Okay, my headline might be a teensy bit misleading, but honestly I am running out of ways to title posts about this furlough nonsense. There are no “facts” in this post and probably not a whole lot of “fun.” As we approach the middle of week three of the government shutdown, finding the bright side has gotten a little tougher — When will my husband be going back to work? Will he receive back pay? If so, how long we will have to wait for that? But as I started to make this list, I see that there are a number of positive outcomes due to this unexpected three week “vacation.” Here’s what we have been up to the past few days:
• We are finally approaching the start of our long talked about home renovation project, so my hubby spent yesterday and this morning clearing out our lower back porch so it is ready to be demolished. And he didn’t just throw the stuff that was back there all over the rest of the house, he nicely organized it in the kitchen and basement. I am so glad that after months of planning, permitting, and reaching out to contractors we are nearly ready to knock things down and get this renovation started!
• I baked tiny little brioche bites from scratch on Monday. They were absolutely delicious, particularly when topped with bacon jam (which I keep trying to convince my hubby to post about…)
• It finally stopped raining so we’ve been able to sit outside a few mornings this week and catch up with folks over our usual iced mocha and chai.
• Despite our plan to not spend any money, we tried out the pretzel place (that has been open for at least a year) and frequented the new cupcake/coffee shop that is in its soft opening phase since both are only a few blocks from the house. Gotta support our local neighborhood businesses! And I got a free mocha out of the latter.
• Our garbage and recycling is still getting picked up. Definitely happy about that!
• My husband has continued cooking up a storm and if he doesn’t go back to work soon I am going to be furlough fat — while I love having home cooked meals for lunch AND dinner, I think my pants would be happier with just one big meal per day. My fingers are crossed that I fit into the dress I bought for my friend’s wedding this weekend!
• Last (and definitely least) I had a dream that we spent $400 buying cheese ($120 of which was tax!) last night. Needless to say I was a little stressed out about this decision since the government was also shutdown in my dream. I love cheese as much as the next girl, but I was very glad to wake up and discover that we had not purchased a lifetime supply of cheese!
It’s been an exciting week in the world of this freelancer and her pseudo-unemployed husband. Or not. As the Shutdown drags into day three, my furloughed honey is doing his best to keep busy (ie cross things off the very long list I made him on Monday). So far he has tackled a number of items — dusting in high places, cleaning up the bedroom clutter, breaking down boxes to recycle, and making a large batch of granola. But the biggest project so far started yesterday and is continuing into today. It is the exciting work of patching/re-tarring the porch roof (don’t be jealous). Basically he’s out there icing a very big cake, unfortunately it is a lot stinkier. Next up — he’s headed back to the kitchen to make a large pot of curry for dinner and to freeze.
I’m hoping that tomorrow I can get him to guest blog about the bacon jam making adventure we had a few weekends ago. Mmmm…. bacon jam…
While our old house has a lot of “character” (such as fabulous hard wood floors, old-fashioned glass door knobs and, of course, a seemingly unending list of expensive projects) it unfortunately lacks the storage space that newer homes are built with. One of the best features of the second floor is a hall closet that allows us to store towels, sheets, toilet paper and assorted other toiletry items right across from the bathroom. I love it so much that I often include it when I am giving guests a tour of the house (weird, I know).
Despite my love for it, the closet tends to get cluttered really quickly so I took some time yesterday afternoon to straighten things out. The good news is that I now know we don’t need any toothpaste, deodorant, shampoo, contact solution or, well, anything for the remainder of 2013 as you can see…
As I was re-arranging, I realized that I could utilize the unused space toward the back of the main shelf for the extra towels and sheets, which helped de-clutter the front portion of the shelf. I still need to take a look through the travel items box that is overflowing on the second shelf and get rid of expired or almost empty containers, but I’m definitely happy with the results so far!
Is that you don’t have to pretend to be busy all day. My job, like every job, has hectic times and quiet times, but when you are in an office with a boss you don’t want it to look like you are “wasting time” checking your personal email or catching up on facebook. It’s not that you aren’t doing your job, there just may not be anything to do at that moment, but no one wants to look like a slacker. So you try to get ahead on projects, check your work email a million times, review your calendar… and want to bang your head against the desk when you realize that only 5 minutes has passed and you still have nothing work related to keep you occupied.
This is why I love working from home (and for myself) — when I have work, I do it. When I don’t have work or am waiting for edits, there are plenty of other things to do — laundry or running errands or learning a new jazzercise routine or meeting a friend for coffee. For me, these other outlets are key to the idea that I am working to live, not living to work. I love my clients and I pride myself on doing every project on or ahead of schedule, but there is a lot more to life than working and by being my own boss I don’t have to spend a part of each day proving to someone else that I am doing my job.
Usually I’ll just have a quiet day here or there, but this week with Labor Day and Rosh Hashanah every day has been fairly low key. I’m so glad that this morning I could enjoy the cooler, breezy weather over an iced mocha with a friend, her son, and my newest doggie intern, Bella. Now, with Bella’s assistance, it’s time to see what I can get accomplished during this mellow Thursday afternoon.
When we found out my husband was going to spend 6 months (although its really been more like 8) in Afghanistan, I got to work making a long list of all the things I wanted him to do around the house before leaving. He had about 6 weeks between when he found out and when he left, throw in a trip to another undesirable travel destination and lots of training, and there wasn’t much extra time for projects. Still he managed to take care of almost everything I’d asked before leaving.
I ended up heading to California on the morning of the day he left for Kabul and I was quite surprised to come home and find my own to-do list. I’ve failed to complete my list (sorry honey!), but that hasn’t stopped me from starting a new list: my hubby’s welcome list! Isn’t he a lucky guy? This list is significantly shorter than his going away list (although there is plenty of space for me to add more), but there are some things I just haven’t been able to take care of on my own, like installing my AC window unit in my office. I can’t pick the darn thing up, let alone carry it up two fights of stairs! So honey, hurry home. I’ve got a few things for you to take care of around here!
I spent some time yesterday weeding and planting some additional rhubarb and flowers in containers around the raised beds. Everything seem to be growing nicely now that the weather has been warm(er) and wet the past week. All of the plots are much greener than they were on Week 6.
It’s particularly good to see that the cucumber and green bean plants are starting to take off and that the sugar snap peas are flowering. If we are lucky enough to have a few more unseasonably cool weeks, I may actually get a decent sugar snap pea harvest. Although I try every summer, as soon as the peas begin to grow the weather tends to take a turn for the ridiculously hot and the plants die.
The splash of color that the flowers are starting to add will be a nice addition this summer. Hopefully the Nasturtiums in the first plot don’t completely overrun the cilantro and leeks!