Monday, September 29, 2008


First, some follow-up items.

I have no idea what kind of gourd we grew. The only thing I know to do with them is to let them dry out, then turn them into birdfeeders. Or use them as decorations. I don't think you can eat them. Then again, until last year I didn't really believe you could eat squash either.

Got the family room steam cleaned. Cleaning Marathon 2008 is officially over.

I used Melyssa's idea to organize our hats, gloves, mittens, scarves and earmuffs. At least sort of. I found 3 rubbermaid containers with locking lids and assigned us each one. We sorted our stuff and filled them. Violet's is on the floor where she can easily reach it. Mr. Incredible and I each have one on the top shelf of the hall closet. Guess who had the most stuff and can't get the lid on his? That's right, Mr. Incredible. I don't want to hear a word from him if I buy anything new.

New Business.

Violet and I went to the fabric store today. We bought fuzzy red material to cover the old pillows from that icky old loveseat we threw out. It will look like we skinned Elmo and used his hide. Not a bad idea really. Elmo gets on my nerves. Thank goodness Violet always preferred the old Sesame Streets to the new. They used to show them on Noggin.

We also bought some material to make a new valence for her bedroom. She chose a black material with a cat pattern on it. And for some highlights, a light tan with paw prints. We got plain black for the back. I think it will work. I've done curtains before. I'm really not a very good seamstress. I hope I don't swear too much in front of her while we are trying this project.

And we also bought a lavender with horses on it that we are going to make into a pillow case for her. Violet really liked it but there wasn't much on the bolt and she couldn't really find anything that matched it to use as the valence. So we thought of pillow case.

I'll post pictures as we complete the projects.

Did you know that homeschool teachers can get a 15% discount card at Jo-Ann Fabrics? I had no idea. But while we were shopping there was an advertisement for it over their system. So we went to the customer service desk and got my card. No questions asked. The discount is even on sale items. We saved a bundle.

Today has been icky, cold and rainy. Very typical fall weather. Hope you are all off to a great start for your week!

Sunday, September 28, 2008


Violet and I picked our gourd today. We have a few tiny ones still growing on the vine that we are hoping will get bigger before our first frost. I'm glad we harvested this one before any bugs or anything got to it. Violet is thinking about trying to carve it or paint it for Halloween.

Mr. Incredible got the pool down today. I'm am all set to steam clean the family room tomorrow morning. And I got the laundry room cleaned today. I think my spring cleaning is almost done.

We held a funeral for Lucy the Hermit Crab. She actually passed away last year, but has been sitting in her shell in her house all this time. Don't ask.

The air was definitely crisp and fall is on its way. Not too many leaves turning yet, but they will soon. Time to start thinking snowshoeing, snowmen and hot chocolate.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Feeling groovy

No haven't been sniffing the catnip again, just feeling silly tonight. I think I'm a bit loopy from lack of sleep.

Violet had a terrible time sleeping last night and woke up feeling awful. But after a good breakfast and a walk around the block for some fresh air and sunshine, she was feeling top notch. At least top enough to go to open gymnastics. So we went.

She did her usual, very slow to warm up. But the nice thing is the gym is owned by a homeschool family. The dad was running it today. We didn't know them before, they run in the Christian homeschool circles and we don't. He was very nice and the gym was great.

Two of Violet's good friends showed up. They did some stuff together, and she did most of her stuff on her own. She likes swinging on the bars, walking on the really low beam, and the trampoline. She kept bumping body parts on stuff and would come over to me and the other mom we knew almost in tears. But she kept going back. We think it was from lack of sleep, messed with her coordination. As we were getting into the car she asked if we could go again next week. I'd say it was a success.

Got our Rainbow Resource order today. I bought more Young Scientist Club kits. They've been a BIG hit here. With both of us. We also got the next Editor in Chief level for grammar, another big hit. I also bought a surprise: Borderline, a geography card game much line Uno or Crazy Eights, but with states. It looks like fun.

Violet and Mr. Incredible have a lunch date for Sunday. No Mamas allowed. :) I like it when they take off together and have their own thing. I think it is really important for them. And I really don't mind missing lunch at McDonald's!

This weekend I need to work, but there isn't an overwhelming amount. I plan to clean that last room as well. And I expect to get quite a bit to process from Girl Scout troops for their fall registrations. The "on time" registration is due October 1. Personally, I never got excited over "on time" registration, but it is nice for me to know when they will all be turning their forms in.

