C.o.E.

Chain of Events.

The longer I live the more I believe that older people (caveat: older than you or I) might have a right to be cranky.

Live a while and at some point you begin to realize things are not… as they should be.

Customer service? LMBO.

Now, I realize it is not the technician’s fault that they get overbooked. It’s not their fault that one minor repair after another turned into one major repair after another, so I try not to let on how stressed I now am that I only booked half a day off of work, and due to incompetencies of contracted large-corporations shipping customer service overseas, I now have to call in another half-day.

It’s not their fault that I call in an hour ago to speak to someone across the globe, and that the request that someone please call me with a real ETA to let me know when they are coming doesn’t get paged to them until they have already been standing in my kitchen for 20 minutes.

It’s also not their fault that the $75.00 deductible I pay really isn’t for much of anything except to tell me my appliance is old, and while it has lasted longer than newer models on the market, it still may be not lasting much longer, flipping a plastic piece into place and using a  hex-nut driver to level it off.

Of course, this isn’t a crisis. Of course, there are way worse things happening in the world; horrible things that we cannot control. Perhaps that is why we (ok, “I”, fine, whatever) try to control what might be controllable even when logic and past experience dictate frustration and failure.

I obviously know that calling 1-800-overseas again isn’t going to make me calmer or make the service person appear on my doorstep any quicker. I think I’m only after recognitive acknowledgement that there is a continual problem that someone (who prefers to remain anonymous, like the man behind the curtain) should think about addressing. Put succinctly: Stop lying, or at least be a bit more vague than you already are with your promises.

I curl up on the couch for a minute fighting the urge to cry, keenly aware that having arrived at this state over a still functioning refrigerator is ridiculous. Truly.

But, that’s what happens when I get angry, or I wake up thinking about my brother Greg, or how the injustice of every 9/11 triggers a deep NY sadness, or the fact that fall will be followed by the darkness of winter and an indirectly related reminder that according to the government for “tax purposes” I am no longer married, like that part of my life never existed and I must report myself as “single.”  Or, maybe it’s just I’ve had it with unreliable repair services and being in charge of freakin’ everything.

I eventually decide I need a cool down; more accurately a warm up.

On the porch. With nail polish remover, nail polish base coat, nail polish color. And a cute little strawberry margarita in a can that’s been patiently sitting in my loud, shaking fridge since late July.

About halfway through, I remember why I don’t drink very often. My arms get floppy, and I get tired.

My peaceful calm-down lean-back anti-gravity lounge gets interrupted by a lone fluttering fall leaf that bounces off my forehead onto my woman shelf. I annoyed-ly flip it off and come face-to-chest with an ugly chain-of-event truth from last weekend.

I am and obliviously have been (since pre-repair-waiting began at 6:30 am this morning) wearing my button-down floral camp-shirt inside-out.  You see, I washed it, and hung it to dry, and even though I noticed I had slipped it over the hanger seams-side out and came up with a warped justification that it would be good for the shirt not to dry on the hanger in the usual fashion with weighted-pressure on the shoulder, and that the fabric would wear more evenly if I left it as was. Truth: I was just too lazy to turn it. Truly.

Dressing in the semi-darkness this morning was another lazy move. Turning on a light would mean having to draw the curtain which would mean having to move the white shelf board that formerly held up my mattress but was replaced by plywood when I moved. It never made it to the garbage (lazy) and has since found a re-purpose of holding back the drape instead of a using a matching tie-back that I just haven’t had perhaps 15 minutes of un-lazy time to make, yet.

Bottom line? Here it is:

Life is all about the chain of events. That, and what lazy will get ya.

Quote for the Week:

2015 09 15 lazy chain of events 09 15 2015 jakorte

Enjoy This Week’s Discover Links:

How to Do it Right; http://www.bhg.com/homekeeping/laundry-linens/clothes/dry-clothes/

Seriously Symbolic: http://www.household-management-101.com/laundry-symbols.html

The Death of a Fridge: https://www.quora.com/Why-do-some-refrigerators-make-a-loud-shaking-noise

Weed-ed

Nope, they didn’t. Fit, that is.

