Pulled Up Like a Puppet…

August 27, 2015

OK. I am doing MUCH better on the art front as of last night, even though it took an hour and a half of the last two episodes of The Daily Show (yes, I’m behind) last night before I could stand up and function after school. Maybe I should just expect that I would need to flail on the couch for a while after school, but that I will eventually arise (pulled up like a puppet by my artistic tendencies) and make my way towards art world. Because that is usually what happens. I’m good that way. I even did MORE last night than I thought I would. So that is all good. Mostly because there’s two deadlines that are almost maybe not reachable. We’ll see. I’m feeling better about both of them as of last night.

First of all, part of my problem is I don’t usually just go home after school. Yesterday I had to pick up the mugs girlchild and I painted (see below), get cat food, and buy the groceries I’d forgotten to buy the day before because I didn’t make a list because I’m being lame. Or I’m overwhelmed by everything. Whichever.

THEN I laid on the couch. Really what I should have done then is make dinner, but for some reason that didn’t make sense (it was too hot), so I headed into the ironing cave…and finished.

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This part didn’t take long. I really didn’t have much to do when the iron died the other day.

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The next part was the bitchy part, and I did all of it while on the phone with the girlchild, who called with all the school news. Sounds awesome and she’s doing fine (at least on the phone). I think she’ll be fine, although the food might kill her.

So I pieced the background and then I had to clean that entryway floor, which meant moving the dog, who sleeps on the tile when it’s hot (it was only like 100 yesterday). Then I laid out the background and started dealing with the pieces. The smaller figure was easy, very compact. I decided the grays worked fine against the blue (you can see them here, from a distance, so they’re fine).

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Then the next part was a pain in the ass. The torso was in two pieces, above the arm and below it, and they fit together fine, but the feet fitting into the landscape was a bitch and a half…all the time on the phone with the girlchild.

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I am the Queen of Multitasking. I realize there’s no picture with the bird…or the stop light…they did get put on.

Then I transferred it to the ironing board for the longer steamier part of the ironing, wherein I try to make it all stick.

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It only has to stick until I stitch it down, but in this case, that might be a while…because I have to finish that other project by the 12th; I’ve actually told them I hope to install on the 7th. So yeah. That could be an issue.

So I hung it up…

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Ah, there’s the bird and the stoplight. Crappy picture, because it’s BIG. And so I can’t get it to hang up straight. But I like it. And that’s a good thing. It took 27 1/2 hours to iron it together. I calculated the final steps and I still have 40 hours of work to put into this thing probably, and I’ll have about 3 weeks at the most to do that. Well then. Who needs sleep?

Then I looked at the clock and it wasn’t that late. First I made dinner (whoops). I didn’t originally plan to get started on the next piece last night, because honestly, the process is not something I do all the time, and I was a bit nervous about how it would work. But there’s really only one way to get through that shit, and it’s to just try it, get on with it. So I did.

I wanted to start with the hands, since they’ll have to be double sewn, front and back, so I pulled a bunch of blues for that. Basically I looked for any blue fabrics that I didn’t really care about any more, or that I just had small pieces of or long strips, or stuff that I had used a lot of, or that I liked but never used because it doesn’t work in my quilts. I pulled those out of the bins…by the way, this isn’t all of it…there are three more bins I didn’t even touch last night.

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Then I pulled some that were in similar color ranges, the light end of the blues, and I piled them over THERE (the stuff on the back of the table all nicely folded is all of the fabrics I used in the quilt I just finished. They are back there because I don’t put them away until the quilt is fully ironed, in case, like with this one, I need a piece for some reason like a lost piece or a weird hole, both of which happened)…

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Then I sat at the sewing machine and started string piecing…you can’t see the outline of the hand right now, but it’s sewn on, so I can see it on the back.

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I did that for about 35 minutes before I decided I was tired. But I know what I’m doing now. I just have to deal with fabric and color now. And construction, which is another minor headache. But I got a good start.

I also saw the last episode of Voyager…which I never saw the first time around because, well, babies and toddlers. So that was cool…but sad.

I feel better about the whole quilted human thing now though. I think I can do this.

The mugs…I painted the one on the left, girlchild the one on the right…

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Wait for it…I’m the World’s Okayest Mom. Made me laugh.

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And now I have TWO mugs, so I can stop drinking tea out of beer mugs. Maybe.

Late for school again. I suck at this…and a long meeting after school today, so who knows how functional I will be when I finally get home. Ugh.


Ah Yes. Overwhelmed. I Remember You Well.

