Thursday, September 12, 2019

The Best of Baltimore

I got back from Baltimore yesterday, after having spent three days enjoying all of the hospitality that Charm City has to offer. I have to say, the nickname is fitting; everyone I met was utterly charming.

I arrived in Baltimore Sunday evening, after a day spent dashing between flights at three different airports. Once I got to the hotel, I freshened up a bit and enjoyed the views from my room before meeting a coworker I was traveling with for a stroll along the waterfront and dinner at a small Irish pub located just around the block from the hotel. Not a bad way to spend the first evening.

Monday and Tuesday were busy with workshops and sessions, but, we did find time to do a little more exploring of the city, and, I discovered  that one of my favorite parts of Baltimore was Little Italy.

Monday evening, a coworker and I walked block after block after block of the area, soaking in the sights, including the period architecture...

...a bocci ball tournament being played by a very enthusiastic group of locals...

...and the amazing chalk art leftover from the annual art festival that had been held a week earlier...

...we dined in a fantastic little Italian restaurant, called Tagliata, where I had an awesome roasted red and yellow pepper bruschetta and chicken Marsala that was to die for. The waitstaff was entertaining and knowledgeable, and, at the end of the meal, they served us complimentary shots of lemoncello. I had never tried lemoncello before and, now, I'm wondering what took me so long.

Since I was still on Colorado time, I wasn't tired after dinner, so I walked back down to the harbor, where I spent an hour in my Happy Place, aka: A Giant ASS Bookstore.

I had visited this Barnes & Nobel two years ago while I was at the same conference, and I was itching to get back there, so, thank you, insomnia!

Tuesday, following our sessions, my coworker and I hopped at train to DC for a tour of the Holocaust Museum, but, that's a story that deserves its' own post, so, instead I will talk about dinner, which was at a soul food restaurant that my coworker had been raving about since eating there a few years earlier. He was psyched to go back. Like, psyched. So, we went to a somewhat sketchy side of town for a meal that was....underwhelming.

Not terrible, just...underwhelming. Like, even the coworker admitted that it was not really as great as he had remembered it. So ,that was a bit of a bummer, but, when else am I going to be able to say that I spent $24 on a big 'ol pile of kale?

 (at least the cheese board was tasty)...

Anyhoodle, Baltimore, you rock!  And, despite the President's concerns, I can truthfully say; I didn't see a single giant rodent the entire time I was there.

That would not have been charming.

Saturday, September 07, 2019

I Feel Like I'm Living Inside an Episode of Hoarders, But at Least My Porch is Pretty

The Great Purge of 2019 continues unabated at Casa de Chelle. Thus far, we have de-cluttered both attics, my closet, and Queen B's old bedroom, including the closet, which led to an impromptu trying on of old prom dresses, which led inexplicably to Queen B trying on my wedding dress, which was unearthed from the depths of the inside attic (not to be confused with the garage attic; what? you don't have plural attics?).

Hugh's entire side of the garage is entirely filled with items for the yard sale, and, bags and boxes have started to accumulate in the mudroom and upper landing of the staircase. I'm seriously considering just lighting a match and walking away, but, at this point, am too tired and sore to actually strike the match.

On the bright side, and, as alluded to in the title of this post, my porch is looking good. I decorated for fall, utilizing a color pallete previously unknown to me, and, I love, love, love the results. Now, when I am feeling especially overwhelmed by the clutter littering every surface of my home, I can retire to the porch for a brief respite.

Or, I can just throw my hands in the air and jump on the first plane out of town.

Actually, that's totally happening tomorrow, anyway. Not because I'm giving up the Yard Sale Ghost, but because I am heading to Baltimore for work, where I will spend three days in a hotel, with nary a pile of clutter in sight. I never thought I would be so looking forward to a work trip.

Or, to coming home to a nice, clean porch.

T-Minus seven days and counting, until The Purge is a fait accompli and I get my house back, hopefully with a few additional dollars in my pocket. Hell, for all this trouble, there better be more than a few.

Thursday, September 05, 2019

August Bucket List Review and September Update

I suppose I should review my August Bucket List, given that it's already September 5th and all, so:

1.   Do the best job possible on Darren's wedding photos...knocked this one out of the ballpark! Delivered over six hundred quality photos to the Newlyweds less than two weeks after the wedding, which, has to be a record, amiright? I'm right. I was really happy with the photos, especially the reception photos that required the use of the new flash that I purchased not long before the wedding.

2.   Host one more Porch Night...managed this goal when Hugh's old friend from Germany and his wife visited mid-month.

3.   Exercise at least 20 minutes a day...well, I made it to the gym more often than not, and, on days that I didn't, I still got in my 10,000+ steps, so, good enough.

4.   Spend time with friends...I got to see more of Jana this month than I've seen her all of the previous six months, combined, so that was awesome. I also had an overnight visit from Phoebe, which was great, and, as I said above, we hosted friends from overseas, so, I would say that I nailed this one.

