Home > Archive: April, 2021

Archive for April, 2021

Thursday thoughts

April 15th, 2021 at 07:16 pm

I know I'm not here as often as I used to be, but it is very nice to have a familiar place to return at those rare moments I have "spare time." Today, I have spare time because it's one of those dreary, rainy, overcast days.

But even today there's a silver lining: the dreariness and lack of sun outside really makes my cherry tree blossoms pop. Their bloom is spent very quickly, but right now, they look lovely. Although the three cherry trees I planted I later cut down years ago (yes, I chopped down a cherry tree, like GW), they are easily planted by birds eating the small cherries, so I noticed this year I have at least 5 small and mid-sized cherry trees abloom in the woods.

I see my gladiolus are alreay coming up, 3rd or 4th year in a row...and they're supposed to be an annual bulb! I have a very large new bed I'm creating within view of my patio where I pulled, cut and dug out a large stand of sparsley blooming forsythia that looks a mess the rest of the year and is constantly attempting to gain new territory.

This, after I had been telling myself I would try to simplify my yardwork as much as possible in coming years. But the desire to plant and attract bees and butterflies is just too great.

Some of the space is close to or under the canopy of a giant Norway spruce, while the other space is more sunny. So far, I have purchased:

1. A river birch, a beautiful tree I have wanted for years. And it cost me just $10, through a high school fundraiser. It's likely to be very small. I pick it up later this month.

2. A bluebeard perennial, purchased through the conservation district; I pick it up later this month as well.

I'm fairly confident I can obtain other perennials for free through my Buy Nothing and gardening facebook groups through the spring. If not,  I can also divide some existing plants, though it would be nice to increase the diversity of what I already have here. They just need to be deer-resistant. I'm sure I will also be tempted to browse the offerings at local nursery, although that would be the pricey route.

There should be a break in the rain in about an hour, which is when I'll go out and throw a tarp over my peas in the raised beds, several inches tall already, along with a bunch of potted annuals/bulbs I'll put in the garage. Temps are supposed to remain above freezing, but just by a few degrees, and I'd rather not take a chance.

I went up to see my neighbor's garden yesterday. He has about a dozen half-finished projects and seems to lose interest in each before they're done! However, he does have a very nice small pond with waterfall and large bullfrogs and fish in it, along with a pen attached to huge barn for his sheep and cow and lots of quirky vintage garden ornaments he collects here or there. When we both have our 2nd shots, I will join him on a few trips.

He had planted a large orchard of fruit trees, but his cow got loose one night and ate every single one. He does have quite a few raised beds, many of which are planted with elderberry, from which he makes a great wine using the flowers, not the berries.

He also built himself a great greenhouse and pavillion-type structure with a floor made of round stones in the form of a dragonfly. He's built patios and small gardens with raised beds for several of his tenants who will likely never leave because they are more friends than landlord/tenant. He and his wife nursed one of his tenants, a single woman with no close family around, back to health when she got covid.

I finally got around to seeing an endocrinologist for my osteopenia. She said I was doing everything right in terms of diet/exercise and so it was really a simple consultation/assurance there's nothing else I could be doing. Of course, it doesn't help that my knee injury/menescus tear still hasn't healed after over a year.

I had the excuse of the pandemic for not really doing anything about it after seeing an orthopedic surgeon who wanted to operate. The physical therapy I had for 6 weeks over the summer helped, but just to a point. There was a point when I thought it was mostly healed, so I decided to resume some more knee-strenuous exercises for bone health that I'd been holding off on, like jumping jacks. Big mistake. Knee not ready for that, and honestly, it's not much better today than 8 months ago.

I still don't want surgery. Not to mention, don't even know how I'd get to and back from the hospital, or how I'd manage on crutches for several weeks here, live on the first floor, get to follow-up appointents if I couldn't drive myself and so on. It all just seems like too much. I would like to see another doctor about it (not a surgeon) to get more guidance on what to do or if it's even realistic to believe it could still heal on its own. But it seems like every orthopedic doctor around here is a surgon. That's what I'd read when doing reseach: that the vast majority of menescus tears can heal on their own. And I have reason to believe my 2 tears were not so severe, because my knee, for instance, is not "locking" in place.