August 26, 2015

OK. OK. So this is what overwhelmed feels like. I get it. I’ve been here before. I came back to multiple emails about when I’m installing a piece I really haven’t started (two weeks. breathe deep), a bunch of classroom changes (whatever, remember your mantra), and something that’s due on Friday (homework?). I’m still not anywhere near caught up for school, although I’m better this morning than I was yesterday morning. I used to have prep period right after homeroom, so if I needed to set up or plan for classes that day, I did it then. No longer! I have a 2nd period science class, so I have to be ready to rumble before school starts. And then 3rd period comes and my brain freezes. I need to get to the point that I’m prepping for the NEXT day during 3rd period. Yeah. Maybe next week.

Mom delivered a new iron last night, but my exhaustion level almost took me to bed at 10. Then I remembered all those emails I was supposed to answer and some bills I had to pay and other things to be put right, so I did all that and then the clock said 11:45. Weird how that happens. I tried to get the dog to go to bed in my room, because that’s where she ends up anyway, but she was having none of it. I think she really wanted to sleep ON the girlchild’s bed, but I haven’t finished the 8 loads of laundry yet, so that wasn’t an option. Moved her bed back in her mom’s room. Went to bed myself. Dog in my room 10 minutes later, whining. Do you need water? Like having a 2-year-old. No water. Just whiny. Go to bed, you silly dog. You’re not sleeping ON the bed with me.

Dirty dishes washed, dinner was frozen leftovers from two weeks ago. Smarter things that I did. Have to go back to the grocery store today, because I thought I had meat and I don’t. Lunches are still cobbled together from whatever I can find in the fridge or the cupboard. There’s lots of cheese and crackers. I am still exhausted.

And no art got done yesterday after all that. Not surprising. But I need to get my head down and get this thing done. I feel like if I could start, it would get done quickly, but I don’t even know. And maybe I don’t care as much as I should, because it was supposed to be a collaboration and that fell apart. Whatever! The mantra. Don’t lose it. And the other piece will be awesome, but I’m gonna have to bust my butt to get it done on time as well. Basically, besides school stuff and the meetings/stuff I already have on my calendar, don’t expect me to leave the house except for my job and groceries. I’m going to try to fit the gym back in (I meditated last night too). Three things on my list for the Fall: Meditate, go to the gym, eat healthy.

The rest of it is more for family and friends who know the girlchild and are trying to imagine her in a triple with two roomies (hey I was there, and I’m still trying to imagine it). Or if you’re sickly fascinated with our college ritual of shoving kids who don’t know each other into tiny spaces together and waiting for explosions…

Girlchild has the top bunk, because she arrived last. It’s a bit rickety (I know, because I climbed up there and made the bed)…

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Three closets (tiny!) in a row. Crazy when you figure winter clothes have to fit as well.

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A view out the door to their second room, with the other bed on the right.

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There are three desks in the other room and not a lot else.

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Girlchild is trying to fit everything she owns on and in this desk…

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She does have a nice view of tree-filled hillside.

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Her desk in the first incarnation (I’m sure it will evolve).

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It sucks to be on the top bunk…no underbed space. So underdesk space it is (trust me, I tried to find another option. It’s her problem now).

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Her actual dorm. That small building in front is connected and has a kitchen! She may survive yet.

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And her quad. Probably will look much different in about 3 months.

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Anyway, she’s there, I’m here, her dog is on the floor next to me, and now I’m late to school. Whatever.


17 Towels Stuffed in a Hamper

August 25, 2015

It’s official. I’m living all by myself for the first time in 26 years. You know how I know? I had popcorn for dinner. Ok, now just to clarify, I got home from Boston at like 10:30 at night San Diego time, which was really 1:30 AM Boston time, and I ate “dinner” at Logan Airport before I left but that was at 3:30 PM Boston time and then a fruit and cheese plate on the plane at 7:15 PM Boston time, and then I got home and I was hungry but because my body has no clue what time zone it’s in or when I should eat. Plus I kept forgetting to eat in Boston. So there’s that. This morning, I am eating breakfast like a good girl and I have prepared a lunch of whatever was left in the fridge that had not grown mold or gone bad in some other stomach-twisting way. So yeah. That’s cheese, crackers, and kiwi. It’s a fruit and cheese plate!

The cats missed me. Maybe the dog did. The ex and I are still sharing custody of her. Yeah. Whatever. I’m home more during the week and they would miss each other if they didn’t hang out. So she lives here and goes to Daddy on weekends. You can be sure I will inherit all vet appointments, but he will clean her ears out and bathe her and take her for walks. It’s on my list to take her for walks.

