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Monday, January 31, 2011

Saying our sorry's here

Good morning. This is us again. I’m not sure if we’re back with any better sense of normalcy. We just finished writing to Linda and we’d gotten to the part of thinking that maybe some of these ideas of living in my mother’s basement came from spending so much time there as a kid. It’s a little scary thinking that our brain is somehow trying to do this all over again. Maybe there’ is something in the human psyche of trying to repeat and correct things that happened in the past, or maybe it is something more on the crazy side in punishing yourself … maybe then stepping in to save us too?

If that be the case we’re already trying to put in a hand to reach down and grab us back to a more normal plan. Even though as we sit here now trying to find the normalcy of it … we’re being satisfied with one part of our brain in looking over the diagram we had made yesterday of the remodeled basement. It gets worse in that we sent the picture to my mother with a note. I’ll have to get that now to see how bad … wait.

Oh Lordy … It says that if you were considering remodeling the downstairs I’d consider a move. Where is this going? We should be sending something out so she knows this is not possible, but like so many other threats to leave us (other parts) is the sense that if we do something against another part, then that part will rebel and put us in the more precarious position. I’m thinking maybe we are in over our head with this one.

There that will help. We forwarded the picture of the basement and told Dr. Marvin just that some parts of us are planning a mutiny. That is going to need following up when we are a little more progressed down the line. We need to somewhere get from here to there.

It shouldn’t surprise us that we drew a diagram in that that’s all we’ve been doing over the last year was to be collecting pictures of the house. It was very threatening yesterday when Rich said that we were going to have to find a house nowhere near the cost of the ones we were dreaming of but that it would come so much further down the line. Then to make things a little scarier was that one of his mother’s and Bud’s friends Jeff had a house he was trying to sell way below market. At first Rich thought it was 6 or so acres, but now he’s thinking it’s much less. It is along the Fox River just a short couple blocks distance from his mother’s. It came up while we were there again. It’s suppose to be a “nice little house” What we know of nice little houses where his mom lives is like being in a trailer house with basements that flood. NOT SATISFACTORY. And, then what we learned is that sometime in the last couple of days Rich had stopped to look at it … at least from the outside … he walked around the property line.

I think there are parts of us that are really panicking. He says it’s bigger than our place. But we’re talking of going from like 900 square feet to 1200 square feet and nowhere close to our bottom limit of like 2400 square feet. Some of the houses we’ve looked at are like 3200 square feet.

Wow … didn’t see that one coming. I somehow disengaged and found ourselves back in bed with Sweetie. We were just going to nuzzle him for a moment, but then we found ourselves falling to sleep and didn’t get up until a couple hours later. It’s now about time to get going, but we thought we’d wrap things up.

We’ve gotten up now about a half an hour ago … It’s about 7:30 A.M. now. Rich and us talked a bit, but not a whole lot … he had to wake me up. We helped get his weight watchers counter to his cell phone and by then we’d lost track of him. He’s on his computer. We did take our medicine and since we were out of eggs, we substituted with the last of the Cheerios.

There’s supposed to be the biggest storm coming in that Chicago has ever seen. I can’t imagine it now looking outdoors. There is a bit of a wind, but we’re supposed to have 2-3 inches by this afternoon, and then the second wave will hit Tuesday afternoon and go through Wednesday, but they are saying 18-24 inches.

WOW! That be something too! Maybe then we could have a snow day on Wednesday.

It’s a toss-up if we had snow day off whether I would work or not. Most likely I would do 50-50. Just trying to get some paperwork taken care of, but if we needed to contact DSPs that be better we get going on that by today or tomorrow. We didn’t get to what we hoped over the weekend. It seems we’re remaining pretty strong as to having things done on their proper days. But, this is only early in on that whole phenomenon to trust much without some serious effort.

Hmm, we must have disappeared for a while because Vickie had to stop and ask us how we were doing. I guess sometimes when we are more concentrated in one world we then get disconnected from other worlds. Trying to catch up a bit – we wrote her a short note.

I did want to say that we did get to some sewing type work over the weekend. On Saturday, we did some of the cutting for Joe and Cari’s quilt, and then on Sunday we did another row on the scrap quilt. That felt good to get done. Maybe on Friday we did some of my Grandma’s scraps too. I’m not sure about that part just now that we’ve done them in the last 2-3 days. It makes us feel less crazy when we are working on that sort of thing.

Not much else to say … should be getting to work stuff … I want to be the responsible one. I don’t necessarily want to be done writing, but maybe we’ll get a chance to do some of that with the client’s work. For now … we are signing off for a bit, k? Oh oh shower too, weren’t we going to be doing that AND getting dressed? Ok, girls slow down one thing at a time. Why don’t we post and then bring up some work on the work computer. Time to dip our toe in the water, right?

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Some really mixed up thoughts

Good morning. We are starting with a little bit of assistance this morning. It’s about 9:30 A.M and we’ve done several things, but mainly write to Linda. After a bit we realized that what we were writing should be listed here, in that it had more to do with us thinking through some issues that are on our platter for the moment. So we’re going to add just this little bit of a segue, but we had gotten to the point of realizing that some of our aggravation with CS is that she has now two houses and we’re still not up to one. I’m thinking then that we’re talking green-eyed monster. This next part is excerpted from Linda’s letter.

It seems more apparent of late that I’ve been having this other part of my psyche prodded by not really what she has, but what I don’t have. It isn’t helping as to being objective as to what’s going on with that whole deal.

My mother said something when she was going over “in case something happened to her.” She said she hadn’t decided what to do with her house. It seemed pretty straight forward to me in that it would be sold and then divided, and it had struck me as odd that that hadn’t been decided with the rest of their estate. I’m thinking they have some money set aside and I know the house to be paid for. It made me curious later in trying to figure it out whether she was saying that to me as a way of offering the house to possibly me. I think that be pretty far-fetched, but I know there’s some fairness too in that … Everyone else has a house and she knew how much we had wanted one and how impossible it was.

I’m probably a million miles away and just being house crazy in my brain, but it made me think if offered would I move up to northern MN. I have to admit, I would. I think that it be harder on Rich than me. I think she loves the house enough to say that it shouldn’t be sold, but that be pretty limiting to do too. I do love northern MN though. I’ve always liked the snow and growing up in MN … moving north was the thing everyone aspired to. The house is very nice. It is open like I like so that Kitchen, dining room and living room are all open and it’s all on one floor. There is a master bedroom with bath and laundry off of that and then two more bedrooms with another bath. The basement is all open and could be used too.

It’s only a two car garage, but is sitting on at least an acre with a storage unit probably bigger than the garage.

I didn’t look at any of the bedrooms, nor did I see the laundry or master bath … just know that the middle part was nice. It had a vaulted ceiling and nice big windows. There were no houses behind them and the ones that were next to them were spaced nicely. How crazy would it be? I think I’d consider moving up there without Rich. Yeah, see … I’m feeling pretty nutty about this house business. I don’t think he would leave me or let me leave him, but there is some aggravation in the mix about not being married.

And, if something were to happen to Rich if he had anything it would go to his kids. All he really has is 1/3 of his house and what he owns into the boat. So most likely that’s about $100,000 plus he will inherit about $40,000 when both his mom and Bud go. I guess it’s her money and there is another $40,000 for his brother, but Bud will live off the interest until he’s gone.

Rich isn’t doing anything particularly special here and he’d have all the fishing he wanted up North. He said he wanted a single floor house and my mother’s is handicapped accessible. I would expect that I’d have trouble with siblings about getting the place though and my mother didn’t say that’s what would happen. Again, just being house crazy. I want to be a writer I could do that anywhere. I figured without having to pay rent or mortgage I could live off disability. As to kids which are the biggest consideration, I would have to consider that I see the boys very little. It’s been over a year since the girls have been over and they just live 20 miles away. There’s quite a bit of frustration in that.

Basically, what we’d be looking at is … where is my security as to aging? If anything were to happen to Rich I would have to get along in an apartment I could no longer afford. I was affording it before he came but that was before needing to make a car payment and school loans. Together that’s about $900. No, I couldn’t afford to live by myself in my own apartment. Rich pays half the rent and utilities and he covers food. Being realistic there’s a lot to consider. I’m pretty sure if I said tomorrow that Rich and I were done, my mother would clear out a bedroom for me. Be difficult living with her, but then we’re back to talking about how Ann were to survive. I’ve no illusions that my sons would want to take me in. At one point, we’d considered going to stay with my sister if anything happened, but frankly at this point, I would take my mother up in northern MN. I think we have stated before we’ve got bad memories of the Rochester area. Rochester to me means that’s where we went through shock treatment.

Ok, back. As we told Linda Wow! I didn’t see all that coming. It was a pretty big exodus for my brain to be going through. Basically the thought is as simple as this … if the house were to be inherited by me, I would move. Wow. I really have to examine my feelings as to where we are with Rich. I think added in here are other things that are pretty heavy to me. First there are family connections both ways … that of my mother and siblings and that of Rich and the boys. It feels pretty angering in thinking we would leave the people that we are closest too, but then there’s a lot to be said about some of the frustrations here like for example the part of being so distance from the boys. This includes not only not seeing the girls, or for that matter Austin, but then also not seeing the boys except in between holidays. We talk more to Maury than anyone and sometimes he will stop by, but it’s not a regular deal.

I think the hardest part is my thoughts on not being with Rich. Who is to say we could do things with sanity without him. I love him more than love itself, but there’s some problems that only I can think through … basically, there is his commitment not to be married, and second there is the problem of not being able to afford security now in the form of a house, but as well security in the future. We were serious in that his children will inherit from me, and not only is that set up with me being empty-handed, but as well he carries only one life insurance and that goes to his wife. It was a condition of the divorce. Because we are not married, I would not stand to collect anything as to pension, or anything else that would fall to a widow.

I know it is a bit hard calculating, but I think responsibility wise I have to consider all of this too. I know the boys don’t want me living with them, nor would I ask them – more like pressure them into it. If they think I’m a lot and I’m 20 minutes away and they aren’t in more contact then what?

I think my mother like my sister on the other hand would accept me. This was the first time I considered between my mother and sister. I don’t think either of them is 100% sane. But as to lives in general, I have a lot more respect for my mother’s situation than CS. This move on CS part just isn’t making me feel great.

Because of the decisions we’re thinking through too I would have to say that I don’t see myself as acting much different. CS had an opportunity to move up in life so she jumped at it. She’s got a little situational difference in that the property she now considers hers is both her husband’s and SIL. It would be different if I were to consider my mother’s place IF and it’s a major if she would make the offer. It would be my mother … not me living off of my spouse … which I don’t have.

My mother built her life, it would be me moving in on that. There is no doubt that I would benefit by having connections through her with the community. I could appreciate her neighbors. I don’t know what the thinking would be like in moving from the fast moving Chicago area to a town of about 900 people. I’d have to think it be more relaxing and things like going to the local restaurant are big parts of the day. I think we’d have to consider myself as isolating myself. But, isn’t that what we’re planning on doing anyway? I don’t have a lot of people needs.

Most likely we’d consider the volunteerism route as well if we didn’t need to work and that is inviting to us. Mostly though it be the being able to sew and read part that I’d be going for. These needs are so huge to us.

Man. I can’t believe it’s all so serious of a consideration to me. I’m looking at the part too would it matter if my mother were there or not there? It would seem that it be better to be there while she were still alive. Those are all new thoughts. I wonder what the loyalty difference is between me and Rich and me and my Mom. There’s no doubt that Rich is the love of my life. But, that seems to be being battled with him not being able to provide a sense of safety for me as to our home. There’s a part of me wondering now just for the moment whether I would leave in a week or a month if knowing doing so meant inheriting the house.

