Nope. Didn’t Fit.

One day sitting in the new chair told me that despite all my careful measuring, it did not fit in the space the folding chair occupied. This meant reorienting my bed.

I don’t like beds jammed against a wall because that position makes it difficult to change the sheets. But I happened on a good solution by moving the cat tree over against the wall. When it comes time to change the sheets, I can push the cat tree out of the way.

Sentinel approves of this new setup.

New Desk Chair

Since being laid off in March, I have spent 30-40 hours per week at my desk. For that entire time, I’ve been sitting on an Ikea folding chair. This week my body said, “No more!”

The problem with finding a replacement is that the space between the bed and the desk is very small and the Ikea chair works because the back legs can partially sit under the bed. I took measurements and headed out.

(The red sheet that I usually have over my comforter is in the wash.)

At the used office furniture store I looked around and found this cube to help the cats get onto the bed. Sentinel has been using the folding chair to jump onto the bed for months now. I think he can still jump from the floor to the bed if he tries, but I don’t really want him to try. He took to the fabric cube right away.

I also found this little blue chair that does fit in the small space between the desk and the bed. I think? Stay tuned.

Achievement (nearly) Unlocked: Back Porch Cleared

Okay, so there are still a few things to deal with. Expired emergency food, two bags of shredded paper, But other than that, I have cleared off the porch, hung the bike mount for Matt’s bike, fashioned a makeshift lock situation that I will fix eventually, and now it’s much easier to sweep off the porch.

Updating the Emergency Food

I bought new water storage cubes. Previously we’d bought three-gallon containers of drinking water at the grocery store which would inevitably swell and burst when temperatures got below freezing. Our storage shed has an exterior wall and is not insulated.

These containers are empty, which means I can empty and refill them myself. It also means that can fill them to a point where even when they do freeze, they will not burst. I also appreciated the sense of humor as displayed by item three of suggested uses.

To manage the expiring food, I have made a spreadsheet. I’ve got one column that has the expiration date and one column that is a month before the expiration date. My plan is to print this sheet, attach it to our wall calendar on the month with the next expiration date. When the calendar turns, I can pull the food and incorporate it into the menu, or put it out in one of the neighborhood food pantry.

By doing this I will hopefully avoid another incident where I only realize the food is expired because of ants attempting to colonize the food storage area.

I Build Some Shelves For Above-Washer Storage

Et voila! Shelves. I cut a leftover piece of wood from the dryer platform in half (with a handsaw balanced on top of my recycling bins because I was too lazy to get everything out that was needed for the circular saw), installed four of those handy braces I’ve been using forever, did some drilling, and now there are shelves where there once were none.

Here’s a close-up view.

In keeping with my laziness, I’m not going to paint them. The bare wood fits with the utilitarian nature of the laundry area.

Garden Update September 2020

The thing about living in Portland is that by the time my garden really gets going, it’s September and thoughts of autumn have taken over. September is when the tomatoes really produce, which was always inconvenient when I worked for a school.

My garden in September is often neglected, poor thing. Regardless!

Here you can see the tomatoes going gangbusters. I think next year I will trim them back so I get fewer and bigger tomatoes. You can see a healthy collard plant to the right of the tomatoes and some other greenery that I have forgotten since I am writing this post in the far future. I also picked up a cat litter box with a cover from the street. My plan is to clean it and put it on the catio to give another litter box option to the cats. [Update from the future. I did this, and Antares showed some interest, but when the rains came, they flooded the box and I ended up throwing out a large chunk of soggy cat litter, scrubbing the litter box once again, and putting it back out on the street for someone to grab.]

From a different angle, you can see the orange 5-gallon bucket that I haven’t put away for week. Plus that the tree collards (back center) need better support. One of them has been flopped on the ground for weeks, poor thing. The raspberries are still spitting out a few gems, and between them and the tree collards are some spinach, kale and lettuce I started late in the summer.

Over in Leo’s yard you can see the squash doing its late-summer thing where it tries to grow a lot and gets powdery mildew. I didn’t get much zucchini from my three plans this summer (maybe I need to attract more pollinators?) but the delacata squash managed to put off a small squash for each plant, which wasn’t bad considering how old those seeds were. I staggered planting the green beans because I love green beans, but then I didn’t go out and pick much of the later plantings.

On the other side of the green beans you can see the Oregon Sweet Meat squash that I direct seeded. Steve Soloman seems to think this is a better way to go, but by the time the soil warms up enough for direct seeding, it’s too late in the season. Plus, I never bought another soaker hose so the poor thing had to grow on its own, without additional water. I got one very small squash out of this deal.

Washer and Dryer Project: Completed

I have replaced the vent in the door (which was harder than most steps in this project due to screws not wanting to line up correctly) and found a curtain to go in front of the litter boxes.

Aside from the general awesomeness of this project, I think it’s the curtain that gives me the most pleasure. I found it at SCRAP in the material section. I couldn’t find a price, but I liked the look, so into my basket it went. At the register, I discovered it was $20, and when I hesitated, the clerk said, “How about ten?” I happily agreed.

When I got home, I checked to see if I could drape it over the rod, rather than sewing it into a curtain. It fit perfectly. I think the pattern is top-notch. Yet another big win from SCRAP.

The Washer and Dryer are in Their Places

The repair man has returned and this time he brought along a lifting companion. I loved our repair man. I explained the deal, and he, looking amused, said, “I think this is going to work.” And it did.

We still need to put the vent part of the door back. I took it out when that area became the cat litter box area, but I saved it and I just need to screw it back into place. I also need to find some sort of curtain. Laundry tends to fall from the dryer right into the litter box area.

I also want to put a few shelves above the washer.

But it’s nice to have a fully working washer again. And I quite like how this has all turned out.

ANTS! In My Christmas Decorations!

I opened our back shed to grab something and found this situation.

Ants had decided our shed would make a very nice anthill and they had been busy making my Christmas ornaments into their main egg storage area. Aside from eggs (apparently they are actually the pupal stage of complete metamorphosis) they had stuffed the box full of fluffy filler material (you can see some against the Cheerios box). Ants don’t normally give me the creepy crawlies, but in this quantity they sure did.

I ended up getting our trash grabber out of the other (ant-free) shed and using that to pick items up and fling them into the yard. They were in nearly every Christmas item: the ornaments, the advent calendar box had a big stack of eggs on top, the garland was full of the fluffy stuff.

Matt finished up a session with a client and helped me fling things.

I also learned that ants bite (or do something that caused me to repeatedly slap my feet while I was moving things to the back yard.)

Further learning occurred when later that night, both of the cats were very interested in my feet and the socks Matt had been wearing while he hauled things. There must have been a pheromone.

Another fun thing? I discovered some of our emergency food had been expired for three years.

So this week we’ve built a platform for the dryer, battled ants, and had to make a new plan for emergency food. It’s been a little taxing on the adrenals.