I decided to do something a little different the other day. In great hubris, I thought maybe people would like to see what a normal day in my life is like. I hope that a normal day in my abnormal life will be as interesting as an abnormal day in someone else’s normal life. If nothing else, I hope you at least find something to laugh at. This day was a snow day, so it is mostly typical of weekends or school vacations. If you enjoy it, let me know, and I can do another one about school days, which look significantly different because there is more time to do solitary things.
At 5 am, my husband woke me to let me know that it was a snow day. L was supposed to start her high school course today, and so I was planning on getting up earlier than usual since she had to be at the high school before the rest of the kids even got up. Excellent! I really didn’t want to get up early anyway. Since it was supposed to be around the freezing mark, it was quite possible that the chickens’ water wouldn’t be frozen either. I shut off my alarm and went back to blissful sleep.
At 6:40, Medeina jumped up to wake me so she could go out for potty. I rolled over and tried to ignore her because sleep was so nice. She insisted, however, so I straightened out my blankets and made my bed before getting out of it. My eyes adjusted to the bedside light and I picked through the meager contents of my dresser for something suitable to wear. Clean underwear and clean woolly socks, along with a clean shirt. Since my undershirt from yesterday didn’t smell bad, I rewore it, along with my jeans, which still seemed reasonably cleanish also.
Medeina followed me downstairs as I donned my parka and grabbed the leash. She immediately disappeared into the dark part of the house, and I called to her out of fear she was using the front hall instead of waiting to go outside. She came and I discovered that I had forgotten to take off her fence collar the night before. (We just installed an invisible fence, and I am not yet in the routine of taking off her collar each night.) Snapping on her leash, we went outside. I stood on the porch in my parka and slippers while she did her business and ran around the yard, exploring all the fresh sleet/snow/ice, which precipitated in that order overnight. I played Sudoku on my phone while I shivered and waited for her to finish.
By 7:30 we had come back in the house and I had a chance to do my own business in the bathroom, take fresh water to the chickens, and open the coop for the day. I decided to write this post, so I pulled out a notebook to record everything I did and at what times. E was up by now, as was R, both delighting in a 4th day off from school in a row (the previous day was a teacher workshop day). I noticed that the almonds I had set to soak had been there for two days rather than 7-12 hours, so I drained them and loaded them into the dehydrator. I got a load of laundry on to remedy my empty dresser drawers, and noticed that I was running low on laundry soap. Time to make some more.
I grabbed the necessary ingredients and returned to the kitchen, then discovered that my favorite saucepan still had green beans from last night in it. I decided to dump them into the chicken broth and free up my pot. Nope. I hadn’t started the chicken broth yet and the carcass was still sitting in the refrigerator in my favorite stock pot. Naturally, of course, I needed that stockpot to cook the beans for dinner that night. Well, if I make the broth early enough, I can then wash out the stockpot to make dinner. This is a normal game of 15 that I often play, whether it is with available dishes, or rearranging furniture.
My kitchen computer was slow, so I rebooted it and ate a quick breakfast. By 8:00, I was starting my chicken broth. I thought this would be a good topic to for a blog post, so I snapped a couple of pictures while I started the process. Then I got on Ravelry to find a nice project for a partial skein of yarn I have. The kids asked about TV, and I told them that they had to shovel the driveway before watching TV, so they grumblingly trudged outside to wield shovels.
I distract very easily, so I set a timer for the chicken broth. Otherwise, it would have sat there on the stove most of the day as I kept reminding myself I needed to get to it as soon as I finished XYZ. Little A was up by now, and Medeina greeted her by grabbing her pajamas in her teeth and trying to play with her. I had to call her off several times so A could just get to the bathroom. She then wanted to go out and play in the snow/ice, so I helped her find her snow gear. The puppy had helpfully scattered her things around the house. Once she was outside, I returned to my Ravelry search.
At 9:20, I noticed that I didn’t hear the washing machine anymore (the dryer has a buzzer, why can’t washers?), so I put that load in the dryer, put a second load on, and remembered that I was low on soap. I could probably get one more load and that was it. Seeing a load of clean sheets and blankets sitting abandoned in the corner of the laundry room, I decided to be productive and folded it. I don’t know why I didn’t fold it when it came out of the dryer, probably a week ago. I then snuck back onto Ravelry to peruse patterns. At least it wasn’t Facebook. At some point, the kids came in again and I allowed them to turn on the TV.