Monday Thoughts

April 12th, 2021 at 01:50 pm

I worked a full week last week to cover for the person who shares my job. I won't be paid any extra for doing so. Why am I okay with this?

It was part of the agreement I made with my manager at the start of the pandemic, after I began working from home. The deal was that I'd be paid a fixed weekly amount regardless of how many hours I worked. Billable hours don't include the time I wait for work and am essentially on call roughly 8 hours a day, 3 days a week.

The fixed weekly paycheck is roughly based on an 18-hour work week but I have never worked an 18-hour week since working from home.  I just checked my weekly average hours for 2021 to date and it's just 9.67 hours, so if you don't factor in time spent waiting for work (I do plenty of other things during this time), my hourly rate of pay is actually more than 50% higher than what it is on paper. 

Put another way, my typical work week includes 10 hours of work and another 14 hours sitting around waiting for work.  It's not that my employer is inefficient or disorganized; it's just the nature of my work and how the agency works that makes the work flow a little bumpy and uneven.

This is a contract job, so no benefits. Just a pretty sweet paycheck for which I am very grateful.

I'm looking forward to getting my 2nd vaccine shot a week from today. I am really looking forward to spending more time with friends I've been keeping at a distance, and, silly as it sounds, shopping at some of my favorite stores again in person. I've enriched Stop & Shop long enough. Aldi's and Trader Joe's, I miss you.

I already hit the $1,000 spending requirement in month 2 of my new US Bank Signature card, which will mean I'll get an easy $200. I'd prefer the cash, but would take it in gift cards if I have to.

I'm eager to get going on various home improvements this spring, as soon as I'm 2 weeks post-vaccines. My electrician is ready to come swap out my DR chandeleir, installing a "new" one I got from Buy Nothing and putting the small one that's there now in my office, in place of the ceiling fan, which is still something I use, but with the central air, it's less necessary, and I have other fans to use if needed.

I hope I won't regret doing that, but I still really like the current chandeleir and thought it would look cool in my office. I have fairly low ceilings, so he just needs to hang it so it's pretty flush with the ceiling so no one knocks their head into it.

So here's the exsting chandeleir. It's a bit small for a dining room.

And here is the new chandeleir:

The funny thing about this one is that it looks like it should have a 6th shade, but does not, so to me it looks a little assymetrical, which I guess is intentional.

This was actuallly the second chandeleir I was gifted from Buy Nothing. After getting the first one, I was afraid it was so huge it would overpower my small dining room, so I thought the second one would work better and I regifted the first one. I did, however, keep the cute little tassels that came from the first chandeleir to use with the second one.

The less interesting part of the electrician's visit would be to update some wiring by the circuit breakers, whch would protect all the wiring in my house if it were ever hit by lightening. This is something he advised I do probably 4 years ago.

My mason will also hopefully be stopping by this week. I want him to redo the concrete wall on the exterior of the north side of my house and also replace a small basement window on the south side. This is an old house and a lot of the basement concrete is crumbling. They redid one wall inside basement last year and did a GREAT job.

There are 3 or 4 other jobs I want to do but likely won't do all this year. All were on my lists in previous years:

1. Get a pergola so I can actually enjoy my patio more in heat of the summer. My nervousness and uncertainty about getting something installed that won't blow away in a hurricane is what has caused me to delay.

2. Replace hot water heater. It works fine, but it's at that age that's considered "average" life span.

3. Replace collapsing, rotting stockade fence that keeps me from having to see neighbors' renters zooming up and down his driveway, which goes past my back yard. I'm afraid this is going to be super expensive as it's a length of probably 100 or more feet. I'd probably stick with what I think is cedar fencing, as it lasted about 15 years, I think.

4. Replace upstairs bath vanity. It's totally needed. I have double sinks now and only want one sink in replacement vanity so I have extra counter space for all my plants. Eventually, I want to replace the current tub with a walk-in shower.