Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Day 279

My front garden is currently filled with stalks of dead or dying echinacea. In the past I would cut them down to be tossed in a pile with other garden debris to decay over the coming seasons. But lately I've seen goldfinches lighting on the flowers to eat the seeds, and it occurred to me that I really should just leave them be.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Day 278

My 10-year-old daughter was told she is no longer allowed to wear a certain shirt to school because it violates the dress code. I knew this to be true, but I allowed her to wear it anyhow. It's a summer shirt, and I figured it would be the last time before the weather turns cold and the shirt gets consigned to the donation bin. And, quite frankly, there are mornings I have bigger battles to wage than the Clothes War. I simply didn't care what she was wearing as long as she was warm and comfortable and modestly dressed. Which, in my opinion, she was. I'm a modest dresser myself and wouldn't have bought the outfit if I thought it was inappropriate.

When I purchased the shirt many months ago, it fell to right at her waist. But multiple washings and the tendency for children to grow have rendered the shirt just slightly shorter than what the district deems appropriate attire for elementary school. No biggie; I understand that dress codes serve a purpose. My general problem with dress codes, however, is that they are not strictly enforced. Walk into any school around here and you'll see any number of violations.

From now on, I think I'll start pointing out all the kids at my daughter's school I see wearing hats and proclaim they're violating the dress code. After all, I suspect the real reason my daughter was told not to wear that shirt is because an inch of exposed skin at her waist is somehow more distracting than the feet of exposed skin on her legs when she wears a skirt or shorts. 

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Day 277

This was a very busy weekend, but I did manage to find an hour to work in the garden. First I cleared out the weeds from the tomato bed and transplanted about half my current daisy crop in its place (I'll transplant the others this week) where they'll spend the winter. My front flower gardens have gotten somewhat out of control, so I'm already making mental designs about where certain plants and flowers will reside next year. Instead of buying a lot of new flowers and plants each year, I divide my current stock and redesign the gardens. It saves me money, and I'll need all the money I can scrounge up to construct the chicken run, bean tunnel, and a few new raised beds, not to mention invest in a new shipment of soil/compost and buy the chicks and chicken paraphernalia. (By the way, I've decided to begin accepting submissions for editorial projects once again.)

Before I was called away, I snipped off all the sunflower heads from their stalks and arranged them in this ladder from our kids' outgrown play structure. My youngest uses it to climb the "bird tree" (aptly named from the four feeders that keep many of the area birds well-fed) where she sits quietly and observes nature. Never having harvested sunflowers before, I waited to harvest the heads until I saw the birds visiting the sunflower patch. That way I knew the heads were ready. It might be another week or so until the heads have dried out enough to let the birds get at the seeds. And I should really get a handful myself for next year . . .

Finally, I pulled most of the zinnias and dead-headed the marigolds, which are still going strong. If I plant all the zinnia and marigold seeds I've harvested thus far, my yard would be bursting with them! I'll plant a significant number of them in the spring, but I imagine I'll give away a fair amount. After all, what fun is gardening if you can't share?

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Day 276

It's rare that our entire family goes to the theater together. Aside from the expense, it's not always easy to find a movie that appeals to viewers ranging in age from 10 to almost 50. But this afternoon we all went to see THE MARTIAN, with Matt Damon. Because it's rated PG-13, I had my doubts that it would appeal to our youngest. I have read the book, however, and while it contains a fair amount of cursing (who wouldn't curse if he got stranded on Mars?) I knew screenwriters would edit out most of the f-bombs. Which they did. 

With the exception of my older daughter fainting during an early scene involving blood (she's terribly squeamish . . . but she is fine now), every single one of us enjoyed the movie. I don't usually allow my younger daughter to watch PG-13 movies, but she loved it. And my son . . . he was literally on the edge of his seat throughout. His enthusiasm is awesome and infectious! And although the ending of the moving was slightly different from how the book ended, the adaptation was well done.

With minimal gore and cursing, and lots of humor and feel-good moments, I highly recommend THE MARTIAN, both in book and movie forms. 

Friday, October 2, 2015

Day 275

Today began Day 1 of basement renovations. I say "basement renovations" as though we'll end up with some HGTV-type living space at the end of this project, when in reality what we've done is (hopefully) waterproof the basement and make it a more functional living space. 

Workers spent several hours injecting the "magic waterproofing solution" into key points around the foundation of the house before digging up the interior concrete (which was bone-rattling loud) and then laying pipe and gravel. Tomorrow they will come back to pour concrete over the gravel. After that, it's up to us to finish off the space. All that takes is time and money! 

The first picture is our son's room, which doesn't much look like a room at this point, so that is obviously our priority. Our next move is paint and flooring options.  

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Day 274

When you get exited there's just one more math problem . . . only to realize you've been tricked. The pain is real, y'all. 

This was one of my biggest pet peeves as a student, multiple problems or questions disguised as one. It didn't matter if it was in math or English or social studies, the blatant dishonesty pissed.me.off. I was a pretty calm and mellow child, but I would morph into a screaming and raging lunatic if I encountered this trickery in my homework. I can deal with 50 problems, but don't give me 50 problems disguised as 10! 

I obviously haven't gotten over it. 

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Day 273

I spent most of today relocating things from my son's room, the "reptile room," and the downstairs common area to our upstairs dining room and various other free spaces throughout the house in preparation of the work we're about to have done on the basement. It was a lot like playing Tetris . . . only not as fun. 

For years we've experienced occasional water issues in our basement. Sometimes it would be a little puddle after a storm that could be easily mopped up with a towel, and other times my husband and I would be down there for hours with a ShopVac, sucking up inches of rainwater and dirt while watching it rise up through the foundation as though by magic. After one such incident this spring, we decided it was time to - once and for all - address the issue. 

Over the course of the next two days, our living space will be cut in half. Five people, two dogs (and their crates), a guinea pig, and four reptiles squeezed into 1200 sq ft of house during what will surely be some loud and messy basement renovations. We'll get a functional basement at the end, but not a pretty basement. We'll repaint and floor our son's room so he can finally have a nice space to relax, but everything else will have to wait until time and money allows. Still, functional is good. Very good.