I managed to keep it together when I said goodbye to the girlchild. It was OK. I had already cried all over eastern Boston area, from Home Depot to Target, to Bed Bath and Holy Hell What Don’t They Sell Here (one BBB had a mini Cost Plus inside it?!). She hugged hard and I held onto the tears until I got about 2 minutes down the road. It’s really unsafe to drive while crying by the way, but I’ve perfected it over the years. I cry more in the car than anywhere else.

Certainly the whole thing makes you re-evaluate your entire life. I really don’t need that much pressure right now, though, because it’s the 4th day of school and I’m only semi-prepared for the week.

I do have college dorm pictures. Oh so exciting, right? When you look around at your own personal space and realize how far away from that you are, then yes…yes it is. Girlchild is in a triple…should be interesting. So those will have to come later, when I have time to deal with them.

By the way, I have no idea what’s going on with the first picture on the last post. I’ll have to try to fix that later too. They both came from the phone camera app in exactly the same way…no idea why WordPress had an issue. I did draw on the plane both ways and in the room on the last night there. I wasn’t thinking too hard about drawing…just wanted to get pen on paper. I don’t think I’d drawn all summer, except finishing up the cats (what cats? I haven’t done any cats. Shhh. Maybe no one will notice that they are still piles of Wonder Under that have been cut out.) and the drawing for the big quilt I’m ironing now. So it was kind of a relief to fill up a few pages. Very meditative. In fact, my meditation app prompted me in the middle of the plane flight, and I thought, this is the perfect place to meditate, but then I drew instead. Ah, priorities.

So mom, you’ll have to wait another day (or so) to see dorm pictures (yes, she’s stalking me, but for a reason), but here’s what I drew on the plane…

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In keeping with the Mother Earth where the plants are covering her. I like it. I could make this into a smaller quilt. In my spare time.

Speaking of quilts, Mammogram got into the Interpretations: Celebrating 30 Years exhibit that will be at the Visions Art Museum opening in October.

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They have been good to me. No censorship there (that I’ve seen). Impressive. I should be at the opening; stop by and see my giant boob.

Really, it’s hard to miss the kids. I just found 17 towels stuffed in the bathroom hamper and a bunch of the girlchild’s socks. I wonder if she wants them.

 


Dropping One in Boston

August 24, 2015

So I found an iron on sale here while visiting two different Bed Bath and Behemoths, and thought about just buying it because I have a very empty suitcase I’m taking back. 

Seems like the iron will get bounced around though. And we already know I will drop it a few times (I always do, although I’m getting much better at that with old age), so it should start out being treated better than that. 

I didn’t go to two BBBs because I couldn’t find stuff; I went to two because my maps app wants me to have a tour of the Boston area. I think. Because I went to a Target too, and here they’re in the same mall, but my app had me drive to a completely different one. 

Sometimes you just need the big picture. That might be true for everything.

Girlchild is ensconced in her dorm room with two other roommates…it’s crowded and I don’t know how she will survive the winter…not because of the cold, but because I don’t know where she will store all her clothes. 

I’ll go back in an hour or so to drop off the last of the stuff I got this morning, and then probably return a shelf to Home Depot, and then off to the airport to fly home. I am exhausted, tired from travel and no sleep, plus I don’t deal well with humidity, and I’m emotional as hell. The moment you realize how far away both your children will be is not an easy one. I think it’ll be great for her, but it’s not easy to leave her here.

I’ve been reading a lot, even at dinner by myself last night (hey, there’s reality), and drawing a little…this one is sideways, but there’s not much I can do on my phone… 

I did this one on the plane…  

 Girlchild allowed me to take a photo with the wacky balloons. I have some of her room and the school, but they’re on the camera. 

  
This was the car queue to let us into the dorm. We waited until they cleared the 5 cars that had just driven over, and then they unloaded the car. I got to drive to a commuter lot and they bused me back on campus.

 Girlchild tired at dinner…

  
A view out the plane as we left San Diego. I’ll be back there, alone, in about 11 hours…then teaching the next day (might have been a mistake!). Hopefully I’ll be awake and asleep at normal times. I think I’m currently on UK time.

 Yeah, I know that doesn’t make sense.

Then back to teaching and art making and cats and a dog and all that stuff…


Death of an Iron…

August 22, 2015

Yup. Killed it. I’m sitting there last night, trying to finish up the last of this damn piece, at least get it ironed together before I fly out, and it won’t stay hot. I can put my hand fully on it…it’s warm, but it’s not making anything stick. 

This is not good. I manage to shake it around like a mariachi, and it clicks on again. And then off. Oh you bastard. I am so close to finishing. 

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I think Kitten did it. 

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The head has buildings coming out of it. With a million windows. Each. 

I fought the iron for a good long time.

