Archive for February, 2019

Amazing packing tip!

I was looking at two things on my bed. One, the “absolutely must to be taken, one way or the other” pile of stuff, and two, the open carry-on bag into which it all had to fit. I was overwhelmed. The volume of the former far exceeded the capacity of the latter. My bag has a zipper extension feature that lets me expand the bag, making it a couple inches deeper, and I had already unzipped it in anticipation of “The Great Cram,” but even with that, it was clear that the situation was impossible. None of my stuff was optional, and there was no way for that bag to hold it all. If only there were some way to compress it.

Then I had an absolutely brilliant idea. Or, more accurately, I remembered someone else’s brilliant idea. I never got the lady’s name, so I can’t credit her, but a number of months ago, when I was in Walmart looking for super-sized Zip-loc bags to store our washed and dried lettuce, a lady was putting a box of two-gallon Zip-locs in her cart. When she saw me picking up a box and considering them, she mentioned that they were great and that she used them for everything, especially when traveling. I was curious, she was enthusiastic, and now I know why. She said she put shoes in them, used them for dirty clothes, and especially loved the fact that she could use them to squeeze all the air out and compress things so they’d take up a lot less space.

Well! Who’da thunk?!? I happened to have some two-gallon Zip-locs downstairs, so I brought them up and proceeded to fill several of them with all my fabric items that could stand to be crushed – socks, undies, PJs’, a jacket, winter gear, etc.

I proceeded to lean heavily and/or lie down upon heavily on each loaded bag, carefully zipping and squeezing until each one was “vacuum-sealed.” I then stacked each rock-solid packet into the suitcase, and, lo and behold, it closed – with room to spare!!! There was so much room to spare that I zipped closed the extension, and it STILL closed easily!

How did I ever live this many years without learning such a wonderful tip?

Travelogue – part 1

Sunday 12/30/18 – Katie asks me to come visit her in February over the long President’s Day weekend. I gladly agree, and she generously books my flights! I will leave on Friday 2/15/19 and return on Tuesday 2/19/19. We’ll have three full days together.

Tuesday 2/12/19 – Katie informs me that a minor accumulation of SNOW is forecast for Saturday in Gordonsville!!! She has a pair of snow boots I could use if I wanted. Schedule-wise, I would be arriving Charlottseville at 9:36 PM, and we’d have a 30-minute drive home. We had previously planned to tour the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden on Saturday, go to church and have lunch with her pastors on Sunday, and do whatever we wanted on Monday. I’d be flying back out of Charlottesville at 9:45 AM Tuesday. The snow might require alteration of our garden tour plan, but who could complain about snow?!? = )

Wednesday 2/13/19 – listening to a podcast, I hear a woman talking about her attitude in some unexpected circumstance, and her phrase, “I’m going on an adventure!” sticks with me. I tend to obsess (a nice word for worry) about the details of (pretty much anything and everything), and I had been umm… obsessing… about how I was going to pack regular clothes, church clothes, things for use in transit (phone, books, food, etc.), all my normal daily stuff for a total of five days away, plus winter gear, ALL in one carry-on and my laptop bag. So after hearing that woman’s phrase, I decided, “That’s how I’m going to approach everything about this trip: I’m going on an adventure!”

Thursday 2/14/19 – having finally gotten caught up on a number of work, ministry, and family/home-related responsibilities, I began to pack. It was a pretty detailed project, and as I packed, God said to me, “Remember, I’ve got you in this.” I thought that was odd, but thanked him, filed that statement away, and kept packing.

To be continued…

Hard-working man

During the final week of Andrew’s Christmas break, we had him do quite a lot of work around our “homestead.” It was not work he chose to do, but I was so proud of his diligence to get it all done – well and without uttering one word of complaint. At least in my presence, there were no eye rolls, no deep sighs, and no negative comments.

Now that he’s back at school, everywhere I look, inside and out, I see the results of his labor, and I think of him and smile – and sometimes cry a little. (It’s what moms do.)

We just gave him this list and told him it all needed to be done before he left for school the next week. How and when he did it was his business.

First, he thoroughly scrubbed down the outside of the grill.

Then he took down the Morning Glory vines from the mailbox and disentangled them from the green plastic mesh they climb on. That’s a much-hated task that I usually do in November or December but never got around to this year.

He also cleaned out the whole mailbox flower bed,

and the big bed around the dogwood tree. The big bed has some perennials that will benefit from a covering of mulch and leaf litter over the winter, so I asked him to just clear out the big stuff and leave me a layer of ground cover.

Next he worked with his friend, Zach, to clean out the left garage.

And when I say “clean out,” I really do mean “clean out!”

Andrew emptied out the tomato barrels,

and dumped and spread their dirt in the back bed. Ever since we relocated the iris to the big front bed many years ago, this back one has never really been a “flower” bed, but now it has potential.

He power-washed the propane tank, which had been basically brown with some white showing through. Look at it now!

And that was just the beginning of the power-washing. He power-washed the smokehouse. It was a test; we wanted to be sure the paint would stay on before he tackled more important things – like the house.

First he power-washed the back of the house,

and the area around the back door.

Then the front steps,

the front of the house on the porch,

and even the porch railing!

Everything is so bright and clean. = )

Inside, Andrew de-cobwebbed the whole house, although I don’t have photographic proof of that.

And then there was the cellar. Ah, the cellar. For 22 years, we’ve collected more and more junk down there, especially to the right and up on the ledge. I went down there with him and told him I only wanted to keep three specific things: the milk crates, the stacking plastic cubbies, and a set of canning jars. Scott added miscellaneous paint and some other things to the list, and just look at the right side now!

I didn’t even ask Andrew to deal with the ledge, but I guess he was on a roll, and here’s how it turned out, clean as a whistle!

Andrew hauled two trailer-loads of junk to the dump.

He also cleaned all the first floor windows inside and out. Now I can look out back while I’m doing dishes, and my view of the bird feeder is crystal clear.  = )

Andrew, thank you so much for all your hard work!!! I really appreciate the many messy chores you did and your cheerful attitude while doing them. The results are wonderful, and so are you!  = )


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