Saturday, August 12, 2017

Windows

When we lost power July 22, of course we also had no AC. We’ve got curtains and/or blinds on the bedroom windows, but by design have never put any in the living room. Our fireplace is flanked by floor to ceiling windows that look out into our (no thanks to us) gorgeous back yard. We love that view and also like the views from the patio door, and the other two more typical windows in that room.

Except we get full sun on the east window and a lot of sun through our west-facing patio door. For those 53 hours, that solar heat was awful. About midday on the first day, I tacked up some beach towels and fabric to block the sun. My make-shift solution worked, even if it was ugly as all get out.

Two weeks ago, we picked up some curtains at IKEA (do we ever shop anywhere else for home goods? No, no we don’t), but only for the patio door and the east window. We’d thought we could leave the other, normal window uncovered but honestly it looked like we forgot something.

Last weekend, we went back and got another pair of curtains, and two matching pillows for the couch. Those pillows hadn’t been there the previous week—and I’m not sure if you can see in this photo, but the flowers and stuff are also embroidered. I think that’s why Wally adores the pillow.

Today, I decided that our kitchen window, the one over our sink, also looked bare. But as with our flanking windows, I didn’t want to obscure the view into the backyard. So I made a simple valance, and now everything looks planned, cohesive and complete.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

I’m not doing that again

I prefer a very firm feather pillow—I’m a side sleeper so I want my neck in a straight line. I don’t care for foam or those weird memory foam pillow, I’m Team Feather all the way.

Unfortunately, I appear to be in the minority in terms of how firm I like my pillow. I’ve found exactly one pillow that was firm enough from the start; I bought it in Boston in 2008 and could not believe how perfect it was. Over the years, of course, it compressed and got flatter, so I sewed a seam about four inches in from the end so that the feathers got mooshed together more. Finally, though, I admitted defeat and gave the pillow to Kent (who likes firmer pillows but not as firm as I do).

I’ve looked ever since, tried a few that didn't work and ended up as pillows in the guest room. I finally ended up with IKEA’s version of a firm down pillow. It wasn’t firm enough, so I started with the sewn seam trick, and it did OK.

But I’ve always wondered if I could take feathers from one pillow and overstuff another one to get the pillow I really want.

Today, I gave it a try.

If you've ever worked with feathers, I'm sure you are already shaking your head and saying "oh no." I haven't worked with down or feathers before, and I’m confident I probably never will again. That down went everywhere! I’d started the pillow stuffing process in the house but pretty quickly moved to the garage because feathers and down were flying everywhere!

I got it done (I didn't want to have made that giant mess for nothing), and I've got a firmer pillow, although I haven’t tried sleeping with it yet. I sure hope this worked, although I’m not sure what I’ll do next time.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

I cannot believe it's August

Which means it's also time for surprise lilies. I love them.


Saturday, July 29, 2017

What a week

Last Saturday was freaking hot here in Kansas. Kent and I decided to get all our normal weekend chores done that day anyway—he mowed the yard, I weeded, we did a Costco run and a Home Depot run, and a couple of other errands I don’t remember now. It was so incredibly hot—how hot was it? We hit 98F, with a heat index of 115. I'm so glad we did all that Saturday because we sure couldn't have done it Sunday.

Heat like that fuels massive thunderstorms here and last Saturday’s storm was epic. We lost power at 10 PM, and got over 2 inches of rain. In a most annoying twist, the street to the north of us never lost power, nor did neighbors two doors up and on the other side of the street. But we were in the dark with over 100K people.

We hustled and moved our brand new giant container of feta cheese (thanks Costco), and the unopened yogurt into the freezer and left that shut for the next 53 hours. Fortunately, our trash pick-up is on Mondays always (even if Christmas is on Monday, our trash gets picked up) so Monday, we tossed food we knew would spoil that morning.

External battery, love it!
We were hot, and so were the cats but mostly we were bored. I had some books on my Kindle, and we had our phones but we didn’t feel like we could leave the house. We needed to be there when the power came back on, and we couldn’t leave the cats. I was so very glad Ben and Jen had given me an external battery—mine has a ton of capacity and we used it to charge our phones multiple times. That helped so much.

At the same time, KCP&L (our electric company) had tweeted that they were giving out dry ice to people without power. Kent decided he’d go, so he loaded our cooler into the trunk of his car, came back for something, went back out to leave and then came back in to tell me his car battery was completely dead. And his jumper cables were in his trunk, which requires electricity to open. And of course the cooler was in the trunk.

OK, we have two cars so he took mine. But all the dry ice had been handed out in 15 minutes, so he couldn’t get any. But he did pick up a set of jumper cables powered by a rechargeable battery, which he decided he would use once we had power again.

