On 40 boxes of Lent

“40 days, 40 boxes” – Flylady’s idea.

I’m not going to be home for 2 of the 7 weeks, so that’s a little tricky, but I think it’s not a bad idea… as long as they’re small boxes!

On skiing and looking elegant

– though admittedly not at the same time!

On Saturday I went skiing. I also went skiing on Sunday, but I’ve already written about that here. This is going to mess up the chronology of my posts, but hey… deal with it.

After 3 weeks of thawing and piffling about snowing-but-not-settling, it finally snowed properly again :). My Ski-Partner (D) wrote (on Friday – spontaneity is of the essence :)) to tell me it had snowed and to ask whether Saturday or Sunday suited me better. I had nothing planned for either day (except revision, church, dancing and a phone call to a really-good-friend-I-don’t-talk-to-nearly-often-enough) so we agreed to spend Saturday afternoon on the hill we’d been to before.

A late night of last-minute planning and faffing about was followed 8 hours later by a longer-than-expected phonecall. Turning the computer on to look up the bus/train timetable meant a skypecall with my grandfather ensued, and by the time my pizza was finished and I was dressed for the snow, I’d phoned D twice to change the time he was supposed to meet me and missed yet another bus. I ended up walking to the trainstation (via my workshop, because my ski stuff’s there), practically having to drag myself up the steps behind my house. If I hadn’t been so intent on not-having-to-phone-and-say-I-was-going-to-be-even-later, carting my ski kit across the carpark to the station would’ve been the last thing I felt like doing. The journey was uneventful and I was there before D which made me feel slightly less bad for the late start. He also reassured me that being late wasn’t a problem – he’d finally done all the things he’d been putting off doing for weeks and would have started on filing receipts if I hadn’t finally managed to catch a train :).

In short, although I was looking forward to it, I felt exhausted before we began. Despite having had a good night’s sleep, I hadn’t slept enough during the week to be really awake, everything ached, I was stiff, and grouchy and just generally not on top form. Putting my ski-boots on was painfull and lifting up the hill more so (uh, riding the lifts is known as lifting, I wasn’t trying to move mountains by hand). Getting off the lift at the top of the hill and thinking about skiing down it, or anything involving moving or putting pressure on my feet or my shins (the boots come up to about halfway) was bordering on masochism.

I moaned and whinged and asked if we could go home now. His answer? “It’ll wear off once you’ve got started – I give you 3 runs before you’re fine…” ARGH. Thanks for the sympathy vote then!

He grinned at me and off we went.

It was better than expected. 2 runs later I’d stopped hobbling, the run after that started being fun, and the rest of the evening was super.

It isn’t fair that other people get to be right so often!

😛

We had thirty-something runs on the card to use up, so we skiied until we ran out (2 or 3 hours).

When we did run out, I wasn’t really ready to stop, but I was willing to agree that it was late and D’s hands were cold and overdoing things is silly. Also, I was promised hot chocolate and cake. That, if nothing else, was a good incentive.

We stomped back to the car (try doing anything else in ski boots) and found it iced shut. There was no way the key was going to turn in the driver’s door and no way it was even going to go in to the keyhole in the passenger’s. I suggested we try the boot. After a lot of huffing and puffing, he got it open. Then we had to re-thaw our hands to get the string off the fiddly little hooks so we could take the parcel shelf out. The boot doesn’t stay open by itself, so we took it in turns to hold it up, breathe on our hands and mess about with the hooks. After a longish while, all was ready for my big moment. Round about then I figured I could hardly keep my skiboots on in the car, so I continued the breathe-on-hands, moan, whinge, breathe-on-hands routine, this time replacing the shelf hooks with boot buckles.. To be fair though, I don’t think I’ve ever taken my boots off quicker. Especially the second one. Once the first one was off, my foot was very exposed. The comparative warmth of a frozen car was incredibly appealing.

With my feet steaming/freezing merrily behind me, I clambered into the boot and slithered, courtesy of my slithery waterproof ski-trousers, headfirst over the backseat, just about rescuing my nose from the end of the handbrake, and hauled myself through the gap in the seats and into the driver’s seat. YEAH! Now to open the door..

