Good humor makes all things possible.
-Charles Schultz-

With mirth and laughter let old wrinkles come.
-Shakespeare-The Merchant of Venice-

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

new year, new chapters

2011 begins and I have plenty of time on my hands for all those projects that seemed so pressing, back when I trudged off to work every day and wondered how I could ever fit them all in before I expired. In six weeks, I could reasonably expect to have cleared my entire house and garage of clutter, painted all the remaining wrong-colored walls, painted the baseboards and my old bedroom furniture, built a new headboard, and read half a dozen books.  It has, however, become paramount that I spend hours each day watching HGTV, TLC, and a little bit of Discovery, MTV and the History Channel.  Anyone who has ever had a vacation understands this, but that doesn't make me feel any less discouraged.

Instead of new years' resolutions, I have ideas.  My idea is to do all the things in the previous paragraph, and look for work, and limit how much cable distracts me.  Can't you see the lightbulb illuminated above my head right now?

Today's idea is putting away Christmas.  I will pull everything out of the bins, set aside the items I love and want to see next year, and give away everything I don't love.  That's always a good guideline when deciding what stays and what goes.  Do I love it?  Naturally love (of people as well as objects) is one of those emotions that gets colored by the glass through which we look; it's seldom black and white.  Sometimes the keep-it criteria defaults to "do I need it" or "am I keeping this because someone else will need it"?   Someone being, of course, my children, who might eventually need this or that item.  I've got something I didn't have before: endless shelves!  I could keep it all, but I must not bend to the extravagance of storage space.  Amended idea:  keep the things that I love or one of them loves.  Or needs.  See why this is so hard!

Snakepit update:  No evidence of snakes in the house. So far. We have a lot of ants, however. Coincidence?

Cat update:  Joey throws up about half as often as he used to.  My wisest friend, conveniently a veterinarian, says a cat's favorite pastime  is wretching, and that  the idea (yet another!)  is to minimize it as much as possible.  We switched from Iams (Iams  has no dye,  which makes barf stains more manageable, if not more inviting) to duck-and-pea, which has no grain or chicken, common allergens and hurl-triggers. Another ingredient is, apparently, gold nuggets; their glow reflected in the price.  Doctor L recommended I wait until Joey arrived at some level of homeostasis:  no further improvement in his bailing frequency, before changing foods.  The next idea (!) is lamb-and-rice, which is priced  higher than Iams but lower than duck-and-pea.  All three cats eat out of a common dish on the common floor.  A cheaper plan would be to isolate them at mealtime and each cat gets something off the menu, but that's a little much for me.  One needs duck-and-pea, everyone eats duck-and-pea.  I might add I must prune my already frugal lifestyle by $100 a week. They should eat snakes and ants.

An unanticipated surprise is coming on Friday: PG&E, because I have a gas furnace and water heater and am also now officially poor,  offered to send a contractor here, for free, to make energy efficient changes to my house.  We shall see what those changes are. Insulation? New appliances? A Snuggie?  They said the contractor gets paid with grant money and is not selling anything.  I expect some sort of sales pitch--that's how the world works--but I am made of steel, remember?  Free or nothing. Someone gets it; so why not me?

Remember the guy who offered to mow my yard for $15?  That worked well for a while; even when I agreed  (prior to being canned) to give him $20 and get a little more work done.  Haven't seen him in a month.  I save money, but if he doesn't ever come back I'll need another plan when the grass starts to grow in the spring. It's always something, isn't it?

Back to the Christmas bins.  With the television on and facebook open in the background...


  1. Ummm....okay, just wanted to see if you were paying attention...
    But really, I wondered what PG&E did at your house? Just curious...I remember my mom and dad having stuff done a long time ago, but I think some of what ended up being done was paid for with the proceeds of the sale of the house, when it was eventually sold. Not sure about that...but they had a LOT to do, as you know from your mom's house, since the insulation sucks on those houses, and the windows leaked and you know...
    Your house is fairly new, so I wondered what more PG&E will be able to do to it, to make it even MORE efficient? Hermetically seal every door and window? Wrap the whole thing in bubble wrap?
    I'm all on pins and needles...

  2. I won't get any appliances or a furnace or anything. No Snuggie either--small things like some weatherstripping; ho hum. But there is a program that will credit my REU bill one whole payment! Score! A. may be able to get light fixtures, how weird is that, because his house is 35 years old. Mom installed cozy new windows and got a big REU credit, but I think that program is over.

  3. Here is a tip from Christian Demke-
    "C can you replace all the lights that have gone out, I can't see my book."
    "No. I'm, saving electricity."