Violet just stopped by asking to play the new card game. Gotta go.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Status Quo

Things are going pretty smoothly around here. I am still pleased with the amount of cleaning I've gotten done. I just have one room left to steam clean. And to clean the laundry room. I'm not sure what I'll do with some of the junk that has accumulated in there.

I need a way to organize mittens, gloves, hats, scarves, ear muffs and other cold weather gear. The current organizational method I use is: toss them all on the top shelf of the hall closet, not be able to find a match, say a few bad words, finally find a match, and leave them on the dryer after the wearer of the cold weather gear returns from the great outdoors. There are still gloves sitting on the dryer from last winter. If you have a better method than mine, I'd love it if you shared.

Today I went out and got my driver's license renewed. I was up for an eye exam. Mr. Incredible says that the eye exam was just a ruse to get me to get a new license with RFID chip or tag or whatever embedded in it. He said he thought Illinois had been fighting that. I didn't admit I had no idea what he was talking about. I like to look smart around him. He looked at my new license but wasn't sure if it had whatever it was in it.

I'm lucky I got my license. First I got lost in the maze of ropes trying to get up to the front desk. No wait, very first I tried to enter through the exit door that has no handle on the outside. Then I got lost in the ropes once I got in the building. They probably would not have issued me a walking license. My horoscope probably says, "Today you will be at your ditziest."

Violet's new leotard arrived yesterday and it looks great. I think we are going to open gymnastics tomorrow. Unless she finds a new reason to chicken out. That's okay if she does. It should be a fun thing. I won't force her to go. But I'm all for taking her if she wants to go.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

More progress

Today Mr. Incredible started draining and cleaning the pool to take down for winter. I should have gotten a picture of the pool cover hanging over the swingset. It was amusing. I went ahead and cleaned the upstairs carpeting by the landing and in our bedroom. I'm really pleased with how it looks. I didn't move everything out and do wall to wall, I did the heavily trafficked (and puked on) areas. I think it looks fine. Tomorrow (pending disasters like an emergency from work) I am going to do the carpeting in our front room. Later this week I'll do the family room. Then the steam cleaner is getting put away for another 5 years or so.

Violet got to play with Red today (her friend Red from across the street, not my blogging friend Red. I'd call the friend Little Red, but I call her little sister that. It will just have to be potentially confusing.) They made themselves peanut butter and jelly sandwiches here. Then played at Red's house for a while. Reaching the age of being able to make their own snacks and lunches was certainly a great milestone!

We went out to try to find Violet a new leotard but came up bust. She didn't care for the styles she saw or else they weren't in her size. She did get some new socks and a new shirt for fall/winter. We got some other stuff we needed, then went to Taco Bell for dinner. On the way home we saw a hot air balloon that was quite close. So it was a fun trip.

When we got home I looked online for a leotard, just on a lark, and found one that Violet loved at Walmart on clearance for $6! They had some sort of promotion going on and shipping was only 97 cents! I couldn't have driven to the store for that. It should arrive later this week or early next. She might not have it in time for this Friday's open gymnastics, but for next week's for sure. Hooray for Walmart!

And thanks for the job offers but I'm only doing all this cleaning and organizing here and not going professional (and sorry to disappoint but I will just be wearing my usual t-shirt and baggy shorts and no outfits :wink:). There have been so many things that have gotten neglected over the years, I really want to get this place back in shape again. I hate having people over with big stains on the carpet, cracked windows and piles of clutter everywhere. I guess sometimes appearances do matter to me.

In a few weeks we have a night booked in Wisconsin Dells. The in-laws gave us a gift card for Christmas last year and we are finally using it. After that will be our yearly vacation, then Thanksgiving and then we all know time flies out the window until mid-January. So these next couple of weeks are the last hurrah for the big cleaning projects. I've liked getting all this done, but I'll be ready for a break!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Busy Saturday

We were busy today, and we never left home.

I've been working on cleaning out rooms and today was my home office's turn. Everything had been moved out so the broken window could be replaced. Nothing was going back in that didn't need to. You know how every house has that one room where things get dumped when company comes over? That's my home office. Nothing ever left it.

Mr. Incredible took a bunch of old computer equipment out for me. I recycled old papers. Old school projects got boxed up. My Girl Scout paperwork was sorted out and organized. I even tried all the pens on my desk and tossed the ones that didn't work any more.

It isn't completely done, but it is a lot better.

