hillarygayle: (Coffee!)
It's a desperately needed laundry day here in the Creechdom. This means I'm in the basement. The basement is the Nurse Cave, which I use for studying, but it's also the home of an extra fridge, the washer & dryer, some extra shelving, the utility sink, and my staging area for steaming clothes (I don't iron but I do have a hand-held Shark clothing steamer instead). Being down here makes me feel a little like I'm abandoning Bryan & Ganon to themselves, but on the other hand, they're both playing their video games and I am content doing my thing down here. I've been puttering around on Facebook, and now I'm playing with Peach on my iPhone.

Aside: if any of you are on Peach (iOS only for now), I'm HillaryGayle. It's a fun little app, and it's going to be my pocket social media outlet when I give up Facebook for Lent (and decide whether I wish to give it up for good).

So I missed the Friday Five on New Year's Day! I didn't realize that.

1. What is your favorite food?
That's such a difficult question. I have different favorites for different times of the year, different temperatures and types of weather, different locations, different events. I suppose I will go with my favorite food this time of year for the cold weather: avocado toast. It's very simple: just a piece of toast with an avocado squished on it, seasoned to taste. Since I mainly love them in January, I tend to put very warming spices on them like chili powder and pepper and hot sauce (particularly Cholula).

2. What was your favorite food when you were a kid?
I would have to say my mom's french toast, which is still one of my favorite things when we're at the cabin during the summer. It's good for breakfast but it's also good that same afternoon, when you're starving for a snack after swimming for hours in the river and there are leftovers from breakfast. :)

3. What is the best tasting, quick to cook meal that you make for yourself?
The aforementioned avocado toast is incredibly quick and easy. Slow-cooker meals are by definition not quick, but they are ultra low maintenance. Quick to prepare, and quick to eat at the end of the day, so that's convenient.

We do like buffalo chicken pizza. Get a prepared pizza crust, then some shredded cooked chicken. Mix the chicken with your favorite buffalo sauce, then dump it on the crust. Top the whole thing with your favorite cheese mix; mine is a Kroger brand "Mexican" blend of monterrey jack and cheddar.

4. What is your favorite food to order in a restaurant?
I like to order complicated, several-step dishes that I wouldn't make myself at home. I'm particularly fond of eating dessert in restaurants, since I don't make them much at home.

5. If you could go anywhere in the world to any restaurant, what would you order for yourself?
I would like to eat at Sukibayashi Jiro (the sushi bar in the documentary "Jiro Dreams of Sushi") and let the chef choose the menu. In fact, that's something I recommend at many sushi bars: just let the chef choose what to feed you. If you love fish of all kinds, it's a very adventurous way to discover new types of sushi you might not have chosen for yourself.
hillarygayle: (Miyazawa looking up)
We are about to re-organize a large part of our den, otherwise known as the Nerd Cave. I've just gone through my desk & my storage cubicles. I was pretty brutal. Threw away a TON of stuff. Bryan did the same for his desk, and we ordered lunch. Ruby Tuesday, while it has online ordering, was most disappointing. They forgot to put a pretzel bun on Bryan's PRETZEL burger, and the cheese fries, which promised to be layered with queso, had not a drop of queso on them. I think I will stick to Sonic for cheese fries in the future!

We are moving my small desk to the basement, where I do most of my school stuff. I hide in a cave during the winter, y'know. :) Bryan's desk currently resides behind the couch, where it isn't very useful because it's crowded to walk back there. Mostly it just became a place for things to land & not be used. Most of it either got thrown away or put into storage containers. His desk will be moved to where my small desk & storage cubes were; my storage cubes will move to the back wall of the Nerd Cave where his desk once was. All this shuffling will improve the flow of the den; there will be a desk where we usually use a desk, and storage where we rarely use anything. When we moved into this house, we put things where we thought we'd use them; now that we've lived here for a few years, we're re-arranging so that things actually belong where we usually need them.