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But I did manage to finish ironing the buildings. 

The pieces in that box are all that’s left. Seriously.

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I was so frustrated last night. And I knew I had to get up early to get on a plane. Here she is, almost done.

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Boychild left last night, and I’m typing the last of this in a Boston hotel…exhausted. But we got here pretty easily. Boychild’s flight was on time for once, but they left his luggage behind in Newark for space reasons. Don’t think he has clothing, but he has deoderant and a computer. 

We are in a room with a mini-kitchen, but there are no dishes, not even a cup in the bathroom. Bizarre. The paper cups the front desk gave me are burning in the microwave. 

We went to dinner and then drove around campus. Then we found a grocery store. Right now, we are just vegging out on our beds, complaining about how tired we are when it’s actually three hours earlier. I should be wide awake. It’s amazing how travel kicks your butt.

I read and drew on the plane (and honestly, I napped too). I’m getting almost nothing done this weekend except depositing the girl. And that’s ok.


Reworking the Goal

August 21, 2015

Goood Mooorning El Cajon! Ugh. The tired! I went to bed “early” last night. OK, not really so early, but I started moving towards bed and closing windows and crap BEFORE midnight. That’s how you know I’m tired. I’m missing the third day of school because I’m taking the girlchild to college, so I had to write sub plans, and I basically revised my entire plan last night, because it wasn’t going to work. It may STILL not work, but I’m at the healthy point of No Care. Worst case, the kids lose a day of instruction early in the year. Imagine how we feel if we get sick the week before state testing? Anyway, so that took some time yesterday and so did the girlchild panicking about luggage space (I was allotted a 10″x3″ space in one of the suitcases for my clothes…luckily Boston is warm right now, so all I need is a bikini.). I let boychild manage that (seriously, I don’t need to be involved in ALL the freakouts). He seems to be mostly packed. He hasn’t asked me to ship anything yet, so we’re good.

Today I will have to be very focused and get lots of prep done so when I get back, I can function, for some definition of the word function.

But the quilt…the quilt is almost ironed together. I really didn’t want to stop last night, but I was so tired that I knew I had to. I had already had an ironing incident (easily fixed). I finished up the bits on the hand that I didn’t get done the night before, and then did the tiny bird. His OW speech bubble is done too, although it’s not here…it’s in the box.

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If you haven’t picked up on it yet, the other figure is all about Mother Nature and Mother Earth and natural stuff. This one is obviously about population and civilization and pollution and how we damage the earth.

I wanted to finish the face last night, but that just became impossible. I did get the nuclear power plant in on her shoulder, and I got some of the face done…

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But once I got this far, I was going to have to lay out the next 100 pieces to keep going, and I couldn’t even do that. Usually I try to, so that it’s easy to come in the next night and start ironing again (I really don’t like laying them out…it’s boring). But the cool thing is that there’s only two boxes left…the 1700s and the 1800s, and that one isn’t even full. I really am in the last couple of hours here (if you don’t count ironing it down to the background). I’d love to say that’s gonna get done tonight. Really. But one kid flies out tonight and I fly out early tomorrow with the next kid. I think it’ll be a miracle if I get done before I leave, unfortunately. I’m about 24 hours into the ironing. Longer than I thought.

Oh well. Deep breaths. I’ll find a way to get it all done. I may have to rethink my priorities a bit. Maybe.

I think this is going to be a fairly awesome quilt though. It’s coming together nicely. I love watching the picture in my head translate into fabric reality. Now I just need to manage the other piece.

Girlchild came with me to school yesterday and renumbered all my textbooks and labeled all the folders for the kids and put them in color piles and typed up all the rosters (which will all change over the next week or so, but whatever) and put the goggles away and I don’t even remember what else, until I let her come home and start packing. Today is her last day with friends, so I don’t think we’ll see her for 12 hours or more, but that’s OK. At the moment, everything turns into an argument with both kids pretty much, and I’m too tired to seriously censor myself, so it’s better that way. My SIL hears the real complaints. Although after talking to her last night, I now feel like I have a significantly inferior spice-jar setup in my cabinet. I don’t think I care, though. I visually know where they all are. That’s about all I need in my life right now…a generalized idea of where a spice might be. She makes me WANT to care though. We also discussed dishwasher-filling preferences. These are very important conversations (other shit was in there too, of course).

So reworking the goal. Finish ironing the head tonight. Maybe piece the background (wasn’t that Wednesday’s plan? Damn.). Then come back from Boston and iron to backing and stitch down next week. It’s off the machine by Saturday. Then I get that 17-foot human done. In a week. Or so. Where did that panicked breathing come from? Meditate. That too.


