One morning, Katie and I rushed out of the door to go to the bus stop. The fog was thick and heavy. We knew it seemed pretty much impenetrable but I don't think either of us knew just how very heavy it was until the small sweet gum tree that stood to one side of the driveway, suddenly appeared dead center of the hood of the car. I stopped within an inch of it. We were both badly shaken. I backed up a bit and we started out again, but we went a lot more cautiously down our hill, long driveway, and up the road to the bus stop.
I've been lost these last few weeks but I have the most definite feeling of getting back on course. January always seems to be a sort of resting place for me. I've fought it in years past and loathed myself because of it, but having paid attention to my own blogging posts from past years, I knew that come February I always felt ready enough to tackle the New Year. This year, I gave myself a break. If that was the way it's always been then there must be good reason for it. I decided it was okay to not be project minded or driven, since in the past three years I've accomplished a great deal each year despite the January lull.
So I was just preparing myself for February when I was tossed a small curveball. John had 11 days off that encompassed the end of January and the first week of February. None of those days were planned in advance. Suddenly he just informed me that he was taking off. The fact of having days off is not the problem. The problem is that I tend to get into this holiday mode of doing things. It's because when he doesn't have work to go to work, John gets in a holiday sort of mood. He likes to be spontaneous with things. He tends to make plans the evening before, or even the morning of a day and he then takes his own sweet time about getting around to the plans. Not necessarily on the time line I might plan for. My plans are put aside and I try to work around his plans but it's hard at times. His plans don't always leave me room for more than the quickest, easiest sorts of housekeeping. On the rare days I'm home I tend to feel worn out from our days out and I really don't get much more done than I've had time for all the previous days.
John went back to work last Wednesday. At the moment, he's back on routine days. Wednesday I had promised Mama the day out. That meant it was a no real work day, too. There's a clear looking week ahead. I plan to get myself in gear and start up with routines all over again. I've a long list of tasks to tackle. With any luck I'll get a few things done this month after all...provided this baby waits a couple of weeks to put in his appearance. He is however, related to his grandpa, so who knows?
...I plan my work week:
I have at least taken the time in the past week to make out a list of small projects/cleaning tasks I'd like to tackle. I have also begun a list of items I need to purchase. I need to finish that list so that I can fully focus upon it though, so shopping lists are on my list of things to do this week.
Start back up with my home keeping routines. This not only includes daily routines but some of the deeper cleaning routines I've used in order to avoid spring/fall cleaning. If I start now I can get caught up and not have to do a big deep seasonal deep cleaning.
A full kitchen clean up and wipe down. I don't worry about floors but wiping off cabinets and appliances, cleaning countertops and putting away things that don't belong in the room, refreshing the dish mat and towels. I also want to work up the bills so the checks are ready to sign and post come Monday afternoon when we go down to pick up John's check.
Start at the back door and work my way through our main living areas to sweep, vacuum, dust if needed, empty trash, clean baths, etc. Frankly, this week, I'm hoping to attend to some of this on Sunday.
We'll go down to pick up John's check and will do banking, posting of bills, etc.
Groceries. I don't need such a lot of groceries this go round and I mean to try to keep my shopping short and sweet. I am, however, wanting to pick up a few items to put together some freezer meals to carry to Bess when she does have the baby. I know once every one goes home and she's on her own with two children she'll be more than pleased to have a few items that she can choose from in the freezer.
Start preparing a few freezer meals using what I have on hand right now. This may mean doubling recipes I make this week. I'll see how this all works out. I can think of at least two or three meals I might easily make this week even before grocery shopping that would be a help. I'll most certainly start pulling some recipes for a few dishes I know I want to make so I can compare what I have on hand with what is needed.
Attend my first writer's small group meeting.
One day this week I hope to get out of the house and go look at fabric. Bess has a theme idea she'd like to use for the boys room and I'd like to see if I can find any of the fabric we looked at online in the stores. I'll also take time that day to go purchase some landscape blocks and some fresh bags of mulch.
Place new landscape blocks, spread mulch.
Start planning what I mean to do with planter baskets and pots this spring/summer.
Rehang pictures in the guest room.
Work on at least one of my projects from the list I made last week.
...I plan our meals:
We had quite a week with guests twice, eating out and a challenge menu all thrown together. I used my last two challenge meals on Saturday:
I'll tell all in my last update on the challenge but we ended making two pizzas, one with a yeast crust and the one I'd planned to make with a yogurt crust. We also had a bonus addition to my planned pizza...but I'll share all in the next post, promise.
Chicken legs, macaroni and cheese, salad
I told John this was the last of the chicken and he sighed and said "Good!" Hmm...One would begin to think this Big Bird lasted a wee bit too long. I didn't tell him I had about 1 cup of meat in the freezer to make a future meal.
on my own x 2 There are no leftovers of anything except pizza. I don't know what I'm going to eat the first day alone but I'm sure there are some items in my freezer I can use up and clear space to make way for freezer meals. And I'll likely eat take out at least one of these two days.
Meatloaf, Broccoli, Butter Beans, Baked Apples
John isn't touching the apples in the kitchen fruit basket. I'll bake them and he'll eat them.
Vegetable Chowder, Cheese Wedges, Biscuits, Fruit Cocktail
Found this recipe for a milk based 'chowder' made with the usual assortment of vegetables that I thought might be good. I know we'll need some protein so will serve the cheese wedges with the hot biscuits as a sort of glorified toasted cheese sandwich.
Pan Fried Spam, Potato Salad, Green Peas, Pineapple Salad
Last week when John made that big breakfast for my birthday he opened a can of Spam. He didn't ask me or I'd have told him I had just opened a can myself. Well now there are two partial cans so I thought I'd best just go on and plan to use them up.
Spaghetti with Meat Sauce, Green Salad, Garlic Toast
...I plan my leisure:
I did pretty well at play this past week. I'm very nearly through with the book I picked up to read. I managed a bit of a spa morning despite lack of items to use in a spa-ish way. I treated myself to a new lipstick and new polish and gave myself a lovely manicure.
Tea time each afternoon. I find I'm really enjoying that nice hot cup of tea, far more than coffee even.
Finish up reading my February vintage magazines so I can pull out the March ones.
Watch the next episode of 'Victoria' on PBS.
Give myself a proper pedicure.
Take time to get outdoors each day, if nothing more than sitting on the porch with tea or taking time to sit with Maddie. I've neglected her on the cold and/or wet days since December. I think I should manage to get outdoors at least once each day.