Sunday, March 29, 2009

Lots O' Progress and a No Spend Day

Wow. I was really busy today.

I donated 6 boxes of books (about 1/2 of them hard cover) to charity (and still have 2 more small boxes, 1 of non-English books to give to the nursing home and 1 of Jewish books in English to give to the Jewish library).

I took 3 boxes of household items to Value Village.

I donated 2 bags of clothes (one was a bag Eldest Daughter packed but it was mostly things I'd passed along to her to take what she wanted first).

The front foyer is not tiled but it is basically empty and it's clean for Pesach! All that remains in it are 2 boxes containing an IKEA wardrobe (to be built as soon as the tiling is done), a small stack of the floor tiles I'm putting down there, the bags of thinset and grout, the 5 gallon bucket for mixing the thinset and the trowels.

I also cleaned out my clothes from the master bedroom closet and went through all the boxes on the closet floor!

And I washed, dried and put away 2 loads of laundry. I'm exhausted, but I feel like I did a lot. I'm still disappointed that I didn't get the tiling done. I really want to do it before Pesach so I can get the bathroom finished. It would really be nice to have a sink back in there and to be able to use the new tub. I just don't know when I can do it though. It will take me the better part of a day to tile, the next day is for grouting and then things can go back into place. A Sunday is clearly the best time for the actual tiling but next Sunday is when I'm supposed to turn the kitchen over, which is pretty much an all day thing in and of itself. I don't want to put myself in the position of turning the kitchen over late and not leaving myself enough time to cook for the seders and Shabbos (which follow each other 1, 2, 3 this year so I really need to have cooking done in advance).

At least all of this work today has freed up enough good boxes (along with some I'd already accumulated) that I can start boxing up the kitchen now. Well, not right now. Maybe tomorrow.

Right now I'm planning on going to bed and to sleep. I slept a lot on Shabbos but I'm still on the mend from what turned out to be strep throat and I need more rest. But today was a very successful day and I didn't spend a cent!

Monday, March 23, 2009

A Jonah Day

What's a Jonah Day? One like the day Jonah had when he got swallowed by the whale! Today was just awful. First of all, I woke up feeling sick. I wasn't feeling 100% yesterday but I was much, much worse this morning. My throat is really sore right up into my ears. I have chills and really bad body aches. Add to that the fact that it was a Pro D Day at school so I had Dear Child with me at work this morning. She's well behaved and spent most of her time doing artwork and writing notes to her friends but I still had to keep interrupting what I was doing to do this and that for her.

Then I picked my granddaughter up from preschool and we went to pick up her little sister from Eldest Daughter's work. But she had a form that had to go back to the preschool and I was feeling just horrible. It was rainy and windy and I couldn't bear the thought of parking, taking all 3 girls out of the van, going in, coming out and putting them all back into the van. So Eldest Daughter came along and all I had to do was a) drive and b) sit in the van with the girls. That was great for me but my daughter was pretty ticked that I dragged her away from work. Sorry about that, but I was just about to collapse. I drove her back to work and went home with the girls.

I made them lunch and they put on a movie in my room. I huddled under the covers and slept fitfully while they watched "Joseph Prince of Egypt" and a Dora DVD. The baby lay down with me but I don't think she really went back to sleep. (She was asleep in the van but woke up when we got home.) She eventually started playing and found my camera in a purse I haven't used in quite a while (probably the best thing that happened all day). I took it away from her when I realized she had turned it on and was about to start taking pictures.

She was looking for something else to do so she grabbed my glasses off the night table and twisted them while trying to put them on. The right arm snapped about an inch from the temple. Lovely. I have a very strong prescription, astigmatism and progressive lenses. To replace them at a one hour place would be about $700. Last time I got glasses I shopped around and got them done at a place that took 2 weeks but "only" cost about $400 (and made a couple of mistakes). Our extended medical only pays $150 for glasses. I'm already a couple hundred dollars in overdraft with about 10 days to payday and we have no room on the credit cards.