Not Where I Want to Be

August 20, 2015

Honestly, right now, I’d rather be in bed. I haven’t trained my brain to shut down early enough yet for school sleep hours. It’s not that I go to bed a whole lot earlier when I’m teaching; I’m still up until midnight or later, but I can fall asleep pretty quickly. Maybe that’s after days and days of inadequate sleep. The last few nights, though, my brain’s a go-cart, racing around turns, hugging the ground, adrenaline at peak levels. It won’t shut the fuck up so I CAN go to sleep. It’s analyzing this or that, trying to remember what needs to get done, writing stories, drawing pictures, calculating finish times, available time. Geez. Just lie down and go to sleep. You know you want to.

Last night, I really wanted to iron way earlier. I left school early, because I was (mentally?) done, but then needed to replace tires on the kids’ car (couldn’t get boychild to do it by himself), go to the grocery store, and make a last-minute trip to Staples for the stuff I forgot the last time I was there. Then I had to go return the boychild’s jeans for longer ones (sigh. Mr. Highwater makes a comeback. Remind me never to believe him when he comes out of the dressing room and says they’re fine. Go the fuck back in there, put them on again, and let me SEE.). Loads of fun. I was so tired by the time I got home that I went horizontal on the couch and stayed there for at least an hour.

And there weren’t even kids there yesterday (well, there were, but 6th graders for orientation…not a lot of interaction on my part). The exhaustion due to interaction will increase…I don’t think nonteachers realize how kamikaze our days are. It’s just nonstop from when you show up on campus until you walk away, and then you come home and work some more.

So after making myself get off the couch and cook dinner, I came in here and started managing stuff, like college payments and I don’t even remember what else. It was 11 before I started ironing, unfortunately. I really wanted to be done with ironing yesterday. Notionally, I could have handled being done today, but I suspect I will be hella tired when I get home (see horizontal couch syndrome documented previously in patient’s history), and there will be some period of time when I’m not moving. Eventually, about a week or so into the year, the exhaustion gets better, but September is notoriously sucky. Around about the end of September (which, by the way, is when the first progress reports go home), the workload seems to ease up and everything calms down a bit. But that’s when our school will be rolling out our send-a-computer-home plan. Whatever. Remember? That’s my mantra. No worries. Whatever.

Ironing. It’s what’s for dinner.

Julie thinks I should have done all the rivets on the heart (and in other places) using French knots. I did consider that, but then I wanted them to be flat, not popping up. I could have done them with silk ribbon, really tight, and I might have been able to get that, but it really wasn’t that hard to cut them out. It was time-consuming, but not hard. And I like how they look. The heart will look much better when the black stitching outline is in there too.

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Then I started on the arm, which has riveted piping running down it…yup, more rivets.

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And I’m looking at the clock and saying to myself, yes, self, you really do want the whole head ironed tonight. I know that. However, it’s approaching midnight and tomorrow is the first day of school. Are you fucking nuts? Because you can’t really see this yet, but there are buildings coming out of her head, and every building has windows in it. Lots of windows. Because if you haven’t figured out from the rivets and the power lines, I’m a fucking nut when it comes to detail on my quilts.

Yeah. The documented truth there. Fucking nuts.

I ironed the main part of the hand, and then I made myself stop.

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I knew there was no way I was getting all of that done, and it wasn’t worth the lack of sleep and crankiness that comes with that to keep going. It’s not where I wanted to be. Whatever. It happens all the time. That’s why I set goals…so I can constantly NOT meet them. I do usually make the big ones, though, so keep that in mind.

Except then I couldn’t fall asleep for an hour. So that was kinda stupid. Whatever.

I asked the girlchild to clean up some spaces she inhabits before she leaves for school (not just a room, but a couch she has appropriated as The Couch of Dumping and a space on the kitchen table). She says she doesn’t have time. She tried to blame me for having her go to school today with me to help, but she hasn’t been at school all week, like she normally is; she’s been socializing. For HOURS. Because she’s leaving her friends and it’s like they’re DYING. Sigh. They have email and texting. We had to send letters. Or talk on the phone. And there were no cell phones, so you had to be in your room with a phone attached to a wall and a cord to the receiver. I know. Like seriously. All I want is a relatively clean space, and apparently that’s not happening. So sometime next week, there might be pictures of me with trashbags piled on her bed of all the crap so I don’t have to look at the mess for 4 months. I’m really kind of irritated by that, but I remember the boychild, who’s generally pretty neat, doing the same thing last year because he packed at the last minute and didn’t have time to clean up.

Whatever. It’s not where I want to be. I will GET there. But yeah.


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