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Got Closet Cleaning Chaos?

by Kimberly A. Cook                      (Twitter@    WarriorTales)

It seemed such a simple goal. Clean out my clothes closet. I’m deep in the fleece on this project. Started by choosing a small group to purge; cashmere sweaters. Made the commitment to try each one on. OMG. Body parts have moved and fashion has changed.

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Closet clutter chaos. The refuse from the purge so far.  

 

Next on the list were workout clothes – tops and bottoms. Cut them in half by the time I figured out which ones were comfortable, besides the favorites I wear to death. Then onto the lounge pants and sweatshirts. Purged more for the garage sale.

Then last Friday I went for the gusto and spent six hours in my closet trying on every dress, dress pant, winter and summer sweater and blazer. I’m reorganizing and switching out hangers too, so it takes time. Is it possible to poop yourself out trying on clothes? Yes.

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Spec Ops Cat helping with my bead sorting. Kinda.

 

Gave myself the weekend off to visit with friends and family. Then Monday instead of going back to the closet, I deviated to the office to sort beads. Somehow I just couldn’t make myself do it. Think I’m building up steam for the final push to try on and sort jeans and tops. So many zippers, so little fit.

Those two groups are really hard to purge except for the last category which I may never get to – shoes.  I want to live the life my shoes expect me to have, so I don’t want to disappoint any of them right now. Maybe later.

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Spec Ops Cat still committed to help with my bead sorting. Sitting in the middle of my work area. Excuse me, HIS work area. Cat’s rule! Too bad he won’t clean the closet.  

 

Project creep crawled out of the bedroom since I need to replace hangers and purge the coat closet too. Sigh. Onward brave closet purgers! Ye olde garage sale date advances.

The master goal is to easily find the clothes I wear and love. What a concept. It’s day two of Spring, I better get moving.

Got Spring closet projects?

 

 

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Spring Cleaning Choices?

by Kimberly A. Cook                          (Twitter@  WarriorTales)

The sun came out last Friday and I played hooky from my blog. It was SO exciting. People were nice to each other in the stores, it got warm inside Subie with passive solar and folks were speeding like maniacs; until they hit a killer pothole. The rain poured again Saturday, but it popped out on Sunday and I played in my yard and garage.

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How fabulous does this display look at Monticello Antiques? The light coming in from the right was actual sun on Friday.

 

With apologies to the folks in the Northeast getting pounded by snow today, the rest of us are having Spring dreams while the rain settles in again in Oregon. Rumors of sun breaks on Thursday and Sunday have us all giddy with expectation.

My goal is to get all the inside chores done so when the good weather shows up, I can move outside to play. My new acronym is C.O.D. – clean, organized and decluttered. Noticed one of my declutter books in a pile of books on the floor of my bedroom the other day. Think that might be defeating its purpose.

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How cute is this sign at Monticello’s? Truer words were never spoken. Not the best shot due to low light, since I hate flash, but you get the idea! 

 

While I gear up to attack my closet for a brutal purge which requires empty garage sale boxes, chocolate and tissues to survive, I wanted to share one of my favorite shopping spots again. Some folks have such a knack for displaying items not only for sale, but in their homes too. My goal is to clear the floors.

Spec Ops Cat is always helping out with the housework by supervising. This photo was him working hard in the office yesterday while I was editing my fiction book. He strives for nap perfection. Pretty sure he had the ten thousand hours for mastery before he turned four. He’s always practicing, like right now in the exact same spot while I write this blog. So dedicated to his job.

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Words of wisdom from Spec Ops Cat for the folks back East in the snowstorm; nap hard, nap deep. He’s a Ninja Nap Master.   

Spring officially arrives Monday, so hope they can dig out of the snow in time to celebrate back East. We have flood warnings the end of this week. The ground refuses to take more water and even Idaho is dumping its rain water into our Columbia River.  Grab the sandbags, it must be Spring!

Are you Spring cleaning?  Or napping like Spec Ops Cat?