It did, just about, agree to my light persuasion tactics, though the passenger door didn’t, and my shoulder forgave me pretty quickly.

As I sat in the front seat, thoughtfully putting my normal boots on, I wondered why the whole thing had been so much less spectacular than when other people talk of doing it. D, busy with getting the skis and boots and helmets and gloves arranged into a well-known phrase or saying (anyone apart from my family say that?) on the back seat, paused to thank me for opening the doors and declared I was a very elegant slitherer.

Then we went back to the cafe and ate cake 🙂 and frothy hot chocolate.

And that was the end* of another good day.

🙂

*except it wasn’t really the end because I still had the drive to the station, the ride to the stop next to my workhop, the half hour skis-and-boots drying rigmarole and the walk home to look forward to :). I think I deserved my sleep when I finally got into bed

On being better than you think you are…

I skiied down my first black run today. I didn’t know it was black at the time.

It was 4:30 pm. We’d skiied for just over 2 hours on a new (for us) resort. We’d finished skiing on the ‘little lifts’ at the top of the hill/mountain and were on our way back to the car. They were closing the lifts and getting the piste-basher out. It wasn’t dark, but the sun was setting and it was cold.

So.

We skiied down the first bit, which was basically the same slope as we’d been playing on previously but finishing at the other corner.. From this vantage point we could see the hut and the car at the bottom. We were faced with 2 sleep slopes and very little idea which was most likely to be skiable. They both looked steep and scary. It’s a very small ski ‘resort’ with 3 lifts and something like 5km of piste … and there are no signposts. There are also no paper plans/maps with pretty coloured squiggles. There was a cluster of trees between the 2 slopes. I said we should go to the right of the trees, my ski-partner said left. We asked a bloke who was skiing with a small child (maybe 7 years old). He told us right was better, said “follow me” and shot off, the kid going on in front, yelling at his dad to hurry up (and being ignored). I followed him and he showed me where to turn and how to put my ski back on after I fell over and lost one and was patient when I didn’t understand what he was on about. I got to the bottom without falling over too often, and more importantly without breaking anything or having a panic attack 🙂 My ski-partner, not being within earshot of the helpful man, got left behind. We waited for him at the bottom, where he found us celebrating the small boy’s safe arrival at the bottom of the hill. He’d reached the hut, got bored of waiting for his dad, and gone back up on the lift…by himself. And then skiied down again…by himself.

My ski-partner was quite down about not being able to turn as well as he’d like to, and for having fallen over more often than he wanted to talk about and for being slow and pff.. just generally not impressed at purely making it down alive..

We headed back to the car and decided to go to the floodlit ‘easy’ runs we know and love in order to give ourselves the impression of being successful skiiers, capable of getting down hills without falling over. 3 hours later we’d gathered another 20 runs each and he was in much better spirits.

Arriving home, he looked up the plan online. He just text me to say it was a black run. Made it seem a lot less embarrassing not to have found it easy 🙂

On making your own rules

If I ever have my own workshop (and I would really like to), I would implement the following rules:

  • only the people who believe in me are allowed in
  • no shouting
  • no putting people down
  • nothing which smells bad and/or is likely to be unhealthy if you sniff it is to be brought into or kept anywhere in the workshop (unless it’s REALLY necessary, and the air conditioning’s working, and even then it shouldn’t be sniffed)
  • proper (real, heartfelt) laughter is “ausdruecklich erwuenscht” (means something like especially requested)
  • the ovens are there to be used, regardless of how small the thing you worked on is
  • people who talk about me instead of to me will be ignored and/or banished.

Things I’d like to be true:

  • there will be cake 🙂 and tea and apples and slow cooker soup in winter
  • the windows are there to be opened
  • the radiators can be turned down if required
  • the tap water is drinkable.

And maybe some others…

On walking in the snow

If it’s snowing when you want to go home, remember to put your ‘real’ shoes back on before leaving the dance hall.

Especially if your dancing shoes have (on-purpose) holes in them.

Even more especially if you’re wearing floor-length trousers.

For Kate… / (January round-up)

Dear Kate (and anyone else who is under the impression that I live in a pristine house),

 

I think I need to point something out.