Eldest Daughter came home early after hearing what had happened and I decided I was sick enough to go to the doctor. Since I almost never go to the doctor when I'm sick this should tell you something about just how bad I felt. I drove to the walk-in clinic nearest our place (wearing my mangled glasses and looking like a total loser) and was told the wait was 2 hours! The receptionist phoned another clinic but their wait was just as bad. I decided to stay where I was. Frankly, I didn't think I could drive anywhere else. After waiting almost 2 hours and having them apparently forget about me and take later patients although I was sitting there the whole time, I finally saw the doctor. I couldn't really tell because they allowed people to go out and come back but my clue was when the girl came over and asked me for my name again, then had problems finding me on her list.

The doctor took a swab of my throat and checked my temperature (yes, I had a bit of a fever even though I felt like I was freezing). I left with a prescription for penicillin and the promise that they'll call me if my throat culture grows anything interesting. She told me my tonsils were really swollen and didn't seem to believe me when I told her I'd had them out when I was 5! I knew my left one had regrown but both of them? Anyway, it can happen if the surgeon doesn't take enough of the tissue.

I went to London Drugs to fill the prescription and had to wait another 25 minutes for that. At least the prescription only cost me $2.50. I came home, took my penicillin and some Advil and went to bed. I even slept a bit, even though the TV was on, Dear Child was on my computer and Hubby was unpacking a box of tchachkes onto his new bookshelf. He made dinner but I didn't eat. I finally had 2 pieces of toast and a cup of tea a little while ago. The only other thing I had today was another cup of tea, back when the girls had lunch. I've just felt too queasy and my throat hurts too much.

I didn't go back to work this evening, which means I'm 1.5 hours short for the day. I just couldn't. I think I woke up about 9:30 pm, which was too late anyway, but I knew I wasn't going back to the office about the time I went to the doctor.

I'm going to get changed (still in my denim skirt and sweatshirt because they're warm) and go to bed. Boy, do I hope I feel better in the morning. I hope the Superglue Hubby tried on my glasses will work too.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Ticking Items Off the List

Well, I was busy today! No, I didn't tile the floors, but we did move a bookshelf from the living room into the bedroom (which necessitated moving a bunch of stuff and tipping my bed on its side so we could get the bookshelf upright -- love those 7 foot ceilings!). It was blocking the glass front one that I wanted hubby to attach to the wall in the living room. Somehow we never got that far.

But I did clear off our nightable and windowsill and clean them. I also cleaned the inside of our bedroom window and the outside of ALL our windows! We vacuumed under my bed while it was on its side and my hubby filled the new bookshelf with all his music and sports magazines.

Maybe we can finish with the glass front shelves tomorrow. Then I can empty the 6 boxes in Dear Child's room into there.

On Friday I finally got my missing pay and my benefit cheque as well as two other small ones. I made it to both banks and also used the credit union ATM to deposit to my other credit union account in the Okanagan. The benefit cheque went in there to cover 2 months worth of electic at the house, the pay one went into the credit union here to pay for part of the cost of Dog's upcoming vacation and the other 2 cheques reduced my overdraft slightly.

Oh yes, and I baked cinnamon buns today! I was busy, I tell you.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Not So Great

There are a lot of things right now that don't seem to be so great. Being sick. Being busy at work. Getting shorted on my cheque (and no, I don't have the cheque I was promised yet). Having more bills than money to pay them with . Having constant problems with Blogger (can't get into a new post without at least 10 minutes worth of fiddling around, trying this and that, and now having everything I typed disappear only to reappear when I typed the word "Blogger" although the word itself disappeared and who knows what the post will look like when I hit the "Publish Post" button).

Yes, I'm ranting. Just a little. I'm still behind on my cleaning. I don't have the money to buy some of the things we want for Pesach now and if I don't get them quickly they'll be gone. It's the day after payday and I believe I'm already in overdraft. (What am I, Israeli?)