I crammed and jammed and endured as much thistle poking as I was willing to, and finally conceded. My weeds could not be contained in my one sad about to split sack.

Sharing an extremely large, porch-privacy providing, completely inaccessible by vehicle, gorgeously manicured, green common space squared away between four buildings is a beautiful thing.

It also wonderful to live in a community that cares about general landscape neatness, floral beauty and keeping up on foliage containment. It’s also exactly why I was so embarrassed to have discovered I had been hosting three jungles of vegetative junk.

But none of that was forefront.  I chose my weeding attire based on three sizes too big and don’t care if I ruin it. So, that’s how I ended up in a pair of size 24 white, black, teal sparkle-accented plaid capris, and one of many oversized completely un-matched red t-shirts, common silicone blue gloves, and a wretched pair of ripped tennies – “kicks” if I wanted to be cool. I obviously didn’t, and didn’t care.

At least, not until an hour and a half later and only 2/3rds done following a straighten-up breather. I was about to bend back over with my saggy plaid derriere pointed towards 3 other buildings when I caught a breeze of laughter.

It seems my colorful conquering coincided with some court-yard neighbors hosting a BBQ or two.  Of course, I’m going to assume the laughter was not related to my trials. Truly, it uprooted my usual stubborn streak, making me all the more stubborn.

At the finished end, all that did not fit in the garden bag went back into the garden.  A myriad of unidentifiable weedy things ended up in a pyramid placed as much out of sight as possible. Call it au natural composting, or whatever. I figure the result will be the same as if the darn things had just died on their own, withering from unusual heights.

The before and after pictures are worth thousands of words, but here are some additional thoughts, anyway.

A garden full of weeds isn’t really a garden. A full bed may seem successfully lush, but insincere effortless encouragement is not the answer.

Spirituality, large professions of faith (growing wild and over each other, free-ranging a variety of competitive tentacles) mean nothing if they are not fruitful, or vegetable-full or even flower-full.

As in life, stripping away the extraneous often reveals not much to work with, shaky ground and results in a lot of standing around with hands on hips trying to decide whether to begin again with an ambitious plan or abandon for the simple pleasure of grass.

Quote for the Week:

2015 09 08 weeding even ugly pants jakorte

Enjoy This Week’s Discovery Links:

Officially, it’s Tartan: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tartan

Officially, Not Compost: http://organicgardening.about.com/od/howtocompost/a/Composting-Weeds.htm

Officially, Baking Soda: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/413064597051138303/

 

Weed-ing

Last weekend I set the 3’s goals again, and promised myself I would wash the garage door and get the weeding done. Small beds wouldn’t take long.

About the garage door, yeah, I know most people don’t spend their weekend washing theirs, but this was another didn’t-do that had been bugging me for a while. A deep layer of dirt and last year’s fall leaves held on in blotches, despite summer’s multiple downpours.

Each time the door went up long sticky strands of debris floated up with it. I was tired of dodging grossness to retrieve groceries.

It was a messy job. Cobwebs and dead bugs, sticky leaves and grass clippings finally gave way. About an hour and a half later, I set out for the other side confident I could do what I had to do quickly and painlessly. I knew what a weed looked like, thanks to years of reluctant experience.

Sometimes, the things our parents made us do were truly for our own good, a boon to our life-coping skills. Sometimes, it was just cheap, get-the-kids-out-of-the-house –labor. I’m still undecided which role weeds played in the development of my character.

Armed with gloves and a paper grocery sack, I took a look and started to form a new impression. It was all weeds, which was actually a good thing. Indiscriminately yanking up shallow rooted plants required no gentleness, and no particular order.

Easy; for about 3 minutes, until one large-fisted grab allowed a million prickers to penetrate my Arbor Brewing Company cloth gloves. Provided for immediate and personal continued use during One Brick Detroit’s tree planting in The Greening of Detroit, the gloves were tremendously helpful and suitable for tree planting; not so much for thorn-bush removal.