At 10:00, my broth alarm went off and I reluctantly dragged myself away from pretty knitting patterns to do the next step of the broth. I collected all my vegetables, chopped them up, photographed them, and dumped them in the pot after removing the chicken carcass. I will explain my process in a future post. Then I sat down to start writing up that blog post on making chicken broth. Alas, the Ravelry page was still up and I could not resist its siren song, so the post didn’t get started.
The phone rang at 10:20. It was the invisible fence company letting me know that the technician was on his way for Medeina’s second training session and to enable the shock feature on her collar. I looked out the window and saw that the shoveling job left much to be desired. Sadly, I stepped away from hat and mitten and sock patterns and put my coat back on. I widened the clear part at the bottom of the driveway since four feet wasn’t really wide enough to turn in from the road. I shoveled out the mailbox, then cleaned up the random snow mess in various places in the driveway. By the time I reached where the kids ended, I decided that it was good enough. The part that was not shoveled is an area that gets the most sun and is always the first to melt anyway. The snow was heavy, being half ice, and it was really only maybe 2″ thick. We could easily just drive right through it. R’s friend’s mother called and asked if friend F could come for a visit today, and since F is a great girl, I agreed.
The fence tech showed up just as I was putting away my shovel, so I went in and got Medeina for her outside time and training session. We spent the next hour teaching her to respect the little green flags denoting the fence boundary. She got zapped a couple of times, but overall, she made great progress. In the days since, she has gotten zapped a couple more times, too, but all learning takes time and repetition.
After the tech left, I checked in on my broth and decided it definitely needed to simmer longer. Since the stockpot was going to be busy for some time, I decided to assemble dinner in the crockpot. The recipe said the soaked uncooked beans could be added as-is to the crockpot, so that is what I did. Alas, I used the recipe from her printed cookbook rather than the website, and some crucial information was missing. Specifically, how long it has to cook with uncooked beans. Time to think about lunch. M texted me, asking if she and Z could swing by for a bit, so I pulled out a second package of hot dogs to thaw for lunch to make sure I had enough for everyone. I was making pigs in a blanket.
By 12:20, M and Z arrived, with F arriving a mere five minutes later. M was having trouble understanding her W2s and what to do with them, so I did my best to explain how the system works. Specifically, she wanted to know why she had to wait for them to be mailed rather than just going in and requesting them on the spot. They stuck around for a little less than half an hour and didn’t wait around for lunch. Maybe I didn’t need the second package after all. I decided too many was better than not enough, so I made up my dough and wrapped the hot dogs in wedges. Into the oven they went.
R and F came into the kitchen to find out what was for lunch, and it turns out that F can’t eat hot dogs. They disagree with her stomach. So R cooked up some rice for her while I knitted one and a half rows on my lace shawl. I was up to about 18 repeats of leaf motifs at this point, with each row taking 10-15 minutes to knit.
I put the second load of laundry in the dryer, and started a third load. This one was a bathroom utility load and so got dibs on the last bit of laundry soap, which I still needed to make. I then cleaned up the pee that Medeina so generously left in the front hall for me, then washed up and served lunch.
I sat down to check Facebook while eating lunch and the kids all took their plates to the dining room or the living room (where I have forbidden food). To quote a comic I have seen on Facebook, “My desire to stay informed is currently at odds with my desire to stay sane.” Within 5 minutes, I was so dejected by what I saw on Facebook that I deliberately ignored the dog picking up her rubber water dish and dumping the contents on the floor. Twenty minutes later I got up from the horror of social media and took her outside. As usual, I played Sudoku while I waited for her.
When I came back in, L greeted me with A clinging to her and wailing. L, R, and F were all in R’s room being teenage girls, and at only 5 years old, A was not welcome to join them. This distressed her greatly and since R and E had done all the TV choosing earlier in the day, I bribed A to release L by offering her the TV drug. L was then free to rejoin F and R in whatever teenage girls do these days – makeup, music and romance, I assume. I stupidly sat down in front of Facebook again, where I was miserable for half an hour before finally making my laundry soap.
Some of our neighbors are what I consider to be slightly paranoid. They aren’t conspiracy nuts, but they have a mild disrespect and huge distrust of the government. Anyway, when I first started texting the husband (our boys play together nearly every day), he asked if I would please use the Telegram app because it is much more secure than regular texting.