Our power came on at 3 AM Tuesday morning—hallelujah! I got cleaned up and headed to work, and Kent charged up that battery for the jumper cables.

This is where the week ended up being almost comical. He said the jumper cables worked like a charm and he drove around for a bit to get the battery charged back up. He got back home and realized that no, the car battery wouldn’t hold a charge. Then he decided he would charge the battery again, take the car over to the Volvo dealership and catch the shuttle back home (remember, I was downtown at work).

The back of the bill--ouch
The next message I got from him said his car was possessed and random lights were coming on—but the car wasn’t turned on. The next message said he’d tried to move the car and the power steering died and he was calling a tow truck. Turns out his Volvo (and any Volvo with a satellite radio installed) drains the battery because even if you aren’t a subscriber, that satellite radio scans and looks for a signal, which just kills the battery. In fact, there’s a class action suit over it. This is the second battery we’ve gotten for his car in the last 26 months.

Oh but wait, there’s more. Thursday, our internet went down. Kent called our provider, who wanted to ship a router. But that wasn’t the issue, so Kent pushed hard for a service call which was supposed to be today. Yesterday, the router we didn’t need arrived, and to no one’s surprise the service call had been cancelled. The issue still isn’t the router, and now we have a technician scheduled to be here Monday.

That was my week. How was yours?

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Raccoons and rain

This morning’s run was a little eventful.

First, the raccoons.

Did you read the story about the woman in Maine who was out running one afternoon and was attacked by a rabid raccoon? No, I’m not making this up. I read that story when it first broke, shuddered and promptly forgot about it.

Now remember, I run very early in the morning. It's dark at 5 AM in Kansas, so the only light comes from the streetlights (which aren't always on).

This morning on my own run, I spotted some animals in an intersection ahead of me. I slowed down a bit because I wasn’t sure what they were—I’ve seen squirrels, bunnies, cats and even a coyote or two but none of those matched was I was seeing. Then I realized they were three raccoons. It looked like a full-grown adult and two slightly smaller ones (maybe the off spring?). Well, I remembered that story about the rabid raccoon and thought maybe if I hollered a little bit, they would move off. So I did (not too loudly, though, remember it was around 5 AM).

To my utter shock and immediate adrenaline-dumping fear, they all three turned and ran toward me. Holy crap, that was unnerving. I started backing up, not entirely sure what to do and a little surprised at how fast they were. One couldn’t quite keep up and darted off the road to a tree and scrambled up it, and—whew—the other two ran down into a storm drain. What was odd is that they were by a different storm drain when I startled them, and they had to run up the street (toward me) to get to that specific storm drain. You better believe I hoofed it out of that intersection ASAP.

I was about halfway through my run when the skies just opened up with a torrential downpour. All I could think was the only way out was through, and I’d spend less time out in the rain if I just kept running. About a half mile later, the rain dwindled and stopped. I was so glad . . .until I realized I could hear rain moving toward me from the west. When I say I could hear it, I mean I could hear the sound of another torrential storm pounding the ground.

Well. I was completely soaked when I got home. Kent had very kindly put a towel by the front door, and I needed it.

I never realized running could be so exciting.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

It's a challenge

To change sheets in my house. Eddie cannot resist the sound of sheets being put on a bed. He ignores the sounds of making a bed in the mornings, so there must be a difference in the noise. I can't tell with my human ears, but he can.

It's similar to the way all three cats ignore non-tuna cans being opened. Open a can of pumpkin, or artichoke hearts? They snooze. Open a can of tuna and all of a sudden, you're surrounded by cats crying piteously for a bit of that yummy tuna.

Anyway, here are some action shots from this morning's sheet changing adventure.







Sunday, July 2, 2017

If a tree falls in a forest

Yesterday, I ran my longest distance yet—just over six miles. Except shortly after mile 4, my Garmin’s battery died.

If you’d been running with me, you’d have heard me grumble for the next quarter mile or so about the crappy design (you have to press several buttons to see the battery indicator, and you get no notice that the battery’s low until it’s very nearly dead). At that point, I didn’t know if any of that run would show up or if the whole thing was gone. As it turned out, I lost the last two miles in terms of tracking the run.

Sweaty me post run
But I was really bummed. I’m working on increasing my leg endurance—my lungs felt great the whole way through, and while my legs got tired, they didn’t feel over stressed. I thought I’d done pretty well on the run, but without having all the data, I didn’t know for sure. And I’ll be honest, it bugged me all day that my steps for the day were a full two miles short.

This morning, I ran the same route again (I am stubborn like that). My lungs still felt great, my legs were pretty tired by the end and honestly, I should have peed right before I left the house. That was a little uncomfortable. Best of all, my Garmin didn’t die so it tracked the entire run.