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Tuesday, October 25, 2022

Pepto Pink No More

Hello friends, it's been a crazy month.  Lots of emotional highs and lows.  First off, I painted the studio/office.  I couldn't find any paperwork when I needed it.  I wanted to start a new project, but I couldn't find the stuff or space I needed.  Enough is enough, time to buckle down and get it done.  The room started Pepto Pink.  Look down a few pics for the 'before'!!
Pretty sure this is the very first time, in my entire life, that I have painted a room white...  I used really cheap paint.  2 coats and it kind of glows pink in certain light.  I don't hate it for $30.  Don't the tiny windows read "bomb shelter"?  However, if a bomb does go off.  DO NOT grab hold of any shelving.  I used 'no drill' furniture mounts and I don't have a lot of confidence.
I thought there would be value in keeping the slate clean.  Colored walls have a tendency to cast hues onto whatever you're working on.  I bought a small tv that needs to come out of the box still.  Gotta stream my movies when I'm sewing!
 Things still need some zhuzhing and better lighting but it's a start.  
Literally, the week after this was finished, my daughter Melissa let me know she probably needs to move in with me.  She lost her roommate & job in the same week.  I'm not proud, but I did BREIFLY consider letting my kid be homeless so I wouldn't have to give up my studio.  BREIFLY!  We should know by the end of November what she plans on doing.  Thoughts and prayers are welcome at this time...
Now, for the reason I needed a studio.  My friends Barbara Dyar and Laura Fagen designed the cutest blocks!!  Their family is avid/rabid collectors (you be the judge LOL) of all things awesome.  One of the collections is of wooden butter molds.  So, they took the designs as inspiration & made quilt blocks.  The Hearts n' Hands Quilt Guild is using their designs as the Block of the Month this year.  The Applique Society is doing something similar but on a larger scale!  I'm so excited about the project!  Some people are doing them in applique, some are doing embroidery, and some are doing a little of both.  I chose embroidery and will make them the center of a larger pieced block that has not been determined.
I'm using the Wildflowers pearl cotton by Caron.  A convenient excuse to re-stock my supply.
This floral print is my colorway inspiration.  Not sure what block I'm using to set them, but I do think I need to find teal fabric to do it in.
Any who, Barbara & Laura are part of an extremely talented family!  Here is an example of their sister Janice's paper cutting.  You know how limited my wall space is, and I found room for her work!
My grandson Miles turned 1 and had a Formula 1 birthday party!  I was able to make the cake and cupcakes for the party.  My first time baking in the new house.  Absolute shit show, if I'm honest.  You can see how stressed I was by the line work on the pennant garland...  First off, I put it off longer than I should have.  I usually bake weeks in advance & freeze the cakes.  My mood has not been great & I didn't want it to reflect in my baking.  Bad voodoo.  Then when I finally did it, the chocolate cupcakes overflowed the pan.  The burning batter filled the house with smoke & I had to clean the oven before I could continue.  I didn't want EVERYTHING to taste burned.
Most of my baking supplies were still in a box in the garage.  It took forever to track everything down.  I forgot that I got rid of some of the stuff I needed during the move and had to re-invest.  My food coloring kind of exploded during the move.  I had wrapped them in a bag, just in case, which ended up being a good idea in the end.  It was an unholy mess that I forgot to take a picture of.  I only ended up trashing 5 bottles out of 30ish.  However, the colors remaining all have black, unreadable labels... Carmen had asked for red cupcakes for the party, but I didn't have flavorless red colorant and they tasted like chemical waste!  Little Man wanted nothing to do with his smash cake.  Typical Mantz man, doesn't care for sweets.  But, dang, if he isn't the cutest!  So chill about everything!  I should take notes.
Since my in-laws were in town for the party, we went to visit Rich's ashes.  It was the first time that I had been there since the funeral.  As it turns out, I live 2 miles from his final resting place in Jefferson Barracks.  I've been telling myself that my 'crazy' was starting to stabilize.  After that visit, I think I might have misled myself.  The grief of seeing his name etched in stone was breath taking.  I had the craziest need to crawl in there with him and, I HATE small spaces.  I flashed from wanting to crawl in there to wanting to run away screaming and crying to pretending none of this is actually happening.  I'm realizing the crazy anger from earlier was much easier to deal with than the absolute sadness of our loss.
My MIL, Ann & I thought it was really ironic that a cemetery full of alleged, gun toting, hunter/veterans is a safe haven for the local deer.  This is the view from his vault.