It looks like school starts at a prime time for me this year. The first week in August is when UTHSC starts, and it's also the time of year I always start to get tired of summer. By the beginning of August, the heat has worn me down. This particular summer, the TRAVEL has worn me down & the mosquitoes at home haven't helped. I'm almost looking forward to the first freeze during the fall, which will mark the absolute end of the mosquitoes this year. I can't imagine how bad the mosquito problem would be if Jonesboro didn't contract a pest control service.

I'm looking forward to clinicals this year! I'm going to be working with a physician in the hospitalist group at NEA Baptist Hospital. It's new, it's fancy, & I get to learn there! Speaking to Dr. H about working with him was most funny.

Him: There's a drawback to you working with me this fall, however. The hospital is switching EMR programs to a new software called Epic. It's going to be a really rough ride when we make the switch.
Me: *mad giggling* Oh, I think I might be pretty good for that. I survived actually working through St. B's software switch. Also, did I mention nursing was a second career, & I had once been a software support technician? You can give me a cup of coffee & a new program, and in 30 minutes I'll tell you things you didn't know it did!
Him: ...I think I am going to love you.

Two of my classes are didactic and one is clinical, so while I'm carrying 10 hours again I don't think it will feel like the same KIND of 10 hours it did this last semester. Spring 2014 felt very overwhelming in terms of sheer book/screen time, though we had a few clinical hours. I think Fall 2014 is going to feel less sedentary for all of us.

Bryan is on his way back with sodas (and Sonic ice waters!) for all of us, and then we are going to hit the organization again!
hillarygayle: (Hottie Daffodil Sunglasses)
I realized I have not been keeping LJ updated on the continuing saga of our microwave. I told it in bullet points in an email this morning, & I like that format so we're gonna continue it here.

  • Leave for Wakarusa

  • Get a phone call from Q saying the microwave is dead.

  • Come home, microwave is indeed dead.

  • Check outlet, check breaker (both of which Q had already done, of course).

  • Microwave is dead as a doornail.

  • Being the search for a new microwave. Don't find one.

  • Take a trip to Hardy.

  • Come home, buy a floor model microwave at Home Depot.

  • Wait 2 days for Daddy to install.

  • During installation, find that we are missing one vital piece for installation.

  • Go to Home Depot. Receive exactly no help & piss poor customer service.

  • Come back home.

  • Take microwave back to Home Depot. Receive better service but still no part.

  • Return microwave.

  • Do not find any other in-stock microwaves that are acceptable.

  • Go to Lowe's.

  • Find a great, brand new microwave on sale for $160 down from $260.

  • Buy it.

  • Wait 2 days for Daddy to install.

  • Open microwave, find buckling & denting consistent with very hard drop or fall.

  • Scream.

  • Take microwave back to Lowe's.

  • Customer service lady insists on return.

  • Bryan suggests exchange would be easier.

  • Customer service lady insists on return.

  • Return microwave.

  • Find that they have the same one in stock.

  • Take it to register, find that the sale is over & it's again $260.

  • Inform manager of issue.

  • Manager honors sale price.

  • Manager asks customer service lady "Why didn't you just do an exchange?"

  • Scream.

  • Bring home.

  • Wait one more day for Daddy to come install.

That's where we are now. So we have been an entire month without a microwave, and let me tell you, I did NOT realize how much we used it. Especially for leftovers. If you don't have a working microwave, leftovers are not nearly as convenient.

In other home improvement news, my basement has a sink! I have always been confused as to why it didn't have a sink in the first place. The laundry has always been in the basement from the time the house was built in 1979. With the house being that old, I can't imagine why they didn't put a sink down here in the first place. In the 70s, there were a lot more hand-wash clothing items & pre-treating stains was much more labor intensive. Plus, if you ever have to rinse something off or pour something out, you had to go upstairs. Not anymore! It took the plumbers only from 8am-10:30am to finish it, too. We were concerned it might be complicated by the fact that the tiny basement corner that contains the washer & dryer (and thus the water & drainage lines) is a reinforced concrete safe room. There was a possibility that drilling through the wall was going to be a giant pain, but it was ok. They had to use what they called a "hammer drill" but whatever. It worked quick, & I got a sink! It will allow me to rinse things out before laundry, pour out my cold coffee when I'm studying (I use the basement as my school "office"), but most importantly: the dehumidifier!

