Tag: household work and chores

Offline Sunday

I’ve been trying to spend my Sunday’s offline–disconnected from Internets, phones, TV, etc.  I did pretty good today, with one or two small exceptions.  I had another busy day planned and I did pretty good:

  • Did the grocery shopping for the week
  • Completed all of the paperwork I need to submit to our accountant for tax season
  • Prepared all the paperwork I need to submit to our financial advisor
  • Got through the two most recent NEW SCIENTIST magazines (I still have the latest SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN)
  • Vacuumed upstairs
  • Cooked dinner.  Tonight we had shrimp scampi with a side of zucchini and walnuts.  Stay-tuned for the dinner we’re having tomorrow.  Yum!

I started reading Adam-Troy Castro’s novelette, "Among the Tchi" in the May 2009 ANALOG on the recommendation of mabfan .  So far it’s hilarious!

I plan on getting a little more reading done this evening, this time in The Way the Future Was.  And then at 8, I’m planning on an hour’s worth of work on "Depression Baby".  I had some good thoughts and a few notes on another story that I plan on working on in June.

I  cast my Hugo award ballot this weekend.  It turns out that I  didn’t read a single new s.f. novel in 2008.  My most significant votes were for the novelette, "Empty Spaces" and the short story "I  Remember the Future"both by Michael A.  Burstein (mabfan ).  And for Best Editor, Short Form, I voted for Stanley Schmidt, editor of ANALOG.

Up at 4 AM tomorrow and then I’m locking myself in my office to make progress on some training materials for a training session I’ll be leading in mid-March.

And a quick HAPPY BIRTHDAY shout-out to cdjensen !

Forward progress, part 1

I did pretty good at sticking to the schedule I planned for today.  There’s a lot to get done this weekend and I felt like I needed a schedule and list to help get it all done in the time I’ve got.

I slept pretty well last night.  When I went to go to bed, two of the cats were curled up on my side of the bed.  So I went to lay down in the guest room for a while, and an hour or so later (when I woke up not quite sure where I was), I found that they had mostly relinquished my side and I crawled into bed.  I was up at 7 am, ate breakfast and headed to the gym.

After my shower, I started on the house-cleaning chores.  I cleaned all of the bathrooms (and poured Drano down the sink in the master bathroom in order to clear out a slow drain).  I swept and mopped the kitchen, bathrooms, and the landings.  I cleaned out the cat littler, took out the trash, cleaned the kitchen counter, and cleaned the sliding glass door, both inside and out.  When that was all done, I vacuumed the entire downstairs.  By then, it was just after noon and I took 50 minutes off for lunch and to do a little reading (plus what amounted to a 10 minute nap).

Sarah came by just after 1 pm and we headed off to Babies ‘R Us, where we registered.  Kelly got one of those little scanner guns and Sarah (who had a list of Much Needed Items from her sister) led us through the store, showing us what we needed.  We picked out clothes and bedding, car seats and toys, all of the paraphernalia one needs when one has a newborn.  After we left with our list of items, we headed over to Pier 1 to pick up a piece of furniture in which to hold all of these items.  They were out of what we were looking for but we ordered it from the warehouse and we should have it in 9 days or so.

Back home and I spent an hour doing work:  reading and fleshing out a test plan document for my Big Project.  When that was done, I set about planning out our dinners for the next 7 days so that I know what to get at the grocery store first thing tomorrow morning.  I ate a late dinner and then was craving cookies so I dashed over to the grocery store to pick some up.  We watched last night’s episode of Battlestar Galactica, and then Kelly headed up to bed.  I was supposed to be doing some writing this evening, but I’m not in the proper frame of mind so that will have to wait until tomorrow.

Got the May issue of ANALOG in the mail today.  Yesterday, Kelly got her new social security card (with her name change) only one week after going to the social security office to change it.

I have a nearly equally long list of things to do tomorrow, but some of the items are catch-up items and I don’t think the day will be quite as hectic.  Besides, tomorrow is Sunday and I try not to distract myself with the Internet on Sunday.  I’ve been staying "offline" on Sunday’s except just before bed on Sunday evening to do my blog update.

I’ve got a glass of chocolate milk sitting here and I’m going to read more of The Way the Future Was.  I’d like to finish by Tuesday, when I’m expecting Nancy Kress‘s new book, which I am very eager to read.