So here I am, trying to pull up my big girl panties and move forward.  We've got a big mess at the IL DMV, transferring cars into the appropriate kid's name.  I'm taking some time off next week to deal with my own MO DMV stuff.  I still have the kitchen and dining rooms to paint.  Organize the garage.  Do something with the ocean of dead leaves in my back yard.  Oh, I almost forgot to mention the mouse I've been living with.  It eats the peanut butter off the traps that I set out.  Then I bought a bunch of bait to scatter around the house & I haven't seen any evidence of my freeloader for a few days.  Fingers crossed that I've committed murder... but no more shopping.  No. More. Shopping.



Thursday, September 29, 2022

Stop The Presses!

Stop the presses!  I have a living room!  My house has been much like a camp site for the majority of the month.  I didn't want to order new furniture until I actually OWNED the house.  Then delivery was several weeks out.  From the beginning, I told myself I could go as bold as I wanted.  The emerald green couch from the old house is now in the basement.  For this house, I wanted to reflect a little Mid Century Modern with as much bright and cheerful as I could manage.  Yes, I did totally panic when I unboxed that, very orange, couch.  But, honestly, I love it.  I'm so happy to have a place to do my stitching.  Not that I've been stitching, but if I wanted to, I totally could.
All the artwork, quilts and house plants are from the old house.  Just the couch and rug are new.  The upper paint color is Sherwin Williams Honeyed Mint and the lower is Storybook Green.  In my mind, I was going with a totally different green for this room as opposed to the bedroom  In reality, they're really close.  There is more yellow in the living room color but not by much.
The TV stand is new.  I think it's super cool and Mid Century Modern.  I love having somewhere to hide my DVD collection.  Previously, I kept them on a bookshelf.  I know DVDs are antiquated and I could stream what I want to watch but I love my collection too much to part with it right now.  Note to self: hide that white cord.
I lost 5 houseplants in the move.  They weren't doing great leading up to the move, and with my space constraints, I decided to pare down.  LOL, I just have a measly 25ish now...  Here's a close up of my current favorite.  I love how painterly the leaves are!  That pink!  💗💗
I had a clean room for almost a full day before I decided to empty out the office to start on it...  It's all a process.  Did I tell you my safe disintegrated during the move?  I was putting some documents away in the fireproof safe when the lid flew off!  The darn hinge had completely rotted and it chose the week of the move to fall apart.  The movers wouldn't take the safe because there was no lid.  So all the important stuff got transported in an open laundry basket in Bethany's car.  Then, at the new house, it ended up scattered all over the floor in the Pepto office.  Oi!
 

I had hoped to work on the office this week but I managed to get a pinched nerve in my left shoulder.  I believe the bookshelf you see in that box, front and center, is to blame.  Or maybe, the stress of the year is finally catching up to me.  Either way, I'm off to find a chiropractor on this side of the river.  

Hope you're all safe & happy!

Heather

Wednesday, September 14, 2022

The Big Move

Hello dear friends, I got the big move done.  It was every bit as dramatic and heart wrenching as I had imagined but it is finally done.  The story would have been clearer and more concise had I told it right away but I was wrecked and over-whelmed.  I needed a couple weeks to breathe.

