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The Job

For the first time in 13 years, I am going back to work. Tomorrow morning, I start as the new office manager at my church. I hadn’t planned to go back to work for another year, but this opportunity just fell into my lap and the timing was right. I’m excited!

That also means Jacob is starting school at Lakewood a year earlier than planned. Since he’s still in elementary school, our schedules won’t be as ideal as if he were in middle school, but we’ll just have to figure out the best way to make it work. Tomorrow is his first day as well. He’s kind of happy and excited, but mostly he’s nervous. It’s understandable since he’s only been homeschooled. I had another thought, too. When Caleb first went, he was excited and ready. He’s always been more independent. Even as a toddler, he waved to us and told us to go when we dropped him at his Sunday school class. Jacob was the one with separation anxiety, and he’s still clingy at 11 years old. He’ll do fine once he gets his first day under his belt. It’s not like he doesn’t know anyone. Two friends from church will be in his class, and he knows a few more people from hanging out at basketball games.

And to make it a trifecta, Billy’s comprehensive exams start tomorrow. Since he’ll be in he midst of those for the next two weeks, I’ll have the added responsibility of taking the boys to school and picking them up each day. Since they won’t be going to campus with him, they’ll go to back to the church with me and work on homework all afternoon.

Here’s to tomorrow, the perfect storm!

The Salon

I needed an emergency haircut this week. Nothing drastic had happened. I just needed something done in a hurry. Why isn’t important right now; that’s for another post.

I called my stylist, who I haven’t seen in almost a year, not totally sure she’d remember me even though I’ve been using her for three years. I haven’t used anyone else; I just haven’t taken the time to get my hair cut. Yes, it’s long. And I cut my own bangs. Once I figured out how to do it so they don’t look so much like I did it, it’s not so bad.

Anyway, she was booked until next week, but I couldn’t wait that long. She told me to call her back that afternoon and see how she was doing with time. She may be able to work me in after her last color job. I called; she was behind schedule. She told she might have an opening the next day, but I’d have to go to the salon where she works part time instead of to her house. No problem. It’s only 15 minutes away.

I texted her the next morning, just in case she was in the middle of something and couldn’t answer. She replied for me to call her back. She had an opening at 11:00. Then she gave me directions to where she was working. At a retirement center.

When I arrived, she was finishing up a sweet little lady’s hair: picking, fluffing, shaping, spraying, and patting. There was no one else in there.

As I took my place in the chair at the sink, the little lady who had just finished promptly sat down in one of the chairs and started taking about someone she saw in the hall, someone she was avoiding. She chatted a little and kept watching the hallway, then when her adversary finally disappeared, she announced it was safe for her to leave.

As Kim was finishing up with my trim, her next client came in and took a seat, starting to talk immediately. I half expected her to ask me why a young whippersnapper such as myself was getting her hair cut at a retirement home. (I was still feeling a little uneasy about it all…) Instead she talked about losing her phone charger and wondering if she had “all-timers” until she suddenly found it again. I just sat and smiled…

Before I knew it, Kim was finished with me. (I always get a wash and cut, no drying or styling since I go home and immediately wash my hair again. I hate going through the day with tiny cut hairs poking and scratching me…) I paid her and made my way to the front door, wondering if I’d be stopped and questioned for not fitting in. The only person I saw was the sweet little lady from earlier, looking pretty with her fresh hairdo. She smiled and we said goodbye as I walked out the door.

It was surreal and entertaining, but I prefer Kim’s own shop to the retirement center salon. I’ll be sure not to wait so long again.

Back to Bags

The next time I need a new vacuum, I’m going back to the old style with bags. They may not be as politically correct or whatever, but they’ve got to be better than the ones with multiple filters and canisters that need to be cleaned and emptied after each use. Have you seen the dust and crud that fills the air when you clean them out? It’s ridiculous, and I shouldn’t have to hold my breath every time I do it. I really need to wear a mask. That is so unhealthy!