Like a million times over it would be a hundred times better with Rich than not, but he’s not really the kind of person who would isolate himself. He’s talked before of retiring to a lake. I don’t know if he would like to live in a small town without a lake … I mean there must be something it is called “Deer River.”

But, the thing would almost have to be if I decided that was what was going to happen, would he follow me up. Or would he at least come and visit me 2-3 times a year, or would he maintain an interest of me at all. He is too handy to not gain some kind of job to keep him busy … most likely he’d get a job in sales or social assistance or something maybe working at AT & T which is major up there. He would probably work in Great Lakes or Bemidji which are to either side of Deer River.

The trip would only be like 15-30 minutes. I can’t believe there is many jobs in the town itself. It’s just too small.

I think we’d have to make a finished basement to give us some privacy. Wow … we’re really talking crazy aren’t we? Let’s think of brainstorming though … we’d need to figure out what the breaks are. I think my mother would love it in that it’s pretty much like she and John worked out as to helping my Grandmother, or he had his mother when she was alive or even for that matter the help going on with Margaret. I think there is enough room in the basement to build a flat. We would need some kind of family room and a sewing room and a room for which to do the computers. Maybe just make a bigger space as to the family room.

It hasn’t really been a problem so far to type or work in the living room with Rich … It’s kind of nice in that we keep tabs on each other. We’d also have to have a bathroom downstairs, and realistically our own washer and dryer – it wouldn’t matter to me if that was a part of the bathroom. We wouldn’t have a kitchen downstairs, but maybe a bit of a wet bar and microwave. I think it would be nice to have a bedroom down stairs too, but we might be begging space. I don’t know … I think she’s really got the upstairs taken up as to being her sewing room office and the other room as being her guest room. Those are two rooms you would really like to keep.

I think the deal would be that I wouldn’t have to pay rent … nor Rich if he were there … that would save $1000-1800 off having to make that much of a salary. I think we’ve got more space here on our third floor apartment, but what you’d be giving up would be a bit of your own life in a trade for helping my mother with her life and then inheriting the house. That would have to be part of the deal.

Ok, realistically, I think it might take a million years to convince Rich we should move. He’s got family, friends, and his mother. Maybe we’d have to work it out so that we didn’t go anywhere until after his mother was gone, but that I might go separately. I think I’m pretty crazy and willing to do that much.

The next very serious consideration is that I would have to leave the care of Dr. M. I don’t know if it would be so easy to find someone else, but there would have to be some kind of outlet. It be major to lose him, but I can’t consider it any more major than it would be to leave Rich and the kids. Yup yup we are talking about the desperate to get a house. Ok, ok girl … slow it down. I think we need to take another look at our dream house down here.

We’ve been talking to Rich … not about house stuff, but general stuff … his times were actually leave about 12:30 P.M. and get back about 5:30 P.M. That means he has about an hour and a half. Now that we are back to the computer we’re trying to figure out our most basic needs. I think we’ve got it almost figured out. I better get off this kick, but we’re thinking … we can be bought. It be really tempting if there was a redo downstairs AND we were to inherit the house. I’d have to figure squatters rights.

Rich saw the picture on the computer, he asked “what’s that?” I told him my next place … he said oh and kept going. He was getting ready to take a shower. So we talked over the shower running and said we’re going to move to my mother’s he said oh that’s nice. But, then he said he’s not moving to MN. We told him we might move there without him. We said that we weren’t marrying, would not inherit from him and if he was gone we wouldn’t be able to pay for our own apartment. Then we both pretty much stopped as he got into the shower. We’ll have to think some more if we’d even dare make such an offer. I’m pretty sure my mother doesn’t need me, just be thinking some kind of security. If she had the means to rebuild the basement … would she? Could SOMEBODY secure my future? I don’t know … we’ll have to see.

We’re back. Rich just left 10-15 minutes ago. It took us a few moments to get off the couch after he left because we were trying to handle stuff “shock-wise.” First no it wasn’t a big shock like something bad happened it’s just that we had a fairly real conversation as to housing and such. No advancements have been made. Just things unsure – that’s not always a good thing, but it is not a bad thing either.

Just we needed to progress the conversation. I didn’t think Rich would stay for the extra half hour. I expected only ten minutes.

What had happened is that we approached again the subject of moving to MN. Rich then went on most of the time explaining why he couldn’t move and how he was going to accomplish things here. In general it didn’t give me a sense of security. He was talking may in ten years having something half the size of what we wanted. He brought up he’d been saving again, but then said it would be going for his son’s wedding gift and to pay doctor and dentist bills and as well taxes.

So then it was like what money saved? We’re not talking anything different happening. I stayed quiet all the time he was talking, but then when he repeated that he was hopefully going to have enough so his son could have a down payment on his home, I don’t know feeling the ground crackle and snap underneath me as if we were going to fall through. His wife gets a house, $3000 income and we’re hoping to get half that in ten more years? AND, his son would have enough for his home?

What about me? I said it’s not like you are saving for us, and I still had the problem of something happening to you and not being able to afford my own life. He said he couldn’t work on that right now.

Shoot, shoot, didn’t realize this had gotten to be such a serious conversation. Feeling really depressed now. I think I’m going to have to do something else for a while. I don’t know if I mentioned it yet, but we started working on Joe and Cari’s wedding gift again. We are cutting the pieces maybe we’ll get to some sewing today … just really down and don’t know what to think. We feel shaky as to crying … Sooner or later it was going to become inevitable that we were going to worry about security? Have we ever stopped? Maybe not.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Did Saturday morning just happen and now over?

Good morning. This is me and it’s still a Saturday morning. It’s a bit late into the day though. We’ve been writing to Linda so some of our thoughts will be redundant. It’s about ten to ten. Rich is at a game, he had to be there at about 8 A.M. and we were at WW at 7:00 A.M. Feel good about all that. I’ve got the schedule pretty much freed up until tonight when Rich has us scheduled to go with him to party with his fishy friends. This is the one meeting a year where the women are invited out. It’s a pretty good deal.

Rich was canceling the meeting, but I think he’s still wearing off his frustration with the guys. I think he had to miss events this year, because he was low on money, and now into the New Year they changed dates around so he’s saying he might not be able to go the first three months. He’s done some switching around to be with another club and he’d considered Bob’s extra club. I think we’ve written about all this though. I guess feelings have been smoothed enough that it’s going to happen. He tried to make up like it was my fault, but I stayed in the clear.

Whatever you want dear – it’s his group and it really needs to be that way.

At WW we got a new pedometer which was on sale for about $20. I thought that was a pretty good deal and it seems to be a nice enough one … not overly fancy, but sufficient and with some perks. The biggest difference with this one is that it calculates points plus for activity. It’s a really nice idea to have a pedometer although so far we haven’t gotten further than it tracking the 81 steps it took to make my breakfast and put away my dishes. Every step helps. It does the standard things too like measure mileage, act as a timer and keep track of pounds lost.

Nice! We’ll have to see how far we go during an average week to find how much more we need to increase to.

We’ve got family on the mind though now and we figured we might as well do it and then move on. I had just talked it over with Linda in that my mother told us about her will. I’m bordering here as to whether I can say this kind of thing out loud, but that’s been the nature of our conversations all along after all these many years. I like the part about taking the mystery out of it and that’s what happened last night. Basically, then what I found is that my mother and John did it like I have done with my family. I’ve already made it very clear all around that my three sons would each get 25% and Rich would get 25%. If something were to happen to him, then his 25% would go to his kids – so 8.3% each. If something were to happen to one of my kids then the missing 25% would get split between the two or however many remaining. It seems like a fair deal.

As to my mother though she has others she’s considering too. So with her the church gets 10%, someone named Tim whose been like a son to them gets 10%, my sister, myself and my brother each get 18% and John’s one younger son gets 26%.

That’s it all rolled up in a nutshell. No one is overly rich so I don’t think fortunes will be made, but it’s still a nice thing to know that you are considered. I think the part that made me smiles was that 18 was my lucky number because I was born on the 18th of July. So the part that makes things click into place took over and we’re feeling fortunate to be considered in the will and not having to wonder about it for the rest of my life.

My mother was a little tentative in talking about some parts in that the church and Tim combined were getting a little more than one of us, but we have to consider beside it not being our choice … that these other two people were the people most in their lives. I was around, but not real actively for so many years … again I’ll just take one of the grateful cards. John’s older son was not included because they thought he’d stolen money from them that was BIG money, but instead that “share” of it would go to John’s younger son. My brother hasn’t been a part of their active lives either, but as am I and CS … he’s still equally one of his mother’s children. I thought too that it was fair in that half the money about (54%) was going to half the relationship of John and Mom. I didn’t feel we had a right to any money in the first place … so then certainly just over 50% is more than fair.

I’m not going to tell this to my sister … we’re going to let my mother do that in whatever time she chooses. My sister is acting so strangely over her MIL’s will that I’d hate to see what she would try to do with my mothers. Basically the MIL had given more money to the sister than Mark, but the house was 50-50 and CS was distinctly left out of receiving anything because the MIL thought she wrecked her family. So no CS says she and Mark own the house, she’s got the MIL car, she’s got the MIL bedroom, she’s making the decisions on what stays and goes, and it’s been worked out the sister does not live at the house. My sister does. YEEKS!

I think my sister is feeling everything is as well as it should be, but she’s still not happy … she’s convinced the SIL to hand over an additional $25,000 because she got so much more than her brother, and then my sister noted that whatever is Mark’s is hers. The bedroom that was supposed to go to the SIL since CS had the main bedroom is now going to be CS sewing room and CS is complaining because the room is pink and there’s too much heavy furniture in her bedroom.

Ok, this is pretty bad of me isn’t it. I guess we’ve always seen things cut and dry. I get that from having read a lot of Honor Balzac. I loved the way he wrote in the finances, and entitlements and dividends and such. It kind of made things real clear … well she has 2000 some francs income a month or whatever … just the thing is that if people are to survive incomes are important. My mother is arranging so that she’s got income coming in too. She gets half of John’s pension, her own pension, and social security, plus she might take in some income from interest of something else. She makes it very clear that she has everything she needs and that her income is very sufficient. Because the house is paid … she’s really got nothing to worry about financially so I feel good in that she’s taken care of.

Balzac was also very clear when people were living beyond their means. And, it seemed to be a big part of history how people came about their wealth or poverty.

No amount was too great or too small to consider. Hehehe thinking now over the years we’ve told you how much we put into each piece of furniture, stamp, grocery or box of pins. Just we don’t see the secrecy about money. It’s like a number that says of itself I can turn myself into a bottle of water, or a penthouse.

We’re at the stage of our life … AND being without house so that we’re thinking that money must be part luck that we don’t have. My biggest concern is that we’re going to end up in a half room at a nursing home. I’m pretty sure we’d take our own life first. It’s a very big deal to at least have one whole room. I should be scared straight now, but feel we’re living on about the bottom level that I could live with. Every time we make a purchase I’m thinking how fortunate it is that I have this new thing.

AHA! It reminded me to open my front door! I had stopped downstairs on my way in from the meeting and there wasn’t a package there, but I was thinking that we were about due one. SO, I thought opening the door, maybe someone brought something upstairs AND WALLAH! There it was directly in front of the door. I think it’s the last thing outstanding that we’ve ordered. I got the insides for two twin and one Queen size blanket – I think they call it cotton batting. AND I got two packages each of two sized needles. Linda says she uses both so I will just have to figure out if one works better than another. Right now it’s all a mystery.