But first, Hungry Like The Wolf.  I bought tickets for Duran Duran back in May for my birthday, before I had decided to change jobs and move.  As my excellent planning skills would have it, the concert was in Chicago the weekend before my move to STL.  The concert was fantastic!  I'm so glad to have shared that moment with my bestie cousin Denise.  We've been hard core Duranies for 40 years & I wouldn't have wanted to experience it with anyone else!  Alas, Simon did not come to his senses and run away with me, so I returned home to make the big move.  I also had my first professional massage.  Girl, it was AMAZING!

 

I'm sure that I've already whined about this, but I down sized by 2/3s.  It's been painful.  I was getting rid of stuff left and right for 6 weeks.  I knew a lot of the furniture was too big, etc.  On the day of the move out, I realized I was still in trouble.  First, the movers explained there were some things they couldn't take; paint, anything that had fuel in it, like the generator.  So, I texted my son to let him know I might need some help at the end of the day.  As the day wore on, they tell me that I needed to prioritize what I wanted them to take, because not everything would fit.  Meanwhile, my back goes out and I lose the ability to walk upright.  I'm sure this was stress related because I was NOT trying to lift anything heavy.  So, in comes my hero, Hunter.  He grabbed the last U-Haul they had which was also the largest they provide.  Beggars can't be choosers, I'm thrilled he was able to get anything.  With 2 hours to go before the final walk through, Hunter, Bethany & Ezra are throwing EVERYTHING they see into the U-Haul.  I STILL run out of room in the second truck and have to leave 2 large, plastic raised garden beds behind.  UGH!  We barely made it out 5 minutes before the inspection.  I text the realtor apologizing for not cleaning & promising it will be done before the closing the next morning.  I'm back at the house @ 5am the next day, trying to not be the a-hole that leaves a huge mess for the new owners.  And, I sage the crap out of the place!!  I have a good cry in the garage, saying goodbye to Rich.  The garage was his space & I had been really struggling to be any where near it for any reason without vomiting and basically being crazy.

Then I went to sell the house.  I manage to keep my shit together for the signing.  I felt numb, like nothing could ever upset me again.  I'm totally at peace with my decision.  Then they ask if I want to meet the new owners.  I completely lose my mind & ugly cry right there in the office.  My realtor, says, "I'm going to say that's a 'no' and give you a moment."  I have no idea how long it took me to calm down.  I ask to use the restroom before I head to my next meeting to pull myself together.  Someone has just stunk up the restroom to high heaven and not used a courtesy spray!  I'm gagging & choking on the smell.  Snot & tears are flooding out of my face faster than I can clean it up!!  Thus endeth my recidency in the state of Illinois...

Off to Missouri, I go.  My realtor there brings me donuts & wants me to have my photo taken with a giant key.  Please see previous paragraph where I mention copious amounts of tears and snot.  No pics, thanks.  He hands me my keys and wishes me luck.  I head to the new house & the key doesn't work...  Surely, this is a mistake.  So, I try for 5 minutes trying to make the key work.  Front door, back door, nothing.  I text the realtor & go to lunch.  I will not panic & lose my mind.  I.Will.Not.  I go to Berix, which is a great Bosnian restaurant down the street.  Turns out, I just needed to pull hard on the door to make the key work.  Thanks for the warning, guys...

