pointless catching up blog

Posted: June 1, 2015 in Uncategorized

It has been a wild spring at the Buchanan household.  For weeks (months?) it has felt like all areas of my life are running at maximum capacity.  At my job, I’ve been slammed with work since…sometime in February?  I think.  There has been much to do at church, with all the usual stuff plus preparing for our second annual Royal Family Kids Camp for foster kids.  At home, we turned up the pace on yard and garden stuff.  So a lot is getting done, but I haven’t had the usual “release valve” of being able to relax on one thing when another picks up.  Like, usually when work gets super busy, I just stay late for a long string of days until I catch up.  But working until 7 or 8 PM isn’t an option, when I need to get home and do garden stuff or get to a church meeting.  I know I’m not exceptional or special in this – many of you are fighting the same battles.  This just has happened to be an especially intense season of it.  In a timely bit of cool planning on God’s part, we’ve had a series of sermons at church on burnout.  The messages have touched me deeply, but I have yet to have made a serious attempt to take some of the practical steps given.  It’s on my agenda (she says wryly)!

I think we are at last approaching a return to something more like normal, though – and while my normal tends to still be pretty intensely scheduled, it’s WAY more manageable than the last few months.  We made it through the great crashing Wave of Major Life Changes recently that included (in a 10 day period) my son’s wedding (which involved a road trip), packing my daughter and son-in-law’s house up to be moved (which involved a road trip), my son-in-law’s graduation from seminary, and my daughter and son-in-law actually making the move from Kentucky to Illinois (for which I didn’t have to do much, but it did involve another road trip!)  That was an awesomely wonderful little tornado of change, and I think we will never have trouble remembering which year those things happened, since they all fell together so close like that.  There was hubbub and chaos leading up to it, and now we’re in the “winding down” phase at home, and I’m in the “catching back up” phase at work.

Other stuff going on around here includes:

