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1. I totally forgot today was the eclipse -- I plead lack of sleep and also distraction (volunteering at the final day of my church's annual rummage sale) -- but fortunately I got my two sale rooms closed down by 2pm and was able first to see several pinhole projections other church members were using out on the sidewalk, and later to get a direct look through some glasses that Upstairs Neighbor E lent me while I was out walking Dottie.

It was pretty cool to see the moon take a bite out of the sun. :) It was also vaguely disquieting, because the sky went... not dark, you couldn't remotely call it dark... but noticeably gray. The color desaturated. Also, when Dottie decided that her midafternoon walk should end with a five minute relaxing lie-down in a sunny patch of grass, the direct sunlight was not nearly as warm as it should have been for that time of day and the ambient temperature. So, nothing dramatic, probably nothing I would have noticed if I hadn't been aware of the eclipse and therefore actively paying attention, but still. Pretty cool. :)

2. I called the doctors' office about getting a psychiatric evaluation/anti-depressant prescription, but was unable to make an appointment yet because I'm in a weird limbo where they're not sure if I count as a new or a returning patient, since my last appointment was apparently three years ago. The clerk who answered the phone took some information about my insurance and has sent an inquiry to their billing department. A representative should call me later this week, after which I will be able to schedule an appointment.

3. Three of my squash plants seem pretty definitively dead. The fourth (which was worst hit by the powdery mildew but seems to have escaped the wilting sickness that subsequently struck the other three) might be in the early stages of slow recovery. So I think I'll uproot the dead ones on Wednesday or Thursday and plant new seeds.

4. My church's rummage sale went pretty well, all things considered. I worked 12-4pm on Sunday, and 10-2pm today. The sale runs Saturday-Monday. Saturday is full-price, Sunday is half-price, and Monday is free with a donation box placed prominently at the exit. (We used to have Monday be 10-cent day, but that was immensely aggravating to everyone involved, so we swapped over to "free, but have you seen this donation box???" It turns out we not only save time this way, we actually bring in more money!) Monday is also the day we do preliminary breakdown, starting around noon -- first we start taking down a bunch of the shelving, and then we box everything up and cart it downstairs to the parlor so as to make things less inconvenient for the people hauling the unsold items away Tuesday morning.

(I think the unsold books go to the Friends of the Library book sale, but I wouldn't swear to it. The remaining fabric scraps probably go to one of the local sewing co-ops. I am also unsure what happens to the unsold linens and toys, though I think again there may be arrangements with various local charities. The rest... well, most of it goes to the dump. *sigh* But hey, it was going there anyway, and the sale does save an astonishing amount of stuff from being scrapped.)

5. Cornell classes started today, which meant that last week (and specifically Saturday) were the crush days for students moving back to Ithaca. And also students panicking and realizing they've forgotten to rent parking spaces. *wry* So the rental office was VERY BUSY -- in fact, Mom Boss and Aunt Boss came in to work from ~11am-4pm so we had four people in the office (usually Miss Cactus and I cover Saturdays alone), and that extra staffing was NECESSARY.

We will continue to be busy through... hmm... early October, probably? Here is why: A) people working out the glitches in their new apartments and returning their damage deposit inspection forms; B) the final parking rental rush; C) quarterly rent payments are due; D) people hurrying to pay for internet service after the free trial period ends; D) price listings for the 2018-19 year go up and we start apartment tours; E) current tenants get a couple weeks to renew or switch apartments before open renting starts; and F) open renting starts halfway through September.

But at least we're mostly done with key returns and sign-outs, we have the nice new folders for next year's leases set up, damage deposits and summer photographs are all done, and most of the giant packages in which people ship furnishings to themselves have arrived and been picked up. So that's something!
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1. Took communal compost bin to the curb for pickup. (I seem to be the only person in both houses who remembers to do this. I am not exactly complaining about that, but I do wonder who, if anyone, would step up to the plate if I weren't here.)

2. Sliced two chicken thighs and baked them in balsamic dressing.

3. Began summer apartment photographs and turnover inspections at work, which is interesting.

4. Called my dentist to ask when I would be billed for my May 15th appointment. Apparently the office manager has returned and sent all the outstanding bills earlier this week, so I should receive mine on Friday. It's not that I especially WANT another bill, but I was even less happy about the prospect of an unknown bill hanging over my head indefinitely.

