Sunday, May 30, 2010

The Chore Chart

{Greetings friends.  I hope to be back here more often but if I'm not as regular as I used to be, please understand that I am probably not taking my blogging fiber enough or that life is just moving too fast to grab a moment for this.}

I am attempting to get my home life organized.  I am killer organized in an office setting and our finances are so spick and span they practically shine, but the carpet, sadly, is coated in dog hair...again.  I had a great conversation with a friend recently about my inability to be a good, even passable housekeeper.  My house is either gleaming (and I'm collapsed on the floor while Cora whines around my ankles because I've been ignoring her so much) or it is a total wreck and I'm contemplating renting a bulldozer.  There is no in between!  The reason behind it all?  I get totally overwhelmed by my house.  I know what it takes to get it clean and instead of doing it a bit at a time, I want to do it all at once (which is HUGE job), so I avoid it. 

So this week I wrote out what needed to be done on a weekly or monthly basis and made a chart.  Much like the one my mama had for us when we were kids.  (Hmmm.  I find more and more nuggets of Mama wisdom embedded in my brain)  It divides up the house and jobs into days, so no one day feels overwhelming.  Now I can clean the bathrooms and for that day, ignore the hairy carpet because I know that vacuuming day is just around the corner and it WILL get taken care of, but just not today.   My favorite day?  Check out Sunday.  All it says is REST (and think about the menu for the week).  I can sit here and be in the moment, knowing that tomorrow I will tackle one bit of the huge mountain of chores around here.

Friday, May 21, 2010

And so begins the battle for my garden

I planted my first garden this year.  It took some working up to because, I'm one of those weird kind of perfectionists that if I can't do something perfect, I won't try.  It's strange.  I know.  You'd never guess by the state of my house!  But in an effort to work through that, I planted my first garden and didn't do it perfect.  In fact, I made mistakes that continue to irk me.  For example:  The only great garden spot in my yard that is not paved is right next to my house.  I measured, built a raised bed all by myself, bought a truck full of dirt, filled the bed, and planted my little seedlings in spite of wild weather and so much else.  Then I realized that I had put the back foot and a half of my bed UNDER THE EVES.  Yes.  Under them.  So every storm that fills up my gutters so they overflow makes water beat down in a waterfall.  Sigh.

Today Cora and I went out to 'garden' ie she plays in the water and the mud and I weed.  Not that there are many weeds, but I noticed that my squash plants are being devastated by some little critter or insect.  The leaves are munched on and/or clipped off!  Why??  Why??  A wise woman in my garden club once said plant one for the weather, one for the critters and one for your family.  At this rate, the critters and the weather are going to get them all!!  I've got some calls and emails out to wiser garden folk than me, but I'm no fool.  I recognize that the battle for my garden produce has begun.  Slugs, squash bugs, cutworms.  Whoever you are...your name is mud. (or diatomacious earth)

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Photoshop and the death of imperfection

We all long for perfection.  They human eye, from birth, seeks symmetry, and contrast.  The long written about, never obtained state of nirvana.  Call it what you like.  We long for things to be as we imagine them in our mind.  I'm guilty myself.  Lots of the photos I post here have been, well, tweaked.  I amp up the saturation or contrast, or make it a bit warmer.  I try to make the photo show what I remember when I took the picture.  But a crappy old digital camera can never capture what I see in my head, for a camera cannot dream, or imagine.  It simply measures the light that will come in through the lens and records the image accordingly.

But what has the 'tweaking' created?  I see images and I no longer trust that they are real.  I assume perfection has been created on someone's computer.  I also have become so used to seeing images without blemish that an awkward photo is painful to the eye.  I delete every blurry or bad photo of me and my family and all that gets recorded is the beautiful.  There are benefits to this, of course.  You never see a picture of me where I have not done my best to hide that double chin and that 'days since my last shower cause the babe howls when I get behind the curtain' hairdo I'm sporting.

Pondering this today as I am unable to take pictures.  My camera has become stuck on a high exposure setting and everything is washed out.  I'm also pondering how often I scrub the image of myself that I present to others so they won't see my imperfections, not just photos, but words, facebook updates, ideas.  Food for thought.  By the way if I could take a picture of Cora right now, it would be amazing.  Seersucker top and pants, my black and white slouch purse over her arm and a purple safari hat from the Nashville Zoo.  My girl has style!

