Real, Tangible Progress!

For several weeks now I’ve promised to share progress on some of our more intractable problems. And I can! Moreover, I can show off a solution that’s been in place for a couple of weeks now, so I know it’s working. Mostly.

Disorganized From the Start

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I don’t have a before picture, so enjoy this cute image of Amelia instead.

As you know, our house is seriously lacking in storage, and the lack of entry storage anywhere near the actual entry we use has been a major issue. I outlined a plan of attack a few weeks ago, and since then we’ve been to Ikea for the base of our solution, contracted plague and mastitis, suffered for our art, and I’ve started a new freelance project.

Ikea's Hemnes Shoe Cabinet, in our house.
Ikea’s Hemnes Shoe Cabinet, in our house.

But now! The time has come to reveal . . . a solution a lot of people on the internet are using, actually, and I know why: it’s attractive, and it’s effective. Beside the door, where we had a lovely low wooden chest holding sports balls, we now sport this lovely cabinet from Ikea. It actually only has feet in the front, and attaches directly to the wall behind the cabinet. To be perfectly honest, it barely fits in the space, but it does fit, and fits beautifully. On top of it we’ve added a few little details:

  • A small lamp with a low-wattage LED bulb. This can be left on for a late arrival without breaking the bank on our expensive electrical service.
  • A jar for loose change. Somehow the loose change is finding its way to a little tray inside the drawer first, but I can live with that.
  • A little Japanese statuette of Neal’s. He’s always had a few little Japanese items, mementos of his brother’s and mother’s travels, and they’re even more fun now that he’s working for a Japanese company and will likely travel there himself some day.

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    Hooks for coats. They’re also from Ikea, and the hooks match the handles on the cabinet.
  • A beautiful carved bowl my MIL brought us from Hawaii. It’s holding sunglasses.
  • A clear space for mail.

We also have a small trash can for a quick mail sort and a rack for keys. It used to hang on the other side of the door, but that area’s serving another purpose now too, as a coatrack.

Inside the drawer are some little organizers and some space for Neal’s pocket stuff (mostly empty right now because he’s at work).

A drawer for all the things a certain someone carries in his pockets. I still occasionally find them elsewhere, but now I can cheerfully tote them over and stash them where they belong.
A drawer for all the things a certain someone carries in his pockets. I still occasionally find them elsewhere, but now I can cheerfully tote them over and stash them where they belong.
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Plenty of room for storage.
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Head Above Water

Oh, No!

I have made a terrible, fateful discovery. My beloved Christmas fish tank, which I (and my trusty fish guy Cameron at Lafayette’s Aquarium World) have stocked with a beautiful array of South American schooling fish, Spike the albino plecostomus, freshwater shrimp, and natural plants, has sprung a leak. It is a slow leak, but it has soaked through the cork pad we placed underneath the tank. It may have actually been slowly leaking from day one . . . we just thought it was a symptom of dry winter air that it seemed to evaporate so quickly.

Anyway, this surprise Christmas present has turned into something I really enjoy, and I’ve invested a lot more in time, consideration, and funds than the original “fishty,” so my solution will require a trip to Aquarium World this week, Saturday at the latest (which wouldn’t be bad, because my sister who also has a Christmas fish tank is coming to visit me and it’s a really neat store that Amelia finds fascinating). I’m going to have to get another tank, preferably one that, if not identical, is compatible with the heater, filter, and air pump I already own. Hopefully Cameron will be in to help and instruct me on the best way to transfer my sixteen lovely water creatures safely.

A Busy Weekend

My radio silence started more than a week ago, when I teased a busy wedding weekend and then disappeared. Well, Friday we went up to Chicago for the wedding, which was just perfect as it brought together all our dearest friends, who’ve all scattered across the country while we have settled comfortably down to stay right next to our alma mater. Then Sunday, Amelia and I accompanied Neal to Indianapolis to watch him ref soccer, and we all got to have a fabulous meal with my aunt Wendy and her family! Hannah is so sweet and cute and just loves her little cousin (and silly songs about turtles, apparently).

Followed By A Busy Week

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Heidi attempts to pose with an over-excited Mario for a picture by her mom Sondra.

My very dear friend and colleague Heidi, having recently finished her Master’s degree, made the difficult decision to turn down the full-time  job offer she received at the Press in order to move back to Dallas, where her family lives. I will miss her loads, but I can’t argue with her reasons.  We dedicated most of last week to sending her off in style, with help packing, dog-sitting, a farewell dinner (at the very beginning of the week to accommodate Neal’s crazy busy evenings last week), and most importantly, saying goodbye to her home in Indiana with a long-overdue hiking expedition at Shades State Park.

Last One Standing

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Because let’s face it, nothing is as relaxing as time with Daddy.

Oh, right, and Neal has been mildly but tediously ill for the past couple of weeks. I didn’t take it very seriously because it’s allergy season, and he didn’t sound very sick, but now I’m sick. Friday was the worst, with a fever that shot up to 103 overnight and took until mid-afternoon Saturday (after an urgent care trip and an antibiotic prescription) to break. And then Sunday it became apparent that I wasn’t just sick with mastitis; I’ve caught Neal’s nasty little bug too. A bug I had fervently hoped was just allergies and man-cold is really awful. Neal was fantastic at taking care of me and Amelia over the weekend, so much so that I don’t think she had a chance of noticing there was anything up with mommy . . . just loads of fun hanging out with Daddy. Today, however, she might notice, as she is just heavy and exhausting to carry around and she’s stuck with me.

Mom and I had talked last week about whether I needed to try to deliberately encourage the baby to be more willing to spend time entertaining herself. Well, it’s going to happen, because I have energy to change her and feed her and that’s about it. Plus if I cuddle too much I’ll just get her sick too and then we’d all be tired and miserable instead of just the grown-ups.

The Show Goes On

We’ve done some other busy things too, the most important and positive of which was setting up a solution to my entryway woes. It still needs a couple of final details, currently being held up by me being sick, mostly, because going to Staples sounds miserable today, but I’ll take pictures and share everything with you soon.

Neal also installed my beautiful Mother’s Day clothesline in the backyard Saturday, and then when the concrete was set up Sunday and ready to go it rained like mad so I still don’t get to show it off. But that’s coming as well.