Here we are at The Ranch.  The above photo is the view of the Arch from my neighborhood.  My house is 2 blocks to the left of that point.  The Ranch was built like a bomb shelter in 1959.  My neighbors are amazing!  One of them even stopped by & helped Hunter unload my the U-Haul.  So sweet & welcoming!
I considered not sharing photos until things got cleaned up but I'm beginning to think that's not happening for awhile.  Maybe the before and after pics will be more dramatic this way!
I bought the tv stand and rug just for the house.  Still waiting on the couch & dining table delivery.  I built the console in the dining room, poorly.  I managed to break the drawer slides by putting the drawers in upside down.  Long story, not as long, the bottom drawer won't open now...
My kitchen solution until I can have this area redone as a butler's pantry, of sorts.
The main part of the kitchen.  I'm going with a lemon theme, because as know, when life gives you lemons... you throw them at people...just kidding.  I'm making lemonade.
The bathroom is basically the only finished room.  I painted the peach color on the walls, painted the cabinet green, got a new curtain and built the shelf behind the toilet.  I'm still waiting for the drawer pulls for the cabinet.  The shelf was ridiculous installing.  If it was put all the way together, it would hang up on the light fixture after tilting it over the top of the tank.  So, I put the shelf in and added the base and back supports after it was in place.  Nothing is more fun than being 51, crouching on a tile floor with your face in the toilet trying to screw in shelf supports...  But, look at the left side of the picture.  I have a laundry shoot!
The tile work is nice but if you know me very well, you know I hate beige.  Don't get me wrong.  It has it's place in the universe and I don't wish it harm.  It just doesn't belong in my home.  If you know how to get mildew out of the seams of these glass bricks, please let me know... it's a thing.
The office.  The picture doesn't do the pink in here justice.  It's Pepto pink.  I love pink, but this is too much, even for me.  I tried to find my sewing machine & the box in front lost it's bottom.  So, now I have books and sewing notions all over the floor.  It's like quilting vomit, everywhere.  My little quilting teddy bear on the right is begging for help!  Can't find my machine, but I see my award ribbons in the back!  Always have my priorities in check!:)
Bethany came in and painted my bedroom for me!  She did it all but the cutting in.  As I was doing the cutting in, I had a major catastrophe.  Yeah, I know, use a tarp.  Here's the thing.  I trip on those EVERY TIME I use them and still end up with a mess afterwards.  I lost a pair of shoes on this one.
The finished product. 
In an effort to conserve space, I decided to forgo a dresser & pretend I live in a closet.  I repurposed the cube shelving from the old studio into a "closet shelving" unit.  I'm reusing the old studio curtains and art work.  Apparently, my walls are cinderblock & cement.  Getting art and curtain rods on the wall has been a challenge.  The walls are too textured for 3M strips... I've got a hanging lamp from the old studio that I'd like to use if I can get a hammer drill to drill through the concrete ceiling to install a hook.  The bedspread and rug are from my old coral & teal room.  I tried going with 'fun' metallic silver cube boxes to hide the panties & bras but they're just tacky, so I'll probably be changing them out with some pink ones that I already own.  I promise to put my laundry away one of these days...
This is an idea I saw on Pinterest.  I gave Bethany my jewelry chest, knowing I wouldn't have room.  It's working out pretty well.  The rosary beads on the left were my mother's.  I've got the smaller bits in some trays on the shelves.
And, that's The Ranch, so far.  I don't think I'll share the basement.  That's Ezra's private space and I'd like to respect that.  I'll save the yard situation for another day.

I've really been trying to pace myself.  I'm trying to live in the present & forgive myself for not having the drive to fix everything at once.  So far, in between opening boxes, assembling furniture & painting things, I've gone to the Modern Quilt Guild with my friend Cindy, The Japanese Festival & a farmer's market with my niece Christine, a movie on my own, and movie night on my living room floor with Bethany.  My regular quilt guild meeting was last night & I plan on hanging out with more friends this Saturday.  Then there's a family dinner on Sunday.

Thanks for coming along for the ride, guys.  Hope you're all doing well & having some fun.



Monday, August 8, 2022

Fabulous Friends!

Hello dear people,

House drama is moving right along.  The inspectors have compiled a 20 page expose on what a dump I'm living in.  Huzzah!  The buyers, however, are only worried about the potential hazards to life and limb.  Which is good, because I was initially, trying to sell the house 'as is'.  Here's the deal, I don't want to pass on my bad juju to the next family.  Seems like bad karma.