We have a dehumidifier in the basement. I notice when it's running, the entire house feels less humid. Problem was, without a sink down here, we had to use the dehumidifier basin & then empty it out in the washing machine as it got full. This meant it would never run more than 6-8 hours before needing emptied, at which point it would either turn itself off or leak (only a couple of times). Now we can set it beside the sink & run a hose so that it's constantly emptying into the drain, and it can run continuously!

We've actually been doing a LOT of great organization around here. Bryan is very good at thinking of organizational systems. We both create them. Then I am very good at maintaining those systems & tweaking them as our needs change. Ganon has gotten to the point where he can help us with things, like picking up & sorting his toys without being told each step to take. He can make his own bed now, as well. We made a toy organizational system in his room and we put a new set of closet organizers in mine & Bryan's room. It helped with a LOT of stuff.

I've also gotten someone to start cleaning my house every other week. This took a lot of hemming & hawing & wincing on my part. It triggers a LOT of feelings of inadequacy: why can't I keep my house as clean as I want it? The truth is, when the house is clean & organized, I feel much better. My mind is much clearer, I am less distracted, & I feel less foggy. That said, I'm not a very good housekeeper. I let things get cluttery a lot. When we clean up, we do a surface clean on an urgent basis, usually because people are coming over. I don't think about moving furniture to clean under it. I don't clean things up unless I can SEE the mess and it bothers me, or it's stopping me from doing something.  I do feel bad that I'm not the Tazmanian Cleanliness Devil my mother is. I feel guilty about it. But the fact is I'm not, and I decided to grit my teeth & shoot a text to a nice lady who came very highly recommended by 2 of my former coworkers. Any lady recommended by 2 nurses (especially 2 that I know personally) is probably a good fit.

Thus did Hurricane Olga come to hit my house yesterday while I was out. I figured she would be good, so I wasn't too fazed by the price she set me. When I came home, I realized I'd gotten one HELL of a bargain. The floors gleamed. Every horizontal surface was shiny. The bathtubs were so clean you could eat off them. The toilets looked immaculate. EVERYTHING looked immaculate! I was SO impressed.

She's going to come every other week. I feel like this is a great arrangement. So I'm not that great a housekeeper under normal circumstances: fine. But with Olga coming every 2 weeks, I will have a reason to keep the horizontal surfaces uncluttered (so she can wipe or dust), things put away, & laundry not overflowing onto the floor. Every 2 weeks it will be exactly this clean once again, and when something starts out clean, it makes you less likely to mess it up. Ganon made his bed this morning, & so did Bryan & I. I think this is going to be a worthwhile expenditure.

Yesterday I drove [livejournal.com profile] girlwithoutfear  the airport. She has a convention where she's going to sell jewelry in Nevada. There was a lot of going back & forth with [livejournal.com profile] asqmh & Bryan about things that Olga needed, & whether I knew where they were, etc. on the drive. But we got her there on time, & then Ganon & I went off to get my annual drug test for school.
We arrived at LabCorp (what a difficult place to find!) and went to the 7th floor...where they told me I couldn't have my drug test because Ganon was with me. What? It is apparently their policy. It's too "dangerous" to leave him in the waiting area by himself, but he couldn't go back with me & stand outside the door or come into the testing bathroom with me. I think the ladies genuinely started to feel bad for me when I asked why he couldn't just come in with me. "Because you might have him pee in the cup!" I must have looked as astonished as I felt, because they kinda started to sadly laugh.

"I guess if that's the policy, you must've actually had someone TRY that?!" I asked incredulously. They said they had.

Hating the world at that moment, I stomped angrily down to the lobby (Ganon apologized that he made me miss my drug test, & I told him it certainly was NOT his fault) and fired off some very colorfully worded texts to Q & Bryan to get my frustration out. Also Bryan usually has some great ideas. He was asking about [livejournal.com profile] thejessone, since she lives in Little Rock. "She worked last night. She's asleep," I told him, not wanting to wake her up. She sleeps little enough as it is, and when you wake her up she almost never goes back to sleep. Just as I hit send on that text & went back to scowling at the world...Jess walked in the door of the lobby.