I’m thinking here our fortune is gained. I’ve got all the outside things as to top part of a several blankets, now we’ve got the middle parts, and it’s then only the bottom parts we might have to check into.

Maybe we’ll come back to right later. We’ve been of in Internet territory for a while looking up things like quilt shops and guilds in the area. We haven’t really found a lot we are interested in, but there was one thing … there is a guild just in the next town or two over. It meets for groups at the Lutheran Church we were interested in attending. They don’t give a phone number and they hold their active membership to 250 people. So, I’m not sure how filled they are already. We sent in an email to enquire about membership. We’ll see.

But now we’re thinking that we’re more interested in quilting than much else.

We’re even up to the point of considering Joe and Cari’s quilt. That be good, right? I think that when we are up in WI next weekend we are going to try and get a couple of kits we’d started … the one we designed with Dancers in the Park and the three we called our office trilogy … we had cut out the parts, but had gotten with them and others way ahead of CS. When talking to her about moving we talked a little about quilting, but not a lot … I think she’s planning on moving everything to the new house. I would like to get back these few things before she goes. Just nice to do them. MEANS maybe since its still young in the day – about 12:15 P.M. that I might get something important accomplished I think I’m going to try.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Just a couple minutes and then jumping into work

Good morning … it is us and we’re just going to write a little bit. Then we are going to get back into work. We’re at work and having a harder time concentrating. So far we’ve been back in the office for almost an hour and a half and three staff has come in to chat. Some of it is about the clients, but mostly it’s about getting caught up. I think this is the kind of stuff that doesn’t happen when you are at home. It’s probably a good thing in coming to work. I guess I am part of the social fabric here. Make that four people. Sr. talked to me about one of the clients when I first came in. It’s an adjustment we’ll all learn with me being that much less accessible.

One of the staff was teasing yesterday when I ran into three of them in the lunchroom. She said that she was going to have a field trip to during the day to bring her troubled clients to my house to talk to me. She said she’d be the designated driver. I should have told her I’d put the coffee on. *silly grin*
Today is staff training day. I will want to start thinking soon about that. I know that the first day of the New Year we did the keypad on the computers, and then last time we talked about what they’re different levels were in working with not only computers, but with other electronic devices like phones. One of the things I was surprised at was how they didn’t know very many programs that would assist them in things they would like to do. I’m having the hardest time with them not working with the Word program. I think I’m going to bring some laptops into the client’s computer room where the three desktops are. All the new computers have Word 2010.

Ok, we’re back to the regular stuff … I think we’re going to make a lesson out of doing the Home Tab on the Word. That should be a fun lesson for them and take down some inhibitions on playing around. Maybe they can have some fun with it if they knew how easy it was to do the switches like the one above. We might have to look at one of the computers … we’ve got one on the writing desk to see if there are any new functions on 2010 from 2007 Word. I think it’s basically the same, but we might be surprised. Ok, good … then we’ve just worked out those details.

The staff is in Chapel right now, but I’m thinking that I will want to talk to two of them about their clients. I want to assure that they and us are on the same page with goals. I might have to look for one more staff though … it’s between two of them now that Karla is away as to who is doing goals with this particular client.

You knew basically what we were doing yesterday with our goals in cleaning up the annuals. We will need to continue that today. We did try getting some stuff out to CSO last night with the emails, but it came back as to being not deliverable.

I’ll want to get to the bottom of that today. Maybe if I ask them to send me an email first I can then get past what is most like their security clearance issues.

We did get done with two more sets and we started on two others, so we’re feeling pretty good about that advancement. So far we’re still on track for finishing the project by Tuesday next week. One of the staff is gone today, but we can avoid worrying through her clients. I would be satisfied with getting the two done we started and perhaps two more. We are up to … ok, got it. I think we’ll jump toward the end of our list and work on the two clients of one particular staff who seems most concerned about getting things cleared up. I’m pretty sure she is here today so I can ask her about the goals.

As to yesterday, we had a pretty good working day … beside the above we also got another meeting under our belt. It went pretty smoothly. The parent was a little defensive, but that might have been because there were so many of us here from the center. The trainer and I were there, but as well Sr. and the new psychologist on board here at the center. I thought the meeting was organized and balanced in conversation.

After we went home we discovered that our baby was not feeling good. He said that his back was hurting and he had a bit of a fever. He didn’t feel well enough to eat right away, but he’d made dinner of pork roast, potatoes, carrots and onions.

It was very good and he caught up a bit later. We watched fishy shows with him a bit from the couch, and then we asked and he said that it be ok if we worked in the living room on the cutting. I think he wanted to make sure we were close if anything happened or he was in need. In our home this is acceptable behavior when someone’s not feeling good.

He was drinking tea and we at one point set up the couch for him with a heating pad. He wouldn’t take a blanket, but he did accept the heat, so we figured all was well there. After a couple of fishy shows, we watched the closer, and then a couple NCIS, but the cutting only lasted until about 8 P.M. and then we gave him a massage. He was appreciative until we fell asleep early about 9 P.M. He teased us by moving one of his fingers as to how well the massage had gone. *Yeeks!*

This morning we were tired too even though we’d fallen asleep early. We got up with the kitties at 4, but we were back sleeping by 4:15 A.M. We slept until 6:30 A.M. when Rich had a very difficult time waking us up. We got then into the shower right away and was ready to leave by 7 A.M. Rich took his shower at 6:45 A.M. because he had meetings this morning AND I think he has a game tonight, so we’re hoping he’s doing ok. I think we’re supposed to call him in about ten minutes.

Maybe it is just checking in? It’s always different when someone isn’t feeling good.

So … we’re pretty much caught up. Hmm, we just got a note from Dr. Marvin reminding us that we’re moving the appointment up to 4 P.M. instead of 4:30 P.M. Shoot I would have forgotten that. We should leave at 3:15 P.M. so we left ourselves a note. We’ll try to remember and let Sr. know on one of the trips back and forth today.

There we just got in our Rich call … He’s almost to Springfield. He’s got meetings downstate because he’s being a good representative of the providers. He said it was ok if I dropped that news … silly Rich! His game tonight is at 4:30 P.M. so his meeting probably doesn’t run past lunch. He said he’d be home about 6:30 P.M. and the main thing of the call was to make sure we had our phone plugged in. I guess he couldn’t reach me on our cell yesterday.

Ok groups are back so we’re going to see how that goes. Be taking care!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

It's a workaday world!

Good morning. This is me. We’re up and have showered and such, but not all the way to getting dressed. It is after 6:00 A.M. and we just woke up Sir Sweetie-Pie. We figure we’ve got about 45 minutes before we should be dressed. We wrote to Linda prior to the shower so figure it’s now about that time.

We have had a great couple of days since we started working at home two days a week. We stuck with the program and got more – almost an entire eight hours of work done on each day. It’s more because we hadn’t been doing that at work. I’m just so happy with the results. I was telling Linda, but we’ve figured out that it takes about two hours to get through each of the reports we are working at. We’re getting things together for the Individual Program Plan IPP cover, and then the DSP note has to be formalized, we are adding an addendum to the meeting, then there is the goals, and then the formalized two page goals and objective sheet, and then the closing signatures page. So six elements? We are also checking for the formatting so that all of it is straightened up with one another.

At the rate that we are going including meetings, we are going to be finishing this up we hope about Tuesday. We will consider a little work on it on Saturday if we don’t get eight more done in the next three days – leaving four for each Monday and Tuesday at home next week. We are going to need staying focused. I’m going to need getting something out to the parents too. We are going to want signatures and then to check dates as to formal papers, particularly medicals. I don’t think we’re too bad, but it’s about time we updated those records. We will have to see how it goes with the reports as to whether or not we could get the outgoing letters done too.

I feel comfortable with the means of getting everything done. So far we’ve opened two screens on our home computer so that one screen is the work computer and one is personal. Rich called us yesterday after he got to St. Rose and realized that things were happening on my screen. Yup yup dear … we’re working remote. We are not putting anything personal on that screen and we’re thinking that at least if someone came in to the office they could see that we were working. AHA! Yup it just is that way!

The advantage to working directly on the work computer – major advantage is that we don’t have to worry about transferring information back and forth from computers and using email and flash drives to do it. We also hooked up our home computer to the remote program, so we can get back to this screen if necessary. I think we are in good shape. We are being very careful too to not take anything out of our brief case that we aren’t working on so there’s not so much worry into packing things up from one end to another. I’m feeling pretty happy with the program so far.

We’re going to try really hard to close up by 6:45 A.M. too so we can get to work closer to 7:30 A.M. That will help us feel more productive. It’s also a good idea to keep showers and medicines and dressing and such on time whether we are at home or work for the day.

Last night we closed up around 5:00 P.M. and it was really nice to go from work direct to home direct in that it was only a walk to the fridge for dinner and we were just done with the day. We ate and watched CNN, but around 7 P.M. we fell asleep. By about 8 P.M. we were up and setting ourselves up in the back room. We figured that if Rich weren’t here – he was out at a game that we should be working in the back. It’s really the end goal to be putting together quilts … whereas cutting quilts is more a leisure activity for when just bumming out and watching TV with Rich.

About the time that we got to the back, Rich was walking in … it took only a few moments to realize that we both had separate objectives. We wanted to watch CNN coverage of the State of the Union address and he was going to want and mellow out with the shows he watches. That didn’t seem to be much problem, AND in the process, we got another row done with the quilting. We were telling Linda, we need to rethink our objectives, because we’d figured wrong with the colored quilt squares and the blanks in-between so that we are really coming in a half-length blanket short. We need to rethink the way our minds work here in this regard.

Basically it has to do with counting colored, beige, colored, beige etc. so that it’s really twenty rows across, where going down it’s in a zig-zag direction with the colored pieces so we would need twice as many colored pieces to count up to the 12-13 we were going for. There are a couple of options. We can short-suit our project and just use it for a wall hanging, we’re thinking that we could put it above the printer or piano, or we could tip it on its side and fill in the blanket with some other kinds of patterns (without the same beige), or we could … I’m not sure … must be something we can do to rectify that it isn’t going to turn out as we expected.

We’re not going to over worry about it now. One thing for sure … is that it is very pretty to our senses. I love the way the squares and such are turning out. I should have counted on this kind of problem in that with the fish quilt we were only 7-9 fish across, but like 18 fish down. Hmm, maybe Linda is going to work some sense into us as to figuring this kind of thing out prior to making final plans.

That’s pretty much it for the moment. We’ve got an annual meeting at 10 A.M. this morning and we’re going to need doing some typing of the notes when we get to work. It’s going to help in that we’ve already covered the basics in our blogging this morning from home, so maybe getting started right away at work has sunk in from trying to be productively on time at home. So far it is feeling great!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Just a few notes on the morning ... gotta get to work ;)

Good morning. It is us and it is prior to work hours yet, so we figured we’d slip in a little blogging. We’ve taken our shower and medicine, though it’s about 7 A.M. and we are not dressed yet. This would be our regular time … so maybe we ought to try that? Ok, we’re dressed too and we went to talk to Rich for a while, but he said we were just staring at him. Maybe we were waiting for some kind of conversation, but he was between things. So really didn’t want to go with him there. So we’re back again. Wallah!

The only other thing we’ve really done is to check the emails and talk to Linda in a note. We ordered her “stuff” yesterday. We had a small wager on the Bears Packers game for divisional title. They obviously won, which meant I didn’t get my needles and I owed Linda some pins. Well, no we are not major gamblers, but it was in good spirit of the game. There is still something rewarding in getting even small packages in the mail. :)

Ahh and speaking of packages – we got ours in the mail yesterday – the big ones from JoAnn’s. We are testing out the hand and elbow pads and stretches’. The following two are a couple of the items in.