They requested that the 2 gas leaks be fixed.  Yes.  Not zero, not one but, TWO gas leaks!  They also requested that the rusted out furnace be replaced.  Rusted out furnace with 2 gas leaks, you say?!  How about moving the water heater to safer location that has proper ventilation?  Oh, and could you please get the double lugging out of the circuit breaker so that it meets code?  So, basically, the universe is telling me that if I hadn't gotten the house inspected, I very well could have blown up this winter.  Side note, Melissa took my old dryer to get it fixed and to use at her apartment.  Apparently, that too, was a fire hazard waiting to happen.  She has decided not to test fate and buy something else.

So, we set up a time for the furnace guy to come make things less scary here.  He shows up on Tuesday, gets the furnace in but has to disconnect the a/c because they're no longer compatible.  I don't know why, I don't make the rules... So my a/c needs a new doo hickey but the guy has been given the wrong one by his distributor.  No a/c Tuesday night.  The guy tries to tell me he's having a bad year.  Buddy, you got nothing I can't top... Okay, no problem, I can handle a night with fans.  We'll be fine.  Wednesday arrives and he goes to get correct doo hickey, nope they don't have it.  Try, St Louis office.  Nope, fresh out of proper doo hickeys.  We'll have to overnight from IN.  They offer to set us up in a hotel for the night.  The house is really gross, record highs & ungodly humidity is happening.  He doesn't even want to be in my house at this point and he's a manly man that works in the heat.  Alas, the big storm hits and nothing makes it out of IN that night.  So, we're in the hotel again on Thursday.  Friday rolls around, doo hickey arrives and dude gets to work.  When I get home on Friday, all is working.  He's agreeing with me that, yeah, this place is haunted and I should high tail it out of here as fast as I can.  Every time he fixed something, the thing it was connected to wouldn't work.  We can thank my beloved for the 'creative wiring'.  Rich knew just enough to be dangerous.  The dude had to replace the furnace, re-wire the house humidifier, re-wire the thermostat & replace it.  Fix the a/c.  Move the hot water heater and drain it 3 times because every time he got it set up, a leak would spring somewhere along the line.  He fixed the gas leaks, disconnected the gas, furnace and a/c to the garage.  He could not get out of here fast enough.  The poor man wanted nothing more to do with Mantz Manor for as long as he lives.  He did show some interest in Rich's slot machine, so I gifted it to him.  Hopefully, he feels less abused now.  All this before we're even told if my house appraised for asking price.  

I can't lie, I was feeling VERY put out last week.  I had much rage and nothing to renovate.  I couldn't cook or bake or do any of the things that I love because I basically couldn't be home.  The humidity in the house had gotten so bad, we were having trouble opening and closing the doors.  And, my house plants started dropping leaves like crazy.  No bueno...  Now, I know the house is 150 years old and we've lived BIG lives here for 19 years.  Rich was doing the best he could with what he had.  But, damn, bro! WTF?!  I'm looking forward to the move being behind me.  I think once that happens, I can just miss my husband rather than be so pissed at him all the time.  I feel deep down, that's going to be essential to my healing.

Through this, I have realized just how important connections are.  I went to a TAS (The Applique Society) meeting this month.  I went to our Crazy Quilt Group meeting.  And, I'm planning on going to my first quilt guild meeting tomorrow.  Look at me, being all social!

Oh My Gosh, I almost forgot to tell you!  So, I've kept in touch with a friend from bible camp over the years on FB.  Her name is Jennifer and we met at bible camp in Junior High and y'all know how old I am.  Lost touch for many years but reconnected when FB became a thing.  She reached out to me several weeks ago that she'd be driving through STL and did I want to get together?  Well, of course I did!  In fact, I insist that she stay with me (this is important to the story).  Then, the inspectors came.  I got distracted and over whelmed.  I'm downsizing, so I have to get rid of half my stuff.  Wake up one Saturday and put a bunch of furniture on FB market place.  The only thing that sells right away is my extra bed.  I sell it on a Saturday morning.  Lay down for bed that night and start thinking about how excited I was to see Jennifer that coming Monday.  OMG!  I just sold the bed that I insisted she sleep in!  I am such a moron!!  Luckily, Hunter had a blow up mattress I could borrow.  Jennifer came to visit.  She was lovely and forgiving and was able to laugh off the whole thing.  I've decided she must be in my soul tribe because we basically just started back up where we left off more than 35 years ago.  Moral to my story.  Friends are amazing and miraculous and I live a blessed life to have so many fabulous people to hang out with.