I humored him and my husband and I both installed it on our phones. You never know when someone is going to try reading your texts, after all. I don’t want to be charged with treason for expressing some of my own more radical political views. Then my husband found Signal and suggested that he and I switch to that, since I was repeatedly sending texts over Telegram to the neighbors (or worse, the public town chat) that I meant for my husband. The whole town does not need to know that we got our AAA membership cards in the mail. I spent the next half hour or so installing Signal on my phone.
My husband arrived home a little after 3:30, which is about 20 minutes later than usual. He had stopped for gas, but mostly it was due to the road conditions. He told me cars were sliding off the road even on the better maintained routes. Freezing rain is nasty stuff to drive in.
I finished my first batch of laundry soap and started a second, then put on a fourth load of laundry. Yes, I know, “A load a day keeps Mount Washmore away,” but I tend to binge wash laundry.
I knitted two more rows on my shawl, and watched the girls play hide and seek. They got pretty creative in their hiding spots, wedging themselves between the dog crate and the counter, standing under the coat rack and covering themselves with coats, and just standing in the pantry. I misled one seeker by pretending I was hiding someone in the potato cabinet beside me.
Normally at this time, I would start making dinner, but it was cooking in the crock pot, so I didn’t need to do anything for it.
My chicken alarm went off, so I closed up their coop after collecting the eggs for the day. I finished my second batch of laundry soap, and put my last load of laundry in the dryer. After asking the kids a few times to clear the table for dinner, I gave up on their doing it, and just did it myself. This was one of my favorite soups, but alas, the beans were still hard. They weren’t inedible, but they were certainly not as soft and squishy as they should have been. This was a result of my cooking them for only 5 hours instead of 9. To be fair to myself, the recipe in the cookbook did not warn against that. It called for dry beans, and said to cook on low for 8-10 hours, or on high for 5-6 hours. On the website, it says those times for pre-cooked beans, and for uncooked beans, it should be 9 hours on high. The kids were less than impressed and not a one finished their soup. As I was cleaning up afterwards, I found 5 partial bowls of soup on the floor for the dog.
With dinner out of the way at a decent hour, we actually had time to do stuff after dinner before getting ready for bed. I folded laundry while the kids played. Four loads of laundry took pretty much all hour to fold.
The broth had simmered all day, so I strained out the vegetables and hung it to drain for a while. Yes, I have a weird way to make broth. I will share it soon. I loaded up the dishwasher and knitted another row on my shawl. All this knitting I have done has been while just standing at the counter in the kitchen. I don’t sit down to knit unless I am watching TV while the kids are at school. The knitting lives on the counter while it is in-process. I pick it up and randomly knit a row here and there as I snatch time for it.
F’s dad came to pick her up after dinner and so she went home, leaving only family in the house now. I made myself a big travel mug of hot chocolate and spiked it with the last two shots of blackberry brandy. And of course, Medeina had to go outside again. I cannot wait for her to be fully trained to the invisible fence so I can just open the door and let her out, then let her back in again when she is done. I think we will both be happier then because she will get more running time outside and I won’t go numb with cold waiting for her. Raynaud’s sucks.
It was finally time to put the kids to bed. They brushed their teeth, I brushed A’s hair, and both E and A got in their pajamas. I read them each a story, and sang them each a song, just like every night. Hug. “Goodnight, peanut (or little man).” Kiss one cheek. “I love you.” Kiss the other cheek. “Sleep well.” Out went the lights. “See you in the morning.”
I then began my own bedtime routine. Time to set out my husband’s breakfast for tomorrow. Check that the coffee pot is ready, pull out tomorrow’s dinner to thaw, take my supplements (iodine and chaste tree tincture), and brush my teeth. The teenagers were still up, so I shooed them off to bed and finally retired at 9:30. This night, I decided, I would actually get enough sleep. (Ha!) After all, L was going to her first high school class in the morning. (Again, ha! Two hour delay, so no class.) I snuggled up against my husband, trying to spare him the full impact of my frozen feet. I settled my head on his shoulder as he wrapped his arm around me, and went to sleep.
And that is a typical non-school day in my house. Just in case you were wondering, which you probably weren’t. Sometimes we don’t know we want something until we see it.