On Monday I plan to move stuff around in the master bedroom and the path between our door and the stairs and steam clean the carpeting. For some reason that area seems to attract the cats when their little tummies are upset. So there will be more sorting and a trip to the Salvation Army will be in order. I'll have to keep myself from dropping off at the back door and going in the front door to buy more stuff I don't need. It is so tempting.

Red came over for a bit today to play with Violet. But she had brand new glasses, just gotten this morning, and she started feeling dizzy. We walked her back home so she could take them off for a bit. Violet was bummed, but understood that it takes some getting used to new glasses.

Mr. Incredible canceled part of our satellite service and signed us up for a plan that will better match what we watch on TV. We're thinking of signing up for NetFlix. I called an canceled one of our extra phone lines yesterday. I used it for a fax line before we did so much via the internet for work. I really don't use it any more. We are just accomplishing things left and right.

I still haven't gotten our school day theater account straightened out yet. Did I tell you they didn't correctly credit our account for our payment I made in June? I paid in full for our performances and they only entered it as a 25% deposit. I've made 3 phone calls and sent a fax to the business manager and she hasn't returned any of my messages. Monday I call the general manager. This is ridiculous.

But despite the ongoing war with the theater, and the fact that I have to find a new gyne, and I need to get my driver's license renewed, we are making progress. So much in fact that I declared it pizza night and we ordered in.

We work hard. We deserve it. And it was yummy.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Crap, now what do I do?

I called the clinic to schedule my yearly exam with my nurse practitioner. You know, that exam. Guess what they tell me? My NP retired at the end of June! Now what?

The clinic is in my hometown. I only went there because Violet could stay with my mom, and the NP came highly recommended by my mom. Mom was right, she was great. But I really don't want to drive back there all the time if I can find someone closer.

I didn't care much for the guy who was my ob when I was pregnant with Violet. I never felt like he listened all that well. He assumed what my questions were, and often got them wrong. I loved the young doctor who actually delivered Violet, but her main office is just as far away and not in the direction of anyone who could watch Violet.

I'm 41 years old and I must have seen at least 15 different gynes over the years. None have been horrible. Even the ob. I liked him, just not that much. I loved the woman I saw back in college. But she only works in the campus clinic. What to do, what to do.

There's a new clinic opening up really close to our house. It is in our health plan. I could try that guy out. He's affiliated with the hospital and mammography clinic I really like. How bad can it be? Maybe he's the guy for me.

It is so unfair that men don't have to go through this crap.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Strike ended

Yep, early this morning the union goons called off the strike. The school board canceled school today at 10 pm last night. They met through the night, and the union agreed to go back to work tomorrow. So everyone had a free day off today. Except no one gets paid. And (I'm assuming) the kids will have to make it up next summer. No word on what the deal was, and the teachers still have to vote to pass the contract.

I wonder how much this will cost me in taxes?

Never saw Red or her family this week. I think they might have gone out on some impromptu day trips.

In other news, I've been harvesting what I can out of the garden. Today I brought in onions. Mr. Incredible kept saying what a bust my onions were. Just wait till he sees 3 full Ziplock containers full of chopped onion in the freezer! Ha! And that was just one bed of them. (But the other bed looks really pitiful, so I'd better not gloat too much just yet.) I also found a huge gourd growing out there! I need to find the seed packets to see how big it was supposed to get, then do a quick search to find out how to dry it. Violet's hoping to turn it into a bird feeder.

I've decided that next week I have to break out the steam cleaner and work on the carpets. I've known it for a long time. Today as I tried to carry a cat off the carpet onto the tile before :you know: happened and didn't make it, that kind of confirmed the need to steam clean. Blech.

I'm going to wait until next week though because the window guys called today and will install our new windows on Friday. We are just getting the 2 cracked ones replaced. Violet is hoping they will be quick because she'd like to go to open gymnastics in the afternoon. I think they will be done.

So things are falling nicely into place. School is going pretty good. Things are quieting down on the work and Girl Scout fronts. Although I did take something else on today. Every year our service unit participates in an Operation Thanksgiving drive, where each troop fills a box with a prescribed list of canned and dried goods for a local food pantry. Other organizations donate the turkey and a few other fresh items. I offered to collect and drop off a box for our homeschool Juliette friends. I really wanted Violet to get to help with that, so this will be good. One family has already promised a bunch of the items on the list. I think it will be a success.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Day Two

Yep, they are still out on strike. This is beginning to get boring, even for me. Thank you dear readers who are sticking through it with me.