I have a lot of little things to get done this weekend:

  • Send "If By Reason of Strength…" to ASIMOV’S
  • Get stamps
  • Fill out forms for our financial adviser (started)
  • Fill out forms for our accountant (started)
  • Pay the revised auto insurance bill
  • Get revised ID card from insurance website
  • Pay the doctor’s bills
  • Mail bills
  • Clean bathrooms
  • Mop kitchen floor
  • Vacuum upstairs
  • Prepare a work-breakdown structure for the change management portion of the ITSM project
  • Push out changes to the Visitor application to include then new office
  • Catch up on two back issues of NEW SCIENTIST (started)
  • Catch up on latest issue of SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN
  • Post some of my Hugo Award recommendations
  • Begin revisions on "Homecoming"
  • Finish reading Beyond Band of Brothers
  • Grocery shopping for next week

That’s all I can think of.  I wonder how long it will actually take me to get it all done?


  • Clean out cat litter
  • Organize media library (started)
  • Mileage credit for Kelly (have to retry next week; too soon to submit)
  • Mail marriage license request forms

And then one day you find, ten years have got behind you

Went to bed shortly after getting back from happy hour last night.  I woke up sometime after midnight feeling a bit dizzy; this despite having chugged a liter and a half of water when I got home.  Fortunately, it passed and I slept through the rest of the night undisturbed.

Up this morning and we were both in moods to get things done.  We made good use of the time.  I finally cleaned off the kitchen counter, which was being used as a gigantic inbox.  Kelly cleaned things too.  We headed out to Potomac Yards to run errands:  returned some things to Sports Authority, picked up some books at Barnes & Noble, grabbed some cat litter from Pet Smart and then a few odds and ends from Target.  We were home by noon.  I cleaned out the cat litter and then we had lunch: grilled cheese  (Someone is bound to comment on the previous sentence, but believe me, it was all perfectly sanitary.)  At Target we picked up some containers for cereal so that the boxes are no longer taking up space in the cupboard.  We also got a nice little magnetic whiteboard for the fridge.

Kelly went out with Sarah all afternoon (scoping out houses for Sarah’s sister) and I stayed home and relaxed.  I vacuumed and folded laundry.  I watched Jumper on HBO.  It was one of those movies where the book was so much better and so different that the two really didn’t have anything to do with one another (except the teleportation).  Not a bad movie, just not nearly as good as Steven Gould’s book.  I got some reading done too.  And even managed to sneak in a nap.

When Kelly and Sarah got back, we headed over to Shirlington and had dinner at Guapo’s.  I had the bacon-wrapped shrimp dish again, which was just as good this time as the first time.  After dinner we headed over to the movie theater.  Kelly and Sarah went to see Slumdog Millionaire, while I went and saw The Wrestler, which turned out to be one of the best movies I’ve seen in a while.

We got all the chores and errands done today so tomorrow there’s not much to do.  I plan on getting to work on the second draft of "Homecoming", now that I’ve gotten some good feedback.  Maybe get some more reading in, as well.

Cleaning day

Today was supposed to be our cleaning day, and to that end, I think we did a pretty good job.  I cleaned two of the three bathrooms today ( I would have cleaned all three but I forgot about the last one and never got back to it).  I vacuumed downstairs.  Kelly put away all of the holiday decorations and did laundry.  And we tried to stay warm.

We did go out for a short walk early this afternoon.  Ultimately, I cut it short, however, because it really was cold out today.

At 2:30 PM, I played Tiger Woods 2009 online with John from work.  We played Doral and he ended up beating me 66-56 over 18 holes.  I couldn’t seem to put well, but otherwise, I played very good.  We both aced the #5 par 3.  And I had a couple of eagles, including a par 4 eagle.  But I just couldn’t get the putting under control and that’s what cost me.  Still, it was a lot of fun, and the first time I’ve ever played online.

I did some writing this afternoon, about 600 words of "Rescue", but I thought what I wrote was pretty bad.  You know when it’s good and you know when it’s bad.  This was just one of those times when it was definitely not good.  I am generally even tempered and not sensitive about my writing, even when it is not great, but this was just bad, plain and simple.  I kept writing for the sake of getting words on the page, which is what everyone says to do, but they were just words, and not very good ones I’m afraid.  On the rare times when this happens, it tends to mess with my attitude for the rest of the day and I’m afraid I wasn’t in the best of moods thereafter.