I just stared at her for a second before my brain kicked back into gear. I called her name, and then she stared at ME for about the same amount of time. We both asked what the other was doing there, though in retrospect I'm the one who deserves that question more since she actually lives in Little Rock. :) We were both there for a drug test! Hers is for the agency she signed on with for travel nursing. I know she made my day for sure, and she told me that it made her day 1000% better that she'd met up with us.

An incredible accidental meeting like that certainly deserves lunch. We ate at Panera. :)
Tomorrow, Q & Bryan & I leave for the Lake of the Ozarks to spend a weekend with our friend Rob & his wife at their lake house! I'm pretty excited. It sounds like a lot of fun. SWIMMMMMMMMING! Games! Nintendo 3DS! Rob's cooking!
hillarygayle: (With Chopsticks!)
I realized I have not been keeping LJ updated on the continuing saga of our microwave. I told it in bullet points in an email this morning, & I like that format so we're gonna continue it here.

Leave for Wakarusa
Get a phone call from Q saying the microwave is dead.
Come home, microwave is indeed dead.
Check outlet, check breaker (both of which Q had already done, of course).
Microwave is dead as a doornail.
Being the search for a new microwave. Don't find one.
Take a trip to Hardy.
Come home, buy a floor model microwave at Home Depot.
Wait 2 days for Daddy to install.
During installation, find that we are missing one vital piece for installation.
Go to Home Depot. Receive exactly no help & piss poor customer service.
Come back home.
Take microwave back to Home Depot. Receive better service but still no part.
Return microwave.
Do not find any other in-stock microwaves that are acceptable.
Go to Lowe's.
Find a great, brand new microwave on sale for $160 down from $260.
Buy it.
Wait 2 days for Daddy to install.
Open microwave, find buckling & denting consistent with very hard drop or fall.
Scream.
Take microwave back to Lowe's.
Customer service lady insists on return.
Bryan suggests exchange would be easier.
Customer service lady insists on return.
Return microwave.
Find that they have the same one in stock.
Take it to register, find that the sale is over & it's again $260.
Inform manager of issue.
Manager honors sale price.
Manager asks customer service lady "Why didn't you just do an exchange?"
Scream.
Bring home.
Wait one more day for Daddy to come install.

That's where we are now. So we have been an entire month without a microwave, and let me tell you, I did NOT realize how much we used it. Especially for leftovers. If you don't have a working microwave, leftovers are not nearly as convenient.

In other home improvement news, my basement has a sink! I have always been confused as to why it didn't have a sink in the first place. The laundry has always been in the basement from the time the house was built in 1979. With the house being that old, I can't imagine why they didn't put a sink down here in the first place. In the 70s, there were a lot more hand-wash clothing items & pre-treating stains was much more labor intensive. Plus, if you ever have to rinse something off or pour something out, you had to go upstairs. Not anymore! It took the plumbers only from 8am-10:30am to finish it, too. We were concerned it might be complicated by the fact that the tiny basement corner that contains the washer & dryer (and thus the water & drainage lines) is a reinforced concrete safe room. There was a possibility that drilling through the wall was going to be a giant pain, but it was ok. They had to use what they called a "hammer drill" but whatever. It worked quick, & I got a sink! It will allow me to rinse things out before laundry, pour out my cold coffee when I'm studying (I use the basement as my school "office"), but most importantly: the dehumidifier!

We have a dehumidifier in the basement. I notice when it's running, the entire house feels less humid. Problem was, without a sink down here, we had to use the dehumidifier basin & then empty it out in the washing machine as it got full. This meant it would never run more than 6-8 hours before needing emptied, at which point it would either turn itself off or leak (only a couple of times). Now we can set it beside the sink & run a hose so that it's constantly emptying into the drain, and it can run continuously!

We've actually been doing a LOT of great organization around here. Bryan is very good at thinking of organizational systems. We both create them. Then I am very good at maintaining those systems & tweaking them as our needs change. Ganon has gotten to the point where he can help us with things, like picking up & sorting his toys without being told each step to take. He can make his own bed now, as well. We made a toy organizational system in his room and we put a new set of closet organizers in mine & Bryan's room. It helped with a LOT of stuff.

