27 February 2010

February's almost over.

It's been a mildly cool month here in Hawaii for the last couple of weeks. Far too dry and the plants are showing it. My apartment has a sprinkler system, so I only pay attention to it when the water bill comes in. I'm getting little urges to get some containers and some plants and brighten up the front entrance (shade lovers) and back yard (more direct sun). I'm thinking herbs and some flowering stuff. I need to research orchids. I wanted orchids when Michael and I lived in Korea, but he always thought the house was too dry for them. OK ,if the front "porch" is not too shady, I could try one or two inexpensive ones there, Maybe a little bench to sit there and enjoy the plants and the Chicken Sisters. Listen to tunes and knit or do some handspinning. Watch the bowl of lucky bamboo and the unique orchids.

I sow some orchids this evening as I waded through walmart looking for a nice chaise and cushions and a table for hanging out the back door. Crapped out on the chair, but saw an orchid that I swear was black. I want it, I want to see if I can grow the darn thing! I also want culinary herbs on the back porch...basil, oregano, rosemary, maybe some others. I want to see if I can grow some tomatoes. Everything has to be containerized as I'm sure that the LandLord (LL) would not appreciate me digging up the back yard. Frankly, my back wouldn't appreciate my digging up the lawn either.

I've been working on the house, albeit slowly as there's something going on with my feeties that make standing up for more than 45 minutes painful. I need to get some more stuff unpacked, but the problem is what do I do with it between unpackaging and putting away. I found a brandy new tower fan that I'd bought in the PX in Korea before I PCSed. It's all new, so I will take it up to the bedroom since the old one there is squeaky. It's good to have the air problem taken care of before it gets hot this summer.

I'm finding bits of the kitchen. I think I'll get rid of all the mismatched corelle and get a new set that matches everything. I'd like to get rid of all the mismatched stainless and get a nice service for 4 there, too. Also going to get rid of all the bent up cookie sheets, pans, and other bake-wear that's gone gnarly. I can get new, I can afford it. Two things I can't wait to find are the Kitchen Aid mixer (I plan on pimping it up with Hawaiian type stickers rather than flames. Every Alton Brown wannabe has flames on their kitchen aid). The Mighty Mixer of Aloha will improve the bread side of the house and enable lots of other culinary techniques.

I found my cheap Japanese mandolin that makes slicing vege so much more fun. I also found ball jars at the store. There could be a small batch of variously pickled beets coming our way. I know that canner pot is somewhere! I'm also looking for the food sucker as I'm tired of throwing things away because I can't get around to eating them. I'm just on the verge of getting a new one and when the other one is found, gifting it to a young family (Navy or AF) who can save some food budget by sealing their leftovers.

I have this idea that I can get two sets of nice professional steel five shelf units (like the ones the Koreans ruined), drag out the sewing machine and some attractive aloha fabric for covers and use them in my little dining area to store stuff I dont' have room for in the really tiny cabinets. Making covers for them will keep the stuff in it is kept private and clean (the covers can be easily washed). There's also room under the stairs for a small bookshelf that will take care of the cookbooks. My dining table is really quite small (seats 4 comfortably), so there's room in that area for the shelves.

The house will come slowly. The hardest part is that there's no place to out the "de-boxed" stuff till I get more boxes out. It's a compounding kind of problem. Stuff may go from one room to another till enough is cleared out that things can be arranged. I would like to have one of the bedrooms cleared out enough to accommodate a blow-up mattress and guest, although I don't know when I would be comfortable enough to actually let someone else stay in my place. I want to cook and have friends over, but it seems right now that would be a first floor only proposition (public vice private part of the house).

I've been exploring spinning wheels and found a couple that I would consider buying. the problem is that most of the mainland companies want to charge exorbitant fees to ship. One website I went to today wanted $96 to ship what would amount to 12 lb or less in a box about 20x20x6 (in it's original packaging, no fancy repacking) for the UPS ground fee (from the UPS website) of approximately $56 plus an unexplained upcharge of an additional $40. Now, Mr, Wheelshop owner. Can you please tell me what the additional $40 is for? I don't mind paying honest shipping charges, but don't think I'm going to sit back and accept your gouge simply because I'm lucky enough to live in Hawaii. I am NOT above ordering your merchandise which you gleefully ship for free to the 48 states and having it sent to my best friend, who will forward it to me in Hawaii for the (non-inflated) shipping cost.

I find that I need to choose merchants carefully as SOME (not all) have no problem charging the customer almost the entire cost of the item purchased to ship it to the island. I know this to be true from personal experience! The moral of this rant it to always check and verify YOUR shipping costs before you order.

All this sounds really nice, but getting motivated to actually do this is not easy. I have my days when I don't feel like doing ANYTHING after work but sitting quietly and knitting or watching a movie. It's been 14 months since Michael died, and it feels like a splinter of glass in my heart every day. There's so much I want to tell him and I need his support and encouragement so badly.

But I just keep on keeping on.

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