  • G and I both got new glasses.  I had been wearing mine since 2010 and the finish was shot on them, not to mention the prescription was so outdated that I was daily getting eye-strain related headaches by about noon that would last the rest of the day.  G…well, WHO KNOWS when he last had a pair of glasses prescribed for him!  The glasses he was wearing were some he had picked up at a goodwill store, which was an improvement on the ONE contact he was using when we married, the other one having gotten lost (I ordered him the throw that one away when we got married – it CAN’T be good to wear just one contact when you’re prescribed two, right?!)  Anyway, I am in love with my glasses.  G helped me pick them out, since of course I cannot SEE myself without my glasses on.  I peered dimly into a hand-held mirror at the optometrist’s office at 3 different pairs that seemed nice to me, but since I couldn’t really see, I showed G and he picked the boldest, whackiest, blingiest cat-eyed pair.  They are the BOMB and the fact that I got transitions lenses (the kind that get dark in sunlight) means they will be perfect when I’m out gardening or on the bike or whatever.
  • G is halfway through his great dental rehabilitation adventure.  Two more oral surgeries to come, very soon, and then maybe some bridgework or something next year.
  • We accidentally built an illegal fence in our yard.  Here’s the deal:  it’s in the same place and the same height as the one we built last year, but the garden is FOUR TIMES bigger this year than last year, and we used wooden posts instead of steel (so much more visible) and I built (by myself!!) a wooden garden gate (which also adds to its visibility.)  So some dude from the City drove by and noticed it, and now we get to pay $150 for the privilege of going to a City Council meeting to throw ourselves on the mercy of the City.  The deal is that we have no back yard other than about 3 feet between the house and the neighbor’s fence, but we have a front yard and a side yard, and the way the house sits on the lot means the code interprets that as two front yards.  Fences in front yards cannot be more than 3.5 feet high.  My gate is 5 feet tall, as is the wire, and we buried 8 foot posts, so they’re probably 6 feet tall.  We are WAY over the code.  But – DUDE – our part of Rock Island is absolutely overrun with deer.  When my daughter was staying here recently, she got up to use the bathroom at 3 AM and watched a deer-and-rabbit party happening in the yard. Deer regularly wander across the streets in front of our car, and recently a mama deer deposited her fawn in our neighbor’s backyard overnight.  A 3.5 foot fence will NOT keep out a determined deer, and our garden will be a veritable smorgasbord of temptation.  But the guy from the City was encouraging when I called him – since this is not a privacy fence and since no neighbors have complained, there is a good chance we will win our bid for mercy.  If you don’t mind praying for petty, small, first-world problems, please DO add our illegal fence to your prayer list!  We submit the application for variance later this week and the council meeting is in early July.
  • With some great teamwork, we got our front walkway all fixed up.  When we moved in, it was just some stepping stones that were 80% grown over.  Earlier this spring I dug up the stones and made a nicely shaped path.  While my daughter was here, the lovely granddaughter helped me with raking it and with putting in some peace lilies nearby.  Then last week, G took the initiative and installed the little cedar border, stepping stones, and 8 big bags of black mulch that we had bought at Lowe’s one Sunday after church, cramming our car fuller than I knew was possible.  It looks GREAT.
  • We are having major bird adventures.  My parents gave us their 2 bird feeders; I found a hanger for them dirt cheap at Aldi (oh, the wonders of what one can find at Aldi’s in the special purchase section!) and we bought 2 bales of straw, which we stacked under our kitchen window.  We stabbed the hanger into them and it is just at the PERFECT height for us to watch the birds dine while we have breakfast each morning.  There were early problems with squirrels, but we managed to strip off every extra ledge upon which they might perch, and they no longer bother the feeder.  There is a faithful band of tiny brown and grey birds who swarm in to feed; they are a riot.  They feed each other.  They knock each other off the fence.  They hover in a way I thought only hummingbirds could do.  There is a male and female cardinal couple, too.  They perch on the edge of the fence and then dive to the ground – apparently they are ground feeders.  There is plenty down there of the stuff that falls out (is spit out?) of the little guys’ beaks.  There is a ton of bird noise all the time out there; I look forward a little more every morning to watching them do their thing while we do ours.  The feeders are just inches from the window, so it’s really a spectacular view.
  • I wonder how much of this I shared already.  I don’t know!  We got 16 pallets and we intend to make pallet couches for our front sidewalk.  When?  I have no idea!  How?  I guess we’ll just have to figure it out – while there are 40 million photos of pallet couches and other pallet furniture on the internet it seems, I have yet to have found even a single one with the same kind of clear instructions I used for building the garden gate.  It seems DIY people either have way too much confidence in the ability of the rest of us to just figure it out, or they take some sort of sadistic pleasure in tormenting us with pictures of something we may never achieve. Still, I am going to try.
  • I’ve surely complained a lot on here about my arthritic feet.  I am overjoyed to report (if I already did, sorry for the repeat!) that I now have a family doctor and she tipped me off to something that REALLY helps – capsaicin cream!  If you didn’t know, that’s made from parts of red chile peppers.  Oh, she also prescribed me something else that was like $50 a tube, and I tried it, but the capsaicin cream in $8 a tube and it works so much better!  It’s crazy stuff – I don’t really feel it when I put it on, but then later a number of different things (it seems) make it hot.  Like – SMOKIN’ hot.  I swear sometimes I think flames or at least smoke are going to start rolling off the tops of my feet.  But – it works.  I am not at zero percent pain, but the problem had gotten pretty excruciating and was really limiting me, and now I’m back to functional, with only occasional bad pain.  The one hard thing about the capsaicin cream is that I don’t wear gloves while applying it (because my hands have their own set of problems and I hope it is helping them as well) and then it kind of doesn’t wash out.  Hours and many washes later, I might lick my thumb and it is spicy hot.  Or I rub my face and then feel the red pepper burn.  It’s kind of funny and kind of a pain – but the payoff is more than worth that silly little quirk.

Okay now I’m just blathering on and on and EEK we are at over 1700 words, so a bunch of you already gave up and quit reading some time ago.  I just wanted to catch up a bit, since I haven’t blogged regularly in such a long time.  I’ve got another blog brewing in my head – advice to young folks preparing for marriage (which has been stirred by – TA DA – some young folks I know who are preparing for marriage), and I’m excited to write it.  But that will have to wait for another day.  Time to start working on shutting off the brain, or I’ll (once again, as I so often have in the last few months) dream all night of working on an Excel spreadsheet that just never gets done or really even makes progress.  Can’t have that.

It’s good to be back.  I’m so grateful for my new Chromebook!  (Though, for the record, I detest that the CAPS LOCK key has a search function instead – that keeps jamming me up!)  My hope is to get the blogs back to flowing.  There is much more to share, but Karen talks too much when she writes.  Time for goodnight!

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