Random Bits

  • My doctor’s appointment went really well.  One, I am not crazy, and two she said my weight was “perfect”.  Perfect! Who doesn’t love that?  I wanted to run right out and eat a hot fudge sundae.  As for the not crazy part, wheat could very well be making feel cranky and causing my joint pain.  It is normal for changes to occur with age and the wheat intolerance could be a new thing and not even related to my thyroid issue.  Hmmm.   So this week I am back to avoiding wheat and  expecting to feel on top of the world again by Friday.  My thyroid antibody level is good, well in the normal range.  If I feel bad in the spring I will get tested again.  The doctor doesn’t think there is a known (proven) link between allergies and hypothyroidism but every person is unique and  I may have one.  Hmmm. 
  • What has been crazy is this heat. I really don’t want to leave the house or cook or do anything the least bit strenuous. There have been a few days where I wait until late afternoon when the sun is less intense before even getting in the pool.  I call this nauseating heat or crazy heat, as in I must be crazy to live here.

 

  • Summer lasagna. I have been doing pretty well using my CSA items each week. We had a couple of eggplant we had picked when we picked apples right before school started and I made ratatouille which was okay but not a fave. So when we got 2 eggplant in our CSA box I was a little stumped as to what to make. It was much too hot for a traditional eggplant parmesan but then I found a different recipe for a lighter version and modified that a bit more to keep things easy. I cut the eggplant into ~1/2 in slices, skin on and brushed both sides with garlic olive oil. I broiled each side for about 5 minutes then put it in a baking dish. I topped the broiled eggplant with leftover homemade spaghetti sauce that I had in the freezer. This sauce had ground turkey and diced summer squash in it . Then I threw a layer of mozzarella on top. That was it. I popped it in a 375 oven, set the timer for 30 minutes and went and jumped in the pool. When we came in the house it smelled just like lasagna and the taste? Wonderful and yet light enough for the heat wave. I could not believe how much we loved it.

 

  • My new downstairs office.  Not really loving it.  I miss the privacy and space upstairs, having a desk to spread things out on and a bulletin board to hang things on. My new space works okay during the day when I am home alone but I have given up trying to get anything done after 3:00p.  I still have no idea where to hide Christmas presents or the Santa wrapping paper.  I am still working on finding the best way to organize paperwork.  One positive side of the move is the view out the side window.  In the mornings I set up my workspace in the dining room.  (i.e. take my laptop out of the drawer and put it on the table.)  Then I open the dining room sheers and I have an unimpeded view of our grassy side yard and trees. I  can actually forget I am in the desert with this view. Since the window faces west it is nice and cool in the mornings but the sun in the late afternoon makes the room too warm to be comfortable  and too glary to see well.  So I close the sheers again.  Now I am wondering if I need to buy and install a second curtain rod so I can close the regular curtains in the afternoon.  I have put buy and install second curtain rod on the to do list. (Done!  I will get to test it out this afternoon.)

 

  • Right now I am drowning in good books to read.  This happens every once in awhile.  Sort of like your eyes are bigger than your stomach adage.  Yesterday I started reading “Agatha Christie’s Secret Notebooks”  by John Curran despite being in the middle of “Some Luck” by Jane Smiley and “Bertram’s Hotel” by Agatha Christie.   I need to pick up “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up” from the library as after a very long wait it is finally my turn.  And I have four more library books on my shelf waiting patiently to be read.

I have words to write and words to read, Life is Good.

The Big Swap (in Pictures)

My son and I swapped spaces right after we returned from the mountains.  We moved his play area upstairs into the extra bedroom that was my office and my office downstairs into the living room/dining room area.  After some internal deliberation I decided it made sense to do the swap before school started. My son wanted to do it right away, I wanted to do it the week school starts (he goes back on a Thursday) so we compromised to a date in the middle.

Here are some before pictures:

Downstairs play area in what is supposed to be the formal living room.
Downstairs play area in what is supposed to be the formal living room.
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What will be my son’s half of the closet upstairs.
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Baker’s rack staying in the upstairs play area.
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My half of the closet that I am keeping.
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The table I use as my desk, a general view of how the room was set up as my office.

 

We spent two days lugging items up and down the stairs, moving furniture and cleaning.

After photos:

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The start of my son’s Lego City.  He kept the table and those houses are on a “mountain”.
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His side of the closet.
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My side of the closet, not too bad.

 

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We swapped the treadmill and the baker’s rack to give more open floor space.  I kept the top two shelves of the baker’s rack.  (He can’t reach them anyway and I needed a place for photo albums!)

It already looks messy but that is okay.  That is why we moved the toys upstairs.

