Sunday, April 30, 2017

Christmas past (but in a good way)

My mother-in-law’s estate sale was this weekend—not that she’s dead, far from it. But since she’s moved into the assisted living/nursing home, there’s no point in keeping rooms full of stuff or a house she no longer needs. So we needed to dispose of  all those belongings, and then get the house sold.

The estate sale industry is pretty weird, at least to me. Getting the sale scheduled was a chore. I don’t know if that’s because the people who do this have other jobs or if that’s just the norm for this line of work, but everything was hard to pin down.

As a side note, the woman we bought our house from used an estate sale company before she moved out. Her parents had lived here for over 30 years, and she’d lived here with them through their illnesses and eventual death, and this place was packed with stuff (including a casket in the basement—isn’t that strange?).

They do a lot of the work, though. They sort and label everything, publicize the sale, and provide staff to work at the sale. Afterwards, they box and donate everything that’s left. In the case of the company we used, they prefer that the family not hang around during the sale. That sort of bothered Kent (what are they hiding?) but it also made sense. I can well believe that people get a little weird watching their possessions or their parents’ possessions going for a song, and get emotionally worked up.

One thing my mother-in-law has always loved is decorating for Christmas. When I first met her in 2002, she was still putting up three or four fully decorated trees along with lots of other Christmas decorations (her Santa collection is impressive). She made a lot of her decorations, and really enjoyed getting everything set up just so. Even as recently as five years ago, she put up two trees. In this last house, she only had room for one and of course now she'll need to display a couple of small items since there's no room for a tree.

Kent was in Tulsa as the estate sale people were organizing everything into categories, and he told me they’d put all the Christmas items into one room. He said it was pretty cool to see all those things together, so I asked him to take a photo. Here it is:

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

We might be those people

We got this to solve the problem of litter dust going everywhere, not to mention to help hide the visuals of two open litter boxes.It's a kid's tent from IKEA. Yeah, we are crazy cat people.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Imitation as a form of flattery

A couple of months ago, a friend—D—made what I call catnip blankets for our kitties. They are double-sided rectangles of fabric with Velcro openings on the two opposite long sides, with a square sewn in the middle sort of like this:

You put loose catnip into each opening, shake vigorously and toss the blankets on the ground. If you have nipheads (which I do), they will go a little bonkers loving on the blankets and generally acting even more silly than usual.

My three kitties love those things. I’ll come home from work and find the blankets moved, or rumpled up or I’ll see a cat, just sitting on the blanket chilling out.

I have another friend (L) whose divorce was just final. She’s gotten a couple of kittens as part of her post-divorce life and as a way for her and her younger daughter to have another shared interest. She’s new to having cats and is utterly charmed by these kittens. Her older daughter (who is in college) also has a kitty.

So I copied what my friend D did, and made blankets for those three kitties. Now I will confess, my friend D is far more detail-oriented than I am and also I was in a hurry. I made mine with three channels rather than a square, and put the two Velcro openings on the same end. They sort of look like this:

Here's what they look like in fabric:

Her kitties aren’t quite the same nipheads mine are, but that’s OK. Really, I made these for her. 

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Like second-hand smoke

I’ve been trying to figure out why I’m so emotionally depleted. Yes, Kent and I are working through some circumstances that are difficult, and yes, my son has been deployed, and yes there are other things going on that I haven’t mentioned like a friend’s divorce, and so on. But those don’t fully account for the utterly squeezed-flat-wrung-out-beyond-dry place I’m in.

Then I realized that since becoming the manager of a large team at work, my team has gone through a lot of personal losses of their own. In not quite two years’ time:
  • One person has lost a father and uncle to disease, a best friend to murder, has another close relative in hospice and the remaining parent faces major surgery next week.
  • Three others lost a parent; two were sudden deaths and the other one had a long, lingering illness.
  • Another lost a parent and a sister-in-law, all within the last three months.
  • Another lost a sibling right before Christmas.
  • Another faced major health issues and had complicated surgery and a lengthy recovery.
  • Another had emergency surgery.
  • Another had to handle major health issues with two different in-laws.
  • And we’ve had the good stress too—a marriage, a baby, another baby on the way.
These losses (and the happy events too) aren’t mine. But they affect me because these people are on my team. I’m getting way too experienced at expressing sympathy and condolences and either ordering flowers on the company’s behalf or arranging a charitable donation in someone’s memory.

When I finally put all this together last night, I sort of sat there stunned. It’s been a lot of mostly bad news and events. No wonder I am so flat. I guess it’s more like second hand smoke than I’d ever realized.

Speaking of smoke, if you have never listened to k.d. lang’s album Drag, you are missing out. Most of the songs tie back to smoking in some way. Here’s my favorite from that album.