Friday, June 20, 2014

Pack first, deal with the chaos later? -- the edited version

Packing for a trip usually turns out to be a last-minute to-do. You know ... jam your way through everything else, collapse on the bed out of exhaustion at 2:30 a.m. in the early morning of the trip, then get up three hours before you have to leave for the airport and bleeping pack.

A trip is coming up. I've been on that panic track for -- what is it? -- weeks. You can see I'm set up here so I can't go to bed until I've packed, even if it means I stay up until 2:30. Or more. You can't even see the clothes on hangers that will need to be folded into tidy little pack-it kits. Thirty-seven pounds is the max weight that I can handle, so if it weighs more than that, out with ... something.

I had intended to fly to San Diego this last weekend to attend the 80th birthday party of a very dear friend, but I lost so much time over the past couple of months on medical diagnoses and treatments that I just don't have the time to take away from prep for the big trip. It's just a couple of chronic problems that my doctor wants to get to the underlying causes of instead of repeatedly treating them. Nothing exotic, just back and hip pain that bothers me when I'm traveling, so I've been sent to the physical therapy folks so see if they can find a fix. The other is indigestion -- rather a lifelong condition -- but I've been having repeated killer acid reflux attacks. I have had three EGDs (that's an esophagogastroduodenoscopy to all you civilians) and one upper GI x ray thingy. I've had some tight passages stretched out. Nothing hurts -- the anesthetics are great -- and I tentatively think the old esophagus is feeling a bit better after the most recent one. I have not had a follow-up exam since the last procedure. Remind me to call and set up that appointment.

Little details of my room addition have been trickling in. My hot water heater had not been performing up to snuff, failing to keep the water warm if the hot tap hadn't been run for awhile. I ordered a tankless water heater. Eventually it was delivered to my plumber, but we'd had some deep freezes during late spring, and his phone was ringing off the hook with broken water heaters requiring emergency replacement. Broken trumps upgrade.

But finally, one rainy day (a rarity around here this year) I hear tinkering under the house and looked out the window to see the plumber's assistant wrestling the old water heater aboard his truck. Out with the old . . .

. . . in with the new.

And now, in with the tankless water heater. Its circulation system delivers hot water almost instantly to my faucets. No more half a cold shower. I've got a couple of minor projects I want to get done. And a couple of repairs I should call about. Maybe one of these days I'll unpack all the boxes piled around the edges of rooms. Right now, when I don't have the time, I'm eager to do it.

I finally assembled a lamp that I'd had in a box since before the room addition. I bought it because I liked its picture on the box. There wasn't even a floor model to look at. Fortunately I like it in real life, even though I'm not sure exactly where I'll use it. There are options. The hall is not one.That's simply the only location where I could stand back far enough to get it all in the picture that was also an accessible outlet available.

In the midst of this, Sister and I took a jaunt to Yosemite  in the past few days to scout out the damage from last fall's Rim Fire, have lunch, and do Yosemite shopping. Pictures here of that outing.

I have season tickets to Stage 3 Theatre and carefully scheduled the performances for weekends between travel and other stuff. This was a funny play.

Up early for a Soroptimist board meeting, I look like I'm asleep here. That's not out of the question.

One morning in May I went out to feed the feral cats that wander by more or less regularly. And one of the sox cats proudly displays this little family group. Is she one of the cats I've called Extra? Or Extra Extra (the 2nd Extra to appear)? Either Extra or Extra Extra has a clipped ear, indicating that it has been spayed or neutered. My heart falls when I count four kittens. Why me, kitties? I can't, CAN'T do anything that would harm your little selves and I determine (once more) not to develop any attachments to them.

This is a rebellious California poppy growing outside the physical therapist's office where the doctor has sent me because he thinks I should want to know why I have the trouble with back and hip joints that I do so I won't need cortisone injections. I always wonder, though, whether pain (exercise) is really the way to cure pain?  :-(

My daughter's daughters are coming to her house for Mother's Day weekend. Daughter's Youngest Daughter has just returned from several months in Latin America, including joining Mom in a trip to Macchu Pichu, along with Daughter's Eldest Son. Older Daughter is about to bicycle around the world with her boyfriend. 

The "girls" decide they need a Mother's Day pedicure. I'm not fond of pedicures, although I do get one annually so I'll have polish on my toes for the summer. They talk me into a foursome. After all, I haven't scheduled one with my own manicurist. It seemed kind of safe to walk into a salon at 5:30 on Saturday evening and ask whether they can do four pedicures right now. Well, they could and they did. Here I am. Drying.

Here we are, Mothers' Day morning, waiting for seating in a patio cafe: Moi, Daughter, Daughter's Youngest Daughter and Daughter's Eldest Daughter.

They ate healthy stuff like omelets with kale or other weird ingredients.

But look! I had fruit. Yum. Very healthy.

Daughter lives roughly south of Yosemite. It's no farther, although probably a bit slower, to return home through the park. I'm here on the Valley side of the tunnel as it emerges from the canyon I arrived via, which presents a sudden and spectacular  view of Yosemite. There's a goodly string of inbound traffic on this Mother's Day Sunday afternoon.

I drive farther into the Valley, stopping at a parking lot to visit Bridalveil Fall. I've stopped at another angle for pictures from our normal entrance, but this is my first from this angle.

