Continuing activities of a Hausherr

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It is barely past 7:00 am and I have been up for over an hour.  Originally, during my pretirement, I was able to sleep in a bit after Mary Kay got up to go to work; the alarm goes off somewhere around 5:30 am or so.  When I was teaching, I would always get up that early, get into school quickly and get some work done before students were milling around and the colleagues and administrators were after me for information about this or about that, or just for counsel.  I would like to sleep in but my body/mind don’t buy in to that idea!

Now the minute Mary Kay’s alarm goes off it is as if I have been struck by a bolt of lightning.  She can hit the snooze feature more than once for herself but my adrenalin is already surging and it is with difficulty that I remain in bed.  Once up, I do my daily pushups and do my utmost to make myself ready for the day by doing my “toilette” before heading downstairs.

I start the coffee (which I almost always set up the day before) by plugging in the machine and hitting the start button.  I am trying to save on electricity and my understanding is that coffee machines are notorious electricity sponges.  I set up breakfast and such, sometimes emptying the dishwasher, setting the table, etc.  I threw the hot coffee grounds on the rosebush out front today, just cannot manage to throw them out, have to recycle them!  As an aside, we have started doing a better job of not wasting coffee, having bought a very good German thermos type carafe which will keep the coffee hot all day.  We usually have a cup at least twice a day, once in the morning and once at night.  At night we will sometimes ‘zap it’ for a moment in the microwave before taking some milk we have warmed up in the microwave and frothed with  a Bamix hand blender.  It is like having an amazing café au lait!

Today was a little easier as the dishwasher was empty, although it didn’t drain completely yesterday after a cycle so I set it on a quick cycle to see if I can “right” the problem.

I “hotwired” a hotel for the weekend in Madison, Wisconsin for an overnight getaway.  Life has been traumatic in the Koerner household, there is always something and I thought that since we had to wend our way north for a funeral on Saturday that we could continue going north and visit a Stickley furniture location in Madison which will have a special showing of our favorite “Arts and Crafts” movement pottery and such. 

Last night was a bit nerve wracking as I received a text from my wonderful, soon to be daughter-in-law at 8:30 pm.  She hadn’t heard from our son, Richie.  He was in the throes (as was I earlier in the day) of cleaning out the warehouse, the boys’ business is evolving and the main brickscaping portion has fallen prey to the recession, so the warehouse is too much of an expense. He turned up at our house victorious, a bit later, in having totally removed everything from the warehouse (my garage is less a victim of the overflow than I expected, just a snow plow from our other son, Christian, and some extra wood). His new phone is a battery hog and Emily hadn’t heard from him for that reason.  I also heard from Mikey, our youngest in California, to say that he shall be temporarily living in his warehouse.  That reeks of “strange lifestyle” but Mikey assures us it is very temporary.  His impending divorce and new business have been taking a bit of a toll on his overall life.  Happily we shall see him mid December, which is a change from the Thanksgiving visit to us that he canceled at the last minute and for which I had to redo his flight arrangements.

I, strangely enough, was bothered by all of the happenings last night.  Mary Kay is more often the visual fretter.  I am a fretter by nature but have done my utmost to keep it under control.  With the boys, I am totally convinced that all will be well with them, so their lives usually don’t worry me, but for some reason, perhaps after being at the warehouse in Waukegan yesterday to help clean up, I was less than calm about things.  Luckily, all is well.

I am putting off finishing my morning clean up by writing!  Today is Wednesday, and according to my plan, this is plant watering day and Grandfather clock winding day.  Will do that, finish cleaning up, set up the coffee for tomorrow and then off into the crawlspace to get some more Christmas decorations to get ready for the holidays.  I am doing this more in stages than I usually do since I have the luxury of not having a full time job at the moment.  I was thinking of going up on the roof, something I didn’t think I would have to do with the relatively new LED Christmas lighting I had purchased, but for some reason I have two strands that are misbehaving and are not totally lit.  They aren’t completely visible as they are on the side of the house, so I don’t really need to correct the situation, but being the perfectionist I am…

I have the family dirylite set to clean.  Dirilyte is a quite interesting metal for cutlery, it looks like brass, has a Swedish origin, and is rumored to have gold in it.  The bad part about it is that it needs to be polished.  As a metal, it doesn’t take a lot of polishing, it does tarnish, but a few years ago I went to e-bay to purchase more settings since we generally have a large amount of people around the Koerner table.  The settings I purchased were at a great price but very much in need of cleaning.  I did my best but frankly they need some more work.  I have that on my list of things to do before Christmas.