The blue and white and see through plastics are guides for sewing different size quilt pieces. This wasn’t new but it is new to be displaying them – we just got the wooden slotted board. It seems just the right size. The guides themselves are CS’. They were hidden away in a basket, so I thought that we’d have better use of them if we put them out, plus I figured it is an interesting display. I like it as part of the sewing décor. There seems to be some give in that corner. I might move it if I were working on a big quilt, but for now it seems fine the way it is.

There is a matching type frame on the other corner of this set of tables for the measuring guides. Just a cool cool thing.

The next really neat thing we got in was the new design wall – the design wall slips in front of the closet to make double use of the space … who woulda thought!

The interesting thing about this design wall is that it is for checking out different quilting ideas prior to sewing. The back lit light is perfect in this situation. I couldn’t have been happier with the set-up than if I’d created it myself. It’s got a couple metal holes at the top so easily fits over a small 1 ½” nail. I can make it a little bigger in front of the doors too, but for now the edges are folded back to fit primarily the open door space. I like that it has the squares coming from the back to align the cut fabric, and how light it is and that it has felt-like material on the front that grabs fabric and holds it in place without pins. We just put on a little 3x3” set of squares to give you an idea.

Very economical, efficient AND effective! I don’t think you could squeeze much more value into that corner :) If we weren’t using it at the time, we could just roll or fold it up. PERFECT!

We got a small drawer filled with little stuff that I think we talked about a couple days ago, but then there were two other main items. We got the floor lamps and we put them together last night.

Cool-cool?!! It’s funny, but I didn’t notice it until now … both the underneath part of the drafting table and the piano keyboard are black metal as well as all four lights in the room. We were aware we were matching the appearance of the lights as to the basic design, but I hadn’t realized how well it matched the stands of the other two pieces. Guess it just makes sense and because they are Ott lights, they are perfect as to illumination. We left Rich last night and he was sitting at the table reading under one. Wow! That just doesn’t happen every night. I love it when he likes something we’ve gotten for the house. They do their job and it’s very easy to see over the drafting table light to be talking to Rich or watching TV.

This is the light by my couch space … or should I say kitty’s? Well it used to be my space.

All is well that ends well. As it turns out … the kitties match the lights too. Who woulda figured they are all like regular fixtures Hehehe.

Sorry, that’s all the pictures you get for the morning. We do have to be getting on with things, you know? Well not exactly this moment, but soon. We did find ourselves playing the piano and were doing so when Rich got in. We worked our way through him making dinner without ANY complaining. It seemed to have been a good time to be playing. We found three or four songs that we played quite a while.

There is so much to learn in playing even at this totally low level. I don’t pretend to be smooth getting out the cords, but sometimes it’s good enough people can tell what we’re playing … I think that’s the general effect we’re going for.

Yesterday was a good work day for us. We had the work computer on for quite a while and because we stopped for a half hour to get the mail we worked about 45 minutes past the 4 P.M. hour. I wish we could be getting to a lot more clients than we did, but it was steady and productive work – just 17% complete though.

We’re going to see if we can’t take that up to at least 50% today. We know more of what we are doing so there is that hope.

Last night we had dinner after the piano and we watched TV with Rich. We almost got back to sewing … we had actually picked out the squares for the new roll and started sewing them, but then Rich seemed to be a little more needy. He said that he would give us a message so we scrapped the night as to sewing and cutting.

Maybe Linda made more progress than we did. It’s like rooting for the home team.

Well, if not one, maybe the other did it. It’s a good thing to be doing … that is for sure. Makes us QUILTERS!

You just gotta know with all the improvements we want to be doing what we do.

Hmm, one other thing – Rich brought the taxes over to the accountants. Rich didn’t get much info back from her, but in general we’ve noticed that Kathleen the daughter will email us when she has something for us, so we’ll wait for that - maybe patiently, maybe not. I don’t know what kind of a backlog they might have.

There were a lot of paper piles on their file system. Please, please let’s hope for a good tax return this year!

There … we just got some coffee and we made some eggs. They will be ready for both Rich and us in about 10 minutes. He’s on the phone talking to his daughter now.

We also made some fresh coffee. This next batch will be good for the next four hours. About then we switch over to water and pop. We’re a little on Rich’s case because he keeps forgetting to bring home ice and it’s been on his list. Then he reminds me that I have a car and it would be good for me to go out too. Well that kind of quiets us down. Hmpf!

Maybe that’s about it for now. We’re going to post and then get busy with the day. It be a working day!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

It be a dreamin morning!

Good morning … this is me. We’re up at a good time. Well 45 minutes went past without much adieu, but that part was normal in getting up to the point medicine was taken and our omelet was set to bake! We’ve now turned on Enya and it’s about 6:15 A.M. and we are on the second cup of coffee. Only thing better than a Sunday morning is a Saturday morning – God Bless them!

Today is the big rivalry game between Green Bay and Chicago. We’re pretty excited and think it would be really something if Bears could pull this off. Then WE would be the ones going to the Super Bowl. I’d be all for that.

Jean and Janet … yes cheese heads sent me this yesterday …

***WARNING*** The National Weather Service has issued a Flash Flood Warning for Chicago, IL and surrounding areas for Sunday, January 23, 2011. This

warning will be in effect from 2:00pm until 6:00pm. This Flash Flood will be
caused by the tears of Bears fans as they watch their crazy Superbowl dreams
fade away. Flooding will intensify as the game goes on. GO PACK GO!!

So we made up this reply :) hehehe

Were you aware that Chicago Mayor Daley has mobilized forces and placed National Guards around the city? He is not allowing cheese heads to melt over the perimeters dissolving figments of their imagination.

It stopped pretty much there. I guess points were made. I don’t think either of us would make or break or day as to one winning over the other, but it was nice to be remembered as one of their Chicago friends. Gotta love the WIS people! We figure we would be hearing it from Linda too, but she’s up in Green Bay and we’re thinking she doesn’t have a computer connection. We’ll catch up with her for sure. It’s kinda funny she’s in Green Bay and we’re in Chicago on the day of the big match-up. She’s visiting her mother with Tony.

So … what has been going on here?

I think we were pretty caught up yesterday. Let me look.

It seems that we had put up some pictures of the house that we are going to have to get back to today … I think we wanted to spend some time feeling our way through the rooms. I’m not sure if we’ve done this before, but it is an acceptable thing to figure out if there are new thoughts. We had talked about being cranky, but I think that subject was covered in enough depth. We were up to date with our household chores and for a change we were talking about work again. We haven’t been doing much of that lately. It’s this new work at home thing … we’re excited to set up our systems.

I think a good part of yesterday morning was setting up “Go to my PC.” We’re not sure we’re real happy with it because it seems to be bogging down a bit, but we have to give it a chance because we’ve already set it up on both computers and have paid for the first month. We’ll see. We discovered afterward the other one was “Logmein.” I’ve done both in the past, but not sure which one is the best one because it has been a while.

It seems we left off after having talked about work for a while that Rich was just leaving for his game. I think that was about 6:00 P.M. He didn’t get home until about 9:30 – 10:00 P.M. I don’t remember … oh yeah we were sewing when he got in - more of that in a second.

After Rich left we figured … oh yeah. It’s a second later Hehehe. Anyway we were at our computer when Rich left. We wanted to post the entry, and then we remembered to look for our pictures of the house on the blog. We didn’t find them so we figured we should do that, but primarily we wanted to get to the sewing because the night seems to go past so fast and then we find we haven’t progressed things. So we said good-bye to sweetie, posted to the blog, and then went into the sewing room. It seems it has been a day or two since being in there so we had to sit on the couch and acclimate ourselves again.

We started thinking we should have gotten the two new bins by now. So we looked outside the door and didn’t see them so made the executive decision to go downstairs to see if by chance we’d missed the delivery. BINGO! The two plastic bins were in a box at the bottom of the store. They are pretty big … almost fitting the entire width of the double closet. We are still able to stack them and then fit in the plastic upright kitchen garbage. I was glad for that to get it out of the way, but still accessible.

I couldn’t be more happy with the purchase … here let me show you.

Pretty cool, hmm? We figure that we could fit in two more of these under our bed, but then we would be separating the collection and we might be then gathering too much in the line of fabric without using it up properly. I’m really proud of this collection to me it means just a bevy of options. The bottom bin is for the baby flannel scraps, and then the middle two bins are filled with the things from CS’ bag and from the few things that we’ve collected from our own sewing. And, then the top bin has got the balance of my Grandmother’s scraps – the ones that aren’t in the living room. There is a little stash there only about six inches high.

I’m soooo happy with this arrangement. I tried to think later what got me to be doing this exact size bin, but I figured that it was because we already had the two bins from CS and they seemed to fill in the closet well. I like the transparency, and that it fit the fabrics so well without over-crowding them and that they were on wheels in case I wanted to get them into the living room or other, I could drive them in. I also like that it’s a good view of what’s in the box, that wouldn’t have happened with a slimmer narrow and more upright box. It seems to look good too as to the perspective of the cubbies on top … they match in proportion.

This is the newest picture of our scrap quilt in progress.

We got another row added. I soooo much enjoyed doing this … We started from scratch counting out the 1 ½ x 1 ½ inch squares and then we put one with one with 2/3rds the little stacks of thirty, and then we sewed on the last 1/3 to make a trio of squares, and then we sewed 2/3rds of the triplets to each other, and then finally sewed the last 1/3 to that to make a 9 square. Then we sewed the colored 3 x 3 inch squares to a plain 3 x 3 inch square – well actually 3 ¼ inch. We cut down the squares a ¼ inch to make sure all the ends were even. And then we sewed the ten double squares together to make a strip, and then we sewed the strip to the ones already sewn in place. There are ten colored/plain blocs to a row and we hope to make at least nine more rows for a total of 12.

I think we have just enough plain blocks for that. We cut out the remaining fabric and found we had 9 rows x 12 squares in each making a grand total of 108. That gives us ten rows, but we’ve used one and added that to the two three we already had – will make … hmm maybe that makes thirteen? Well at least twelve and maybe thirteen :) It will make the length 78” … plus one more row would be 84.5. The popular size is about 70 x 90 inches … that means if our quilt is 65 x 85 we can put about a 5” border on it. Wow. That’s pretty close! I’m really happy with the results. I’m more than ecstatic that there were just enough of the plain squares.

I know there will be enough of the colored squares, because we can always cut more of them – most likely from the 1 ½ x 3 ½ strips. Good Ann! We’ll have to think it out later what will make an appropriate border. But, we’re really happy the way the sizes came out. Oh, said that already? I must be then doubly sure of it :)

In the future, I will want to color coordinate some of the fabrics like using variations of red and green or something close to that. I might have to see CS or shop for the backing fabric. We ordered some batting for the twin size bed, but we are at a loss as to having big size fabrics in a variety of colors that are big enough for the backing. I’m leaning toward the usage of yarn to tie the blanket, but think we’ll have to get some yarn – we just have one skein in white. I don’t really want to mess these quilts up with stripling quite yet and I like the older fashioned look of the yarn corners.

WooHOO!! Baby is up!

AND, Vicki is up! We chatted for only a moment, but there seems to be comfort in the day hearing how she’s doing and knowing she’s right there around the proverbial corner. Good Vicki!