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Nashville Flood - the story behind the story

In case you haven't heard due to oil spills off the coast and bomb threats in NYC, Nashville flooded over the weekend.  Torrential rains fell for two days filling reservoirs, lakes, rivers, and creeks then spilling over into neighborhoods, downtown business districts, everywhere.  The death tole climbs as the flood waters recede.  It's all over the news.  You can watch it here.  Read about it here.

There's a story behind the story, though.  It is in the volunteers that mobilized and helped those in danger, and those in need.  The local East Nashville (our little neighborhood) google group was abuzz with posts asking how people could help.  Alan Murdock and Tracy McTamaney had neighbors rally to the Art House Gardens and organized teams with buckets pumps, shovels, and manpower to head out into the neighborhood for recovery efforts.  Our house was flooded, but by comparison to some of our neighbors, we got off easy.  Still the volunteers came yesterday and removed a massive pile of debris from our basement.  It would have taken Matt and I weeks by ourselves and who knows what mold would have festered there in the mean time.  We have been blessed and cared for in abundance!   Here's another story about volunteering in our area.

As homes become accessible, the cleanup efforts will continue.  Your sweat equity (and trash bags!) are needed.  Want to volunteer or make donations?  Here are a few options:

Hands on Nashville -a great way to help locally
ArtHouse Gardens - local East Nashville effort, collecting supplies, mobilizing teams Call Alan at 243.5499 
Check with your church!  (City Church folks can call Catherine) Many local churches are sending out volunteers with supplies, food, and provisions.
Donate to the Red Cross at their website, or text message "REDCROSS" to 90999 and make a $10 donation to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund. Donations will appear on customers' monthly bills or be debited from a prepaid account balance.
Head over to Do Something. org to organize your own local effort.  We've heard of former Nashville residents organizing clothing drives to bring into Nashville.  Right now, the needs are for bottled water, camping supplies etc.
Martha O'Bryan Center Emergency Food bank - needs volunteers to deliver meals to homebound folks. If anyone can volunteer, please call our Volunteer Coordinator, Judy Gaither, or Meals on Wheels coordinator, Jennifer Milam, at 254-1791

Here are a few more options posted by Nashville's local paper - the Tennessean

Monday, May 03, 2010

The Great Nashville Monsoon of 2010 - our little bit of it

Greetings from Nashville!  Over the past two days, we like many others in our area were  flooded with the heavy rains that fell.
Flood May 2010

Flood May 2010

Our basement was a grubby swimming pool, and we had (and still have) minimal power in an effort to turn off the basement electricity (which, in some places, is on the same line as upstairs!! Ug!) , and no gas (which means no stove, no hot water, etc.)  But the day dawned bright and clear Monday and we are slowly pumping out the estimated 15,000 - 18,000 gallons of water that filled up our large basement starting on Saturday night.
Here's what it looked like Sunday night and it got about 5 inches deeper before reaching it's final level.  You can't tell, but the water comes to the top of my thighs in this picture.  (About 2.5-3 feet)  It's not totally level, so some areas are deeper.
Flood May 2010
I wasn't able to get into the 'finished' room to take pictures in there, but the sheet rock in there is ruined.  It'll be a job to pull it all out!

Since most of the area was hit by this as well, sump pumps, fans, and dehumidifiers are going to be in pretty sharp demand for awhile.  The local DIY tool stores are not able to keep up with current demand.  We do have a plan, and thanks to Dave Ramsey, an emergency fund for events such as this

Today, after many, many promises of pumps, one finally arrived and in just a few hours, the floor of our basement was again visible.  "Carter" and his "water team" entertained us while they pumped water out. 

Huge mother of a pump!

Libby - a member of the 'water team' entertains Cora
Libby shows Cora her mermaid doll

Later "Carter's" wife and third child joined us and we had a nice little chat on the back yard  lawn.  Cora enjoyed playing with one of the "water team's" mermaid doll.  Did I mention that the water team was two little girls?  Yes.  It was.  And they had so much fun!

Matt on 'Cora Duty' while we sweep water toward the pump
Cora hangs out with Papa we slog around in the 'pond'.

Water levels
 You can see how high the water got!  We are hoping our hot water heater and furnace are OK, but it looks doubtful.

So tomorrow we will rent dehumidifiers, borrow some more fans and start demolishing the soggy sheet rock.  Sounds like fun huh? If you want to join in, bring a hammer, a shovel and some work gloves!
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