Monday, May 25, 2009

Day 77

What happened to the previous 10 days you may be asking?
Oh I can tell you.
1. Gardening. I think I might have an official green thumb. Or at least one that will start to turn green. This is what I can talk to people now about.
My Lilies of the Valley are growing!
I have wild rhubarb!
My peonies are about to bloom!
My irises have buds!
My tomatoes haven't died!
We built a bed! (more on this later)

2. Baseball stuff! I have been following the Brewers like a dutiful servant of the game. Unfortunately we were just swept by the Twinks, and I'm quite worried about the Cards series that is coming up, but I'm hoping for the best.

3. Construction! It begins at 7:30 in the morning.
Whereas I used to blog about the days' event before retiring, I am now generally falling asleep on the couch in the 7th or 8th inning of the ball game.
Upon waking up I'm so groggy and crabby and full of dreams that I can't even wrap my mind around the previous days events. Plus I'm usually quite sore from previous days events.

4. Foster dogs! I have had my share of fosters this summer (even though it's not technically summer yet) and the last one, much like that step, was a DOOZY.
He had some housebreaking issues, which I'm pretty sure were related to his food, but didn't figure that out towards the end.

So as you can see, it's a volatile mix: no sleep, gardening aches-n-pains, baseball stuff!, cleaning up doggie mess (which actually has inspired me to refinish our least in the guest room, where the fosters stay).

I hope you will accept this blog as a "greatest hits" of the past 10 days of my life.
And as I get used to the wretched road construction, and the ungodly early hour it is causing me to wake up, I will try TRY to get the writing going earlier in the day, rather than late in the day.

To quote Coldplay/Johnette Napolitano:
"Nobody said it was easy"

Recession news:
I have no idea where I've left off with you guys so here is a recap.
I had a second interview with a company, last week Friday (May 15) and have yet to hear back from them. I'm hoping I hear SOMETHING this week, but I guess beggars can't be choosers.
I ALSO had a phone interview with a different company last Thursday (May 21). That went well as I will be going in THIS Thursday to fill out a short application, take a two hour long test (seriously) and drop off some samples.
So while it's not an interview, it's kind of like a pre-interview.
The position is for a Communication Specialist, the compay is like an insurance software firm.
BUT I'm pretty sure they would be accessible by bus AND their building is "green."
Green as in eco-friendly.
But it could be green in color.

In all honesty, I definitely like the "feel" of this company better than the other one, but I don't want to get my hopes up, and I may not be a good match according to them.
And they have the degrees in HR.
I just have a useless degree in English.

Which will make a nice segway to my next topic:
Extended family.
Baby shower for my cousin.
And most everyone is there.
I get to see BA (who I suppose, technically is my aunt, but was always more like a cousin, so it's weir to say "aunt") author of one of the blogs I follow: Good Times.
I get to see her mom, I get to see my aunt KB, and five of her six girls.
And you know, it's a pretty good time.
The aunts have finally gotten used to us being vegetarians so we always have food to eat.
This has been an issue before.
But in the past 5 years or so it's gotten TONS better.
So good news there.
And because the younger cousins are reaching that college age, that was discussed.
And something that has always bothered me, but I guess I didn't really realize it was this bad, until the party.
We're talking to my aunt, TB and her son ZB, who is a baseball player.
And I don't mean professionally, although that is a goal for him.
Apparently he is good, but I don't know if he is like "professionally" good.
I guess we will see if he gets a contract out of high school.
Which is what they are all hoping for.
Even the parents?
And TB says, "Well he doesn't really like to study. He's not good at it, so it would be better if he would just sign a minor league contract right out of high school."
To which I retort, "I don't like to work, but I have to. Because I have bills to pay."
TB then brings up Josh Hamilton who was drafted right out of high school.
"He became a heroin addict!" I say. Which is true and his comeback is the comeback of all time.
But what about the players that don't comeback? And I'm not saying they all become heroin addicts, but there are PLENTY of players that don't make it to the majors.
Which you know, hey, if I could play baseball for a living for $25G a year.
Sure I would do it.
Cos let's be real, that would be step-up from my current situation, and it wouldn't even be that big of a step down from my last situation....but lots of minor leaguers have second jobs.
E brings up the injury factor of going to college and if he gets injured then he's out.
To which I say "If he gets injured in the minor leagues he will have no life skills to get him a real job."
Because he doesn't have an after school job.
He has baseball.
Which is great. He loves baseball, the parents are supporting it, but, BUT how many kids want that? Wouldn't he be able to sate his lust for the game while going to school for sports journalism? Or business at least, so you know where your money is going.
Maybe I'm being highly pessimistic because I don't know if he truly is super-awesome-good and there will be scouts watching him in a year or two.
And maybe it's no different than E pursuing a degree in film, or me in English.
I guess I would just hope his parents would present all options, because we are still pursuing those things, but our hopes won't be shattered by a broken finger, sprained ankle.
I don't know. Maybe I don't know the baseball politics of it all.
I guess I was just shocked to hear that.
And let's not forget they have a daughter.
A daughter that completely gets overshadowed by her younger brother's baseball success.
Although the daughter herself is extremely talented (musically) you wouldn't know it talking to the parents.
In other extended family news, I got to share some vegan recipes with my aunt KB who is slowly weaning her family (her 8 person family) off of dairy, or has been for a while. They are not crazy about it, but I like her because although she is super-religious she will surprise me with asking me for vegan recipes, or talking about educational philosophy (she's a home-schooler and her kids are ridiculously smart and creative), which is great.