Sometimes it's hard to stay focused on the fact that everything is being supervised from Above and that I just have to keep trying my best and not be so attached to the desired outcome. But it's hard sometimes. Everybody else has gone to sleep early. I think I'm going to go to bed too and see if some extra sleep will help.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Payday Wednesday and Some Progress

I got paid today and received the pay advice while I was at work (usually it's sent to my home). I opened it and just about had a heart attack when I looked at the amount. I knew the cheque was going to be a little smaller than my past few cheques because I didn't work quite as many hours as usual but I wasn't expecting it to be around $250 smaller!

I pulled up my time sheet and compared it to my pay advice and discovered it was 9 hours short, compared to what I'd actually worked. That'll do it. I called the accountant at our Head Office back east and she promised to correct it tomorrow. So I'll have a cheque for roughly the net difference in my hands sometime on Friday (G-d willing).

Regardless, I still needed to take care of some business today. My son-in-law was off, so I was able to work until 2:30 pm. Dear Child was having early dismissal again today, so I picked her up and went to update my passbook. We went to Pini's Pizza on the way home (our local kosher pizza place) but not for pizza. They also stock groceries and I wanted a few very specific things for Passover before they disappeared from the store.

When I went through my menus from last Pesach and the notes I wrote just afterwards I saw that we had bought and enjoyed fish sticks with a potato coating twice last year. So I bought another 2 boxes, double bagged them and stuck them in the freezer. I also bought shmurah matzo meal, a special (stricter) form of matzo meal where the grain used to make the matzos was watched from the time it was harvested to make sure it couldn't have gotten wet (which would disqualify it from being used for Passover). And I bought us each a small package of cheese puffs, which are almost never available (at least not kosher). Those we ate in the car before we ever got home! Hey, everybody needs a treat now and then.

When we got home I made chocolate chunk cookies with DC and my 4 year old granddaughter because I'd promised we'd do it today before I got so sick. After that I went to bed for a while and Hubby took the girls to Play Dome (a spring break midway under the dome at BC Place). I lay around with the TV off, read some blogs, had a cup of chai tea and just generally tried to get a bit of rest. Well, I started a load of laundry too, but that just takes a couple of minutes.

When they came home I got dinner started (veggie cheeseburgers with mushrooms on challah buns) but turned the final part over to Hubby and went back to bed until it was ready. After we ate I rebooted the laundry and did a bit of work in DC's room. I got 3 or 4 more boxes into her closet, verified that 6 other boxes in her room contain fragile items that are supposed to go in the glass front cabinet (assuming it ever gets attached to the wall) and went through part of a box of clothes. Her room still isn't done but it's looking a little emptier every day. As for working on my bedroom, that was kind of what the load of laundry was all about. The clothes were all scattered about and now they're a) clean and b) not lying on the floor.

I paid the overdue portion of my cell bill and wrote cheques for Dog's upcoming boarding (or as we like to think of it, his vacation). Oh yes, and I cleaned out most of the fridge. When you consider how sick I am, I really accomplished a lot. Too bad there's still so much more to do.

I'm Getting Sick

I'm all stuffed up and have chills and body aches. This really sucks. I have so much to do and I'm not getting much of anything done while I huddle under the covers, trying to get warm.

I really hope I feel better tomorrow. It's payday and I have several bills to pay. Unfortunately, it's also Wednesday and I'm supposed to be finished Dear Child's room and moving on to my bedroom! That is so not the case. I mean, I can start working on the master bedroom but there is no way DC's room could be considered done.

I'm just going to bed.

Monday, March 16, 2009

To Dos and Ta Das

Here is my To Do List for today, with what I accomplished marked off on it.

