So long, month seven

It’s the last day of July, and I, for one, can’t see it end fast enough. This has not been a good month for anyone, as I’ve talked about in previous posts, and its not totally over just yet. We have to get through today before we can breathe a sigh of relief as this month to passes. But, I am definitely going into August with optimism.

Times like July has been can either get you down or motivate you to make things better. I’m opting for the latter of the two.

It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.
— Henry David Thoreau

I see opportunities everywhere I look, and I see Aug. 1 as a chance to turn over a new leaf and pursue those opportunities with even MORE vigor. Take the positive changes I’ve had happen in July and build upon them. I refuse to focus on the negative aspects. I acknowledge them, and I work towards fixing them. But I won’t focus on them. I plan to turn those negatives into a positive force to push forward.

Tonight, I sat and did a brainstorming exercise. I plan to participate, for the first time, in NaBloPoMo in August to jump start a good habit of posting daily. I listed out 50 blog ideas. Then I kept going. I’m up to 54 with atleast two of them holding the potential to be a recurring weekly theme. I’m excited! But I want to open up the comments to anyone with blog ideas… any topics that others would be interested in seeing me explore? I welcome suggestions, and I welcome August. Here’s to making it a far better month than the one before.

Domestic day

I had to put all my writing and designing work on pause yesterday. It was a totally domestic day.

Domestic adj. – of or relating to the household or the family or devoted to home duties and pleasures

Since getting married, I’ve grown to hold a new respect for my mom and all moms out there. Keeping a house is a lot of work! Anyone who looks at a Stay a Home Mom (or Stay at Home Wife) and thinks, “Boy they must enjoy just laying around at home all day.” THINK AGAIN. Keeping a home is a never-ending job!

My day started with scouring the internet and mail inserts for coupons. I am all about trying to save where I can when I can. I’ve not totally mastered the art of coupon-shopping, but I think I do a decent job nonetheless.

Then I checked the account and figure up how much money I had available for groceries and fuel for the truck. After a quick bowl of cereal, I was out the door and off. Three hours later, I came home having only broken my self-imposed limit by $10. Not bad; thanks to the calculator I’d tucked in my purse. Tax always throws me here, though. In Texas there’s no tax on groceries. Here, the tax is different on groceries than from other items, and its that discrepancy that got me.

I had a hard time getting motivated to tackle my next task: clean the house from top to bottom. I liked too many shows on TV tonight, and they kept beckoning to me to come sit on the couch instead of work. Instead, I took a break to fully watch one show. All the rest were background noise.

Bathrooms have been scrubbed, all floors cleaned, kitchen clean, guest bedroom vacuumed and fresh sheets on the bed (I have guests coming!), my own sheets cleaned and put back in place, office relatively clean (as clean as it’s going to get), and a million other little tasks that have been needing to be done… got done.

See, I generally save my cleaning for when my husband is on the road. And even with that, I usually leave it for Friday or Saturday. However, as I said, I have guests coming, and the job had to be done early.

It feels good to be lounging on the couch with my laptop, sipping a glass of wine, looking around at my clean house knowing it looks good. Knowing that now I can relax and enjoy my company. Knowing that its one more thing off my to do list…

…until next weekend. When many of my tasks will come due again.

It never ends. My hats off to those women who keep a clean house while raising children and holding down a full-time job. I know you can say its a labor of love. I know what I did today is because I am both proud of my home, but also because I want to open my home to the people I care about and know they’ll feel comfortable.

But I’m beat! Kudos to those who juggle all angles of domesticity.  It’s a lot of work, and I admire every one of you.

Tag, that’s it

Today, I had to go renew the tags on my truck. It’s a yearly task that I just really don’t like to go do. For one thing, its one more thing to attempt to budget into my expenses (which never really happens, but I’m trying). For another, it always ends up taking a lot of time out of my day. So, I embarked on my task with a bit of a grumpy attitude already.

Emissions testing
Sitting in line for emissions testing

First stop, emissions testing. Growing up in small-town Texas, this was not a task I had to do before moving to Nashville. (Instead I had to do a state inspection, which is far more involved but it’s not a part of getting tags.) Of course, I pick the lane taking the longest to go through.  I amuse myself with Twitter while I wait… okay, I whine on Twitter while I wait.

Wouldn’t you know, though, that I get up to the front of the line and it takes my truck maybe a minute to be done. Made me shake my head to myself. Wait half an hour for the four cars ahead of me, only to fly through myself. But, hey, it was done and I was free to go.

Off I went to the county clerk’s office to get my tags. Only problem: I found the closest clerk’s office boarded up! What? I just drove by a couple weeks ago and they were there…

Understand, I am big on details. I like to have everything laid out ahead of time. I had the exact amount for my tags figured and the check written. I had all my paper work paper clipped in my passenger seat. I had planned this all down to the most minute detail. But I DIDN’T KNOW THE CLERK’S OFFICE MOVED!

So, I quickly found a parking lot to pull into, and I pulled out my handy-dandy Droid Incredible phone. I quickly Googled the clerk’s office and found in the bottom corner their new address. I copy and pasted it into my Navigator, and off I went to the new location, which just so happened to be a block from the vehicle emissions testing location.

Only, the address I had didn’t take me to the clerk’s office. It took me the National Guard!  I drove all around there, and I never could find the clerk’s office! I wasted a good 45 minutes just looking for an office that I’m not sure exists any more. I was annoyed and flustered by this time. (I’ve since looked the address up again and got the same location as my phone took me to. I’m so confused!)

I found another place to pull over, and I mapped my way to the clerk’s office the next town over.  Over 20 minutes away, and I knew the office closed in 30 minutes. Any traffic hang-ups and I’d be left out to dry for the day.

But, I went for it. I’d spent all this time on this task already, I might as well finish it. So off I went.  My Navigator took me right to the front door of the office, and I got in line to go drive-thru for renewals. I was about seven cars back from the window… and the line wasn’t moving. I looked at the clock and weighed my options.

See… I’ve been in the drive-thru line at the clerks office at closing time, and they didn’t care that there were cars already there. When it was closing time, they closed the window and refused to serve anyone else. I did NOT want that to happen to me again. I decided to back out of the line and find somewhere to park. Surely they wouldn’t throw me out physically if I got in the door before they closed.

I grabbed my neatly paper clipped stack of papers and went inside. I almost didn’t believe my eyes. There were two ladies just sitting there without anyone at their windows. I walked right up, and since I had everything together I was done less than five minutes. I couldn’t help but turn to look at the drive-thru as I strolled to my truck. It hadn’t moved an inch! SCORE! Finally, something went right.

Of course, then I couldn’t find my way back out of town without my Navigator, and it did try to take me the wrong way down one-way streets. (But, I AM smart enough to not follow any GPS blindly.) Of course, this was the one time I didn’t pack my phone charger, so by the time I got home, my battery was dead right along with my nerves frazzled.  I didn’t even put the tags on my truck yet, because I figured with my luck today I’d end up slicing my finger trying to get the old tags off!

At least this is a task that I hate to do that is done for another year. And I am going to keep in mind that I need to double check addresses before I leave the house — even to places that I’ve been to before. You never know when they’ll have moved and you’ll end up chasing your own tail. It is just a waste of time, gas, and frustration.