Gardentown USA:
Last weekend E and I decided to go through with a promise we had made to ourselves over the winter/early spring. We would try our hand at vegetable gardening.
Upon moving in we re-sodded the back yard, so we didn't want to un-earth (literally) all of our hard work doing that a couple years ago.

So what do we do?
Upon reading numerous magazines in my past, pre-recession life, I thought a raised garden bed would be a good idea. We had a spot right by the back of our house that up until this point we had always TALKED about making a vegetable garden, but it was basically a weed jungle. As E and I increasingly try to make better life/environmental choices we didn't necessarily want to use weed killer and then plant all of my organic seedlings. That seemed counter-productive.
So we saw some raised garden beds that seemed like a much better option.
One in Ready-Made magazine had us spending $400 on one.
That wasn't going to happen.
One in Better Homes & Gardens had us spending about $100 on a couple of small ones. While we were going to do quite a large bed, we liked this option better.
But truth be told, we didn't follow any plans.
In an effort to be "green" we bought old railroad ties, although I can honestly say I've never lifted anything so heavy in my entire existence. And I've moved alot.
The process went like this:
An early morning wake-up call as we had to go pick up the rental truck.
Our coffee grinder breaks so we have to do this sans caffeine.
Not a good morning.
We pick up the truck, stop at AC's Starbuck's and pick up some coffee.
Cue angelic singing here.
I go home to start weeding, and digging trenches for the railroad ties.
E goes to Menards to pick up railroad ties, wheel barrow, tools we need, and to rent a chainsaw.
He comes home to find me already digging which impresses him. We learn that Menards doesn't do tool rental, so after grumbling and almost dying and burning muscles of a lifetime, E heads to Bluemel's for the gravel, while I head to Home Depot to rent the chainsaw.
While renting the chainsaw, the guy asks me if someone will be helping me, which I take offense to, but whatever. I don't have a lot of upper body strength, so let's be real. I probably couldn't have started the chainsaw that he gave us myself, as E was having a ridick time starting it and turning it on.
I unload gravel as E tries to get the chainsaw going. After a mistake by me (presumably, although to this day I swear the guy told me to move the choke), we have to wait a half and hour to try to start it again, so it's more shoveling the gravel out of the truck.
After getting most of the cutting done, the chainsaw decides to:
1. not start
2. when it does start, it won't stay started
3. when it does run it won't cut for crap
We decide E. should run to Bluemel's and get the dirt since we've unloaded the dirt, and we're guessing the chainsaw is flooded. Again.
Upon returning, the chainsaw still won't start so E is ultra-frustrated. I tell E he should go back to the Home Depot and tell them the problem. I voluteer to shovel dirt.
I do a fairly good job of shoveling, E returns, and I run inside to get us some beer.
I hear the chainsaw start for a little bit but it's over by the time I get back outside with Corona's in hand.
"Done" E says.
"Oh is this one broken too?"
"No, I'm done cutting, I got those all done."
So we both are frustrated that it was mostly because we had a wonky chainsaw that we were having all these issues.
We laugh, finish our beers and continue working.
The sun is starting to set and we need to return our rented goods.
We get home, inexplicably exhausted, meaning, I can't even beging to tell you how exhausted we were.
830 pm.
That is 13 1/2 hours of manual labor, with assorted Corona breaks in between.
And the bed wasn't even done.
We still needed to fill the bed with the gravel, and the dirt/compost.
So I do this the next day with everyone's favorite announcer, Bob Uecker, on the radio.
E is highly impressed with my work and can't believe I can even move.
But I was highly motviated as I wanted the bed to be DONE.
We got the bed done that day, and in teh following days I moved my tomato seedlings to pots, my sunflower seedlings to the ground, and tried (tried being the operative word) and gave my seedlings some outside time as it was unseasonably warm.
The garden isn't close to being done.
Unfortunately I will need to buy some plants, as I will have enough veggies to teh fill the bed, but didn't think about my front garden, and my transplants didn't take on the side.
I wasn't super connected to those anyway.
In other news.
I think my rose bush, which I was certain I killed last year, is growing???
I will keep you posted.
It could just be a weed, but it was thorns, and it's growing right by my rosebush stump.
Only time will tell.
Total cost for bed?
Truck rental (plus gas): $80
Coffee: $3
Chainsaw rental: $54
Railroad ties, tools, & wheelbarrow: $241
Compost dirt (they were out of garden dirt): $45
Pea gravel: $35
(it should be noted that we have LOTS of gravel left and I was able to basically fill not only the bed, but all my containers, and the side of the alley with this dirt, if you can GO TO BLUEMEL's where you can get bulk dirt/gravel).
More than we wanted to spend, but we now own a wheelbarrow, and we truly do look at it as an investment.

In other news:
We got our first crop share this weekend!
We were very excited, although disappointed to see we did not get any arugala, as the sheet stated we would.
I will blame M&Z, as they are arugala whores.
JayKay kids.
Jay kay.
We got rhubarb, which I've NEVER cooked with before, green garlic, lettuce, and asparagus.
Not a TON, but I would say $10 worth. The newsletter said the first boxes are light, and we will get more as teh season goes on.
As I had no idea what to do with rhubarb, I decided to make the recipe that was included in the newsletter:
A rhubarb pudding/cake.
It sounds gross, I will admit, but it turns out pretty cakey, it is actually really delicious.
It's kind of like a coffee cake.
I even had a wee piece this morning with my coffee, warmed in the microwave for 15 seconds.
I have one stalk of rhubarb left so I will probably make it again with the stuff that is growing in my yard.
I will most likely use the green garlic for pizza, and the lettuce for salad.
Week one of crop share is a success!

I'm truly sorry this is so long.
I will try to be a better blogger.

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