5. Bought a zester/grater at Target.

6. Saw Wonder Woman, which I enjoyed a lot! Quick impression: vague spoilers, I guess? )

7. Bought groceries.

8. Paid my monthly internet bill.

9. Recharged my bus pass.

10. Cooked the first of three Blue Apron meals. More details in this post (poll and general comments) and also this post (pictures and recipe).
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Today's entry in the 'weird things I have acquired from tenants' department: a Blue Apron box.

The tenant left for the summer and did not cancel their subscription quite fast enough, so whoops, one extra box arrived. Fortunately this particular tenant is generally on top of things, and upon receiving the package notification email, promptly called us to say they weren't in town and we should just make the food ourselves.

Mom Boss and Aunt Boss were not interested, and I wasn't sure the food would keep long enough for Miss Cactus to choose any on Thursday, so I just carried the box home myself. (The whole mile and a half. Exercise is good for you! *flops*)

The recipes are as follows: crispy catfish & spicy vegetable curry (with charred lime); seared steaks & salsa verde (with fingerling potatoes, asparagus, & radishes); and Persian-style chicken & crispy rice (with zucchini, currants, & lemon yogurt).

They all claim to take only 15 minutes of prep time. Considering one of them involves mashing garlic into a paste, and the other two involve making lemon or lime zest from scratch (wtf), I call bullshit. I mean, I am game to try these things! They sound tasty! But I am pretty sure they will take about an hour of prep time each, plus the listed cooking times, plus slop time for cleaning dishes (I don't have the biggest sink, nor do I have endless counter space), so... I think two hours total per meal. Blargh.

Anyway, I have put the things that need refrigeration in my fridge, while the others are sitting in the box on a table, and I will probably attempt either the catfish or the steak tomorrow evening.
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1. Started making paper fruit for a new counter display at the rental office -- by which I mean I chose line art from online, copypasted it into Word documents (and resized and tweaked until I had about six iterations per page), and printed it out on colored paper. Miss Cactus already started cutting some of them out and adding detail with thin-point Sharpie pens. I am not sure whether I will arrive on Tuesday to a finished display, or whether I will get to do some cutting and coloring myself during any slow periods.

2. Acquired a new houseplant. See, a tenant couldn't bring the plant with them to their new apartment, but felt bad throwing a living thing away, so they brought it to the office and asked if we wanted it. I said yes. I then transplanted it from the dinky plastic store pot into the slightly larger ceramic pot the tenant had been using purely as decoration because apparently transplanting is hard. *sigh* Anyway, hopefully I will manage not to kill it.

3. Put three nails into one side of my oldest bookcase, to hold parts of my paperclip collection. (Context: I string paperclips in chains of ten onto keyrings, 25 chains per ring, and then hang them up for display. All the paperclips must be 'found' items -- I can't purposely buy them -- which is why it has taken me literally twenty years to collect a thousand paperclips. Well. A thousand and three, as of Saturday.)

more items under the cut )

18. Called Vicky and caught up for an hour or so. :)

19. Chopped onions, summer squash, and a large bell pepper and made a batch of veggie sidedish. Tomorrow I intend to bake some chicken.

All in all, I think it was a fairly productive weekend.
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1. Baked brownies for church coffee hour. Took them in to church.

2. Coffee hour clean-up. Over the past few years, I seem to have become the 'old hand' at this particular task -- probably because every time my hospitality team is up, I volunteer for it all four Sundays -- and I end up sort of haphazardly training a bunch of more sporadic volunteers how to run the sterilizer and where to roll up the vinyl tablecloths and stuff. I like feeling useful. :)

3. Washed two-thirds of my curtains, as well as my comforter and winter coat. I still have one load of curtains left, which I will hopefully get done tomorrow along with my regular biweekly laundry.

more items under the cut )

13. Attended my church's annual meeting, where we:

A) voted on the 2017-18 budget

B) elected people to the Board of Trustees and the Nominating Committee

C) voted on various proposed changes to our bylaws (which are, frankly, screwy -- they were written less as general guidelines and more as ultra-nitpicky sets of rules that weren't even internally consistent -- and which we have been rationalizing in bits and pieces for several years now)

D) voted on whether to adopt a covenant

E) voted on whether to issue a congregational statement of support for a New York state single-payer health care system proposal currently up for consideration in the state senate.

The budget passed (an attempted amendment to it did not), the bylaw changes passed (one attempted amendment was rejected as something that needs more study in the fall; another passed because it caught an error that had been overlooked in the editing process), the covenant was adopted (albeit with reservations on various parts), and despite a completely valid technical objection (namely, that we don't HAVE a procedure for issuing congregational statements about political issues and therefore shouldn't issue any such statements until we create one) the health care statement also passed.