I regrouped with a good hand washing, a mug of iced tea, and re-armed with thick silicone painting-stripping protective gloves. I wasn’t about to let weeding become a challenge. The more I picked around the barbs, the more I came to realize, I was probably looking at an ill-kept (as in never pruned) rose-bush of some sort. Also hidden within this bed, were two short, sort-of roundish, stubby evergreen shrubs.

I kept at it, though, eventually losing track of real-time. Finishing the first bed felt good, kind of. I’d been leaning over, imaginably unattractively in my too big bright blue plaid and mega-large diamond-rhinestone capris. A Friday night BBQ got going on across the courtyard. I decided to ignore it, and ripped on.

Working from the back to the front was one of my better non-ideas, as in, I really didn’t have a plan. I’d just walked in and went at it. By the time I got out of (by getting rid of) the deep, I pretty much had to kneel to give my entire-body-lifting thigh muscles a break. When I finally stepped back, I felt I had come close enough to conquering that little bit of mayhem to move on: to the bigger bed.

My make-shift “I surely won’t need something larger than this” Whole Foods re-used refuse (old paper shopping) bag was about 2/3 full. I refused to go back inside to get another one, mostly because I know myself and was pretty sure it would be the hard to talk myself into finishing up tomorrow.

Nope, whatever I was going to pull was going to have to fit.

Quote for the Week:

2015 09 01 Determination and Ingenuity jakorte

Enjoy This Week’s Discovery Links:

Glove Deep: http://thesweethome.com/reviews/the-best-gardening-gloves/

Serious: http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/news/2013/09/best-garden-gloves-from-consumer-reports/index.htm

Visually: https://www.google.com/search?q=how+to+store+garden+gloves&sa=X&rlz=1C1CHFX_enUS483US483&espv=2&biw=1777&bih=861&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&ved=0CCUQsARqFQoTCLXHoLeD18cCFQV6PgodEo0Bzg&dpr=0.9

 

Weed

Most of my fair-weather, spring-through-summer-into-Fall Saturday-morning youth, was spent weeding.

I’m not complaining, although I did a lot of that in my teens. It didn’t matter much, though. I don’t have much of an idea what was on Saturday morning cartoons, because they didn’t exist at our house.  Saturday mornings were for pitching in. If it wasn’t raining, there was yard work.

I probably had it the easiest being the girl. I suppose it was assumed I’d adore flowers and therefore want to save them from the continual attack of stuff that wasn’t supposed to be there in between the walk-lining Marigolds, beneath manicured bushes or among the Pansies circling the lilac tree.

I didn’t. Love flowers, I mean. I won’t go as far as to say I don’t like them now, either. I enjoy seeing them, in other people’s spaces. I certainly don’t envy the dedication required.

Recent weekend mornings have been challenging.  Intentionally reserved for walking an intense 3 miles each Saturday and Sunday morning, I don’t try and meet my weekly pace. I know I’ll be making stops along the way, and my time will lag a little mainly due to… flowers.

Two weekends ago, I was about to be shorted into arriving home at only 2.97 miles. I wanted the 3, badly enough to circle my building block, twice. The second time around, I noticed something. Something bad.

There had been some interesting tall flower-like thingies bobbing outside the bedroom window for a while, but it never really crossed my mind that those plantings might now be mine. As in, I bought the place and inherited whatever previous strange things the owner did as well as the lack of normal type of things they didn’t do.

This was didn’t-do. That really needed to be done. Sloppily placed decorative border-bricks unevenly announced this was supposed to be a gardened area. I can’t in good conscience say it was actually supposed to be a garden; that would be an unnecessarily grandiose assumption.

Still, there were two of them. One on each side of the partially hidden central air hardware; and they were full. Really full – of stuff. So full it became a 30-second stop and stare. Stunned and stumped,  I reluctantly edged around to the seldom used front entry and figured out the larger lumpish-shapes hiding behind my mammoth weeds were probably unsculpted bushes, kin to the semi-sculpted ones on either side of the door.

I was headed back to the jungle-side when the Map My Walk mile-counter lady pleasantly relayed I had stumbled into three-mile mark. 3.2 and past-goal to be exact. So, I walked away and that was that.