I drove by the school yesterday on my way to the bank. The teachers were all out there with their little picket signs. Now tell me, if they really didn't intend to strike until the wee morning hours, how did they get their signs printed up so fast? Hmm? Anyway, the teachers were all out there marching up and down having a jolly good time. I wish it would rain. :evil laughter:

Dear reader Dariasmama asked if they were getting paid while on strike. I'm not sure if there is any sort of strike fund through the union, but I know they aren't being paid by the schools. Let's see how long they can live without their measly salaries now. Actually I'd be a little upset if the union had enough money to pay the teachers even half their salaries. They are teachers not teamsters for crying out loud. Although they are starting to be as scary as teamsters.

They were crying in the morning newspaper that they all have to make their health insurance premiums themselves today or lose their insurance. How could the school board DO that to them? The outrage. :more evil laughter:

All this has me wanting to pull out an old copy of "The Jungle" by Upton Sinclair to see what unions were originally all about.

The decision to cancel school today was made at 9pm last night, although talks went on for a few more hours. I ask you, who on earth can possibly think this is reasonable? Sure Beaver Cleaver's mom wouldn't have had a problem with childcare arrangements at that late hour, but even she had things to do,places to go, rooms to vacuum, pearls to wear. How on earth are working parents supposed to be coping with this? Oh right, they are supposed to be flooding the school board members with pleas to give the teachers everything they want and just settle it now. The same teachers who are supposedly teaching the children zero tolerance on bullying.

The school board has already given in to several of their demands. I am so bitterly disappointed in our teachers and so determined never to send Violet into any of their classrooms.

Monday, September 15, 2008


Loyal readers of my blog know that the local teachers have been threatening to strike if they don't get all their demands met. Loyal readers of my blog also know that I think the teachers have marshmallows where their brains should be for turning down the offers the school board has been giving them. But I may be biased. I pay their salary through my real estate tax. Our great State of Illinois doesn't pay their mandated portion, so we trustworthy citizens pay more.

The negotiations between the teacher union representatives and the school board went on all weekend. They kept reporting that they were making progress and agreeing on items. They promised the parents in the school district an answer on the strike no later than Sunday at 6 pm.

Now, Sunday at 6 pm is way too late in my opinion. If I'm trying to plan Monday and won't know until Sunday night if my kids have school or not, how do I arrange to work and child care? Its not like there will be a foot of snow on the ground and everything will be grinding to a halt. Business will go on. What about the single-parent families that have even fewer options? Not everyone has a grandparent right around the corner who is happy to babysit at a moment's notice. Most people can't call into work Monday morning and say sorry I won't be in. I'd have decided on Friday when the strike threat was made that my children weren't going on Monday regardless of what the union decided.

I need to be careful here. I almost typed "what the teachers decided". What the teachers decided weeks ago was to turn their power over to the union officials and let them make the strike call. The teachers were brainwashed into thinking the school board would cave and they'd get all the union reps' demands. Marshmallows for brains.

Where was I? Oh yes, 6 pm Sunday night. An announcement was sent out. We're still negotiating we will let you know, no later than 9pm. Okay. By then it is too late to call the sitter, and Grandpa fell asleep on the couch hours earlier. The boss won't want to hear from you then. And the littlest kiddos will be going to bed not knowing if they'll have school or not and have no hope of there being good packing snow for a fort and a snowman. (Hey, we live in the Midwest, we're used to school being called off at the last minute for snow, not for marshmallows.)

9 pm arrives. No decision has been made. They say they will decide no later than 5:30 am, the standard time for snow days. So teachers are now the equivalent of Mother Nature?

According to the newspaper's website the decision was made about 3:15 am. Teachers were told to contact their picket captains. You cannot convince me it wasn't planned all along. The reps had every intention to strike.

There would be no school that day in Whoville. They say they will let parents know by 6pm tonight if Whoville Elementary will be open tomorrow. Uh huh, we've heard that story before. Yet the marshmallows will buy it.

I don't know who's watching the children today. But I'm glad mine is accounted for, here in attendance at Freakville Homeschool.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Busy week, soggy day

What a busy week we've had. As usual, when things pick up around home, work increases. It has been manageable, but there hasn't been any time to spare.

We did 3 full days of homeschool. I'm quite pleased with the way they've gone. We did a lot of science. Violet aced her spelling! She's done very well with math. I think using only the Nobel Knights of Knowledge and no workbooks of any kind has helped. I'm thinking we'll go all the way through the program, then consider filling in a few gaps or doing some reinforcing with Miquon. Then we'll decide where to go next.