I then stuck around to help clean up (there was a dinner attached to the meeting, you see) since nobody seemed to have organized an official clean-up crew and, well, that's something I know how to do! So I did it. *wry*

more items under the cut )

21. Snipped Hovera (a squash seedling) at its base so that Azer (its container-mate) could live and flourish.

...

I have also been kind of busy at work, since this is the time of year when students are leaving town (and thus vacating their apartments), and that generates a bunch of paperwork and ancillary organizational stuff -- particularly since it's also the due date for a whole bunch of quarterly rent payments for 2017-18 leases. We are also switching to a new key-logging system, which creates a minor extra layer of confusion when you have to figure out whether a summer subtenant should pick up their keys under the 2016-17 system (manual) or the 2017-18 system (digital).
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1. Survived tax season! \o/ My last day at Not the IRS was Monday, which I worked 9am-9pm. I finished the season with five returns still 'on hold,' only one of which was somebody I actually expected to come in to finish up. (The others either weren't required to file or made clear that they didn't intend to file through us for various reasons.) I think that's a pretty good record, all in all.

2. Photographed my plants and posted the pictures online.

3. Took my kitchen compost to the communal bin, and the communal bin to the curb for pickup. (It has not, in fact, been picked up. I am not wheeling the blasted thing back across the yard while it is still full and heavy, so it can just sit there until the compost company get their act together.)

4. Watered my houseplants.

5. Called my parents with some information that is relevant to planning their visit in a couple weeks.

6. Prepped for a graduate student housing fair thingy on Friday, which Miss Cactus and I are responsible for since Mom Boss and Aunt Boss (tentative nicknames) are both on vacation this week.

7. Went to the end-of-season dinner my Not the IRS office throws for ourselves every year, which was a lot of fun. We commandeer two tables at a local restaurant, order a bunch of appetizers to share around, and drink several pitchers of classic margaritas. :)

I also accidentally acquired a succulent, which I will attempt not to kill. See, it's tradition to buy a small nice gift for the manager and the receptionists, I doubled up as a tax preparer and a receptionist again this year, and one of the other receptionists didn't make it to the dinner... so I wound up with her gift (the plant) as well as my own (a pre-paid debit card). The plant itself is housed in a glass bowl with purple fake-amethysts for its 'ground,' and since amethyst is my birthstone, I am choosing to consider this a Sign of Favor from the universe at large. *wry*

8. Not really a 'thing done,' but I have ants in my kitchen again. *sigh* I have been squishing them when they get up onto the counters, but the ones on the wall and the baseboard I am mostly leaving alone for the poison in the little plastic traps (I always have four to eight ant traps on my counters and walls, because this happens every year) to kill slowly. I will have to buy some new traps on my next grocery run, though, because the poison does eventually get used up.
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1. Wrote a tiny story (742 words) as an entry in the 2017 John Mosedale creative writing contest, which is run by the Loon (the annual newsletter/directory of the Star Island Protective League). I then ran it past Vicky for approval, since although the starting inspiration was my recent obsession with maybe purchasing a tiny fruit tree for my kitchen, it then veered into some stuff drawn from conversations I've had with her this past year, and I didn't want to just throw that out for anyone to read if she'd be uncomfortable with that. But she said it was cool, so I submitted it.

2. Shoveled my front steps and sidewalk AGAIN, because when I got home from work on Friday they were buried under a foot and a half of snow and ice, which had taken advantage of the lovely sunny afternoon to depart the roof en masse.

3. Baked brownies!

4. Helped Miss Cactus decorate the rental office counter for spring:


paper flowers and leaves on a black background . paper flowers and leaves on a black background



The leaves are leftover shamrocks from our St. Patrick's Day display, which I did not bother to photograph since it was not terribly exciting. Miss Cactus and I reused them rather than cut out entirely new leaves to go with the flowers. Most of the flowers are colored paper with a bit of Sharpie marker in the centers to make them look a bit livelier and less monochrome, but a few were printed on white paper and given unique coloring jobs, because we could and because arts and crafts are fun. :)

[[original Tumblr post, for when the embedded images inevitably break]]

more items under the cut )

And now I think I will go to bed, because I am kind of brain-fried for no identifiable reason, and I figure sleep is more likely to help than staying up for another hour and trying to force myself into being productive.

snow day

Mar. 14th, 2017 01:53 pm
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I got sent home from work at 1pm, successfully caught a bus down the hill, and walked home the rest of the way. I'm not going to bother shoveling until later -- I already did one round this morning before going in to work, and I am tired.

