlined time period.

Unfortunately, I'm probably the only one who can tell how much work I accomplished today as it was all the kind of stuff that's invisible to anyone at this stage of the process. I cleaned shelves, a cabinet. and a closet. That means that there's no obvious difference to the casual passer-by. Well, that's not true, the casual observer would probably notice MORE mess, not less, because when one pulls everything out of a enclosed space, the amount of stuff expands to fill ten times the space it occupied when tucked safely out of sight. And of course not all of it goes back in, if one is lucky and/or doing a good job of things. There's the pile that goes in the garbage, the garage sale box, the stack of things to-be-put-elsewhere.... and so on and so forth.

The important thing is I'M happy with my efforts. When one lives in the same place for a long time, cubbyholes and closets tend to get impacted - there's that bottom or back layer of stuff that becomes invisible and even though it's organized, it's never used. It's becomes invisible wasted space. I found four separate boxes of pencils and pens. Combined, they all fit in one of the four boxes. I went through hundreds of children's markers and discovered that easily half of them were dried up and ready to be tossed. Every time a child had stopped using a folder or binder, I'd cleaned it out and stored it for the next user. Somehow I'd managed to store DOZENS of binders. I kept the best half dozen and tossed the rest in a garage sale box. I found a stack of school workbook and activity books about two feet high. We got rid of about 80% of it.

The exciting part is that when all that extra space becomes available inside the cupboards or closets, that means something that is sitting around the house without a home can now be put away, out of sight. It's a slow process because it's a lot like those plastic puzzles - the ones with the little squares that slide back and forth and if you do it correctly, you end up with a picture of a Santa or a bunny or some cartoon character. The trick is to think enough moves ahead to make sure you don't get it all done except for Santa's boot, which somehow is still stuck up in the top lefthand corner, which will mean you have to move all the pieces you thought were homefree out of the way in order to get it down to the bottom righthand corner. And like the puzzle, this sort of cleaning process requires an amazing amount of THINKING, something one doesn't need for every day tasks like dishes or vacuuming.

That's about it. I'm gonna get off the computer and see if I can manage a few more shuffles before my brain gets too tired. Or, if that's beyond my abilities, maybe I can switch gears and do something like fold a few baskets of clean clothes or wipe off a couple of counters. When I'm finally ready for the couch and the remote, I've got a reward for my hard work waiting for me. Homemade flan from our local Mexican restaurant.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sounds like the typical service in the small town where I used to live.;-) Hope you got all the cleaning done you wanted to do before Joe & Lisa arrived. There's nothing like having company to get the house clean--I purposely invite people over to get the same effect here--LOL.

1:23 AM  

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