Saturday, April 7, 2018

Spring Break

This week has been my first spring break vacation since I was a kid. It feels wonderful to have so much time off around every major holiday. Once school starts back on Monday we have exactly 8 weeks left in this school year, and then I'm off for the entire summer! Not only that, but I will have finished my first year at this job. I'll be signing my contract for next year sometime in May. It's crazy how time flies!

It's been a really productive week at home. Since we owe a big tax bill mid-month, we're being thrifty and trying to avoid too much unnecessary spending until it's paid. I purposely avoided doing anything that would cost money during my break, and chose to concentrate on spring cleaning and various household chores. Gregg was off on Easter Sunday and the next day, and we got the biggest chore done that had been weighing on our minds for months--changing three of our aquariums and switching the fish in some of them. It was a huge task that involved two 120 gallon tanks, one 90 gallon tank, a 40 gallon tank, and probably 100 pounds of (former) live rock for aquascaping. Our African cichlids, dozens of small bristle nose catfish, and a large blood parrot cichlid all had to be moved lock, stock and barrel. Fortunately, Gregg is an expert and it all went smoothly, it just took a lot of time. The newly set up tanks look great and the fish have all adjusted beautifully--and it's such a relief to have it done!

When Gregg went back to work on Tuesday I spent several hours each day for the rest of the week doing house cleaning and chores that I normally don't get to. I cleaned and organized the kitchen cabinets and shelves as well as some of the bedroom dresser drawers and one closet. I brought out a step stool one day and cleaned ceiling fan blades, windows, and anything else that's normally out of reach. I repaired (glued) three broken tiles in the main shower, dragged Marco's cage outside to give it a really good pressure wash/cleaning, and replaced the blinds beside his cage that he had chewed on and ruined. I mopped and vacuumed and did some badly needed shopping trips.

There are still a couple of small chores I'd like to do today and tomorrow, but for the most part, I'm done. This afternoon and tomorrow are it for my break and I want to relax some, too. I have been reading two new books this week, one because it's a book club selection for this month and the other because it looked interesting to me:

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It's been crazy reading both at the same time: one is set in ancient Rome, the other in a future dystopian post-apocalyptic America. How's that for a contrast?

In other news, I found a house on the local real estate websites that stole my heart. We're looking to buy a house later this year if we can find the right one, and this one is so close: a big wraparound porch, large rooms with original hardwood floors from the 1930's when it was built, two fireplaces, large bedrooms one of which opens up onto a second floor balcony overlooking the backyard...and speaking of the backyard, it's almost a half acre lot with a privacy fence surrounding it. I love it, and when I showed it to Gregg, he loved it. He said, "I wish we could move in tomorrow." But then he pointed out two or three reasons why it would be impractical for us, despite being reasonably affordable. And he's right...there are two key problems with the house and there's no getting around it. But still. It's the first house I've gotten really excited about after looking at hundreds and hundreds of listings. I wish we could schedule a viewing and have a look at it, but I'm afraid I'll like it even more if I see it in person. It's probably best forgotten.

That's been my spring break...a lot of cleaning, daydreaming about a home of my own soon, and two books to carry me away. Not bad...not bad at all!

What have you been up to this week?

31 comments:

  1. Good for you for getting all that cleaning done, and taking care of those aquariums. It's such a relief to have a huge task like that behind you, I'm sure. As for the house, you have to follow your instincts, but a certain amount of impracticality might not necessarily be a reason not to look at it more closely. (Easy for me to say -- I rent!)

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    1. Well, we rent, too, for now at least! I've never owned a house, this is a first time thing for me despite being in my 40s.

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  2. here too we had the Passover holiday that included house cleaning and a lot of food, It is over today.

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    1. Happy Passover (a bit late!) my friend! Thanks for stopping by! :)

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  3. Ooh, that house sounds wonderful. I hope it all works out for you. It's a joy to see how happy you are with the new job, the new benefits, the new BREAKS, and everything else.

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    1. That's such a sweet comment, Mitchell. Thank you!

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  4. I'd look, to confirm it's impracticable. But, that's just me.

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    1. No need, Joanne. One of the things we decided against from the get-go is stairs. Gregg is 16 years older than me (we're 43 and 59 years old), and we intend to grow old in the house we buy. Stairs aren't a problem at this point, but in years to come....

