Coming full circle

It’s early Saturday morning, which means my vacation is rapidly coming to a close.  By this time tomorrow I will be tucked into my bed, snuggled under the covers and anticipating (or dreading) going back to work.  I’ve purposefully stayed away from my place of employment so as not to interrupt the flow of work (hopefully) happening in my absence.  I expect things haven’t been going completely hunky-dory.  Certainly they didn’t the last time I went on vacation, and despite my best efforts to be sure my relief had all the tools he needed to get the work done, I expect it’s going to be a wreck when I go back on Sunday.

Needless to say, I haven’t missed being at work all that much.  I do get four weeks of vacation per year and as I’ve said many (many!) times, I’d be content taking two weeks of vacation and just getting paid for the other two weeks.  But my employer prefers that their employees take all of their alloted vacation.  Basically ‘Use it or lose it‘.  So I use it.

This week has not been so much sitting on my ponderous butt, watching TV.  It just so happened that my wife and I had scheduled four medical appointments, and we were on the go for most of the days that I was off.  Monday and Wednesday were the only exceptions, but Wednesday was gobbled up by an emergency dental appointment due to the fact that my wife slightly broke one of her teeth.  So that needed to be attended to.  And was.

Even though I spent some time helping a friend furnish her new apartment, I didn’t necessarily neglect my own domicile.  I ordered 4 large plastic storage boxes from Amazon (actually probably larger than I needed) and have been sorting through some things that I haven’t had use of in several years, that need to be secreted away before something nefarious happens to them.  I have to say I’d be pretty devastated if something did happen to them, and certainly I wouldn’t forgive myself easily.  If at all.  Once I have that attended to, I think I’ll breathe a sigh of relief.  That’s been a long time in coming to get accomplished.  At least when I have need of them again, I’ll know where they are.  I hope.

Anyway, it’s back to work tomorrow.  Only one more week of vacation to take for this fiscal year, then I’ll get another four weeks to agonize over on April 11.  Never ends, does it?

Grass clippings

Voila!  It’s done!  The first mowing of the season is in the bag.  So to speak.  I left the grass clippings on the lawn for the first mow, so they will break down and reintegrate into the soil (hopefully) and make a stronger lawn in the process.  Bagging clippings makes a lawn look nice in the short term, but my parents never bagged theirs (probably because their lawns encompassed about an acre) so for the most part I don’t bag mine.  Of course my lawn is a mere fraction of the size, but then again I don’t have a place to put the bagged clippings, except for a small brush pile behind the garage.  And at the end of the season I have to find someone to haul it all away.  Which costs money.  Consequently, most of the clippings stay where they fall.  UNLESS it’s been many weeks and the accumulated debris would end up killing said lawn.  So there’s many factors to consider.

Having the day off and getting the lawn mowed early also gave me time to think about what to do with the garage this year.  Most years I get out the mower and the rototiller, use the latter once or twice and the mower every week or twice a week (depending on the weather) and then in the fall have to figure out a way for everything to fit in the garage again so the car can reside as well over the winter.  It ends up being a major chore, simply because it’s a one-car garage and there’s so many other things that need to fit in there as well.  Having a garden shed would come in handy, but although I’ve suggested it many times, it’s never seemed to garnered much enthusiasm from the opposite end of the marriage.

Needless to say, cleaning out the garage and getting rid of all the stuff that has been accumulating over the past twenty years is a goal for this year.  Just have to do it on a day when it’s not quite so hot.  Heat tends to suck at my ability to get things accomplished.  But then again, days when it’s below freezing does that too.  So it’s a matter of scheduling.

Finally, there’s still planting to do.  Memorial Day is coming up, and like most years, I get the holiday off.  So there will be time for that.

More Counter Space

As long as we’ve had this house, it’s had insufficient counter space. Granted it’s a house that was built in the first half of the 19th century, and it has too little of almost everything from a 20th, or 21st century POV.

Even so, it has what one might call a ‘galley kitchen’, though it does make me wonder what the original kitchen looked like back in the day.  Considering sometime in the mid 20th century a previous owner took it upon themselves to redo it in wood paneling, a drop ceiling and 60s era appliances (all of which have been replaced except the now non-working double wall oven) and at the same time (I think) repurposed a closet into a bathroom, walling off what might have been part of the closet into a pseudo-pantry.

But getting back to the issue at hand.  The lack of suitable counter space.  Of course, I don’t make very good use of what little space I do have, a lot of it is taken up by appliances and assorted junk.  When it comes time to use things like the air fryer and Kitchen-Aid mixer, I have to finagle room for them, near the too few outlets (another issue).

Basically, I’ve been seriously considering either buying or making my own portable kitchen island/cart.  I’ve been watching woodworking videos on YouTube for several weeks, and been itching about maybe getting some tools of my own (not new) and make use of my seriously eroded, but not entirely dissipated high school shop skills.  Too, my Dad was pretty handy with woodworking as well as other skills, and he taught me a good deal about how to manipulate hardwoods, softwoods, and the like.  He did leave me his own power tools, but they’re pretty old by now, like on the scale of 40-50 years as of this writing.

One thing a kitchen cart/portable island would need is a cutting surface, and there’s a ready-made one in storage, though it would have to be cut down a bit for this purpose.  When ‘Christabel’s mother passed away, we ended up selling her family home as it was going to be too much for just the two of us to look after.  A nine-bedroom house with an attached motel just wasn’t going to work out for us, so we bit the bullet and divested ourselves of it, but there were some items that she just couldn’t part with.  One of them was the 8-foot butcher block in the kitchen.  Rather than moving the entire thing, we removed the legs and just transported the top to storage.  As I recalled, it weighed probably about 200 lbs, or at least 100.  It’s a pretty big chunk of wood.  And it’s been sitting in storage now for over 20 years.

Although akin to my previous interest in leather crafting, this just might be a ‘pie in the sky’ momentary interest.  It might just be easier to clean off the counters we have and spend the time that I have not going anywhere due to the current coronavirus situation rearranging the items in the kitchen, culling things we don’t use, and reclaiming space that isn’t being used sufficiently.  Time will tell what happens ultimately.