Speaking of fabulous people!  My step-niece just moved to STL!!  I'm so excited!  We were supposed to meet for dinner last week but the storms and everything happened.  So, we're rescheduled for this week!!  Woo hoo!  Can't wait!  See?!  Lots to look forward to!

Love you, friend!  See you soon.

Tuesday, July 19, 2022

Holy Mother of God, Send Help

 It occurred to me this morning on my commute that I haven't checked in with everyone in awhile.  It's not for lack of stuff happening, that's for sure.

On July 1st, we had Rich's funeral.  He was interred at Jefferson Barracks with full military honors.  We only invited our core family to join us.  It was very bittersweet to see the people I love celebrating the man I love (but am still mad at).  Then we all had to rifle through his prized possessions so that his legacy (tool collection) could live on. A "good time" was not had by all but it was necessary to move forward with our healing.  The grandbabies did get to meet, though.  Damn, they're cute and both SO well behaved!  It was blistering hot and they were just as sweet as pie the whole time.

Then on the 5th I started my new job.  It's night and day from my previous job.  I under-estimated how hard it would be on my self-esteem to not know what I'm doing!  I was with Jim's Formal Wear for 10 1/2 years.  It was a fairly high pressure job but I was confident in what I was doing.  At Echelon Supply, the pressure is almost non-existent but I know absolutely nothing.  So, I feel like an idiot but no one is worried about it.  I guess that's a good thing... 

Thinking it would take some time, I decided to put my house on the market the second week on the job.  I wanted to find something smaller and closer to the new office.  Spoiler alert, it did not take some time.  It was on the market for 30 hours when we received an offer.  Yikes!  So, I placed an offer on a little 1959 ranch-style (very Doris Day) in Mehlville.  Double yikes.  In case you're wondering, the new house is half the size of the current but has a higher market value... The taxes in MO are lower and of course the maintenance of a house half the size should be easier for me to handle, not to mention the fuel cost of commuting.  So, I still feel like I'm making the right decision.

Queue inspection drama: So the buyers requested an inspection, we got all cleaned up & prepped for it.  I made the mistake of watching the security footage of the event.  The buyers invited people to see the house, plus the numerous inspectors doing the various tests.  It felt very invasive.  That night I get a text from the real estate agent wanting to know why we cut the water to the upstairs toilet.  What?!  I go see what's up, sure enough, Ezra's water is turned off to their toilet.  Wild speculation and panic ensues.  I was worried they would think I was trying to hide a problem that I was actually unaware of.  Turns out,  the toilet was making a noise that Ezra found annoying, so they shut off the water and forgot...  Nothing wrong with the toilet.  Holy Mother of God, send help.  Tonight is the inspection of the new place.  We'll see what that brings.

Are you wondering how I'm handling the stress?  Here's a fun story.  Yesterday afternoon I had a migraine but didn't take my meds because I knew I had to drive home.  By the time I made it to Troy, I could barely see straight, ready to vomit.  Took my meds and laid down.  Shit!  Where'd I leave my phone?  I must have left it at the office.  Can't send any paperwork or pics for moving quotes, need my phone for that.  Can't send copy of ID to the mortgage company, need my phone for that.  Crap!  My phone is my alarm clock.  Okay, download an alarm on to my laptop but it requires the laptop to not go to sleep or be closed.  Okay, okay, we can work with this.  Just plug it in.  Wake up at 1am worried that the alarm didn't work.  Double crap, the laptop isn't charging while it's plugged in.  It's going to be dead by 6am.  Never forget your phone at work again, Heather Mantz!  Order a back up alarm that plugs in the wall like the one you just donated to Good Will last week.  Can't go back to sleep now!  What if you don't wake up in time for your brand new job?!  7am rolls around, I'm packing the car for work, oh look!  There's my phone plugged into the car!  Sweet Baby Jesus, send help!