Quote for the Week:

2015 08 25 fastest way to find respect for someone elses work jakorte

Enjoy This Week’s Discovery Links:

Weeds: http://www.bhg.com/gardening/pests/insects-diseases-weeds/types-of-weeds/

Still Not Sure? There’s a Library for That:  http://www.garden.org/weedlibrary/

This Has Been Going On For a While: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gardening

the stall

Am I the only one? I might be. I probably am. Well, maybe not.

Interspersing mandatory with loveliness; chomping through absolutely healthy naked carrots and cucumbers, saving a few bites of my main dish in an effort to be able end a meal on a positive and tasty note. Healthy in its own way, an enamel skillet, no oil, what’s on hand concoction of a little leftover shredded red cabbage, the remainders of a bag of frozen broccoli, chopped mini red onions, tomatoes canned with green peppers and celery, unhealthisized with a still healthier than real sausage option of chicken Gouda sausages.  It’s sweet and savory and better for me than what I’ve been eating during the 5 month condo crisis.

It’s just unnerving to have to force myself to eat, eat more, eat better, and it’s directly connected to the stall.

Saying I’m in a holding pattern implies going in circles. I am not going in circles.  The unpacking/establishing thing has lost its fascination. Most everything is reasonably placed where I think I like it, for now.  There’s not even much minor effort moving; slide boxes around a little, consolidate partials.

If I see it and it is going the same way I am, and I know where I am going to put it when I get there, it stands a chance. I’ve also been reconsidering. Should probably put this here, or maybe I should do my nails or figure out what to eat. I’m stalled.

I’m looking ahead and looking at the moment, and not seeing a payoff that’s going to outweigh playing word games or guilty-pleasure reading or letting Blu shoulder-hug as we both enjoy the view from the living room window.

The “should” list of micro-organization supposed to lead to peaceful order is no longer stapled to my daily mental door. Floated to the kitchen table, like some other real stuff, I see it there, and there it is. Stalled.

I laugh when people say you have your whole life to get this together.

If I’m going to take my whole life to get it together, I’ll never have any fun because it will be bothering me for my whole life.  Except for tonight. Again.

Quote for the Week:

everythng in its place upright

Enjoy this Week’s Discovery Links:

Don’t Clean: http://organizedhome.com/clean-house/clean-sweep-case-against-spring-cleaning

Stop Stalling: http://talkingworks.com/stop-stalling/

# 6: http://www.petmd.com/cat/slideshows/care/reasons-to-hug-your-cat%20

Arms Too Short

Stuff. Everywhere. What doesn’t fit, what does, where? Logic and logistics.

I’ve discovered that I am very good at hiding: tucking away in cabinets, behind closet doors, in drawers, file cabinets. Perfunctory parts everyone owns and no one needs to see, those are well-placed for me.

I’ve discovered I’m not very good at upfront, first impression, walk-in.

Not because I’m secretive, but because I want to put so much out there, you’ll know me by these obvious things. I can be overwhelming that way. Throwing all my colorful cards up in the air thinking you’ll get the idea as each floats past in glitter-globe slow-motion. I don’t doubt I’d be more impressive with less; I just don’t know how to do less.

Luckily, I have a secret weapon. A very patient secret weapon who understands I’ve had issues with stuff, and letting go. Who easily skims perfect pieces; they just rise to the top when she shuffles.

I’ve been hauling well over 30 years, with the intention of one day; some day.

Last Saturday was supposed to be the day, but I was overwhelmed with kitchen. A few days of standing center, rotating drawers and cabinets did nothing but make me dizzy. It was where I needed to start. Patience’s imported logic took over, and then it was over. Over and easily done, not so much by me, which I’m sure simplified the process.

Walls. When you don’t own them, you don’t use them. Temporarity makes that make sense. Security deposits and patchwork are too much of a hassle. Patience helped me use a wall the last time, succinctly covering up as much of the cornflower blue and pink flowered shiny wallpaper as possible with color chicken camouflage. I’d seen her work before. I knew what to expect, and I was incredibly expectant, as well as well-rested so I wouldn’t have to crawl to the couch and rest this time.