I think I may take a nap. :)

-----

ETA, 9:30pm

I slept very well, and duly shoveled the sidewalk (both east and north sides of the house) upon getting up. The wind has picked up dramatically, and it's still snowing, but at least I will have less to wade through in the morning.

And speaking of the morning...

Tompkins County closed roads for all non-essential travel at 3pm, and TCAT stopped service for the day around 5:30pm. They have not yet issued statements about their plans for Wednesday.

That means I don't know if I'll be able to get a bus up East Hill tomorrow morning. I really do not want to walk up the hill. That's a pain under the best conditions, and tomorrow it will likely be a nightmare since I'm absolutely sure most of the sidewalks on Buffalo St. won't be shoveled. (College students, you know?)

Unfortunately, as far as I know, the office is currently planning to open at the usual time, which means I will have to be there to open it, so...

I guess I will just have to get up at 6:30am and see whether I will be facing a nightmarish two-mile trek to and then up the hill of doom, or only a three-quarter-mile flat-surface slog to the #10 bus stop (or one mile, if I have to go to Green St. to catch a #30 or #51).
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1. Went to bed early on Wednesday, in an attempt to shake the not-quite-cold that I still haven't been able to get rid of.

2. Was still semi-sniffly when I woke up Thursday morning, and reluctantly rescheduled my blood donation appointment YET AGAIN, argh.

3. Rescued a spider from my shower and let it go in my front room. I am happy to coexist with house spiders, provided they stay OUT of my bedroom and bathroom, and never touch me unexpectedly. Startling me in the shower is not good for their life expectancy.

4. Wrote a bit more of my Enchanted Forest prompt ficlet, and also figured out (I think) a way to better tie the opening into the later action, so there's some groundwork for what the unexpected ambassadors have come to discuss. I have not yet attempted to implement that, because I continue to be constantly tired and kind of brain-fried. *sigh*

5. Wrote and mailed my birthday thank-you notes, which involved finally getting rid of the last of some tiny butterfly stickers I acquired over a decade ago (I have no memory of either why or how) and almost getting rid of some free bee-and-flower stickers I got from... probably the Nature Conservancy, in one of their periodic 'donate to us again!' mailings. (I get mailings of that nature from several charities, since I used to give money yearly to, uh, the ACLU, Amnesty International, the Nature Conservancy, Planned Parenthood, and the International Eye Foundation. I also get mailings from the US Methodists' charitable arm, since I donated to them once some years ago as Susan's Christmas gift, but they didn't have a 'donation in the name of' option so now UMCOR thinks I'm their good target instead of her. *deeper sigh*)

6. Took kitchen compost to backyard bin.

7. And, of course, the reason I'm so tired all the time is that I am working stupid hours at my two jobs. This week will end up being ~53 hours all told, and then I will probably be working both Sunday the 26th and Sunday the 5th so starting from Monday the 20th that's like... three weeks in a row with no days off, yikes. (Well, I may ask for Saturday the 4th off at the rental company, but that would be so I could chaperone a youth group thing at church so I wouldn't exactly call it a day of rest.)

...

The money is worth it. I think.
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1. Repotted the section of Mom's erstwhile spider plant that I'd had sitting in water since Thanksgiving. (In summary, Mom was getting rid of a plant, and I said I'd take it. Unfortunately, while they were unpacking at my house, the pot fell out of the car, tipped upside-down, and the plant's various sections got completely disarrayed and squished. I put most of them back together, but this one section's roots were a dead loss and it's been in slow recovery since then. I am still unsure how the plant will do long-term, but I am doing my best to give it a fighting chance.)

more items under the cut )

17. Photographed the heart display in the rental office, downloaded the pictures to my computer, deleted some duplicates and hopelessly blurry ones, and have resolved to get some replacement photos on Saturday. (I will post them all eventually. They're just going to take a while to organize.)

18. Spoke with Susan on the phone for about an hour. :)

19. Got myself unstuck on my Cotton Candy Bingo fill -- if having the unexpected ambassadors interrupt the picnic doesn't work, have the picnic interrupt the unexpected ambassadors instead. *wry*

---------------

And now to bed, because I have another 12-hour shift on Thursday. *headdesk* (I need the money. The money is good. I can sleep in April.)

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Elizabeth Culmer

August 2017

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