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  5. i have been working all week, went running with my friend after work on Wednesday and met my girlfriends for a meal out on Friday night.
    Your dream house - I think you should go and view it!
    Last year while running, I discovered an empty house of exactly the size I would love to have. Perfect location, lovely style, nice garden... I left a note in the mailbox with my contact details but never heard of the owners/agents. The other day I came past the place again, only to discover that work has started on it so it must have changed hands. It would have been ideal for O.K. and me...

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    1. Are you two thinking of moving in together?! That sounds lovely!

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    2. I would move in with him (or have him move in with me) today rather than tomorrow, if the situation regarding our jobs and families etc. were different!!

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  6. Your week sounds so productive and good! I love how it feels when tasks that have been hanging over my head are done and accomplished! So good for you!
    I've accomplished very, very little the past week. But I am here and all of the animals are alive and I guess that's something.

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    1. Ms. Moon, I never feel like I've accomplished enough. There are still so many things that need to be done, but I can't bear to spend my whole vacation working! I'm not a great housekeeper and I doubt I ever will be. Oh well!

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  7. I watched the film adaptation of Annihilation last night. It's very good and truly scary. It's very different to the book, though.

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    1. Wow, I had no idea there was a film! My smaller book club (that at this point just consists of my two friends Marla and Martina) chose it to read for April. Somehow, despite working at a bookstore until last August, I had not heard of it.

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  8. The house sounds lovely and would be fun to look but. . . plumbing, roof, electrical and windows are a deal breaker. In one of former lives I sold Real Estate and staged homes for sale.
    I am not on Spring Break but I am trying to do some cleaning. I can not wait to have it done.

    cheers, parsnip

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    1. Yes, all of those things must be taken into account. There's also the location...which is iffy at best for this house. It's close to downtown which is being modernized and revitalized (good) but it's still close enough to some bad areas that you regularly hear of people getting held up at gunpoint in their driveways (not so good).

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  9. I used to have aquariums and was thinking this week how much I miss them. I would love to see pictures of yours!

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    1. Please see my reply to Frances below! Thank you!

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  10. I am alone for a while (my wife is away shopping in London), so I've been extra busy. What have I been doing? I have no idea; but I haven't stopped!

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    1. You have that lovely garden to begin working in!

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  11. Wow!! You're amazing Jennifer, like a tornado whirling around on that cleaning marathon... Marco will be thrilled with a new blind to wreck. And I am delighted to hear how well your new workplace has worked out for you.
    What have I been doing? Yesterday I took a train to a country town and spent the day looking at three gardens (privately owned) which were open to the public. All up I walked seven kilometers to and from the train station. Pretty good for me, sixth months ago I struggled to walk seventy metres.
    It was a good day for me on more than one front.

    Alphie

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    1. Good for you, with all that walking! I'm glad you had such a good day. :)

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  12. Birdie got in first, but I was going to ask for pictures of your aquariums. I have 2 at the moment...my own that I have had for many years......a 3ft cold water tank with (at present...one of the fish seems to prefer being upside down at the moment so may not last much longer!! ) 4 fantail type goldfish, and I also have my son's tropical tank that came here while he moved house and hasn't been reclaimed yet!

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    1. I have a YouTube channel with some videos of our aquariums, but haven't had a chance to upload any now that everything is changed. I'll share a couple of links later next week for you to check out. Sorry about the upside down goldfish, that's never a good sign.

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  13. What have I been doing? Oh - just the usual stuff - snorting cocaine, salsa dancing and routine gigolo appointments with rich widows. To break this tedium I visited a Tudor building called The Bishops' House and read a blogpost titled "Spring Break".

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    1. Haha! Cocaine and turning tricks...nice! lol!!!

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  14. I've been working in my gardens, trying to get them in order. There will be other houses. In the meantime, enjoy the process of looking. FYI, I enjoy getting your book tips.

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    1. Thanks Colette! I used to write occasional book reviews here, but it takes so much time and effort that I've put that on hold for the moment. I'm hoping to do a lot more (better quality) blog posts this summer when I'll have lots of free time.

      I've only started Annihilation, and then I got absorbed in Confessions of Young Nero and have been focused on finishing that one. All those crazy, murderous ancient Romans are fascinating! :)

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  15. I love the feeling of calm after being so busy

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