Kelly and I went out to Sports Authority so that she could pick up some Under Armor for our trip to New York City next weekend.  The temperatures are not expected to get out of the twenties.

My new Oakley sunglasses that Kelly got me as a Christmas present have some kind of defect with one of the arms and I have to take it in to see if I can get it exchanged.  (According to the receipt, this should be no problem.)  We’ll see how that goes.


Slept in late again today–got up close to 9 AM, but we were up pretty late last night with AJ and Denisse.  I made us scrambled eggs for breakfast and we sat around watching Sunday Morning.  I was interested in looking for a messenger bag to replace my backpack and so we took advantage of the cold, but calm weather to walk to the Pentagon City mall (it’s about 2 miles from the house).  We ran through several stores before I finally found a decent messenger bag at Macy’s:  a Fossil bag that was marked 50% of (vickyandnorm  would be proud).  We then took the leisurely walk home.

I called strausmouse  back and we finalized some travel plans.  We are flying up to NYC Inauguration weekend to visit with he11o_sunshine , stubiebrother  and Sadie.  We managed to get great fares out of Reagan, which is five minutes from our house.  We’re going to be gone for all of 36 hours, but it will be nice to see them.  Then, we are planning to go up to visit strausmouse  and rmstraus  in Albany on Presidents Day weekend in February.  We’re looking forward to both trips, both for the enjoyment of seeing friends and family, as well as the last whiff of what can be called a social life before the baby is born.

Kelly and I had a very pleasant mid-afternoon nap.  We both dozed in the family room and it was very peaceful and quiet.  I was reluctant to come out of it.  Eventually, though, we had things to do.  We took down the Christmas tree today, and packed away all of the trimmings.  I then vacuumed up all of the needles from the tree, which meant vacuuming a lot of stairs (taking the tree out of the house caused it to shed what seemed to be half it’s supply of needles).  I did manage to get a lot of reading done, however.  In the early evening, we did some grocery shopping.

Catching up

Vacation has put me a few days behind on the blog, but I am catching up and the backdated posts should appear this morning.  Keeping up on Facebook was easier because I didn’t have to depend on wireless connections while I was gone.  Incidentally, speaking of Facebook, thanks to Doug, I go reconnected with a high school teacher from "Core".  Pretty cool thing, that Facebook is!

I’m in one of those frazzled, disjointed modes that vacation can put you into.  No significant reading since the middle of last week (instead, I’ve been re-watching episodes of Battlestar Galactica, in anticipation of the final episodes coming up in January.

Spent a lot of time last night consolidating our iTunes media library onto the new 1 TB drive and making sure it was available to all of our machines and that we could sync our devices the way we wanted.

Today is going to be a catch-up day, both work and home.  Lots of things to do.

Warm Sunday

It was near 70 degrees here in the Metro DC area today–unusual for late December, to say the least.  It was almost like we were back in Florida.  I slept in until about 8:30 or so.  But we still managed to get an early start on our day.  First, we headed over to the Apple store to get Kelly her Christmas present, a new MacBook!  (Her old PowerBook was on its dying breath.)  We were in-and-out in 10 minutes.  I also picked up a 1 TB external hard disk for our desktop computer (iMac) so that we can consolidate out entire iTunes media library and have it centralized in one place.

Next, we headed to the grocery store to buy food, very little of which we had in the house.  We stocked up and headed home.  I ran down to the concierge and picked up the two packages that were waiting for me.  One package was a gift from Mom and Dad:  Mario Cart for the Wii, with the steering wheel attachment included.  We can’t wait to play.

The other package was my copy of mabfan ‘s first book, I Remember the Future, which he signed for me.  I was very excited to get it.  When I finish The Hard SF Renaissance, it will be the next book that I read, making it book #401 or 402 on my list.  (Yes, I’ve read just about all of the stories already, but they are that good.  I’ll have more to say on the subject when I am done re-reading them.)  Humble though I am, I can’t help but mention the fact that my name appears in thebook twice.  I mention this only as a point of fact:  it is the first time someone has ever mentioned me in the "Afterward" of a story, and it was Michael that did me the honor.  The book looks great, incidentally, and as I have said before, the stories are a perfect introduction to what science fiction is all about (for those who don’t know); and they are great examples of solid science fiction for those who do read in the genre.  Buy the book!