5.   Try one new recipe every week....ha! No. Cooking rated so low on my list of desirable activities in August, it wasn't even in the top 100. Maybe this month? Yeah, I won't hold my breath, either.

So, what will I do in September? Well...

1.   Finally hold that goddamn yard sale that I have been threatening to hold since roughly 2013.

2.   Decorate the house and porch for Fall/Halloween.

3.   Book at least three Senior photo sessions.

4.   Come up with an awesome, amazing, not-to-be-forgotten care package for the Man-Cub's twenty-first birthday. Yes, that's right 2-1. Legal drinking age. How in the world did this happen?

5.   Make an effort to take my daily walks outside, rather than running on the treadmill. I feel the need for sunshine and fresh air, and, hopefully this month will bring slightly cooler temperatures along with the changing of the leaves.

And, that's it. I think I've finally learned to set expectations for myself that aren't so lofty as to be impossible to reach. That's progress, amiright?

I'm right.

Tuesday, September 03, 2019

In Which I Am Sore in Every Fiber of My Being

When last we spoke, I was on my way out the door to kick off a Labor Day that included a purging of the attic above the garage, and, I am pleased to say that we more than accomplished that mission.

What I am less pleased about is the absolute aching pain that I am experiencing today. I guess it is to be expected; the attic purge took nine hours and required both Hugh and me to lift, bend, climb, crouch, push, pull, and generally use every muscle in our bodies in ways that we probably have not used them in the last decade or so.

I may be exaggerating; by the looks of everything we pulled out of the attic, it's more like two decades.

Anyhoodle, we started at noon, with the first trip up the attic ladder...

...several hours later, we had cleared "my" side of the attic, including all of my seasonal decorations.

The next several hours were spent dragging out Hugh's side of the attic, where we encountered a treasure trove of crap, including his 80's hair band cassette collection, enough Matchbox cars from his childhood to fully stock a small Matchbox store, and about thirty duck decoys, which Katie is more than happy to take off our hands (Yay! One less thing to worry about selling at the yard sale!).

By nine p.m., the garage was a hot mess, our trashcan was overflowing, and Hugh had burned about a million empty boxes in a bonfire meant to appease the Hoarder Gods.

As an aside, is my husband the only man who insists on saving every goddamn box from every appliance/electronic device/tool, etc., that he purchases? Discuss amongst yourselves.

By 9:30, we were spent physically and emotionally-it takes a lot out of a mommy to come across items from her babies' childhoods and to know that they are all grown and gone..., we shoved the mess to Hugh's side of the garage, cleaned ourselves up, and headed to Hooterville for a late dinner.

Tonight, I will attempt to organize the garage into some semblance of order, but, for today, I will mainline ibuprofen and moan about the aching in my joints.

I am going to be so much fun to be around! But, on the bright side, we are 20% done with The Purge.

Om my God, that doesn't sound bright at all.

Monday, September 02, 2019

Weekend, Ahoy!

Happy Labor Day! If you are reading this today, I sincerely hope it's not from a computer at work; that would seriously suck for you.

As for me, I will be heading into work here in just a few, after I hit Publish on this post. Happily, I am only going to the hardware store, and my only tasks are daily receipts and payroll, so, it won't take all day, which means it only half-seriously sucks for me. It would suck worse, but Hugh will be along for the ride, as he has volunteered to run, stuff, and stamp our month-end statements while I count money, saving me at least an hour or more.

Of course, once we are done at the store, we are going to fully embrace the "labor" part of the day by climbing into the attic above the garage, where we intend to go through every box, crate, tote, and bag, in preparation of the yard sale that I have definitively scheduled for the fourteenth of this brand new month.

Kill me.

Kill me, now; it would be a mercy.

Anyhoodle, at least I will have the memory of the relaxing weekend that we spent in the company of good friends and family, doing things we love and soaking up the final rays of summer sunshine. It's not for nothing that it happened on the boat. Finally!

For the first time in about three years, she ran great! Not one second of frustration or concern! And we ran her hard; all three kids and Hugh either wake boarded or knee boarded, and, we pulled all three of the kids on the Super Mable, which is the largest tube we own.

Chris, Jana, and the Newlyweds pulled out their big boat, so we had plenty of room to stretch out, and, I finally got a picture of my babies in the spillway of the dam, where we have taken pictures for years and years.

Of course we missed the Man-Cub like crazy, but, three-out-of-four ain't bad.

After pulling off the lake, we cleaned up a bit and then met Chris, Jana, and the Newlyweds at Carmen's, where we capped off the day with BBQ and chilled wine under the stars. It was a great way to build my strength for what comes today, AKA: the attic purge.

Which, I have pushed off for long enough if the look that Hugh keeps shooting me is any indication. we go.

Time to labor on this Labor Day.

The official photographer of Labor Day Weekend being towed about by her minion...