Rich is starting slow. It’s about 7:30 A.M. and he has poured his coffee and sat down to a fishy show. I think we are so well matched up in this regard. He is to fishing as we are to quilting and writing. I’d like to see him playing with the lures today though as he keeps talking about. I think he must sometimes like to think more than do. He has conflicts with resting as being much else other than watching TV. When he works, he really works and we’re so appreciative of him doing stuff like grocery shopping, cooking and laundry. Just we don’t like to hear him complain after the fact what didn’t get done … think that through at the beginning so you can get other stuff done too. We like when he is happy with his day.

Ok, then maybe a few moments with the new house dream? The house we’re looking at is more money and less room. I think we’ve mentioned this before … it’s like this.

Hmm, maybe we’ve shown you these kinds of pictures before. Let’s move on then, right?

Ok … pretty much centering on the new house … I hadn’t realized that it’s actually bigger than Denali. I’m not sure though Denali. Part of Denali is the basement as living space. It comes with walls in and carpeting. You have to build the bathroom down there though. If it had been no problem with location I might take Montgomery over the other two, but location is a matter for Sweetie – at least for now. BUT, I have to say in all honesty I am liking the Wildmeadow more and more each time I look at it. It’s like we said before, one or two rooms less on each floor, but it feels more cozy and ready for the size of just us in the house – Rich and me.

I think we’ve gone as far to set out that the living room will be my office, the dining room will be Rich’s office and the loft will be opened to the third bedroom to make one large 22x 12 foot quilting studio.

The part I had fun with yesterday was to imagine a little as to the usage of space. I decided first that we might be able to save some bucks by not doing the optional cupboard in the kitchen. This would need to be considered, but pretty much we are looking for a space for the two bakers racks. We might hold onto those and add a third, or we might one day designate them to the sewing room and instead add a china cabinet – not too fancy, but something to put formal dishes in. I don’t think there is a lot of cabinets in the room, but we’d have the butler’s pantry AND the regular walk-in pantry.

I like the idea of one efficient use of space without necessarily spreading the food items all around the kitchen. If there is a place for dishes and pots and pans then really how much food can you store without being wasted? I think the big thing we’d be missing is that cupboards can be very beautiful, especially in quantity and depth. But, then we lose on diversity. If we were ever to get china cabinet we’d have to keep this space open. There’s a lot of really nice stuff out there. I think the space would almost be 8-9 feet. Big enough!

With the family room, we would keep it pretty simple because we’d take two options in that we want the fire place and the optional French doors into my office. The couch – three piece would go under the long windows on the north wall – the chaise is the closest portion of the the couch toward the breakfast room. And more toward the end – or middle of the room would be Rich’s chair. That’s it except we might put a couple wing chairs under the two windows on either side of the fireplace.

That be a good idea. We’d have to by them. It be good for guests, but not overcrowd the regular room. And then strange enough, we would keep the drafting table in our living room. It would go easily at an angle in the SE corner of the room on the other side of Rich’s chair. The TV would go over the fireplace. I would like a couple of plants – on the floor up to about three to four feet, but for the most part … the living room would be done.

We are seeing the picture above our couch now as going into Rich’s office. He’s got two walls it could go. We would need to let him decorate the room … it is 13 x 10’10” so he could comfortable put in a 6-7 foot desk. I think I would like to see those extra couple of walls ready to hold his fishy gear. I’m thinking primarily of the fishing lures since he seems to want to play with those. I could see some kind of bookcase/buffet thing. There might be some things worth hiding, but that be up to him. The one thing I know he should have is a desk, and probably he would want a TV in his room. Eh, whatever ;)

Trying to make the best use of furniture, I would keep my tall computer desk and I would have both files. I would put the tall desk on the long wall and on the north side of that and across from that on the east wall I would put the files. I would want a quilt above both of the files. AND I would like on the south side of the wall a 6 foot desk so I would look into the room with the bay window at my back. I would like a set of two chairs that match. One for both desks and then the one from the tall desk could be pulled over in front of the writing desk if someone like Rich were in my room.

Like we state before we like the open French doors, because then we could see and talk to Rich while he’s in the family room. That is still where he is going to spend the majority of his time. It looks like there is a double door space going into both of the offices. We don’t really need the formal LR or DR, because the breakfast and family room will be sufficient AND fancy enough to cover our needs.

This has to be a house we are comfortable in living with. Right now the dining room is the least used space in the house. We find ourselves eating a lot in the living room. Maybe it would be different with the dining room table between the open kitchen and family room. It might mean getting a new table and chairs – chairs that are more comfortable and something to match the new china cabinet :)

Maybe the two baker’s racks would go in the spare bedroom with a little desk between the two. We would also keep that closet clean except we’d get a couple luggage racks. AND, I really like the idea a small fridge and microwave in the room. I hate to think hotel room here, but that’s pretty much the right thing to do I believe to make guests happy. It would mean too having a TV in the room.

Hmm, maybe the baker’s racks will need to go somewhere else. I don’t see them holding a TV and you are going to need that space along with maybe a tall dresser and a small desk.

I absolutely love the placement of the laundry room between this room and the sewing room and opposite the Master bedroom.

As to the sewing room – keeping the same general format … I would do it like this … between the two north windows is about 8 feet. This is perfect for the width of my main table. I would have to reverse the difference between the 5 ft (60 inch table) for cutting with the 40” table where the ironing is because the loft on the right side is longer than the bedroom – opening now into the loft on the left.

There is a closet on the left and that comes into the room shortening it by a couple feet. I think the difference from 60 and 40” will be perfect. On the east wall, I would put the couch and on the west side of the room, I would leave up the ironing table. I would keep a similar thing in the closet as we have now in our back sewing portion of the closet. AND then, on the west, north and east walls above the ironing table, the long sewing table, and the couch – there would be walls built up like now – you know with the shelves? The only difference is that now there is only two walls where in the future there would be three walls.

Hmm, that would actually – in the corners on either side of the north wall – a perfect space for the two baker’s racks. It looks like that wall is about 3 feet, and the baker’s racks are narrower than that, but I’d probably put them on an angle. They could highlight special things. So that is that – 2 feet ironing table, plus 8 feet table, plus 3 feet couch would leave from 22 – 8 to 9 feet.

Split in half that would mean there’d be 4- 4 ½ feet between ironing table, table and couch – I love the way this all fits in. Just have to make sure to get someone to do the hanging shelves right away. I love the idea of having an extra 8” x 4” = 32’ of space for fabric. It would take me a while to do all that, but I’m pretty sure that it could be done maybe more to do with building a stash from scraps.

You could imagine that we had a real nice time placing this room … so now our mind is actively imagining out the scenario. As to hard space to work on we’re not getting too much more space, other than spacing of walk space which makes the room more comfortable and we’d be getting the ironing table to stay up. I’m comfortable with that I think I’ve got a perfect amount of space now.

There was a question as to facing the sewing machine toward the wall or outward toward the large open space between rooms. I decided for use of space it really has to face the wall which is really ok, because it will have the nice shelves above it with light coming in from either side. If I would had them opening in the back by the north wall, I would have lost that space as to shelving and its really hard to turn your nose up at 32’ of shelving. I’m wondering now, but I think the wall between the open bedroom and the laundry room – about the width of a closet – might be big enough for the design wall. I have gotten the Fons and Porter portable design wall, but that will be pretty much for over the closet when that is not being used. We should have something – nails or something to hang it. That board will be for putting together blocks on fabric – where now our board is more like a bulletin board.

The master bedroom is up in the air in that … it is going to need a King size bed and an amoir for a tv on the west wall. The bed would go on the south wall between the two windows and there would be nightstands on either side of the bed. And, then the there would be a wide dresser under the double window with a comfortable recliner/light on the NE corner of the room in the corner off the right WIC. The double door opens on the other side of the entry to the two WIC and they are opposite each other.

That’s pretty much it of the house … there is the garage which I would hope to leave clean enough to store the cars AND Rich’s boat, and then there would be the space in the basement. There is a notation of it being especially deep, but it really looks square. I think the larger room on the north side is about 37 x 14 foot, and then there would be a space about 12 x 10 on the SW corner and on the SE corner about 19 x 13. Lots could be done with that much space. I think the space 12 x 10 would be saved for storage. I’m thinking for things like kitty boxes, luggage, Christmas stuff and maybe extra clothing and blankets.

37 x 14 would make a hell of a den. AND, I think the 19 x 13 foot space should be a built-in spa. I’m thinking a nice sized Jacuzzi – with an attached, but separable bathroom. I think that is a wonderful idea! And, it would be exceptional draw to the next people moving in. It be really a matter of a fine art in doing the den area. It be inviting shortening the walls so they would be about two rooms 18 x 14, but then that takes away some of its beauty. Maybe I would have one 20 x 14 room for a private den with another fire place and I would use the other room 17 x 14 as a game room.

I’m thinking here that it the den could be really a theatre room? WOW! That’s a great idea! Maybe the smaller TV over the fireplace in the family room and a bigger one downstairs – now, the only question is do we close off the kids’ video room? Yah, I think so … It’s a matter if the kids are bigger and can be on their own or are smaller and need supervision. I’m thinking though as far as setting up theatre sound the 20x14 room would be the better deal. 2’ 4’ 4’ ok, I think first on the west wall is the TV entertainment center, and then TWO rows of chairs or combination two chairs and one couch … one set right in back of the other. That pretty much fills up about 12 feet of room, and then I would have a two foot deep kitchen set-up against the back wall It be nice to have a web-bar situation and a microwave for popcorn and such. There’d be a little two foot wall on the SW corner so I could have some plants across the bottom of the stairs. Left toward storage right toward theatre room, video room and super Jacuzzi room – oh man oh man!


I don’t know if we could get any better through the day. I’ve been thinking of just the practical things like the rooms we’d normally be living in, but downstairs it’s going to have to be called the playrooms. It’s the extra stuff people like Jacuzzi and special bath … I mean you could do a lot with a room 19 x 13 and then the video and media rooms! Wow, I was really worrying about making it a two bedroom house with a double loft, but I think this would make it valuable! Pretty sure these plans are going to cost about 100-150,000 though so we’re talking really about $4-450,000 total. We’re going to need getting real rich. Funny, Rich and I just watched something on Sunday morning about collectors. If anything I’m the collector of nice home designs. I think for a real enthusiast they would laugh though at having something so common, but shoot … just be so nice, hmm? What a blast the kids would have and grandkids in coming over. Maybe even their children. I just think life could be this good.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Did you know we were house hunting again?

Oh Lordy … we almost forgot to post the new pictures … didn’t we talk about this place this week? Maybe we were talking about it, but didn’t get to the house. I seem to remember something about comparing one house to another without I hope going too much into the rooms. I’m just going to leave mostly pictures now. But, you gotta know we’re loving it!

This house is a little smaller than the other house, but has some nice things like three car gargage living and dining rooms to be used as Rich and my office, open between family room, breakfast and kitchen, a loft that can be a super 24' room for the sewing, and washer and dryers on the second floor. This is a VERY workable deal. It is by the same builder as the other two houses we love ... this one is in Bolingbrook where the first one was and the second one is in Montgomery.

Saturday slippin by

Good morning. This is us. It’s Saturday morning and it’s already about 10:45 A.M. Oh man oh man … how did that happen it’s now 12:15 P.M. and Rich is done with his shower so is going to ask about cleaning the closet. I was bothering him with that before. Comes around full circle – I guess the time thing is on us in that it has been going through Outlook processes again. Seems that we’ve been trying to figure out the differences between tasks and to-do lists and it seems most of that is that if there is a time on it (red flag of various colors) then the task, email or contact becomes a “to-do.” So, maybe the task is more for listing out things that have to get done globally, but you don’t flag or mark as a to-do until you want to literally fit it into the schedule.