There were some additional chores to do:  cleaning out the cat litter; taking out a bunch of trash and recycling; vacuum the house (Kelly did upstairs, I did the downstairs).

Spoke to Mom and then e took a long walk in the afternoon.  We didn’t need jackets; it was warm and windy.

I spent the rest of the day setting up our consolidated media library.  It was a little complicated, but mostly time consuming, copying data over the wireless network.  But it’s working the way I want it to work now, so all is good.

More research and outlining

I’ve spent hours this evening doing more research and outlining for the story–which still does not have a name.  I’ve got my timeline down pretty good, and now I’m filling in details that will help the plot move along.  I think I’ll be ready to actually start writing the prologue of the story tomorrow.

Stressful day at work, in the sense that I spent a lot of time trying to understand how a fairly complicated asset system integrates with CMDB and only toward the end of the day did I see where the main integration points were.  At least it was some progress.

I returned the library books after work and Kelly and I stopped at the grocery store to pick up a few items.  Got the January 2009 issue of SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN in the mail today.  Also got a holiday picture card from strausmouse  and rmstraus .  Ironic because I sent out their card today.  (I also got three other holiday cards squeezed in today.)

I picked up a small Moleskine notebook for keeping notes on the story when I think of them and I’m not near the computer.  Haven’t used it yet, but I imagine it will come in handy.  (Yes, I could use my iPhone for this, but the technology doesn’t work fast enough for me.  It’s much faster for me to pull out the pad and jot down my thoughts.)

Spoke with Dad this evening.

Cleaned all of the bathrooms this evening.  I’ve got to vacuum upstairs tomorrow night.

Today’s reading: NEW SCIENTIST (December 13), and some more of The Hard SF Renaissance.  I’m turning to the latter again now before I go to bed. 

The Hard SF Renaissance

I’m in one of those phases where I can’t decide on what I want to read.  I read and enjoyed Jack McDevitt’s Cauldron.  I was looking for something more like that (based on my mood), but I was also yearning for short fiction.  I started on C. M. Kornbluth’s short fiction collection, His Share of Glory, but decided thatwasn’t quite right for my mood.  So today, I started on The Hard SF Renaissance, edited by David G. Hartwell and Karthryn Cramer–and I think this is what I’m looking for.  I’ve made my way through 50 pages of the 960 page book so far, and so far, it’s just what the doctor ordered.

Meanwhile, I’ve had another story idea in mind for the last few days, and I can’t seem to get it out of my head.  The idea is really catching fire with me.  I think it may be part of the reason I got only a few hours of sleep last night.  Couldn’t get it out of my head during the day today either.  I’m making some notes tonight or tomorrow.

I spoke with he11o_sunshine  today and she sounds great.  We talked for 10 minutes or so.

After work, we headed over to Potomac Yards to pick up some cat litter.  Watched the latest episode of House.  Kelly is making brownies for her holiday party tomorrow.


Today was a productive day.  We were up around 8 AM and after watch a movie in the morning, I started putting the new grill together at 10 AM.  I finished at 12:30 (having gone through my Life On Mars playlist), and we moved the new grill out onto the deck (where, by the way, the temperature must have been about 20 degrees).  I’ll post some pictures tomorrow.

Next, I got rid of all of the trash and recycling, and then vacuumed the downstairs.  It looks so much better now that that’s been done.  Kelly’sUncle called asking for some help with his iPhone and I called him back and offered my suggestions.  Our garage door wasn’t working right this morning.  It opened up just fine, but wouldn’t close.  I called maintenance, and they came by and "fixed" it (they said mine was the second this had happened to today, and that the cold was likely the cause).  I say "fixed" because later this evening, it wasn’t working again, and I had to open and close the door manually.  I’ll have to call maintenance again tomorrow.  Spoke to Mom early in the afternoon and then, finally, I could take a break.

Kelly and I played Wii for a while and around 3:30, Sarah came over and we headed to the movie theater to see Madagascar 2.   It was the first time I’d seen a "cartoon" movie since I was a kid.  Actually, the jokes were pretty funny.  (I loved it when one of the penguins, cursing his lack of opposable thumbs, cried out, "Damn you, Darwin!")  When the movie was over, we came back to the house for a little while before heading out to dinner at Noodles.

I’m spending the rest of the evening sitting by the fireplace, reading my science magazines.