Next is to gather all the paperwork.  Get rid of half my stuff.  Get those quotes from the moving companies.  Change states and continue with my new life...

Blessed Archangel Michael, send help!


Monday, April 25, 2022

How Many Things Can Go Wrong, Let Us Count The Ways...

Life unsupervised sucks so far.  I am wholly unprepared for the sheer volume of crap that I've had to deal with since January.

Let's start with the fact that I work from home.  First, Rich was always in and out needing my attention.  Yes, being an annoying distraction, but bringing a lot of fun to my day.  To be loved brings beauty to your life & gave me so much more purpose that I realized it did.  It's insane to me that all that is over.  Back to working from home, I've had to replace the modem and router because my internet connection was crap.  And, it's Prom Season and I'm working 60 hours a week with said modem/ router.  Being alone 95% of the time is probably not the healthiest thing I could be doing but it's where I'm at right now.  I went from Chrome Cast to Fire Stick because the TV wasn't able to stream anything.  All I wanted was to watch some GD Top Chef, is that too much to ask?!  That whole paragraph is a mess but I'm leaving it because, I too am a mess.

The garage: we had to hire an electrician to re-wire a thermostat that went haywire.  Then the pushbutton key pad died and locked me out of the garage.  After a small panic attack, I remembered to look in the jar of extra keys & found the correct key.  FYI: the key labeled "Garage" was not, in fact, the key to the garage...  Hunter had to reprogram the keypad to get it to work again once the battery was replaced.  Speaking of the key jar, I have figured out at least 50% of the keys in question.

We sold 5 of Rich's project cars/ trucks.  Only 1 of them ran, the rest had to be towed away by other crazy car guys.  We could not find one of the titles.  If he were alive, he'd argue that he gave it to me to file.  And, I'd argue that if that were true, it would have been where is was supposed to be.  The muffler and catalytic converter had to be replaced and the A/C fixed in my own car.

I mowed my first lawn.  Yep, I'm 50 years old and I had never mowed a lawn.  I couldn't get the mower started on my own because it was also a "project".  Ezra got it started but it was so heavy and hard to maneuver, I could barely use my arms the next couple days.  The mower has been replaced.

One of the bathroom sinks had a leak.  Hunter replaced the faucets and stopped the leak.

I accidentally programed my house thermostat to no longer recognize that I had a heater...

Having to switch bills into my name, figuring out who I owe & how much... is a nightmare.  SO MUCH paperwork.  Went to the bank & the manager made a joke about me coming into a lot of money... LOST MY SHIT.  Literally hysterical, couldn't drive myself home because I was having such a bad breakdown.  Then had to get back on the phone for work (was on my lunch break) and pretend that tuxedos actually matter and somebody's delayed shipment is important to me.  

Earlier today, I got a notice from the IRS saying there was a mistake on my return and I owe more money.  Last week, I started getting the hospital bills.  Tonight's dilemma is a broken dryer.  If Rich were here, he'd get a new heating element or something & rig it to work another 20 years.  I'm pretty sure it came with us from CA.  Is this how expensive independence is?  Because it sucks.  I do not make enough money to shell out thousands of dollars on repairs/ equipment every month.

Okay, I think I'm done whining for now.  For those of you who stuck around for it, thanks.  For those who bailed on me, don't blame you a bit!  I hope everyone had a lovely Easter & is enjoying the spring.  Here's a picture of my wild bunch from Easter.