Go to IKEA
Buy pink and white bins for Dear Child’s room DONE
Ask about white cover to fit sofa bed NO
Look at quilt covers DONE
Look at kitchen cabinets NO
Go through big toy box and weed out DONE
Go through non-fragile boxes in DC’s room, eliminate, consolidate & put in DC’s closet IN PROG
Do laundry, get it all off DC’s bed IN PROG
Buy new frying pan DONE
Take clothes for donation DONE
Take books for donation NO
Take other household items for donation NO

This week I've been concentrating on my Dear Child's room. I went to IKEA because there was no way I could organize her room without some more bins. Every time I look her Barbie dolls and Webkinz have multiplied again. I can barely find her bed under all the stuffed animals (okay and laundry too, because the laundry equipment is on the other side of the door in her room that leads to the other half of the house). Clean, unfolded laundry tends to end up at the foot of her bed.

I did 2 loads of laundry and still need to do more, especially white laundry. I also went through 3 boxes in her room and got rid of 2. No, I didn't get rid of everything in 2 boxes. I repacked the biggest box, took things out I need to use, threw away some junk, recycled a phone book, etc. And some things are still lying around, waiting for a more appropriate box to go into.

I got rid of a huge box from the restoration company that was mostly junk in the form of baby toys (rattles, anyone?), stuffed animals she never played with and sadly deflated balls and balloons. Cleverly, I did this while she was at a play date because (like her mother) DC refuses to part with the smallest scrap of paper, gift from strangers holding yard sales, etc. This was all stuff she hadn't seen or played with in at least 2 and a half years and I kept toys that actually held meaning (like the crocheted Beatrix Potter character) or that I knew she'd really play with (like a Ken to go with all those Barbies). But it wasn't in her room. No, it was in the living room.

I also took Eldest Daughter to Wal-Mart for something she wanted and managed to get a replacement for my frying pan, which met a burnt and sticky end the other week when Hubby left the heat on under it after dinner was done. And I dropped off 2 bags of outgrown kiddy clothes and toys in good shape in one of those big metal bins. I meant to go back with some of the books I'm getting rid of because they have a book bin beside the clothing one but it started to snow again so I didn't. It looks like you have to feed the bin one book at a time and I have a big box. I'd rather do it on a decent day. And I'm still not sure where to take the miscellaneous household items. Is there a place to drop things off at Value Village?

Yes, I said it was snowing. This is just ridiculous. All the spring flowers are out and I saw pussy willows on the trees a few days ago. It isn't supposed to snow here, period. And certainly not during Spring Break. Luckily, it was very wet snow and has totally disappeared already. Of course, it may start again in the middle of the night but I sincerely hope not.

Anyway, what does any of this have to do with my financial situation? Well, I must admit, I put the stuff from IKEA (about $45 worth) on my IKEA card. It has a horrible interest rate (28%) but I haven't been carrying a balance and I do hope to pay off the card in a timely manner. I'm afraid Pesach is usually a time when there's a fair bit of juggling in order to pay for everything but at least I get 3 paycheques next month.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Plan the Work, Work the Plan

I made up a plan for cleaning for Passover that started February 11th (and completing other preparations as well, such as buying stuff, cooking, etc.) but I have continued to fall behind.

Tonight I finally completed one task that is actually on my list for this week. I totally cleaned Dear Child's dresser. This involved emptying the dresser and clearing it off totally. The dresser itself was cleaned both inside and out. Then only clean clothes went back in neatly. I put back stacks of cleaned books on top neatly and symmetrically. The only 2 other items that went back on the dresser top were her new jewellery box and a tzedakah [charity] box she made this past summer. It looks lovely.

Too bad the rest of her room is still piled with boxes, clothes, stuffed animals, etc. But I'm trying not to beat myself up for the things that remain undone. Rather, I want to focus on what is good and go from there. I've created an island of Pesachdik order in the midst of chaos. Now I just have to keep expanding the order or creating more little islands that will eventually overlap. I just have to take it One. Day. At. A. Time.