Ok, we’re back. AGAIN. The day is zipping past us. Rich helped (did the major) cleaning of the front hall coat closet. But, I seemed to have knocked the rod and the whole bar and it’s hanger came down. He has to get more nails or something while he’s out shopping. Yeeks!

We were about as cranky as cranky gets when he was working in the closet. I don’t know why … there didn’t seem to be a good reason though I’m sure someone had a reason. Maybe it’s just because we are out of control when we need to ask for help. The closet had old cable wires, a bunch of Rich’s pictures and some of his officiating uniforms out of season. Plus there is folding chairs, computer bags and Christmas stuff in there. That’s pretty much it. It is not so big that it doesn’t get out of place easy when it’s there. Rich was compliant in putting the pictures against the back wall instead of the side wall cutting off entrance into the closet. Thank goodness for some niceties of life. Rich was my nicety.

I don’t think we’ve written for a couple of days. We’ve been trying to put in good time working at work. We had gotten so frustrated that Tuesday and Wednesday were off. It’s when we went through most the closets. Thursday we had staff training that I thought went well and Friday was the Thinking Group. Friday Robyn worked in our office so that was fun. We mostly worked, but caught up on a little chat too.

The staff training meeting was computer/electronic orientated. We’re back to inventorying them as to their knowledge and appreciation of that whole set of devices and equipment. They keep surprising me. During the client group, they requested a game again against men and women and we fell back to a familiar game of math. They stayed focused for most of the time – just losing the last ten minutes. I think that’s their normal endurance during the week, so right before a Friday afternoon when they are closing up for the week I consider it a good deal.

The big deal of the week was that we talked to both Sr. and Dr. Marvin and eventually Rich and we got permission to work two days a week from home. That means that we have to do everything possible trustworthy-like to keep the position. I am so enthralled with the idea and it’s just slowly coming over me.

I’m so afraid for the shoe to drop and Sr. to say it was a mistake. Lordy, PLEASE help me make good my commitments!

We were working on Qnotes most the day, but then after Robyn left at 4 P.M. We cleaned off the papers on our desk, finished the Qnotes, and then spent time scanning documents from the clients’ annual meetings, so I can work on them both Monday and Tuesday. We found ourselves cleaning out our old business brief case and putting things in it that I could want to look at.

We also set up the big computer so that we have contact with it from our home computer and other. It’s really cool. This morning then we worked on our private time trying to update and ready the outlook program. We’ve tried many times doing it from various means, but having the program on the computer – both computers without having to switch back and forth is the ideal. That way we can’t lose valuable information with the synching. We’ve done it so that in sync we’ve lost everything. Fortunately it was backed up, but it is NO fun losing all your contacts. This way too I can use all the aspects. I am going to have to study again getting the information through the Internet on a cloud – most likely Google. I also have a program that we’d tried using for this kind of information and unfortunately we got put off our game with that before it started. We are going to have to go through our bank account and get rid of some of the accounts that are no longer useful to us in our effort to find something that works for us.

I forgot … we were going to clean out our side drawer too so that we could have some of our business documents in there. Hmm, maybe we should try just using the briefcase though to keep things going back and forth and avoid duplication. Yeah that’s a good idea. THOUGH … that drawer could stand some cleaning out too! Ok, girl … enough for the week! We DO want to get to sewing. Rich is going to be leaving about 6:15 P.M. for a game, so I figure that will be the time we go to the back. Hmm, maybe before we were on each other’s nerves before.
Why were we so cranky? It was hard to wait for him to make accomplishments and we were pushy. He said so does realizing your acting out give you a right to do it.

Which of course we said, most likely! CRANKY! I don’t feel bad now. Maybe part of it was that we’ve been trying to pick things up and he was just hauling all this stuff out … I know that it was a process and probably was the one to suggest it, it’s just that it was making me feel terrible to see all that disorder. He was also seeing things that I wouldn’t like nailing down the extra cable cord or putting the coats on the front of the bar instead of the back. Little things like that … Yeeks and we were terrible. I know I’m going to have to make up for that and most likely it will involve him getting foot rubbed. I’m just impressed we can handle each other so well … as it’s happening I know we are cranky and he does … so there’s a little lite banter trying to play it off. It’s a system.

One way or another the house is picked up again … which for now means that the blankets are folded, dishes are in the dishwasher, and the kitty litter is taken care of. Well other stuff too, but those are the biggest violations.

There’s so much more to be accomplished in organizing ourselves so that we can work at home. Did I say before how important this is? I’m excited to get started.

There were only a few things that we’ve established in our mind as things we’ve got to do. We need to continue getting up on schedule and taking our shower so we can then get our medicine and dressed for various reasons. We want to be FlyLady appeasing, but we also want to be ready where Sr. might need to call and need me for anything. Most of it though over anything is that we want to do well and be no top of our game. It just seems the grown-up thing to do.

So, what else has to happen? I think we’re going to need starting right at 7:30 A.M. Maybe we’ll have to get the work computer up and check in on the schedule. I think I would like to start by having the days tasked figured out before the day arrives. It seemed then that on the way to work and such we were thinking about what we’d be doing. That was happening more when we were writing before going to work. If we got everything from the day before done, we’d start figuring out the new time.

We weren’t able to be real clear on our tasks on Friday, but staying to 6 P.M. got us to be scanning ALL the annual reports and at least one day of the Qnotes so we could see if the goals were jiving.

I think if I were to think of it seriously now, we’d have to figure out whether we wanted to go by client, or by skimming the top with a single or double/triple set of tasks. The one task is to write the annual, the second task is to write the goal, and the third part is to write the goals and objectives. This isn’t done yet but we’re supposed to tell ourselves not to panic. So, making us stare at this now … what makes sense and will promote the quick efficient things to happen. I think we should keep the double and triple together … if we have out and have just worked on the document, then it will or should be no trouble to continue the thought process forward the third part is really not difficult just needs to be quickly put out. I know that when the state comes they will be looking for information that we have on that document.

So now we have to think about the annual and the 2nd/3rd part of the goal. Do we do annual next to the other? It seems that part of the annual is the goal (at the end). In one sense we have to have SOME completed files in case we get our choice as what to give them. But, it might be more efficient to take a run at the annuals over one day or two if necessary. I think that’s what I’m going to do … I won’t worry about the goals part quite yet. Just get one started so something whole is complete. I think making it a game we can do the buzz through.

We did well with the Qnotes in that all that we have are worked through as to rating, but they are not all in the computer in its final form. We think that is ok because at least the calculations are done that should be ok if we don’t get someone too detail-minded. At least it shows we are looking at the client’s complete work. We are however, missing one staff’s documents. I don’t know if she has anything done, but I know she’s relying on the part where she didn’t understand the goals. This is the same thing she says every time. You didn’t write it up.

But, even if I write it up … she claims no knowledge. It’s very hard to work with her in this respect. I am pretty frustrated with it so probably like too many other things we tend to avoid. BUT, this isn’t part of our new set of goals of working harder.

I don’t think there will be enough time to write letters home asking for missing info over the next two days, but we should get to it before a week is over.

Sister is talking about getting the circles group started again, but that it will only be for the top three groups. There is one or two individuals from the third group that could take part, but it will be a big group. We’ll have to see. I think Sr. is going to wait – hopefully until after the state inspection. She’s aiming for Thursdays … let’s see … 9:30-10:15, 10:30-11:15, and 12:00-12:45 … then we could have thinking staff training at 1:00-2:00 P.M. It sure be a meeting day, but if we did it this way, we could plan on not getting much else accomplished.

The only problem is that three people from the Leadership group wouldn’t be able to take part. There’s only one individual I would really worry about, but he tends to take over and over-represent himself in the group. One individual has trouble speaking English and the third person tends to sleep through groups. It’s not like any of them COULDN’T use the information on relationships.

I don’t know … think we’re leaning to have all the meetings done on Thurdays. That would give those teachers an extra hour to be working on their own things, but not to bother other staffs that still has their group. It would help too in that we wouldn’t be as apt to disturb groups from not having the meeting because of days off … If one group is missing a day they all are. We would have to have the Leadership group last because of the two people who work in the mornings, but I’m not sure which would be which of the other two groups. I think it will depend on who is having break when. They are around each other about 10:15-10:30, but I won’t want to be interrupted. I don’t think there is any way around it though unless one of the groups has physical fitness at another time that day so isn’t taking a mid-day break. Obviously 10:15-10:30 A.M. will work for one group … most likely Group 1. I think that’s their regular schedule. Hmm, now that I’m thinking of it? I wonder if Group 2 has their break in their room?

One more thing too - I think that Group IV has lunch about 10:30 A.M. I don’t see away around avoiding that. We are talking about sharing the lunch room for the meetings. It gives them some getting out with others so that’s not so bad, though I think having two groups doing different things is distracting as to the group working through eating time? I think they start to get hungry because food is being served to the others. Nothing can be done there. I’m pretty sure it’s the better room and it is Sr. approved.

Ok, that’s enough worry about that. We are still going to need figuring out what the groups will be doing. Most likely I will start the material over. Hmm, thinking that Holly is going to love this – if we have all the meetings before her 1 P.M. meeting because it will give them something to talk about. I’m not crazy about that idea, but it’s better than a bunch of meetings on Friday because they are already jam packed, AND on Wednesdays Mr. Hall has a couple hours of meetings which would have cross disturbed each other. Probably best all on Thursdays.

Ok, we’re back … can’t stay more than a few moments to finish up though. Rich came home and we’ve spent a couple hours together. He’ll be leaving in a few moments, but he’s catching one more fishing show before he goes. It’s speedy fast without the commercials. We’ve been having a rollicking good time and we had dinner together – I had chicken, potato and carrots, and he had beef, rice and green beans. This sort of night is halfway between new stuff and left-overs. I think we each got our favorites.

Hmm, he’s left now. Someone snuck an extra WW ice cream sandwich. *sigh* Ok, dear … let’s go sew ;)

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

It's really been a lot about organizing and reorganizing our life

Good morning. We’re back again. It’s about 8:30 A.M. Rich is zipping up his case, so we’re thinking that he’s going to be heading out soon. You might then guess that we are still at home. We left sister a note saying we wouldn’t be in today and that we’d like to talk with her tomorrow morning if she had time. We’ll get to more of that later though. For the time being … we’ve been up for about four hours. We just sat the first hour looking appreciatively around our back work space. I know it probably been stared down enough, but while we are doing that … we come up with new ideas … or if we are just sitting it allows us to feel very good about being in the space, and after yesterday morning we needed to be feeling better, so we lapped it up.

We’ve had our eggs too. Rich didn’t get a chance to get groceries, but he did bring home some eggs and cheese. That was really nice of him. We’re asking him to get us batteries before he goes anywhere else today though. It’s really hard to live life without a mouse. We told him that we’d meet him downstairs. Speaking of … it’s probably a good time to bring some stuff down. If we get it to the bottom of the stairs, Rich can bring it over to the dumpster and that seems to be half of the trouble. Good thinking! I think I heard the garbage men too so we’re thinking that it should be empty.

We decided that since we were going to stay home today that we’d work on all the projects we’d set aside for Rich. It’s going to be a lot of work. The first thing is the garbage brought down, but we’ll do this a little at a time. The next thing will be to clear the stuff at the top of three out of the four closets that isn’t already done. The next thing will be to clear out the front hall closet, the next thing will be to empty my top file drawer AND if there is time or ability … the next thing is to hang a few pictures. MAYBE that will be saved for Rich, but I wouldn’t bet on it at this point. We just want things done and not to be fighting about it anymore.