Violet has decided she does want to do more Try-it workshops with the other Juliettes and earn her Junior Aid patch. We looked through the book but haven't decided on which ones to do. I suggested she pick about 6 that she thinks she can lead a part of, and let the younger girls vote.

It has been raining the last 2 days. It is really soggy out. But if you've seen Chicago on the Weather Channel, that isn't us. We don't have a foot of water in the streets. We know the areas that are flooding like that. Some of them flood if you sneeze and don't cover your nose and mouth. You'd think they'd do something about it.

I got most of my work done today. I still have one more thing to go tomorrow. But I was saving it for last because (I think) it will be the easiest.

I don't have our school plan very firm for next week. I hope I can pull off school without too much complaint. You see, tomorrow night we learn if the local teachers will be going on strike beginning Monday. Violet is already wondering why she might have to do school if Red is home. And "can't we do less work so there is some time to play." Arrggh. Red doesn't get any slack when she's in school. She still has to go and do all her homework before she can play. We've only got one week in. I am not ready for us to take a break. And this whole strike thing still has me spitting mad. They need to stop their greedy extortion and get back to work and try to teach those kids something. Like to get out of the street when a car is coming. Seems like many of them don't get that. I'm always breaking while they take their sweet time crossing in front of me.

Thank goodness I don't send Violet to public schools.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

She was awesome!

Today we held an investiture ceremony/try-it workshop for 2 homeschool families that have also joined Girl Scouts as Juliettes. Violet was helping me lead part of it to work towards her Girl Scouting in the USA badge. She was nervous about it. There were 2 brownies and a daisy. Violet was awesome!

She really took a lead being the older, more experienced Girl Scout. The other girls looked up to her and that helped her relax a lot. Violet tends to clam up easily. And takes forever to warm up to new people. She acted like she did this sort of thing every day of the week.

We met in the park and found an empty table in the picnic shelter. I read the girls the Brownie story, that explains that Brownies and Girl Scouts are little helpers and do good deeds. Then we repeated the charm, "Twist me and turn me and show me the elf, I look in the water I saw...." Of course the answer is "myself". We brought a small mirror to be the pond. (Okay, backing up a second for those of you with no Girl Scouting experience. Brownies are the the little helpers that sneak around houses and help out. The wise old owl explains to the kids that they can see the Brownie for themselves if they go to the pond, say the charm, turn around 3 times and look in the pond. It is an ages old Girl Scout tradition to do this and look in a mirror.)

Violet was in charge of spinning the girls. Then she taught them all the secret Girl Scout stuff like the Girl Scout sign, quiet sign, handshake, friendship squeeze. Did I mention she was awesome!

We all discussed good deeds and the girls made little good deed notes to leave around their houses. We had also found some coloring books online that illustrate the Girl Scout laws and they started coloring them. We tried to make thin mint cookie ice cream in zip lock bags. It didn't freeze. But, being a good Girl Scout, I had some extra cookies with me for a snack.

Afterward the girls played in the park and we took a walk around the lake to the nature center. It was a really good afternoon. The other moms participated and were really great to have there. We all gossiped whenever the girls were off playing.

I'm trying to talk Violet into working on her Junior Aide award. She keeps going back and forth between wanting to try it and not wanting to. She'd have to meet with the girls 3 more times and lead another activity each time. I think she can do it. Tomorrow we'll look through her old Brownie Try-it book for ideas of things she can show the others how to do.

Three other girls and two moms is definitely closer to Violet's comfort zone. She'd never survive trying to go into a troop of 20 girls to show them something. Even being in the spotlight with 3 girls is a challenge for her. I think Juliette Low would be proud of her and how well she did today.

I know I am.

Monday, September 8, 2008

First day of school

Yep, we start today. At the crack of noon. Our school runs second shift. We start between noon and one. Finish any where from four to six depending on what we're doing, how many breaks we take, if we get tired and give in earlier.

Today we will tackle math, literature, science and history. That's plenty for me. Tomorrow we are throwing a Girl Scout ceremony for some homeschool Juliette friends. Violet will be working towards a badge, the Brownies will complete a Try-it. The moms will gossip. The weather promises to be nice, we are meeting in a park that is central to us all.

I changed my blog template. I liked the purple but couldn't get the other colors to look right with it. I had it really messed up. I decided to start over.

Mr. Incredible is back to work today. He's actually in his basement office, but is working. It was nice having him off. We accomplished a lot. We took some fun day trips. Now I can catch up on everything else that I let slide while he was home.

