Thinking that there may have been a slow down to activities outside the working arena was a little ambitious. Having had a couple of weeks where my mornings were not my own, and any spare time, outside of the daily exercise regime, eaten up by requests above and beyond the normal call of duty, I thought, for a brief moment, that it would be possible to catch up with some 'must do' activities, which although mundane, are essential.
Boring as it may be, my pantry requires debugging every so often. I mean the word in the old fashioned term. It is not a requirement that a team of ex-military intelligence personnel enter my home with their detectors and rid my storage space of listening devices, (after all, to have a discussion in my pantry would be nigh on impossible, as it is not that of the 'walk in' variety,) but it does mean that I need to be prepared with some spray and a shoe! I live in Texas! We have rather large 'bugs', including insects, arthropods and the like! With the heavy flooding that the region suffered, there appear to be a (slight) lack of cockroaches this year, but the millipedes are out in force! Although our units are sprayed with a deterrent, (a polite word for lethal bug spray,) and I keep a variety of repellent, (a polite word for lethal bug spray/traps,) there is always one (or more) that appears to be immune! Some are just stronger than others, and limp in to my house, perhaps under the grave misunderstanding that there would be some sort of medical facility for the multi-legged! At the risk of sounding crass and ruthless, the last thing that goes through the mind of a bug, when it enters my house, is usually my flip flop!
However, I digress! I thought I would have a chance this week to not only debug my pantry, but perhaps complete another few tasks that, boring as they may be, before going to work. This was not to be! Although I did manage to clean the offending cupboard, and there was little evidence that it had been attacked by anything other than expired sell-by dates!
We were inundated with work on Monday, for which I am grateful. It did mean, however, that my swim time was later than usual, but my Spanish neighbour, also, was running behind schedule, so the pool was mine for the duration of my routine! Samantha had passed a 'challenge' sent by my niece, Emma, to me, and I felt compelled to take up the gauntlet! It was a raisin loaf, made to look like a watermelon! The raisins were the seeds, the inside was red, and the outside green. As I had wanted to refresh my original bread starter, before leaving for Blighty, I thought it would be a good opportunity. Although the process is broken into stages, and each stage is not too lengthy (normally) I thought this would not be too tedious, as I boiled the potato, ready to mix into the liquid for the first stage!
I tried to leave the office at around midday each day, but my plans failed miserably. At around 11am, each morning, the work began to pour in, and everything had to be served 'today!' As quickly as our guys made the trip to downtown and the surrounds, they came back to the office for the next round! It was as if someone was watching them get into their cars and drive away, before sending us another load of papers! It made for a good work week for all, so that was a blessing!
My routine, however, was in turmoil! The weekend had been well planned previously, as it was 'tax free weekend', and Samantha and I decided it would be a good time to go shopping for the clothing items that had been requested. This meant that my Saturday morning would, for the second week, be disrupted, and I would have to reorganise my chores. No! I do not do change very well! I am, as most will now know, a creature of habit, and if the routine is changed, I function at less than full capacity. I had been warned so it should not have been too much of a upheaval, but with a couple of other projects that have taken up my time, (all will be revealed, if successful, or even if not successful, at a later date,) everything is rather 'higgledy piggledy'!
By Wednesday, I thought I had a handle on things, and rose early to take care of the mid-week housework. The bread starter was beginning to form some froth, and it looked like it would be ready for stage two at lunchtime. We arrived at the office on time and, as we had left rather later than anticipated the previous evening, I was ahead of the game! I checked my emails and found that I had won! Tickets for the 'PBR at Cedar Park'. I had absolutely no idea for what the initials 'PBR', stood, and was also unsure that I would be able to collect the tickets before the weekend, when the 'event' was to take place. Unlike the 'other' local radio stations, the tickets had to be collected personally, by the winner, and a letter giving authority, would not work! I opened a new 'window', and found that the initials stood for 'Professional Bull Riders'. It was the first event of its kind, apparently, and upon further review, I realised that the tickets were at the radio station, rather than the event center. The station was along the road from Joe! The blueprints for this week did not include going for coffee with my friend, but I was sure that I could juggle my already disrupted plans to do so!
The bread was not quite as easily made as it looked, as I did not spend enough time thinking about the task. (Creature of habit; I functioning at less than full capacity.) Separating the dough before the first rising, and adding the colours at that stage, would have been the sensible thing to do. Instead, I waited until it was ready to 'shape', and then attempted to add the red and green (separately, of course). The sticky mess that was the outcome, was eventually brought back to pliable material, but the mess was quite prolific, and my mood was rather heavier than light! (Creature of habit; I functioning at less than full capacity.)