To take Rich’s side, I do appreciate that he is tired. He comes home after a game or two after working throughout the day. I do want it mentioned he works from home so slides in the things he needs to so that de-stresses that whole thing, but he does do a lot of work. He doesn’t have games tonight, so it’s going to be laundry day, AND it should be grocery day too. Ok, maybe one of us too should vacuum the carpet. We’ll have to see how things add up. I do know that if you don’t get this kind of work done during the weekend it is not going to get done on its own.

Good good … Rich tried to argue again and I’m just NOT going to argue. He couldn’t understand why I was helping with garbage … I just said it was a two-fer He wouldn’t have to carry the load all on his own nor would I have to go to the trash bin. I think sometimes he is just the most snarly man. He takes after his Mother in the cranky department. I do think his mother is a lot more positive … Rich seems to take great pleasure in coming up with negative stuff.

This morning there was another big problem about 7 A.M. when he figured out I wasn’t getting ready for work. He started to yell and complain and groan and told me that I had wrecked his ability to work he was so mad. After about ten minutes he left the room and went into the bedroom and then took his shower and got dressed. When he came back to the room, he seemed better. Still touchy, but he had figured out something to make himself more calm. I think usually it is an acceptance of something that hadn’t happened before. He said something about not knowing how our minds processed, but that he would take it for what it was worth.

This wasn’t his exact words, just the sense recall we have of it.

When Rich gets mad, most the time we regress to not talking. I don’t think we regressed this time all the way. We stayed semi-adult in that we could look up though not into his eyes directly. It doesn’t do any good to argue because that’s just senseless. He’s not in a receptive mood so why try adding our logic whether that is sound or not. We’re not all bad.

We’d figured out already that we had to do these other jobs … the other thing we figured out was that tomorrow morning we were going to ask Sr. to allow us to work two days from home – both Monday and Tuesdays. We thought it out over and over again … and it seemed to be the perfect solution. We’d been looking at other jobs and for a long time have been reading over work-at-home jobs. We’ve tried a few leads, but it’s hard to find something that just isn’t collecting money for some directions on how to work from home using one sales technique or another. I’ve come to figure out if they are not up front in telling you what the immediate job is that they probably are messing with our minds.

I read over what had been said by somebody in our system yesterday. There seems to be two components … the first is not wanting to work at all, and the second is not wanting to work outside the home. We did an internal sweep and we feel confident in saying that if we were allowed to work at home, we would do everything possible to make it a productive day. Anything at this point would be more productive than what is happening at work. We surveyed our space and figured that we could use the drafting table for most of the work. It would mean cleaning up fabric from the night before if we had used it, but it was a doable situation. We can just move the cut pieces over to the top of the file cabinet.

This was also the part of cleaning out that top file. I am envisioning it to be used for the storage of work documents. We also think that we are going to be using the briefcase again in getting papers back and forth. I do like the idea of the scanner at work, so we can send files over the Internet without having to take books out of the building.

The way we figure it is that there needs to be some kind of change. We would like to get back into the work, but there has to be a better plan to do it. Usually when we get to work there is so much resentment toward being there … we do anything different to calm ourselves down just to tolerate it.

There are many reasons for this in that … We had never intended to work over ten years at a company doing the same primary things day in and day out. We feel very burnt out. We figured though if we changed things up a bit we could handle better the situation. The first thing is to start to like the job better. It seems we can do routine things here without having a problem. We also think about things like at a certain time of a woman’s life, it must become more and more important to be at home. I don’t want to just leave sister, nor do I think necessarily that we are going to get a better job, that is fairly easy and pays the bills.

Hmm, just a break in the action – Rich just stopped at home, brought up the batteries which WORK! And, then he got some coffee and took down a SMALL load of garbage. *sigh* It’s at least moving and we are ecstatic to be getting the mouse working again.

I don’t think it’s an unreasonable request in that Sr. has always been accommodating to the neediness of her staff. A person working at home is a very popular thing right now. I’m not sure if Sr. is attuned to that, but there is more and more going behind the thought process. It seems that on most days I never really leave my office, so I’m not really needed in general. I would make certain adjustments to being in if I had to be and I would be in on my staffing days, my staff training days, and the Thinking group days, so I wouldn’t be putting anyone out.

I realize that I have to make amends as to getting things done in time for the Annual inspection, but after that if I’m still employed, I foresee going carefully through my drawers at work and throwing things that are unnecessary. I want a clean operation and I want things organized. I know that we’ve said this in the past and in saying it now reminds me that we haven’t clearly gotten all the bugs worked out in going from one calendar appointment to the next and in one computer/phone communication to the next. That will all have to be refigured.

Part of doing things will have to be giving Sr. some kinds of reassurances that work is being done. To do this we are going to need concentrating fully on doing work at work time. The biggest interference in this is the writing. We are fairly well trained to save sewing until the end of the night. If the place stays picked up it is part of a process of me being tuned in and taking care of things as they come up – like when we go in for another cup of coffee we take in the plate from our omelet. It’s a really big deal to have our place so much on top of the game.

I can’t tell you how good it makes me feel to be this organized.

I still want a house, but I’m much better at this point, in that the apartment is very comfortable. It doesn’t mean that I’m going to take down the picture of the “new place” it does mean that I’m learning to deal with our space. It be a shame to put so much work into the back room just to be taking it down – though when the time comes, I will be that much further ahead in knowing what and how to arrange things at a new place. The biggest difference there was in asking Bob to put up the shelving units. Nothing would have gotten anywhere without that start. Ok, back into the warm fuzzy feelings.

I’m thinking we’re veering off the subject of working from home and I think that’s ok, we’ll let it slip back into the conversation when we are more relaxed with the idea. Right now we are close to feeling threatened in that it seems like such a wonderful life altering thought that anything, BUT that thought is threatening, especially Sr. saying no. I don’t know what to do in offering an ultimatum. I know I can’t leave the job if she says no, but I also don’t know how to get over the frustration and anger. It’s going already to be something to be talking to her a little more openly about my work thoughts. I think she’s getting a better idea of how we think in that she’s reading our book. She mentioned the little script and I saw it open on her kitchen table. I will be eager to get her response, but the part where she’s still talking to us; I have to take as a good sign.

I think we might be a little super charged in that we just did a sweep of the place for no good reason. We put away the extra batteries Rich left, went in and made the bed, we checked out the sewing room and we opened the front drapes - Anything to get us into a normal routine. I think we’re going to need making an executive decision here. Might it not be a good idea to take a shower and get out of our pajamas? FlyLady would vote yes, but there sure is something nice about working comfortably, but it would seem the smarter move to do things properly. I’m not sure, but maybe we can put on some sweats? We’ll need to compromise between flannel and jumpers. That would seem the thing to do. Ok, let’s try that then.


Good good … we’re back. Went with the sweats and the purple shirt – funny thing about cleaning your closet … everything seems brand new.

So … It’s almost 10 A.M. and we’ve got to be moving on here … I would like to continue writing, but I know there is work ahead too. Let’s give ourselves a chance to relax into it, k? Where are our thoughts?

There’s a little guilt in thinking thoughts of the book. Right now isn’t the time to be working on that though. We really need to get done with the house project first so that we can continue to move smoothly through all its day to day projects. I think when we start, we are going to bring a load downstairs, and then we are going to work on Rich’s closet first. We’ll do everything for now with the exception of the pictures. We’ll take things down from above Rich’s clothes and sort and or throw. Then we will bring his tackle boxes up to see how much space they are going to take up. I’m thinking that we might build from left to right, in that if there is extra space, maybe then we can bring the stuff from on top of our clothes (Rich’s old closet) to the space above his clothes currently. I think given a choice I would like his plastics gear on our clothing side rather than the odds and ends discombobulated stuff. It looks much neater and more organized.

That will work, then if Rich’s closet gets cleaned out, then we’ll work on getting the sheets and blankets taken care of. If Rich’s stuff both tackle and odds and ends fit on the top of the sewing room closets, then the question would be what would go on top of our stuff. I’m pretty sure given the choice, I’d rather have the empty side – for maybe something to come rather than the sheets and blankets.

That seems to be building up to being a neutral closet anyway. Maybe one of the things I can do is bring in the small black bags from the front hall closet. That would help organize that space.

Looking at the front hall closet … it seems there isn’t that much hanging up in that all the coats and leftovers in there could probably go to the back rod. The floor is mostly folding chairs and pictures, so maybe the odds and ends would fit up on the top. Hmm, I’m thinking now that maybe the stuff underneath the ironing table might fit in the closet. Part of that is the books and the boxes from the books. I would like to have the under table space back if possible, although I could live with it either way.

Hmm, starting to fall into a plan here! The other stuff that goes on top of the shelving in the front hall is Christmas stuff … we don’t have much there though so all is good.

Ok, that’s all planned out. What else can we talk about that isn’t work orientated? We’ve given up the idea of finishing the class at Morton. We still have to do the work, but figured that we might as well do it on our own since the school really isn’t adding much to the structure part and that is why we had taken the course. I don’t think it was a waste of $99, but we do realize we could have made better use of it.

Again we’re thinking here that we have been pretty influenced of late by John’s passing and trying to be more up-to-date with my mother and sister, and of course Linda. A major part of that though is in really appreciating having had the Grandmother that we did, especially her influence due to the quilts. I don’t think actually we finished there yesterday. Maybe we could go back now and then we might be more likely to get back into the deep cleaning projects, hmm?

We just reread or at least skimmed over where we’d left off yesterday. It will be a trick to see if we can pick up on all that. I know last night before Rich came home we’d really typed fast to be getting in what we had. It seems mostly we’d gotten past the part where we were cleaning up in our bedroom and had talked a little about garbage area in back. I think here we are going to insert a few pictures. We described it a bit when we put it in Facebook, but we’ll probably do it here to put things in better context.

The first picture is our closet being organized. You can see the clothes aren’t too crowded and there’s room for the suitcase and the shoe baskets. What you don’t see here is the space behind the brown dresser. It is really one of the nicest closets, because what’s here doubled is also doubled on the other side and both sets are doubled in the sewing room. I don’t know if we’ve done enough to eliminate the doubt here yet. I want you to be able to visualize the space and what we’re talking about. No, I haven’t figured out yet why it’s so important that we publish our life. Just know it is. The space in the middle is crowded with boxes and clothes that aren’t essential, but that I wanted to keep. Out of sight now out of mind – and if Rich wants a basket to bring up dry clothes then we can easily share a basket for the shoes. Yep yep … we think in this kind of detail.

I think there’s something to be said here. It seems that when we get overwhelmed and this might be a pattern, we have sudden needs to reorganize. Things have to make sense down to the smallest details. Maybe if you’ve been reading us all along, you’ve already come up to this conclusion.

This is the new sorter on the other side of the closet. Doesn’t it look miraculously uncluttered? I’m really pleased that we took out a whole section of old clothes. There is a little worry that we should have cut them up, but for now like mentioned before it was better to take down the overwhelmed thoughts. You can see too that there is a hanging area, so that Rich when putting away clothes can work from here with space to play. I think usually he takes down his or my load and then stands by our closet to put things away. This area though frees up space to the imagination. It must be working because before Rich left, he mentioned that he wouldn’t have a game tonight and that he should be doing some clothes. I feel so proud we came up with at system where he doesn’t have to bend and things are all sorted. There was also a bit of new order when he changed from his clothes last night he was very certain to put things in order and that was really appreciated.