Decorating the house will be in the dining L and living room.  Since I am on my own today, that should be easy to accomplish, I won’t have to worry about my granddaughter as I do it.  She will be amazed on Friday, when she is here.  She was already blown away by the ceramic Christmas tree and the stained glass on the kitchen window.  At about twenty months of life, those things are mind boggling.

I might manage to hang pictures in the guest/baby room, if I can, that is also on my list.  I am putting up Alphabet embroidery done for my eldest son and some Disney Paint by numbers that my father did well over sixty years ago.  Despite the idea of paint by number being hideous, they are, in fact, quite beautiful and great for a children’s room.  I think, however, that the idea of having something from my father exposed on a wall is more the reason I am doing it.

Later in the day I will go to the gym, get in some exercise, then take a shower and head to my tutoring situation (I currently tutor two students in French).  This is always rewarding as they need a jump start in terms of motivation and preparation so that the language acquisition is easier. 

I was also thinking about giving myself a haircut.  That whole idea sounds hysterically funny to me, I envision everyone thinking I must look really odd.  The fact is that with the special attachments it is quite easy to self-buzz, if I can say that.  Being well on the road to baldness makes it easier anyway, having little on the top!  Funny thing about cutting hair is that I remember when I was younger and the money in the coffers from a teaching salary meant that I had a lot of DIY activities and also the job of cutting the boys’ hair.  I also remember looking forward to the day when I wouldn’t have to do that.  The irony is I still generally cut my oldest son’s hair anyway, we often trade cuts.  Again, with the attachments it is very easy to trim hair.

I thought I had little to do today, writing this down makes me wonder about my ability to evaluate situations! 

I will touch base later to add to this, don’t really want to get to work, but…

I got the pictures hung.  The hassle there was that one of them no longer had the necessary hardware on the back so I had to go to the garage to redo it.  It is really cold out there, under 32 degrees F.  While out there I decided to check on the pond warmer and glad I did, it is not working.  I immediately put a hole in the ice so that my koi don’t visit their maker.  Pond gases forming under the ice and not being released will kill the fish!  I know, it happened before.  Later today, off to pick up another pond warmer!  It is lightly snowing and the snow is beginning to stick.

Just got a call from Richie, he needs to have me pick him up so he can use his pickup truck which, in all of the moving logistics of yesterday, ended up in my driveway.  Add that to the tasks!

Picked him up, brought him back to the house.  Then headed out to the store to get a new pond warmer.  $100 later, I have changed out the old one, which was steaming when I pulled it out, and put in the new one.  The new one promises to save me $30 a month on electrical usage.  That we shall see about!

It is almost lunchtime and I still haven’t decorated.  My ability to foresee what I can accomplish is obviously compromised. 

I just realized that my wife, who now reads my blog, can tell ahead of time when my “Honey Don’t List” is being accessed.  Oops!

1:30 pm.  I pretty much worked through lunch.  The house is now decorated.  We don’t have a tree yet and we always put it up late and then keep it up through New Year’s Day and slightly beyond.  Everything is now ready for the tree, which makes the actual putting up of the tree less of a hassle.

Several years ago we bought a tree stand that removed our standard Christmas holiday fight as we struggled to get the tree into the stand, righted, and firmly ensconced so as not to fall.  This always caused great stress which led straight into a fight.  Our new stand is a brilliant invention with a set of four supports that stabilize the tree and with connections to the trunk that can go around wayward branches.  Sheer genius!

Now it remains to put the boxes back in the crawlspace and make the house look orderly.  I need to look for the tree Christmas lights, I found some but it sure looks like we are missing some.  We have gone total LED outside and now inside and that makes me very happy in terms of the cost, but more importantly that we worry less about the lights overheating and such.

Next step,  going underground!  Into the crawspace!

Found a few more things to do, like pull out the pine cone wreath I made years ago with pinecones from the neighbor’s yard?  That year, tight financial years, I made many smaller versions of the one I hung today.  Every important family member had one.  Some were appreciated, some less so.  I attached them to a wire wreath hanger with wire.  I washed them (which forced them to close up and scared me into thinking I had ruined them, but as they dry, the open up) and then sprayed them with a nice satiny/glossy clear lacquer.  Simple but beautiful.

2:35: I am going to read the morning paper and check the mail.

Plan to be at the gym by at least 4:00 pm so I can exercise, shower, then head to Kenilworth and tutor.  It has been a long day, but Hausherr’s days usually are!