Time marched on, and by Friday morning, the bread was made, (although it did not quite resemble the picture I had been sent,) the housework completed, (all bar Saturday morning's chores,) and I headed south towards the coffee shop! Traffic was slightly heavier, as I had left later than usual, but it was moving fairly quickly. I enjoyed my beverage, enjoyed the company, and collected two bags of freshly ground beans to take back to the office, so that we could be 'revived', each morning! I drove a mile northbound, and found the radio station complex without a problem. "Please just sign the screen", instructed the receptionist, who had merely asked for my last name, and confirmed my first. She did not ask for identification, nor confirmation. I commented that the procedure was rather painless, as I have been used to filling out forms, some asking for more information than others, but the one place that had required a personal appearance, had no mechanism for ensuring you were actually you! I admired their sense of belief in honesty! Once the tickets were safely in my bag, (my hand is not a safe place, especially when my routine is in turmoil,) I walked back to my car, and drove back across the river, to the office. Jerry was the lucky recipient (again) as Dana did not really have an interest in the event, and I thought I may be too frazzled to enjoy anything on Saturday evening, especially if I was unable to complete my usual routine during the morning! I shall have to rewrite that programme in my DNA!
Finally, the weekend arrived, and I was ready to walk out of the door by 9am. When I say 'ready', I mean that I was appropriately dressed; I was not ready to leave my house, as I had not washed my kitchen floor, nor completed my daily vacuuming! Dana promised that he would not tell anyone (especially my mother) if I did the same! I have not yet been able to laugh at my ridiculous 'hang-ups'! As a newly wed, (and who knows why this particular memory stuck,) I happened to mention, to my mother, my routine of washing up after dinner, and sweeping the floor. Her response was, 'Your kitchen floor needs to be washed everyday, not just swept!' My mother was the greatest loss the military never had!
The mall was rather empty. Samantha and I arrived at 9:30am, despite the fact it did not open until ten, after picking up a couple of items from stores along the way. A young man, accompanied by a toddler, was exiting with a shopping bag, and we thought that perhaps, despite all indicators to the contrary, the shops had opened earlier than advertised. It appeared that the option was given to open at 9am, but no one had considered to update the website, and the staff, at the various venues, could not understand why it was so quiet, especially as this was one of the busiest days of the year. We offered our views, and they all became rather frustrated with the mall 'management'. For our part, it was beneficial, as not only were we able to secure a decent parking spot, but we did not have to fight the crowds! Despite having a list, and a strict disciplined policy from which we were not, under any circumstances, to deviate, we did hit a couple of stores that were not on our printout! Even though we had been AWOL, we left fifteen minutes before the 'must leave' time, and headed towards our ante-penultimate destination, after backing out of our parking spot, and straddling the lanes, to prevent a predator from capturing the space from a car that had sat patiently waiting for us to load up our bags.
It would appear that I am not the only creature of habit in the vicinity, (although I could say, with probable certainty, that no one has the same issues over washing their kitchen floor!) as most vehicles were heading for one particular entrance at the Lakeline mall. We found a space very near to a back entrance and walked through the 'tools' section of the department store. Again, a slight deviation to the plan took place, but we were diligent and left with our required items in good time. We headed back towards home, via Target, where we bought their entire stock (which was not too great) of teething gel, to take home next week!
One of my neighbour's was celebrating a birthday on Saturday, and we had expected (as we had been forewarned) a crowd at the pool. Arriving at two, I was pleased to see that we had beaten said crowd, and I swam before they arrived. Another neighbour had the same idea, and we enjoyed the peace and quiet, for a while, waiting for the onslaught. Another couple joined us in the water, and we soaked up the sun, and at around five we all came the the same conclusion, to wit, plans must have changed, and the party had probably been moved to another location!
My kitchen floor remained unwashed on Saturday. My ironing was completed on Sunday, whilst talking to my mum. She is oblivious to the fact that my floor remained unwashed for a day, and would, of course, laugh if I told her! She fails to understand why I feel so bad about not completing such tasks, but obviously also fails to remember the words she said to me before I left home many moons ago!
Perhaps the party will take place today. Perhaps I will not be able to swim this afternoon, but that remains to be seen. The request to have all orders in by last week, was of course, not adhered to, and Samantha received a call from her brother this morning asking, "Are you going shopping today?" Next week will again be disorganised, as my trip to England is imminent. I am not sure as to whether my post next week will be early, late or perhaps postponed, but I hope to be able to de-stress and sleep a little, before embarking on ........... another story!