Friday, April 02, 2010

Sweet and sour

The last couple of weeks have been primarily frustrating, although today DH helped me complete a decorating project which has improved the look of our living room and made me very happy.

But, let me back up to where I left off before. The seeds we started a couple weeks ago did well only when they were indoors. That is to say, the ones we started indoors immediately sprouted into healthy little seedlings within only 7 days. We started some in Burpee brand peat pellets, which came in their own tiny greenhouse, and others were started in old egg cartons. All the seeds started fine, though we lost some of the ones started in egg cartons due to mold. But the Burpee pellets were extremely easy to transplant, which made them the winners over the frugal egg cartons.

The seeds we started outside in pots, did not do anything after 7 days. Of course, immediately after planting day we experienced such pouring rain as we have not seen in a very long time. So, we kind of assumed the seeds drowned, but we brought the pots inside anyway. After another week, little sprouts began forming, so I guess they did not drown after all.

In the meantime, Oregon tricked us last weekend with another sunny day, so we hoped the pouring rain was over. We picked up about 20 pots at the dollar store and transplanted many seedlings. Only to have them deluged with another 5 inches of rain over the past week. Luckily we had run out of pots and so still have many seedlings in their starter greenhouses in our living room.

The lesson: if you garden in Oregon, you need a real greenhouse. With a roof on it. That you can control.

My doctor confirmed that the tearing sensation I feel in my abdomen is likely to be actual tearing and not just nerves. It's not quite as bad as it sounds, it's not like a piece of paper ripping in 2 pieces, but more as if a piece of paper had once been glued to my ribs and is now being peeled off slowly. Some sort of musculoskeletal separation; separating the musculo part from the skeletal part, of course. Which in the end, my doctor says is very common and not serious, although annoying and painful. It is brought on by sitting, so I just try not to sit for long periods. This is sort of hard when you have a desk job.
Sometime in the last couple of weeks, I noticed our water had become soft water. Soft water has a slippery feel, as opposed to the squeaky-clean feel of hard water. Then about 4-5 days ago, the water started to have an odor like rotten eggs, which is also a symptom of soft water. Since our local water filtration plant is being renovated, I thought I'd wait a couple days to see if the problem resolved itself. It didn't, and I thought it was getting worse, though I admit the smell was relatively mild, and, compared to skunk or septic system it was downright pleasant. After a couple more days and the smell getting stronger in our more humid rooms (laundry room, shower), I called the water company to inquire. The day after I inquired, they brought in some major equipment and had to shut off the electricity in order to install it. At the end of that day, the water seemed to be "normal" again. So, I'm not sure what they did, but I'm grateful. Because naturally my landlord claimed that he was not affected even though we are obviously on the same water line. I wanted to ask him if perhaps he'd forgotten that he'd installed a filter at his own water main, or something like that, but I kept my mouth shut.
Anyway, when the power was restored, I lost a computer cable in a surge and had to buy another one tout suite, because it was for my work computer and if I didn't get that cable I'd have to start my maternity leave as soon as the battery died. So, another frustrating day, but in the end the water was squeaky clean and not slippery. My laptop for clean water. I guess it's a good trade, but one I'd rather not have had to trade at all.
Here on the mountain we have big black ants, and one bit me the other day. They have hard little bodies and when I was screaming bloody murder and tearing it off of me, much to Zack's amusement, its hard little body scratched a trench in my skin. Dis-gus-ting. What's grosser than gross? An ant digging a trench in your skin. That's even grosser than the time I picked up half a shrew with my bare hands because I thought it was a piece of fruit that had fallen out of the garbage can. That was another bad day. I mean the ant day, not the shrew day.
After filling up the truck with gas last week, and then driving home, I smelled a strong fuel smell as I was unloading my groceries. The next day DH took the truck to work and called me to also complain of a fuel smell. I told him I'd just filled up the day before, and he said there was now only 1/4 tank. Ay, chee wa wa! His co-workers recommended a mechanic and he had the truck towed over immediately. The good news? The mechanic is honest and cheap, our new best friend! And, it was found that the problem was caused by those jiffy guys who recently changed the fuel filter, and they agreed to pay for the repair.
We are preparing both our financial budget and our home for the upcoming arrival of Libby, plus house guests. This has caused us to take a hard look at our decor and the setup of our home, and we finally admitted that our house is rather ugly and hard to make over since we don't own the house, nor do we have a designer's budget. We moved from a fantastic brand new apartment in Portland, with high ceilings and modern layout and appliances and carpet. The mountain house is a prefab home from 1994, dated-looking, pre-fab looking, strange layout, and permanent decor which DH describes as "country blue". I didn't even know some decor could be permanent, but in a prefab house, it is. Walls and wallpaper, for example. Did you know they put the wallpaper on the wall before they build the house? This means there are no exposed seams to remove the wallpaper when you change your mind about it 15 years later. This means that things like baseboards and moldings are actually wallpapered as well. Every piece is pre-papered separately, so the design doesn't match up at what would be the seams. I find it ugly and bizarre.
We also have hideous "renter" carpet and a strange layout of master bedroom and living area that of course we can not alter.
Upon realizing that we had an ugly house and extremely limited budget, we kind of got depressed. It didn't help that we started watching a hundred episodes of Clean House on TV. It's a show where they visit people with clutter, and then get rid of their clutter and makeover their homes with mostly all new stuff. We don't have the clutter issue of the people on the show, but we watch the makeover parts in great detail. This leads to many conversations that start with the question, "What would the Clean House people say?" as we point to this thing or that thing around our home. In the end, by organizing a bit and thinking creatively, we were able to redecorate our bedroom and our living room for the price of about $60. We bought 3 picture frames, on sale, and finally framed some prints. The prints had been in the bedroom, and we swapped them out with a painting that had been in our living room. Now all of the artwork fits better on its wall and this simple change improved the look of both rooms tremendously. I used to sit on my couch and feel that the wall opposite me was an it is much more pleasant, and a sweet end to the last 2 frustrating weeks. And this is only the beginning. Since we do have to live here for at least another year, I am looking forward to collecting and implementing more design ideas to make this ugly house into a pleasant home.

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