Friday, September 5, 2008


With Mr. Incredible off this week we've been hanging out at home doing chores and going on daytrips. At one point we had discussed going to St. Louis for several days while he was off and I think we are all glad we decided to stay home.

Our trip to the Madison Zoo was a huge hit. We really liked it there. However, next time we will know that if the main restaurant is closed, the smaller one has no vegetarian entrees. Mr. Incredible doesn't eat beef or pork or most animals. He does eat chicken, turkey and some fish. They had no chicken, turkey or fish. He had French fries for lunch. The iguana wouldn't share his veggie and fruit mix. I asked. Mr. Incredible insisted it wasn't a problem.

It is a small zoo, most people would cover it in about a half day. It took us all day. We are zoo-ies. Real fanatics. I was expecting the zoo to be small, but I wasn't expecting it to be so nice. You know how a lot of small older city zoos are pretty run down. Not Madison. We can't wait to go back.

Afterward we met Mr. Incredible's Dad and Step mom at a nearby mall. We had dinner with them, then they took Violet shopping for her birthday (yes, it was another belated celebration). She chose Build-a-Bear and made the Pumpkin Fun Kitty who is the current seasonal bear. (I don't know why, but my color configuration is not having my links show up. I've played around with it a little but haven't cracked the code yet. Click on Build a Bear to see the kitty.) She named her Tangerine.

Today at about noon we decided to grab lunch from Subway and head out to a forest preserve to hike. We chose a place we'd never been to that was about a half an hour away. It was really nice. We ate and hiked both the short and long loops of the trails for about 3 miles total. There were hundreds of teeny tiny toads all over. We had to walk really slow to avoid stepping on them. Mr. Incredible (who is really tall) kept walking into spider webs. We must have been the only ones to have hiked the long trail today. He finally started carrying a stick in front of himself to catch the webs. It was quite amusing.

I did a big harvest in my garden today. I should have taken pictures. I picked my spaghetti squash. I'm sad to report that some bugs had gotten into some of them. I pulled a slug out of one - now that was gross! I salvaged 6 of them. Four I cut into, removed anything remotely icky and baked them. Now I have 3 quart sized bags of cooked spaghetti squash in the freezer and one bowl in the fridge. Tomorrow I have a dinner with my lady friends so I'm going to make a spaghetti squash casserole with corn, black beans, green pepper, onion, tomato and chili powder to take with. The hostess has already told me she is keeping the leftovers.

School starts Monday. Probably. Violet and I are both still in vacation mode right now.

Edited: Well, I played with the colors and I still can't see the links very well and now it is practically exploding off the page at me. Sorry. I'll try again another time.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Yay! The crappy couch is gone!

Today is Mr. Incredible and my anniversary. We got married 19 years ago. He's off this week, so later we will all go out to eat. Tomorrow is the zoo trip.

Shortly after we got married we bought a really crappy little loveseat. We not only got married young, we got married poor. We had no money, Mr. Incredible was still in college. We lived in a crappy little apartment just off campus (which by crappy campus apartment standards, was actually really nice). He worked part-time at JC Penney and got a great employee discount. Best part was, when people returned items that they had bought through the catalog, and the store didn't normally carry the item, they'd clearance them really cheap. The employees always knew about it first (hey, it was a college town, they were all really poor college students) and got to use their employee discounts on top of the sale.

So that was how we managed to afford the crappy loveseat, our only piece of furniture. Today, the garbage guys hauled it away. I guess I should be sentimental, but I'm glad to see that eyesore gone.

When we moved to the house we didn't know what to do with it, so we stuck it in the room that later became Violet's room (we moved here before she was born). She's been stuck with the thing. Yesterday we hauled it out, down the stairs, and out to the curb. Finally!

But the crappy loveseat does live on. We saved the cushions off the back and the throw pillows. Violet and I are going to try to make covers for them. We're thinking something nice and furry, like Muppet-fur. In bright colors.

Violet also got 2 new bookshelves yesterday and new blinds. She doesn't have a sheet over her window blocking out the sun that the old crappy blinds didn't anymore. I got new blinds for my home office too. My last ones crumbled a few weeks ago when I tried to raise them to clean the window. The blinds in my office were also originally in that first crappy apartment. We tend to keep things a long time.

Violet wants to make a new valence for her window, now that we can see it. She has a design in mind. Schools starts next week, so I added these 2 sewing projects to our plan for the week. We'll estimate our fabric and head to Jo-Ann and see what we can find.

I just heard that in a down economy, thread sales go up. We all start sewing.