This was part of the staging area we talked about before. You are only getting a little part of the sheet, but it is really full. Some things that we’ve been saving we just had the need to now be throwing out. There were some clothes left by Thom and Maury. We could have seen this over to Joe, but then we got to a point where we said enough is enough … It just has to go. Another thing that went was the down mattress liners. I had one on each bed at the time, but Rich decided after he got here that they were too warm, and that they were sticking him with feathers. Rich questioned throwing them out because they were still good, but at some point you just have to say enough. If it were FlyLady, she would say something about if it wasn’t loved, useful, etc. Get rid of it!

One other thing that was finally thrown was the wall hanging made by the kids Grandmother. I’ve been carrying it around since we were married. It had been made for my ex, but he didn’t take it with him when he left. I’ve thought for a long time that it was too good to throw, but there were spots on the front where the material had deteriorated into holes. For a long time we just looked past these, but this time it was like … we don’t have room here, and if we ever moved into a new place we wouldn’t want it up and we knew in the condition it was in that none of the boys would want it either – so out it finally went YAY FOR THE TEAM!

This was the other side of the area filled with garbage. The two brown boxes hadn’t been thrown yet from the last trip cleaning up the back closet and then there were other boxes added. The two white boxes and all that was broken down inside them are from the boxes my Grandmother’s stuff came in. Gradually as we comet to explain, we went through every box and emptied it and now everything is being accommodated into our stuff. The plastics in the back are part of what Rich wants storage space for in the closet. He’s got a ton of lures that he wants to sort through before the next fishy season. Fishyman actually asks for so little, we have to make sure to accommodate his needs. We’re still remembering the story of him only having a tiny corner above the fridge free for his stuff at his last house. I know that we’ve discussed this in the past so we’ll not go into it here; needless to say I’m glad there is space for his needs too. Heaven knows we’ve taken up a lot of apartment real estate.

This is our blanket found in the cleaning of the closet that we were just soooo EXCITED about. It was called a postage stamp and you are just seeing about a quarter of it. We folded it around the big cushions and it was amazing how close it matched to the couch. I couldn’t be happier. It seemed to make sudden sense that the one thing our quilting room was missing was a great big old quilt. I didn’t make this one, but I’m fascinated with it. It was made by someone in Kentucky … the matching pieces are at my sisters because I had been so discouraged at not finding this for over a year. I was sure that it was thrown out. Every inch there is a new block … It must take the most talent to get things to looking this great. It’s by far more demandingly good than anything I will probably ever make. I had bought it from money left over from my father’s estate … and there will be no losing of it THIS time! At the time it had come off the bed, because Rich didn’t want to mess it up and he was more happy with a green comforter he’d brought from his old place.

The suitcases and boxes for the books are what we were talking about might fit in the top of our closet. We’re crossing our fingers!

This is how the south wall filled in after we did a LOT of going through boxes. Things fell in the most extraordinary order. The pieces added in this picture beside the blanket were a few more pieces added to the second shelf on the left.

This is all the pieces that we have that are bigger than a yard or two. We don’t have such a big stash here, but it is ok, because we are so well covered in other areas that are important to us. The third shelve to the left is new too. It contains all the bigger pieces of flannel that came from my Grandmother’s collection. It’s a real soft flannel and might actually be something else. It is the stuff that is used for baby quilts. It’s really soft and tears and my fingers. Obviously the fingers and hands are rougher than I’d imagined.

There are a few small changes that need to be made like I don’t like the picture shelf three down from the right. There’s a bunch of little hand projects in plastic and I don’t like the way they are flopping. Maybe what we’ll do is after the guide pieces come out of one of the wickers we can put the plastic projects in there and then we can come up with something else more decorative for this shelf.

I don’t have any immediate needs for shelving, but I don’t want it to look this sloppy. I wanted that shelf to be more of a showcase. I might just add some boxes from the other side that is more hidden. We’ll see. Again all the larger plastic bags on the top are from CS quilt projects and they are being explained by pictures below on the rows of colored sheets.

Yup yup, we are back to this side. You are probably getting tired of it by now, but as you know we have tendencies toward … everything new seems to get another picture. This side also shows some updates from my grandmother’s stuff. The last three cubbies are for her. One has knitting and crochet needles, a pattern and other such stuff, the next has about 12-15 packages of rick-wrack and the upper has some odds and ends primarily like a few feet of lace including a tiny part that is hand crocheted.

The boxes by the hearts are what will probably move out of there. But, something I’m proud of is the thread collection. We’re going to be adding to this soon.

We’re hoping it’s already on its way. I’m starting in this sense to feel like a seamstress. The idea is options and the idea is look at all the colors aren’t they beautiful? It’s the same warm welcoming affect we have from looking at fabric. I don’t know if this is something common to most people – to be drawn in by color and texture or if it’s something I inherited. One way or another we are feeling a lot of joy from it.

This picture shows a few more things that are new. A couple of the wickers – the big ones were empty so we found things to put in them, quite by accident. Well one at least. The one that came more naturally was the two quilt tops made by my Great Grandmother. It had been put on the shelf in the kitchen, but it made a whole lot more sense to bring it into this room. I didn’t think of it at first, but if you sit around and stare at things long enough … ideas and inspiration come to you. It happened after we brought the big quilt in for the couch.

And, then almost as easy a thought as all that, we remembered that we had one other thing to gather back to the room – we still had the cross-stitch projects we’d worked on in our past. I figured Wow! Of course they belong in here. Especially the part of having a great big collection of DMC thread – I don’t know if it is too old to use yet, but it was surely loved. That was one of the things I loved about cross-stitch … there were so many pretty colored threads. Maybe one day I’ll get back to it. I figured my Grandmother obviously did crochet too as a side to her quilting. My mother picked up the crochet too as well as my cousin Marsha, and CS and I have picked up on the quilting. Maybe if we do both quilting and cross-stitch, my kids’ kids will pick that up too. I’d almost forgotten too that my mother had picked up cross-stitch after I had … I still have the first needlework project – EVERYONE in the family does needlework, but my first real effort had been done with the other girls we met up with in Norway. It’s cool stuff really!

Next to the big baskets were two extra special little surprises. There are two small doll quilts that are completely made. One day if CS comes by, we’ll ask her if she wants one of them. That kind of stuff just seems fair.

Oh and one more thing. One of those boxes we were talking about is in this picture right between and joining the two pink sets of boxes. It has an arc of candy and it says “Favorites.” There’s another box with doohickeys in it like buttons, pins and such, but this box is empty except the thought that it was my Grandmother’s so obviously it is now special.

Shoot one more thing … we also gained those primarily white stacks in the corner.

We explained this in another place, but there was almost a whole box of this kind of stuff, some so raggedy we threw it away, but the gist is that there are old sheets and fabric from shirts cut down. My Grandmother and her generation wasted little of nothing. Some of the shirts brought back bad memories because they would have belonged to my Grandfather, but other than that … we loved getting such a cool collection of stuff.

This is like one of the pictures you knew we have been holding back with, but am now thrilled to show. We got the idea of using these kinds of cubbies from CS. CS has bigger ones and she uses them for collecting bigger pieces of fabric, but that isn’t what my collection is about. In general if the piece was big enough then we figured it should go back to CS collection. Here the boxes are like 6x6x12. The pieces that fill these are coming from the scraps. Anything about 18x21” or the size of a fat quarter, but not yet more than a yard or two are going here and the idea is to then recycle so these pieces go to being cut smaller for quilts down the line. You remember the little squares and rectangles in the left pink boxes?

That’s what happens to things that are smaller than a fat quarter.

The value of this section other than it just looks so gosh darn cool is that you have a chance to sort by color where the pink cubbies you are sorting by cut size.

This section will fill up more as we go through more scraps. And, this is primarily our business! These are the kinds of pieces that will go toward building the quilts we give away. We will be able to color coordinate them better as we collect pieces, but for now we’re mixing and matching. Do you remember the project that we are working on?

See it takes all kinds of colors to make a rainbow. These colors being used in this project are more like natural sand colors. That’s what is so special about quilting … everything is unique and for the most part one of a kind. It’s just mind-boggling how color combinations come into play. I could look at the above cubby wall for hours. But, I know I have to be moving on.

These are the bins that we talked about earlier as to placing an order. I can’t tell you how excited I was that everything was falling into order. We’ve got two more of these coming which is perfect though in the end we might build up the wall to about six. But, if we built it much higher it would indicate there are things that aren’t getting completed. The bottom bin is about halfway filled and it has little scraps of the baby flannel. Some of the pieces are cut already, but most are just scraps. I think my grandmother did a lot more with 4 ½ x 4 ½” squares where I seem to do smaller like 1 ½ x 1 ½ and 2 ½ x 2 ½. The reason for the halves is that after you sew them together there is a seam allowance of 1/4” on each side so the finished project is a whole number.

The next two bins will be for my sister’s remaining stash of scraps that is now under the table in a big blue garbage bag. They should fill up the majority of the other two bins. Object then would be to KEEP cutting and sewing until they are all used up … and by then you can look around to almost any sewer and say … do you have scraps you don’t want. Lot of people don’t throw them away, because they COULD be valuable, but most don’t get around to it because sometimes it’s a lot more fun to get nice big new pieces of fabric. AHA! I’ve got a calling in life and now we’ve got the system too!

That’s a clean garbage by the way. Nothing slimy or deteriorating goes in that garbage … most items in a sewing room are scraps SO small that they would be good for anything … though I’m thinking in the old days they would have been used as stuffing. We’re not there though. Fortunately, stuffing is more effective and efficient now days.

This one I really got the giggles for. It was amongst some of my Grandmother’s things. I didn’t know that she thought these kinds of thoughts and since its singular we’re thinking it was important to her in some respect. After living nearly a hundred years it is amazing to see what comes or is left as a result. It tickles me that my Grandmother had this kind of life where this would make her laugh and that she too was perhaps some days close to being a little crazed by it all.

Another thing that we’d found was a church newsletter where she was pictured with about a dozen women who were obviously from the quilts they were displaying quilters. They got together after Bible study and the news article that joined the picture talked about the hundreds of quilts they made for charity. I couldn’t be more proud of a document as to having fallen in our hands. It’s just so special.

That was a big part of the day yesterday as I was going through my Grandmother’s scraps one at a time, I felt such presence by her and it was almost as if she could be really laid now to rest that the things that were so important to her had come to a place of being. I felt like ok … from this time on … it’s me and Grandma’s will that will be carrying on. It was the most satisfying feeling and it took sometimes long moments between one set of tasks and another because we felt so contemplative.

So here we are about back to square one. There is a project on the table and it requires some attention, but just the special kind toward evening. I would really love to be able to sew by day, but there is so much other stuff to be doing as well. We still have to make an income and of course there is the writing. Words do not just appear. Well sort of they do.

We have to be patient in waiting for the next two shipments … both of the bins and the things ordered through JoAnn’s. We’ll be looking forward to the lights especially for the cutting area in the living room and the piano keyboard. I saw Rich this morning adjusting the present light over the drafting table so he could see his paperwork. He’ll be getting that light to use as he wishes in just a couple of days. Last night after he got the full tour he had put on his pajamas and we both had a little late dinner. Then we watched or at least listened to a couple shows with him. We’d cleared all the clutter on the drafting table and just worked on cutting down the little pieces. There is so much fulfillment that comes with this task, I’m finding it hard to imagine so many people not having had touched base with their quilting selves. It seems that’s going to be my legacy.

Quilting and writing. I feel so extraordinary in being able to do this kind of thing. I think anyone could with a little patience and opportunity. I really thank my Grandmother and sister for having brought this all back into my life.

We should then be getting on with our day … You know the projects set up in front of us.

There’s just this one little last shot. How can you end a perfectly good day without appreciating the dark stillness about us? If you haven’t found your passion yet, it is time to look!