I’ve been taking my new walls very seriously. I want the vision. I want specific. I want to project well-planned permanence. Pride my collections to start conversations as if I’ve been rooted my whole life. Which meant I would best move aside, step back as assistant to the master, and watch the magic occur.

There is beauty in balance and we can’t easily find that ourselves. It’s impossible to see what our presented lives will look like until we are across the room. Up close and personal isn’t synonymous with open-mined segmentation. So, moved and assessed. Considered and configured. Experiment with ease.

Not everything fit, and probably some of it shouldn’t have,anyway. It was beautiful to watch such intense care taken with my life; and to whole-heartedly love the final presentation.

The overages are still resting, open-boxed on the living room floor. Not great works of art, just magical moments in time. Like the pen and ink inconic – melding star and fish and faith, so representative of exactly where we stood in our lives, different but overlapped. We loved it so much we bought it for the café-wall asking price of $10.00, which was way more than the 2 cents we barely had to rub together. The others hold time equally, as well. Place-cards I never pass without thinking, “There’s a place for these here, somewhere.”

I found that place today, in my over-sized nubby sweater, with my too short sweatpants and my frog-faced non-slip, grippy socks on the way to the basement. A little-used space, needed for necessities, and scattered memories that will make me smile. It actually wasn’t my idea. Nannee Vincze’s basement stairwalls held similar things, utilitarian and timeline. Stepstool, newspaper clippings, hammers, campaign poster. I thought it was odd, but the passage was just that: a daily passage through good times and significant times on the way to the laundry or deep freeze. Daily.

 Quote for the Week:

There is beauty in balance, though not 03 31 2015

Enjoy this Week’s Discovery Links:

Color balance: http://www.hgtv.com/design/decorating/color/combine-colors-like-a-design-expert

Design balance: http://hatchdesign.ca/principles-of-interior-design-part-1-balance/

Life Hack balance: My apologies to Patience. I knew about this; I forgot.

lifehack

The Positive No

The double unfortunate fortune I’ve been spending straddling two living space obligations has ended.

The good fortune of knowing when to say, “No,” means I will be spending close to $1,100 less for the month of April. I managed to convey a common sense solution to the extra month commission (aka rent) stipulation in the rental lease. I point out that I gave them the courtesy of a head-start on re-renting the property as soon as possible. I reiterate to be sure I understand my situation.

“So, what you are saying is that it will cost me more to let you rent to another party for the month of April, than it would for me to simply finish out my lease to the end of April.” I’ll give props for the honest response which was, “Yeah. You’re being screwed.” I offered to rescind my notice, and suddenly there was a “let-me-see-what-I-do” hanging in the air. The wheels finally clicked, and the common-sense train started to roll. Losing an interested renter for April forward could possibly mean loss of many forward rental payments.

There was also a bit of unreasonableness when I was asked to hand over the keys to the future tenant so they could get in and paint while I am still paying rent, while I am still paying utilities, while the lease is still in my name, while I am still holding the required renter’s insurance policy, and before I got my security deposit back. That didn’t happen, either, thanks to the fortunate existence of the word “No” and my remarkable willingness to use it. At last! There’s that long looked for upside of the flooring fiasco – it provided plenty of practice, in that regard.

I’m all for playing nice, but am never willing to be a push-over. I suppose a sweeter, younger person or less aggressive-minded, single old lady might have accepted the situation. I’m not comfortable categorizing this as unscrupulous. The lease says what it says. But, somewhere between maybe trying to take advantage and not recognizing what was being asked was ridiculous, I lost respect.

I will be getting my full security deposit back. No argument was required for that.

Quote for the Week:

There is no common sense in blind acceptance 03 24 2015

Enjoy this Week’s Discovery Links:

Rental Insurance, Why?: http://money.usnews.com/money/blogs/alpha-consumer/2009/09/02/why-renters-insurance-is-worth-its-low-cost

Read this, Maybe: Sarah Strohmeyer’s The Penny Pincher’s Club, a novel filled with personal finance tips.

Unpacking in One Weekend, Not: http://www.moving.com/moving-boxes/unpacking-tips.asp