And here is the downstairs:

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The living room area now looks like a living room.
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The dining area with “my office” in the background.
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Play area storage is now my office, piece one.
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Piece two. My printer is inside on a slide out shelf.
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I love my dog table!
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Most of the time I work at the dining room table but piece two is set up for a desktop computer.  I store my laptop in the drawer with the all the wires for the printer and power tucked inside and I can work there too. I brought my chair down to use because it is on wheels, easier than moving a dining room chair and more comfortable.
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My son and I each had a cubby so we just swapped contents.  I like how the cubby and my office chair are hidden from the front door by the couch.
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So basically my new office is in the entry hall. It seems a little odd but hey, it works.  (I have a lamp shade coming in the mail. I needed an odd size and couldn’t find one around here.  I stumbled on a vintage burgundy plaid one that is the right size on Etsy!)
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I like how the office area isn’t “in your face” when you are sitting in the living room.  From the couch you don’t even notice it.

I am very happy with how all my stuff fits into the space.  So far my only concerns have been a lack of privacy for me (the first few days every time I got on my computer my son and/or husband appeared over my shoulder commenting on what I was looking at) and I don’t think my son loves being upstairs alone as much as he thought he would.  I believe both problems will be solved with the start of school.

A few other changes that were a result of the swap:

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This wonderful nightstand moved from my old office to the upstairs hallway and makes an excellent place for a very large dictionary.

Remember how I wasn’t loving the way my Agatha Christie’s fit on the wicker shelf?

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I finally came up with a solution.  I swapped the wicker shelf for a wider, shorter bookshelf I had in my bedroom.

 

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I like the way this looks much better, more space.
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The wicker shelf re-purposed in the bedroom.  Better for the wicker, less weight.

So there you have it, one major reorganization project finished.

 

 

The Need for Change

Since we have decided against moving, at least for now, I have found myself looking for more ways to improve our use of space. On paper and in theory using the living room space as a play area works really well. The only problem is my son is terrible at putting things away. Right now he is into legos so you can imagine what the floor looks like. The other problem is it is a sort of small space and he frequently spills over into the walkway right in the path of the front door.

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This is the play area

At this point I am pretty tired of:  a. picking up toys,  b. yelling at E to put the toys away and  c. trying to reason with a 7 year old about being a slob. So one day when I had the house to myself I sat in the living room/play area and thought about the problem and possible solutions. Then I sat in my upstairs office and thought about how I utilized that space.

I really like my office. I like having my own space filled with mementos and everything fairly neat and tidy. I liked having some storage for my art and crafts supplies. But how often did I really use the room?   Could I give up my office for a much tidier downstairs?  Could I find a way to make the play area storage work for my stuff?  Would I miss having my own private-ish space?

I looked at all the furniture and all the stuff that would need to be swapped around and physically I thought it would work. We would probably need to pare down a little but we have been doing that for the last year and I was okay with more de-cluttering.
I think the biggest obstacle is mental.  Can I give up my “girl cave”?  Where will I hide Christmas presents?  Will I be able to work downstairs?  Will I miss having all my bits and baubles displayed?  How much can I move to my bedroom?  Many questions to mull over.

My son’s bedroom is very small but I had hopes of one day fitting all of his toys and a place to do homework in there. This is not realistic. One day in the not too distant future we are going to have to create a quiet study spot for him. The dining room table works well for now, but not forever.  The number one reason the play area was created downstairs was because my son was only 2 1/2 when we moved in and he liked to be near me.  It was also easier to keep an eye on him.  Now that he is getting older that isn’t such a concern.  Is he ready to play alone upstairs?  Probably.  I noticed after school last year he spent more time in his room.

While I debated the pros and cons of giving up my office space I thought about my dream of the future.  In my imagination I always see myself in a small house with one bedroom and one big L shaped living area.  No office,  lots of built in shelves and a table to work at.  Maybe it would be good to do this as a test run.  With E in school all day the downstairs will be quiet.

E loves the idea.  He is tired of being asked to put things away all the time.  I am going to continue to cogitate on this for awhile.  After we get back from our next trip I am going to get estimates to replace the flooring  downstairs.  If we do the swap it would be logical to do it in conjunction with the floor replacement  since we have to pack everything up and move the furniture around anyway.   I also want to wait until school starts again.

Even with all the mess I like having E around.  He, in the play area building a tiny lego town and me in the dining area working on a craft project or on the computer, close enough to hear what he is doing without being on top of him.  A mother has to do this letting go stuff slowly, baby steps.  My head says the new arrangement would work well for both E and I.  My heart however seems to be feeling some growing pains.