A few months ago, well after I needed new filters but kept forgetting to look for them, I finally thought to get some. Guess what? They’re nearly impossible to find. There were a few different styles of one of the filters, but I couldn’t remember which model my vacuum was. The other filter was nowhere to be found. Well, maybe. Maybe it was there. I think I didn’t realize I had two filters to change at that time. Whatever the issue, we ended up having to order them online. And we only remembered that when I was vacuuming last time and hoping it wouldn’t overheat (as usual) and not come back on for the rest of the day.

Today I needed some heavy duty cleaning in the boys’ room. We’re working on getting their room cleaned out (finished!) and rearranged. Toys and clothes have been purged and reorganized. Some smaller furniture has been moved out. The bunk beds are coming down and becoming two twin beds. Anyway, I needed to vacuum where things were that we’ve moved out. I also needed to get along the baseboards.

I didn’t want the vacuum to quit on me halfway through, so I decided to change out the filters. Ugh! What a mess! Dust went everywhere. I couldn’t figure out how to get one of the filters out. When I finally succeeded at that and had the new filter in place, I had trouble getting that part of the unit closed again. Then I couldn’t figure out how to get to the other filter. Once I finally got that accomplished, I had broken quite a sweat. And I felt like I had that nasty dust sticking to me. It was then that I swore to go back to bag vacuums as soon as I get the chance… The main reason? They’re enclosed and I don’t have to breathe that junk every time I vacuum and empty the canister!

I got the boys ‘ room vacuumed with no problems. The sucking power of the vacuum was remarkably strong. But not strong enough to make me change my mind on bagless vacuums. Especially when I had to empty the canister at the end. Fuzz and lint had clogged part of the canister near the filter, and I had to pull it out with my hands. It wasn’t the first time and it won’t be the last, but one day I won’t have to do that at all anymore. So gross! So unhealthy! They say the bagless are better, but I’m not convinced.

Counting the Days

ALDI is coming to a town near us! Actually it’s already in several towns near us, but this one will be the closest – a mere 10 minutes away versus 25.

I’ve known about it for a while. There were rumors floating around, then it was confirmed. This was maybe a year ago? Then there was all the hooplah and red tape about getting a traffic light put in at the intersection where it was supposed to be built. The new Kroger Marketplace came along, with a traffic light of its own. Finally the new light at the proposed ALDI site was put up.

I’d drive by occasionally to check the progress. Construction was ongoing, but there was nothing there to prove it was ALDI. About two weeks ago I drove by again, curious about progress and if there were any signs up. No signs, but the corner of the building has the distinct ALDI shape. Yes!!!

I’m hopeful it’ll be open this fall. I’m so ready to shop my favorite grocery store without having to drive nearly half an hour to get there. There are other grocery stores closer: Brookshire’s, Walmart, and the new Kroger “mall”. Where I go depends on what I need, how I feel about fighting crowds, and how much time I want to spend in the store. Soon though…

We’ve been talking about rearranging the boys’ bedroom for a few months, but now were getting down to business. Now. Right before school starts. Of course, earlier in the summer, when there was actually time – when we weren’t busy or gone – I was too sick to do anything. Now that I’m well and we’re not running the roads with this and that, the boys and I have been diving into the mess that is their room. (Next week is another story…)

Billy jump-started us by dismantling the large desk in his study, which is another project undergoing change. Then he took everything off and out of the catch-all that was the desk in the boys’ room and moved it into his study. The boys and I had no choice but to get to work cleaning up stuff, throwing away junk, adding to the garage sale pile, and finding long-forgotten treasures.

On Tuesday we tackled their game shelf, getting rid of a few things and rearranging the rest. We also cleaned out their two chests of drawers and rearranged them. Jacob and I went through two tubs of things from under the bed they never use anymore, and Caleb worked on fitting as much of their Nerf stuff into them as he could. When we finished for the day, it looked like a disaster zone.