Meanwhile, I've had two major projects with deadlines I've been working on, a single pocket itineraries for my trip to Provence, and twenty-something pocket itineraries for a Jeanne Mills tour of inspirations for quilters, coming up later this year. The deadline for my own Little Book is close at hand. But there's also an orientation meeting for Jeanne's tour not very long after I return from Provence, where the itineraries will be passed out to the travelers. So I've pressed to get the data entry part complete, still leaving the time-consuming production of 20 copies to hand out at the orientation. I live on tenterhooks, terrified when I take all those little pieces of paper for binding that I'll get a first-timer who might bolix up the whole production. Did I tell you about the time when the binding was put on the wrong edge of one copy? A left-hander graciously said it was perfect . . . finally a book with pages opening in the proper direction.

Henley is so extremely helpful keeping my layout pages properly (un)arranged on my desk.

Thursdays Out at NeedleCrafts continuesrolling along on ... Thursdays. Rose's granddaughter requested a Panda sweater, so Grandma was on track here. I missed the week when she brought in the finished product, so this is the closest to representing the whole that I have.

And another member knitted and felted a handbag. (Was it you, Barbara?)

Daughter came back up to my neck of the woods to pick up her old Arizona car. She'd finally gotten all mechanical work done in connection with the smog system required by California, collected the necessary paperwork, and made an appointment with a DMV near me. The car had been sitting outside in the mechanic's yard for a really long time. Here is our colorful journey through the car wash, done completely without human intervention.

I think I did a blog awhile back about all the assembling that had to be done to furnish the room addition. Well now I had rolling carts to assemble. These were on sale. I bought one to consider putting all the various computer peripherals that occupy a desk top onto the cart. It can be rolled up for a project and liberate a desk that they currently monopolize.

I like it so much that I ordered two more. More assembly, but I'm getting much faster. The shelving units I've put together are pretty much like this only bigger, so I'm getting lots of experience.

This became the first of three.

Taking an ice cream cone and selfie break:


Cats and kittens. Sigh. I had Chloe in to the vet for a periodic blood test for what ails her, and the topic of feral cats came up. A young woman in the waiting area spoke up about being in a group of cat rescue people who could help me trap the ferals and have them neutered. This is now a project among projects.

Cutting to the chase, Back Deck Mama here has had her run-in with the vet and will not be presenting any more kittens to me to worry about.

Fierce kitten here says "Try me!"

Black kitten pounces.

Two and a half hours of Creedence Clearwater Revival tunes. Too bad the picture taken of me dancing didn't come out! ;-)

Sandy has gone to town at NeedleCrafts making tiny sox and hats for preemies.

A bigger hat by Barbara.

There's Sami, the first little feral girl I got fixed. I haven't seen her since this picture, quite a few days ago now. She's such a pretty kitty (and I'm a former Siamese cat owner), so I'd love to see her come "home."

Here it is, a template for the  little Pocket Itinerary. I used this picture for a photo group as "something I drew." It was as close to a drawing as anything I've done in recent years.

Meanwhile, we had a power outage. Although my generator kept my household power running (apparently) smoothly, when the power came back on, the battery backup to my computer system "blew up," as closely as I can describe it. I ordered a replacement battery backup, a different brand this time because I now have three "expired" ones in the garage waiting to go to hazardous waste disposal.

It's amazing how long it takes crawling around under the desk hooking cables into an outlet of appropriate size and protection.

Comes another end of week and Daughter will be taking me for my last endoscopy before the trip. It's her birthday and just days before mine so we treat ourselves to birthday dinner out at The Grill. We split the tiramisu for our birthday freebie.

Oh, and Jean-Luc projectile vomiting just as I come out of the shower ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,nnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn (I'm leaving this little symptom of dozing off while writing.) I've strewn paper towels over it so we won't need a replay of the grossness.

The cheapest gasoline around when I went into town to pay off Chloe's vet bill and do some pre-trip shopping. Lots of cat food, for example. Remember those old gas prices of $0.19 a gallon? Someday this will be my quaint photo of "the good old days."

And who is this? Another cat with sox, but her ear is clipped. She's somewhat friendly but is covered with stickers and dirt. She's not friendly enough to brush. Speculating that she's the other one of the Extras.

Here's Extra, or Extra Extra with two of her kittens. Each of these has a lookalike. A big goal is to catch Mama for a trip to the vet.


And there is Little M on the front deck with three other kittens. I don't think they are hers. There are two bigger cats hanging closely with the kittens, with either one of them being much more likely.

Jean-Luc believes he is invisible when his head is inside the tunnel. He's waiting for another cat to come by, then he'll streak through the tunnel to pounce on an unsuspecting victim.

On the day of my endoscopy, Daughter's Youngest Daughter and The Boyfriend came up to pick up the car with the new acquired California license pates. The younger generation cooked dinner for daughter and me. It wasn't until I turned the broiler on to puff up an omelet a few days after that I discovered that the Grand kids left a yam and yam pieces to keep warm in the over. It turned out to be some hot stuff.

Pocket Itinerary that I made for my Provence trip.

Most of its predecessors are collected here. I haven't done them for every trip, but they are good memory joggers for looking back on trip events.

My laptop had a hiccup the other day, so thought I'd better crank up my older laptop, just in case. The old one hadn't been opened since October or November. Here it is, downloading a hatload of program updates. It's a pretty little thing, but I hate using it. Fingers crossed for the Lenovo I love so well.

Here are the two adult cats, either of whom might be Front Porch Mama Cat. The trap will be set before the next feeding.

Here is the cat with the clipped ear again. I'll stick with the thought that it's one of the Extras.

So how did that plan to force myself to finish packing for my trip on that day work?

It didn't. At all.


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