I don't know if there will be time tomorrow before Shabbat begins (although it starts an hour later this week, now that we've changed the clocks) but I would really, really like hubby to attach my glass door cabinet to the wall in the living room so I can put in the glass shelves and put the beautiful and mostly fragile things that belong in it on the shelves. That will take care of at least five whole boxes out of DC's room.

I was looking at her closet tonight. Now that I've gone through her clothes for donation, I see there's not much left that really needs to hang up. The few things that do, with the exception of her Shabbos dresses, are not clothes she'll wear during Pesach. So I've decided that I'm going to put some of the excess boxes into her closet, fill it right up, and then sell her closet for Pesach. [This is how we get around owning forbidden things like our everyday dishes on Pesach. They're sold for the duration of the holiday and bought back afterwards.] I'm hoping that, between filling the closet and emptying as many boxes as possible, I'll take care of all the boxes that are taking up space in DC's room at the moment.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

It Wasn't Even Wednesday

But I still got a bunch of outstanding things done!

Today was Purim, so it was crazy. We barely made it to shul to hear the megillah for the second time. (You have to hear it once by night, once by day and you need to hear every single word both times or you have to go arrange another reading so you do hear it all.) We arrived and they announced that they were about to start. Whew!

After the reading we started giving out shalach manot, the gifts of food that are mandated in the Book of Esther. I spent a crazy amount of time with the 3 little girls in the van, driving around, dropping off shalach manot for people (both personal ones and ones for the school fundraiser). I took a break at home in the middle and took care of some bill paying.

I had already made a payment to both my cell bill (way overdue) and my MasterCard (not overdue, but overlimit) a few days ago. Then hubby transferred money to me, which hit my account today. So I paid the next month owing on the cell and another $90 on the MasterCard.

Then I called MasterCard bcause today was the due date for the statement. I told them about the new payment and then, because 444 suggested it, I oh-so-casually asked if the guy I was talking to had the authority to reverse that overlimit fee I was whining about back on February 23rd. He looked at my account for about a minute and DID IT! Woo hoo! $29 less debt with just one little question. Thank you, thank you 444! I would never even have thought to ask if it weren't for you.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Still Having Posting Issues and I'm FRUSTRATED

Okay, every day it seems to get more and more difficult to get in here to write a post. I don't have time to spend a half hour just trying to get into a new post. Even the trick I used last time wasn't working and I've signed in and out several times. This time I got here eventually using "Edit Posts" on the dashboard.

I know Dolly has been having problems too but is it just us or is anybody else on Blogger having a hard time?

Anyway, I wanted to post an update about my bathroom renovation and my progress (or lack thereof) in getting ready for Passover.

The bathroom is definitely "in progress". I have a new tub and surround. The faucet for the tub is in but not the showerhead or the tap that controls the water and the silicone seal around the tub still needs to be done. The vanity is out and primed (except for the doors and drawers). Once it's painted the new ceramic top and fixtures can be attached and it can go back into the room. The drywall is done, mudded and sanded 3 times and is now ready to be primed. The light fixture is out and there's a worklight plugged into the GFI plug. There is a fine layer of drywall dust over everything. The old toilet is still in and the floor needs to be done once that comes out.

My son-in-law's dad goes back home tomorrow and won't be back for 2 or 3 weeks as I understand it. I guess we'll see how much we can get through without him. Washing in the kitchen sink and using the mirror over the fireplace is a hassle and I really don't want to be doing it from now until Pesach. I need a full day to lay floor tile though, so that probably won't happen until next Sunday at the earliest. Besides, I want the room fully painted first so I don't have to kill the first person who drips paint all over the new floor tiles!

I'm still way behind on the Passover cleaning and having the reno incomplete means I'm even further behind. Sigh. Tomorrow is the Fast of Esther, followed by Purim tomorrow night and all day Tuesday. I'll be really busy until it's over but then I really have to get it in gear or I'll be pulling the dreaded all-nighters before the end!