Wednesday, April 6, 2022

Not So- Solo Travel

In March, Ezra, Patrick and I went to Chicago for a family B'nai Mitvah.  It was not long after Rich had passed but I was sick of myself and thought a change of scenery would do me good.  Also, I was looking forward to seeing family.  Ezra & Patrick had originally wanted to drive up on their own so that they could do their own thing and I could do mine.  Spoiler alert, that's not how it worked out.  The night before we were to leave, we had another snow storm and they got nervous about driving in the snow/city.  So, we got a late start and car pooled.

First order of business was the SMART Museum at U of Chicago.  The website said they had a featured artist but I didn't expect he would be the only artist in the WHOLE museum.  Yes, art is subjective, but let me just say, it wasn't to my liking... these little statues were the most interesting thing there...


The architecture on campus was so beautiful!  We wandered around for awhile imagining we were at Hogwarts.  We ducked into the Renaissance Society and watched the DUMBEST student movie ever made... in my opinion.  They had me sitting in a bean bag to watch it... very surreal.  I did conquer my fear of stairs to go to the top floor, only to run into the elevator entrance when I got to the top.  Mind you, it was 20 degrees out, so at least I was in a warm building being confused to tears.
Saturday was Venice's B'nai Mitzah.  They go to a beautiful synagogue that is across the street from Obama's house.  A personal highlight for me was to bypass the presidential barricade to get to the parking lot.  My rebellions are small but they exist.   I only had a small break down before attending my first family event without Rich.  He hated Chicago and would have been a total pain in the butt the whole time but he still should have been there to annoy me.



This was my first Jewish ceremony and was a little surprised by the length.  Something they have in common with Catholics, apparently.  Venice did a fantastic job and so did their parents.  Gib is my oldest sister's son but we're basically the same age.  We try to keep in touch as much as possible but Covid has really put a damper on our visits and it seems like the kids are growing up in the blink of an eye.
Obama's house.  He was not in residence at the time.  Imagine how annoying it is to live next door to the former president.  People gawking, just trying to have a pizza delivered would be complicated.  Ugh!
After the luncheon, we high tailed it to the Art Institute via the bus.  It's worth mentioning this was the same weekend as the St. Patrick's Day parade.  We had the honor of sharing the very full bus with people that were ready to party!
I LOVE art museums.  LOVE.  I love the atmosphere, the smell, the subdued noise levels, the humidity control.  I love all of it.
If you've never been to the Art Institute, their top floor is dedicated to the Impressionists, which is totally my jam!
We only had an hour & half before closing, so we FLEW through the exabits.




Downstairs, they have the COOLEST exhibit of miniatures.  We could have spent the whole time admiring just that.
Seriously, these are amazing!
These are little boxes, maybe 18"x18" at most.
The detail to scale is mind blowing!  I could really use some of that skill in my work.

They also had a William Morris exhibit.  We snuck in there in the last 5 minutes of the day.

Beauty in the home for the masses.

Patrick was less impressed with the art than Ezra and I were but he tolerated us well.

On Sunday, we decided to swing by the Museum of Science and Industry before heading home.  We were finally in Patrick's arena on this one.
I was so surprised by all the miniatures to be found in Chicago.  You could do a whole weekend just looking at tiny things.
What can I say, even at the science museum, I was only interested in the art.
I mean, a Fairy House decorated with real jewels!



So, it wasn't the solo travel I had originally planned on but maybe it was better for me not to be alone.  Ezra still lives with me and it's been great having them around.  It would be really easy for me to become a crazy hermit lady that doesn't speak to humans regularly.  I'm imagining the Penguin coming out of the sewers in Batman Returns.  I'll just waddle out of the dark corner, stains all over my clothes, food falling out of my open mouth, yelling at people to get off my lawn...it's not too much of a stretch of the imagination...

Any who!  Chicago hasn't seen the last of me.  I just bought tickets to see Duran Duran this August!  My BFF cousin Denise and I are going to live out our teenage dreams to see the boys live!  We went to Power Station in the 80s but never got to see the Fab Five.  My inner 15 year old is peeing herself right now!