I've also gotten someone to start cleaning my house every other week. This took a lot of hemming & hawing & wincing on my part. It triggers a LOT of feelings of inadequacy: why can't I keep my house as clean as I want it? The truth is, when the house is clean & organized, I feel much better. My mind is much clearer, I am less distracted, & I feel less foggy. That said, I'm not a very good housekeeper. I let things get cluttery a lot. When we clean up, we do a surface clean on an urgent basis, usually because people are coming over. I don't think about moving furniture to clean under it. I don't clean things up unless I can SEE the mess and it bothers me, or it's stopping me from doing something. I do feel bad that I'm not the Tazmanian Cleanliness Devil my mother is. I feel guilty about it. But the fact is I'm not, and I decided to grit my teeth & shoot a text to a nice lady who came very highly recommended by 2 of my former coworkers. Any lady recommended by 2 nurses (especially 2 that I know personally) is probably a good fit.

Thus did Hurricane Olga come to hit my house yesterday while I was out. I figured she would be good, so I wasn't too fazed by the price she set me. When I came home, I realized I'd gotten one HELL of a bargain. The floors gleamed. Every horizontal surface was shiny. The bathtubs were so clean you could eat off them. The toilets looked immaculate. EVERYTHING looked immaculate! I was SO impressed.

She's going to come every other week. I feel like this is a great arrangement. So I'm not that great a housekeeper under normal circumstances: fine. But with Olga coming every 2 weeks, I will have a reason to keep the horizontal surfaces uncluttered (so she can wipe or dust), things put away, & laundry not overflowing onto the floor. Every 2 weeks it will be exactly this clean once again, and when something starts out clean, it makes you less likely to mess it up. Ganon made his bed this morning, & so did Bryan & I. I think this is going to be a worthwhile expenditure.

Yesterday I drove Alice to the airport. She has a convention where she's going to sell jewelry in Nevada. There was a lot of going back & forth with asqmh & Bryan about things that Olga needed, & whether I knew where they were, etc. on the drive. But we got her there on time, & then Ganon & I went off to get my annual drug test for school.

We arrived at LabCorp (what a difficult place to find!) and went to the 7th floor...where they told me I couldn't have my drug test because Ganon was with me. What? It is apparently their policy. It's too "dangerous" to leave him in the waiting area by himself, but he couldn't go back with me & stand outside the door or come into the testing bathroom with me. I think the ladies genuinely started to feel bad for me when I asked why he couldn't just come in with me. "Because you might have him pee in the cup!" I must have looked as astonished as I felt, because they kinda started to sadly laugh.

"I guess if that's the policy, you must've actually had someone TRY that?!" I asked incredulously. They said they had.

Hating the world at that moment, I stomped angrily down to the lobby (Ganon apologized that he made me miss my drug test, & I told him it certainly was NOT his fault) and fired off some very colorfully worded texts to Q & Bryan to get my frustration out. Also Bryan usually has some great ideas. He was asking about Jess, since she lives in Little Rock. "She worked last night. She's asleep," I told him, not wanting to wake her up. She sleeps little enough as it is, and when you wake her up she almost never goes back to sleep. Just as I hit send on that text & went back to scowling at the world...Jess walked in the door of the lobby.

I just stared at her for a second before my brain kicked back into gear. I called her name, and then she stared at ME for about the same amount of time. We both asked what the other was doing there, though in retrospect I'm the one who deserves that question more since she actually LIVES in the town! We were both there for a drug test! Hers is for the agency she signed on with for travel nursing. I know she made my day for sure, and she told me that it made her day 1000% better that she'd met up with us.

An incredible accidental meeting like that certainly deserves lunch. We ate at Panera. :)

Tomorrow, Q & Bryan & I leave for the Lake of the Ozarks to spend a weekend with our friend Rob & his wife at their lake house! I'm pretty excited. It sounds like a lot of fun. SWIMMMMMMMMING! Games! Nintendo 3DS! Rob's cooking!

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