Saturday, July 23, 2011

Back in the Trenches

Omigosh it's hot!

Ok, just had to get that out there.  As you can see, I'm taking a break from the Big Trip reports.  Don't worry, I'll finish 'em up, with plenty more pictures.  In the meantime, life has not slowed down for us back home!  I've been feeling like I'm on a souped-up merry-go-round, hanging on for dear life and trying to make sense of everything flying by me.  Maybe I can nail some of it down here with words.  But I'm afraid it's gonna be a bit random!

Before returning to our usual programming schedules, we did have one lovely, easy day when we unpacked, then went to pick up Rosie from our friend Maria's house, enjoying dinner while we were there.

Rosie happily cohabitated once again with Miss Thang Smoky.

But reality arrived on our doorstep soon after.  Miss Chef's mom had had last-minute surgery while we were overseas, and while the surgery went very well, her recovery was slow.  She wanted her most responsible child to come help!  So two days after our return, Miss Chef was packing up again for another five days away.  (Mrs. Miss Chef is doing fine now; she just needed someone to cram a bunch of nutritious food into her, and guess who was perfect for the job?)

In the meantime, I was dealing with the first thing we had noticed when we arrived home from the airport.

Yeah...this is obviously after I had managed to mow a path to the shed.  We had been paying a guy Miss Chef works with to mow our lawn and occasionally help with other yard chores.  He had a key to the shed and was set to mow once or twice during our trip. Somehow...well, he's no longer our yard guy.

Now, all we have is a normal gas push mower, and this grass looked like we'd need a brush hog to get it done.  Some of it was approaching hip  high on me!  So my first week back at work was followed by evening after evening of forcing the mower slowly, gingerly through this mess.  I eventually found out that dragging it backwards made it easier on the mower, if not on me.

I also found out that I have really great neighbors.  The one to the right had actually mowed the front yard once while we were gone.  (Darn, I was hoping I could at least get kicked off the HOA board!)  After the second night of listening to me take on the back yard, he mowed the front yard again for me while I was at work!  The next night, as I continued on the back yard, the neighbor on the left came hustling out her back door with a piece of paper.  On it was the name and phone number of the guy she had just hired to cut her lawn.

I managed to finish up the back yard and some of the trimming, but now her lawn guy is our lawn guy, too.  One dilemma solved!

On to the next one!  The day after Miss Chef left on her mission of mercy, I came home from work to this (well, sort of):

Um, excuse me, but...what is this??

"This" is where Miss Chef's clothes used to hang, including her chef jackets that I had just picked up from the cleaners, nicely pressed.  That day when I came home, that shelving unit standing on the left side of the picture was lying across those shoes, covered by and covering up the greater part of Miss Chef's wardrobe.  Thus the blank space on the wall.

You can see by now most of the clothes have been moved to the guest room bed.  Which is a fine temporary solution...except that my parents are coming to visit in just a few weeks' time!  Since I don't imagine they'd enjoy sleeping on top of (or under) Miss Chef's extensive t-shirt collection, today we met with a consultant from one of those closet design places.

I'm not entirely comfortable with the idea of being a custom-closet kind of person...but having a more efficient use of space could make a huge difference for us. And it sure sounds easier than figuring out how to reconfigure the closet, figuring out what kind of equipment we need, figuring how to mount it, and doing all the work ourselves.

Since I still have some Big Trip money left over, seems like I can just chalk this up to trip expenses, right?  That one extra Paris t-shirt was one too many, I guess.

There have been other dramas, too.  I've been needing to stay late at work quite a bit, and have worked both Saturdays since vacation.  I'm not teaching this quarter, but it seems there's always some minor drama at home to fill the gap.

Miss Chef, on the other hand, is teaching, and this quarter she has a huge class full of first-quarter students that is running her ragged.  On top of that, the past 10 days has been Charlotte's Restaurant Week--which means she's been working at the restaurant when she'd normally be lesson planning and grading.  And also means a lot less Miss Chef time for me.

Thank goodness there's Rosie...or, maybe not.  It seems she's suddenly developed a rather delicate digestive system, which has finally begun to suffer from Rosie's favorite sport of counter-surfing.  After cleaning up foul messes several times this week, I have issued a moratorium on any foods sitting on the counters and any extra treats.   Miss Chef has scheduled the carpet cleaners to visit us again, too.

So most days, I've come home to a diseased looking carpet, piles of Miss Chef's work clothes, and an indescribably foul odor.  Lovely.

Outside, now that the lawn is back under control, the garden has been suffering, from a weed invasion and lack of water.  The mosquitoes have been ravenous, and the heat index has been above 100 degrees much of the week, so you can imagine that vacuuming actually seems more inviting lately!

However, earlier in the week I did manage to gather some tomatoes and other simple ingredients...

Chicken thighs, black beans, tomatoes & corn.
In back: cumin, garlic and our own chili powder
...and make a tasty, comforting meal.

Normally I'd serve it over rice, but we seemed to be out.  For those who want recipes, there isn't one.  But I can tell you it's quite easy.  Thaw your corn in the microwave, drain and rinse the beans and do whatever tomato chopping you choose.  Then brown your meat in a bit of oil and toss in the rest of the ingredients!  Don't forget salt and pepper, too.

Quantities?  Um...enough.  More than I used here, 'cause it was all gone in two days!

So...random enough for ya?


  1. Hugs to you, Flartus. Sounds like after a great vacation, you've landed smack-dab in the middle of reality.

  2. I giggled at the path to the shed. We've had terrible lawn people since we got here to Charlotte. Ugh.

  3. Well at least you have Paris!

    Stella also has a delicate tummy, so I know exactly what you're going through. We've finally moved her to a gluten-free diet and things are improving. She still vomits, but not as frequently.

  4. Oh, Dillypoo, if only it were vomit...

  5. Too much to deal with! That's the problem with going away - there's always too much to come home to.

    Things will smooth out soon, you'll see!

  6. That's the problem with vacations....

    What you get greeted with when you finally come home. ugh!
    I'm glad that everything seems to be under control now, though. :)



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