Pesach food is starting to appear in the stores and I've bought a couple of things, knowing that they wouldn't be around if I wait. I still have to order the special matzo that we use though and all our dairy products. And the meat. And figure out how to get wine this year. It used to be much easier but the BC Liquor Control Board is a giant pain and has made our lives much more difficult for the past year or so. I bought stuff from their very limited selection last year and it really wasn't good for drinking at the seder when you're having 4 cups each within a period of a couple of hours. Plus it's incredibly expensive and I need about a case. At $19 to $25 per bottle, that's painful. I used to be able to get exactly what I needed for about half the price or a little less.

But that's a whole other rant and one I probably shouldn't start at all, since I'm eventually going to want to be on their good side in order to get my longed-for winery up and running at some point a few years from now. There are enough hoops to jump through in the licensing process (and a whole other set of hoops for kosher certification) that I don't need to borrow trouble.

This is just a busy, busy time of the year and probably wasn't the best time to do the bathroom but I've been waiting a long time for this and this was when the guys were available to do it. Of course, if this wasn't the day of the Purim Carnival at the JCC and the big birthday party for my granddaughters we might have actually gotten a bunch of work done today. As we say in Hebrew, gam zu le tova [this too will be for the good].

The party was fun and wasn't nearly as hectic as some I've been to recently, although I was baking cupcakes for the party about an hour before it started. I think the girls all had a good time and my oldest granddaughter (now 6, just like Dear Child) got to stay for a bit extra while her folks went to look at apartments (to rent, not buy). They have to move in the next month or so and are having a hard time finding anything decent that works for her school, their work and will take both a child and a cat. Oh, and doesn't cost a couple of thousand dollars per month. Gotta love that Vancouver housing market.

Happy Purim everybody! I'll be back as long as Blogger lets me in!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Problems Posting

For the past couple of days I've been having problems with Blogger. I get the blank form for a new post but can only write a title and labels, no content because the cursor won't go there! Usually logging out and back in seems to fix the problem but it didn't work tonight. I ended up posting an empty post with the title (above) and labeled "rant". Then I viewed my blog and clicked on the pencil at the bottom of the post to edit it and here I am!

Anyway, today I did a bit of this and a bit of that. I worked until my granddaughter finished preschool at 11:30 am, then came home. But I didn't really have the girls today so I did some laundry, shredded some more paper and emptied the bathroom before I went to pick up Dear Child. Part of the ceiling is down now but the real work starts tomorrow.

I went back to the office for a couple of hours this evening and now I'm hoping to go to sleep.

A Bit of Progress

As usual when I start really cleaning, sorting or organizing, everything looks worse than when I started. However, I did get some work done today. I'm adding to the pile of boxes by the front door, the ones that are supposed to be given away. Today it was a box full of our old fleishig dishes.

I also went through 2 boxes of papers, reducing them to one box. I have a paper shopping bag full of recycle papers to go out with tomorrow's garbage and a stack of shredding paper. Both hubby and I did some shredding today but there's more to do. And I combined 2 boxes of cleaning products into one, as well as doing some more laundry. He washed the car.

All this while taking care of the little girls because Eldest Daughter was at a trade show here in town all day. I also drove her there and picked her up. The toughest thing is that the bathroom reno is supposed to start tomorrow sometime and the trade show runs for 2 more days. That means I need to be at home with the baby pretty much all day (she's been going to work until noon with her mother since January sometime). Her dad is off work this week but can't demolish drywall too well with a 2 year old underfoot. But I can't do any of my Pesach cleaning during the day when I'm home because I was asked to keep the girls upstairs while the work is going on and I have to go to work in the evening to make up for the hours I'm missing. I think Eldest Daughter is taking Thursday and Friday off, so that's probably when I'm tiling. Either that or the guys will get to watch the little girls while I tile if it has to be another day.

Any way you look at it, this is shaping up to be an interesting week.