Wednesday was a bust since Jacob had a friend over. It didn’t matter what they did in the room; everything was already out of place. Yesterday we started working on cleaning out the closet before we left for a busy day or more than I anticipated. (Read my previous post…)

We finished the closet today, including going through their clothes and shuffling around what didn’t fit. Jacob worked on pulling out everything from under the bunk beds, putting those things where they belonged (trash, dirty clothes basket, LEGO tub, etc.), and pushing the K’Nex, LEGO, and Nerf tubs back under them. Caleb and I worked on putting together the various Hot Wheel tracks they never play with. I made sure each set had all its parts, then put them together in bags for the fall community garage sale.

Whew! I think I’m done for today. We’ll get back to it tomorrow…

I Was THAT Person

Yesterday was a day of errands. And drama.

Caleb had a high school thing a church, watching a movie and discussing the theological implications of it. While he did that, Jacob and I ran a few errands, had lunch, then went to the library.

As I was leaving from a stoplight, I heard this horrible, loud noise outside. I thought it was the truck beside me, but as it passed me, I realized the noise was coming from my car. I told Jacob, “Oh, no, I think I have a flat!” Thankfully I was in the right lane and there was QT on the next corner. I pulled in and found an out-of-the-way place to park.

I got out, walked around to the passenger side, and looked at both tires. The front one was flat. Jacob got out to look and said, “Wow! It looks like it’s melted!” I contacted Billy and he left work to meet me. I texted Caleb and one of the youth leaders so they would know what was going on and so we could figure out what to do with Caleb until one of us could get there to pick him up. Then Jacob and hung out inside QT for about 20 minutes…

While Billy was working to change the flat, I commented that the rear tire looked low. It was. Then we found out the spare was flat. The air pump was on the other side of the parking lot, so Billy drove my car over there to air them up so I could go to our local (as in three cities away) NTB to see about getting my tires checked and fixed.

It was then that I became THAT person. You know the one. They drive about 10 miles per hour below the speed limit on the highway. As we were driving along and Jacob was watching everyone passing us rather speedily, he commented, “I feel kind of special.”

“Good special or bad special?” I asked. I was feeling pretty bad special myself. Especially since there was a semi bearing down on me. I was trying to focus on the road and find my hazard lights at the same time. Once I found them, I felt better about being pokey – but not much. At least people had some warning I was driving slower than normal and could get around me without driving up my tailpipe…

“Kind of both,” Jacob answered. “We’re going really slow, but we get the whole lane to ourselves.” Perspective. :)

About 25 minutes a later, we had arrived. We walked in and told the man at the counter what the problem was. Billy and Caleb got there while he was outside looking over things. The man walked back in and said, “I can’t fix either of your tires. In fact I couldn’t fix three of the four. The tread is too worn.”

Two hours later, I had a set of new tires on a car with nearly 200,000 miles on it. And since it was late in the day and the guys working on my car were in too big a hurry to leave to check the alignment like the work order said, I get 1/2 off the alignment if it’s needed, whenever I take my car back in for it. And the tires we bought come with discounted car care services, so I get 30% off oil changes. I’m due for one, so I think I’ll get that and the alignment done in the next week or so.

Thankfully all this didn’t happen last week when we had the boys’ out-of-state friends over for a few days!

At least some good came out of the situation. And now that I have new tires, I don’t have to worry about being THAT person again for a while. I hope.

A Solution?

Whenever Jacob takes his socks off, he leaves them inside out. (Same goes for his shirts and shorts, but he’s doing some of his own laundry now, so he gets to deal with that…) Whenever I wash, dry, and fold a load of whites, there are his socks, inside out, waiting for me to do all the work. And I’ve done it. Every single time. Until today.

Today I left his socks inside out when I rolled them together. He can now turn them right side out himself when he gets ready to put them on. And I’ll keep doing that until he decides to start turning them right side out when takes them off and throws them in the laundry basket.

Then I had another thought: he may just wear them inside out if he’s too lazy to right them. Oh, well. If he does, they’ll be turned the right way every other wash. :)

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