My house isn’t pristine.

It isn’t even close.

 

Okay, I have cleaned my toilet more times in January than in the last 2 years put together, and kept the dust off my bathroom ‘mirror-shelf’. I have also made sure my kitchen sink was shiny or at least empty [almost] every evening before going to bed. I have made my bed in the morning, and made sure I got dressed before going to work. Most days I eat breakfast, drink more-or-less as much water as I ought to, and can control my mean thoughts (or at least not let them out into the wild ;)).

That’s about the extent of my greatness.

There were admitedly a couple of ‘clean spells’ in the midst of the chaos, generally spurred on by the thought of company (best said in Badger’s voice ;)), but I have a long way to go before I am cured of leaving-things-out-for-later, of can’t-be-bothered-right-now-I’ll-do-it-tomorrow, of I’ve-cooked-and-the-kitchen-looks-like-it’s been-bombed-but-I-don’t-really-care, of piling-plates-on-the-counter-instead-of-emptying-the-dishwasher-to-make-space-for-them, of dropping things in the hall when I get home, remembering them only when I trip over them in the middle of the night. It’s still dark in my hall, because I haven’t got round to fixing the new light in place yet, despite buying it in November.

I have a whole machine-load of towels decorating my bathroom floor, waiting to be washed, because I’m not home long enough to make sure the machine doesn’t catch fire. I am a one-person household – think about how long it takes to gather that many towels together…

I haven’t been to bed before midnight more than a handfull of times this month, mostly resulting in being late and getting ranted at.

I haven’t done my ski-exercise-video nearly often enough. Or been swimming, or cycling, or otherwise very active.

I haven’t been tackling hotspots, or decluttering, or picking up after myself.

I haven’t revised for my exam or finished putting up my postcards.

There are a great deal more things I haven’t done, than things I have.

Like I said before, I have a long way to go…

Assuming long journeys begin with the first step, I’ve taken it, but I haven’t taken many of the others!!

Maybe one day I will reach the top of the clean-freak-mountain. Maybe I won’t.

If I’m honest, I hope somebdy stops me before my entire life revolves around things being and staying clean. It would be nice to have space to be creative, to know where I’m supposed to be and when, to have something reasonable (and clean) to wear when I go dancing (or to work), to know I can invite people over whenever I feel like it and not worry about the state of my house or whether there’s enough looroll to go round.

However.

On the whole I’m pretty sure this cleaning lark is a way of making those things possible, and not the aim itself. Even if it is this year’s project.

 

Thanks for believing in me 🙂 One day I’ll be as great as you think I am…

Lots of love,

Me xxx

On doing things I’m good at…

Today I excelled at the things I do well 🙂

I went to bed in the early hours of the morning, far later than I originally wanted to, after distracting myself with other peoples’ blogs and cooking a galoptious potfull of almost inedible brown gloop.

I slept until almost midday, whereupon I proceded to lounge about in bed until about half past midday alternately reading email on my phone, updating my phone book (my old phone is back from the dead :)) and sleeping.

A friend phoned me. I phoned her back (I don’t pay to phone people*) and we talked. And talked. And talked. For 4 and a half hours 🙂 And that didn’t officially break my record 😉 Was good though. And as well as enjoyable, parts of it were even productive – she’s back at school so I asked her lots of questions about what she knows (= lots). A couple of years ago I did the same course, so I have the course book (and a big head ;))

Once we decided we’d talked long enough we hung up and texted each other instead 🙂

At some point after that I fell asleep. Again.

When I woke up and noticed that it was dark outside I remembered all the plans I’d had for the day. One of my more urgent plans had been to go shopping and buy more looroll. Sometimes (read “extremely often”) it gets to Saturday evening and I decide I have enough food to get me through until Monday and don’t bother going out. Sometimes, like today, this isn’t really a viable option. I looked at bustimetables and figured I needed to leave in 10 minutes – which left me no time to shower, and I really needed to shower – or 40 minutes – which gave me plenty of time to do nothing for a while before I went through the whole, get undressed-wet-dry-dressed rigmarole. I obviously did nothing long enough to miss both busses, and a couple of others.

