Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Spring Cleaning Before the Fact

It's not Spring but today I cleaned.

A lot.  I was in an angry twit.

Through this little home-based business I run, selling horticultural testing instruments to orchard growers (yawn), I have cause this time of year to make shipments to places in South America and the Southern hemisphere.  I have been doing this for more than fifteen years.  I sort of know how to run the show.  Occasionally, I run into a glitch or a new rule or federal regulation that creates a temporary pause in my day.

I sent a shipment out to Peru yesterday.  (Note: I had been working on this sale for TWO years: a big durn deal for a new customer in a NEW country.)  Today I got a phone call from our shipping people, stating that that they were missing some required paperwork.

"No, you're not."

"We require ----."

"No, you don't.  Someone is mistaken."

"We can't ship it unless we have ----."

And so the conversation went, all morning and all afternoon, between eight people from the shipping company and me.  They were wrong, I was right.  (So I contended.)  In that each person from the shipping company kept transferring me to another office, I was pretty much grounded at home all day long.  And boy, was I frustrated.  Because: They were wrong.   I was right.

Add to this fun and games, the fact that my new "fiber optic internet" went out mid-afternoon.  No home-based internet communication here in rural Kansas.  

I cleaned out the refrigerator while I waited for a phone call.  And I cleaned everything out from under the kitchen sink.  A couple more phone calls.  I cleaned the oven.  Another phone call...

I moved into the dining room, and cleared everything away from the east wall: dining chairs, hung paintings, etc.  I emptied the china cabinet, so that it could be moved for what will be a monumental repair:  the entire east wall of our ca. 1887 plaster & lathe wall needs addressed.

Towards the end of the "workday", I received a phone call worth some satisfaction towards my plight.  In fact, I WAS right, and they were wrong.

At least, that's what I was told at the end of my day.  The shipment is out of Kansas and heading to parts deep south, without the questionable paperwork.  Well...tomorrow may well tell a different tale.

What I have is a prematurely-Spring-cleaned kitchen.

Yahoo.  

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Time Traveling

Is my background black now?  With a dreary font?  Someone let me know.

I am fifty-five.  I am pretty comfortable here, at this age.  I have a ton of things I could and should do to improve myself, but I am not wracked in guilt by my shortcomings.  And I don't think about the past too much, either.  Why ride the crests and troughs of the past?  It's fun to revisit periodically, but I don't want to be one of those people who has peaked already and can't get beyond her college or thirty-something years, and keeps dredging them up in conversation.  Someone nudge me if I am.


I read a terrific blog by Louise Plummer.   In her Monday post, she wrote, "Everyone has a high school failure story."  I laughed at this.  I seem to have floated through junior high and high school in oblivion.  I think I have always been one of those people who interact by means of parallel play.  (Look it up!)  While all the high school drama was going on, I may/may not (most often not) have been aware of it.   I was happy enough, I think, in my life.  


But here is my high school failure story.  Bless my teachers and my parents' hearts.  They are/were all great.  Girls' basketball was new to our high school, and I wanted to be a part of the team.  I was very fast, but I was short and I did not have a killer instinct for most things competitive.   I did not like how some of the girls hurled a basketball at me with such force.  To me, that was not teamwork, that was "not niceness".   Well.  I became a benchwarmer, and I became pretty darn comfortable there.  I KNEW what it was to be a benchwarmer.  My sweet parents came to every game they could.  They split their time evenly between my games, the benchwarmer, and the wrestling matches of my brother, the star of the wrestling team.  I knew where they would rather be, but if there was a conflict, they evenly split up their time either watching him pin his opponents, or watching their sweet petite daughter over there, sitting on the bench, staring blankly out at the crowd of spectators.


So, I guess that was my failure story.  I wanted to play basketball, but I was pretty much a non-player.  


But!  There's a happy side to this.  I excelled in music, both vocal and instrumental, and I was a pretty darn good runner on the distance track team.  And in those two arenas, I was in my comfort zone.  Looking back, I hope I was careful to draw everyone into those two circles, because I knew how it was, on that basketball team, to be the outsider.


On an even happier note, just today I communicated with my former high school choir director from way back when, forty years ago.  I wanted to let him know that I joined the Flint Hills Masterworks Chorale this week.  We had our first rehearsal yesterday, and it was so enjoyable.  College kids, retirees, and us in-betweeners.  So enjoyable.  And I wanted to let him know, my friend and former director, that his gift just keeps on giving.















Thursday, January 14, 2016

Comfort. Joy.

I went to Target today, and at one point found myself at the shoe polish shelf.  I know, right?  Who polishes shoes anymore?  Well, I do.  A side note: a friend of a friend takes her shoes each evening and cleans them before going to bed.  And she polishes them, too, if needs be.  I am not so highly-disciplined as that, but I do try to take decent care of shoes and boots, living in this "Country Mouse" atmosphere which includes lots of mud and scuffs.

I picked out my choice of polish (my choices were "Brown" and "Black".)  And then my eyes trained on the upper shelves of this shoe care collection.  Zounds!  There are pads and soles and strips and little dots for every foot pain known.  I can't recall a market for this in past decades.  I can only surmise that A) The market for such has been clutched by greedy hands who are milking it for all it is worth, and B) If people would PLEASE stop buying cheap, ratty, plastic, Made-in-China/other pathetic factories, shoes that are AWFUL, then our feet would not hurt.  Well-made shoes=no foot pain.

Now, I have a disclaimer for that last sentence.  My Great Aunt Alpha pounded the streets of New York for decades (she worked at the Met Opera, but never learned to drive), in terrific Ferragamo shoes, which by her tenth decade had rendered her feet pretty misshapen and pain-filled. So, well-made shoes must always fit well and be kind to one's feet, too.  I have to say, though, Auntie Alpha always looked fabulous.  And never complained.

While in Target I also picked up The Martian DVD.  We two have read it, it was fabulous, and I hope the movie does not disappoint.  We are anticipating more single-digit weather (or below?) this weekend, and so that Spouse o' Mine suggested we hold it for this weekend.  Boy, am I prepared for a snow day: I also bought six James Bond movies starring Sean O'Connery.  Bring on the popcorn!

Today was upper 50s and I spent the afternoon out in the barn sanding down and staining an old door to put between our kitchen and living room.  Now: must order beveled glass and acquire wood trim.  I guess I should be taking photos, too.  Hmmm...      


Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Winter, Winter

This afternoon proved to be above freezing temperatures,  - and no wind! - , and so I headed down the road for a 5K walk/run.  I feel so much better for having done this.  Additionally, as I told that Spouse o' Mine later, I sang for approximately two miles.  That's a lot of singing.  Add to that, I tried to sing in Latin the whole time.  I kept looking over the shoulder and into each pasture to make sure there was no cowboy leaning in on my concert.  I would venture to guess that not many people have the opportunity or feel at ease enough to just go down the road belting out a tune at the top of their capabilities.

It certainly does a soul good.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Shamrock Cafe



Ranches around here consist of hundreds, and in the case of several of our neighbors, thousands of acres.  A whole lot of land, for miles and miles in all directions. One ranching family south of us made a spot for their parents, the original owners of the now-three generations of ranchers.  It's a spot set up high(er) on a flat of bedrock, overlooking some of the thousands of acres off to the west, south, and north.  There are two chairs and a small bistro table, right out in the middle of nowhere and central to everything out in the Flint Hills: The Shamrock Cafe: Always Open.  That Spouse o' Mine and I visited last weekend, in the 20ยบ cool of January.  
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