I hadn’t eaten all day, what with hardly leaving the bedroom and all, so I was starving by the time I was washed, dressed and ready to go out. I cooked a load of spaghetti and warmed up some of the brown gloop. Being left overnight often does wonders for food. Unfortunately this wasn’t the case, and all the posh-mushroom flavour I’d carefully disguised yesterday had come back in full force. I did some more disguise work and managed to eat about 3 forkfulls before realising I had 4 minutes to be at the busstop in time to catch the last bus to the shop-I-don’t-mind-going-to-if-I’m-late-remembering-I-need-to-buy-things.. I left the house in a bit of a hurry, remembering just in time to take my purse out of my work bag and put it in my coat pocket.

This is a post about things I’m good at. It would obviously not be complete if it didn’t include getting to within 200 yards of a busstop in time to see the bus pull away. I could have made it (I think) if I’d run (like I usually do). The thing was, it had snowed, and the ground was that kind of slippery where you’re not sure which bits are safe and which bits are going to make you fall over. I don’t particularly like running at the best of times, and any running which results in me falling over is my least favourite kind of running. I walked sedately up the hill, watched the bus drive sedately up the hill past me and off into the distance then walked sedately past the busstop and into town, quietly cursing the fact that this meant I’d have to go to my least favourite supermarket. It’s the biggest, most confusingest, longest-opening supermarket in my town and while it’s not actually as bad as some of its brothers and sisters (which take up 2 floors) I think it’s pretty grim, in a I’m-still-thankfull-it’s-open-and-willing-to-sell-me-looroll-at-10pm-on-a-Saturday kind of way.

One of the things I most dislike about the shop is its maze-like qualities, and its inability to arrange things in the same way as other supermarkets. I am generally in favour of difference, but I appreciate things being logical, and putting milk in a completely different section from things like yogurt and cheese just baffles me. However. I’m slowly getting the hang of their reasoning and made it to the looroll department without too many problems. As I got there I stepped onto a piece of thick packaging paper which someone had kindly left on the floor, skidded, just about managed to get off the paper and back on to the floor without damaging myself or knocking anything off the shelves and came to a halt 3 cm away from some bloke who looked bemused and carried on with his last minute shopping.

A minute or so later, as I was faced with the near impossible task of choosing between 57 varieties of Vitamin B12, the bemused bloke approached me (of all people) to ask if I knew where the sugar might be hidden. Not having much of an idea, but not liking to be unhelpful, I pointed him in the direction of the baking things. I hope I was right. In that shop it’s liable to be kept next to the biscuits (because people put it in tea I suppose) or the fruit and veg (think strawberries and cream), or the shower gel/olive oil (sugar scrub). Or somewhere even less logical. Like I said, I hope I was right. He might have been there all night otherwise. Is it mean to be glad other people have the same problem finding things as me?

I nosed through most of an article about sexism-at-work and only thought about paying and going home when the speakers stopped playing elevator supermarket music to annouce that they were about to shut and would I please like to make my way to the checkout. I put the magazine back on its shelf, found my way to the checkout desk, paid and, surprisingly, caught the bus home without having to wait 27 minutes first.

People warn me not to go shopping hungry. I was, but I was also tired/not-particularly-awake so I didn’t buy loads of random stuff. I only barely remembered what I was there for. In the end I bought looroll, 3 boxes of milk, 2 boxes of cocoa, more B12 tablets and a small tube of water-and-heat-resistant glue apparently suitable for sticking glass together. The checkout lady must wonder about the lives people lead.

Once I was home I ignored 3 years of cooking lessons and re-reheated the spaghetti mixture which I ate in front of the computer and a lot more blog posts with the odd Youtube video/picture-of-a-cat thrown in for good measure.

I didn’t declutter anything. I didn’t start the new project I promised myself I was going to start in February. I didn’t wash the floor in the kitchen or take the organic-waste outside to the bin. I didn’t do any washing.. And I didn’t finish my calendar page.

I am about to go to bed. It’s much later than I’d planned. Tomorrow I will wish I’d gone to bed earlier. That, too, is something I’m good at.

*okay, so obviously I do pay the phone company, it just doesn’t bother them if I phone anyone or not..