 

 

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Ready For Romance?

by Kimberly A. Cook                     (Twitter@  WarriorTales)

There are many types of romance, but digging out of a historic snowstorm and freezing rain/ice mess topped it for me last Thursday. Finally able to get out for a girl’s lunch at Monticello Antiques and Monti’s Café. Heaven!

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How is this for a fabulous display? I use red accents in my pink kitchen and it works great. White and red are such perfect colors together with a dash of pink.

 

When what to my wondering eyes appeared but red and white decorations telling me Valentine’s Day is near. The main reason I was so happy is because it means Spring is on its way. When even the Weather Channel says Portland is number one on the winter-fatigue scale, being able to shop is romantic.

Wanted to share some of the finds I found in my browsing. It was so fun to be out of the house, snow, ice, arctic cold temps without a snow shovel and my Danner Fort Lewis boots.

I discovered jewelry jars, but after a thorough scan of the contents I decided I didn’t need these; still have a bunch at home.

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Jewelry treasure jars!

 

Thought these buttons were so cute and festive, plus vintage. Can’t we just kick ourselves for all the stuff we got rid of which is vintage now?

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Vintage button bonanza!

 

Found another pink mini-teapot that I managed to not buy. It was a tough decision, but I am out of teapot display space. Completely.

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I’ve got at least three pink mini-teapots. Maybe it’s four. This one had to stay put until I can take inventory.

 

Then this fabulous find would have gone home with me if I had a bigger house. Who doesn’t need a pink couch? Really!

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Spec Ops Cat would love to curl up on this beauty.

 

There is more daylight now. It’s time to buy Valentine candy for all the folks we love, including ourselves. My motto is buy early because by the actual day all the good candy has been sold on clearance. Better put it on your shopping list for Super Bowl party goodies. Just to be safe.

Happy Almost Romantic February!

 

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Looking For A Warm Spring?

by Kimberly A. Cook                         (Twitter@  WarriorTales)

Living in the land of denial is high on my list. Especially right now when the majority of us in the good old USA are freezing our giblets off. In the Pacific Northwest we get cranky when it gets down to 32 degrees in the city, so these 20 degree temperatures plus wind chill are a force to be reckoned with this week.

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Took this picture of Mt. Hood on Dec. 28 while on a quick photo field trip in my neighborhood. Wanted to work with the fading light and my zoom lens. Clouds came in faster than expected and mucked up the visibility.  Snow belongs on the mountain, not in the city. Just say ‘in.

 

Our Mt. Hood snow skiers might find this face freezing cold fun, but I do not. My days pulling 4 a.m. post guard at Fort Carson, Colorado wearing full arctic cold weather gear pretty much gave me all the thrill I needed with high altitude cold weather training.  You haven’t lived until you’ve tried walking in Army Mickey Mouse boots in a snowstorm.

If I wanted to live in these temperatures I’d move to Antarctica or someplace colder, like Wisconsin. (Go Packers!) So I’ve taken precautions. Moved the Gardenia plant into the garage for a balmy 37 degree spa experience. Duct taped the foundation vent hole blockers to ensure they stay put in the high winds forecast for tonight.

Bought four more holiday blankets on clearance to hang over the big windows; plastic blinds are not the best for insulation. Stocked up on goodies from cookies to beans. Got myself a plug in Warm-Me-Up Heated Pocket Wrap to cuddle into while in the LaZBoy.

My sister got Mom one for Christmas. I beat feet to Bed, Bath and Beyond and bought one using my 15% off coupon. When I combine that with the heating pad, will be toasty as long as I don’t trip the breakers.

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Spring Bunny Squad! It’s just around the frozen corner.

 

So you can imagine how excited I was at the store today when I spied this row of new merchandise on the shelves. Spring bunnies! We will make it through this cold and the daffodils will rise again. They started peeking up last month then all this cold hit and they went back down into the ground. Smart move.

Stay warm, stay safe and keep any important body parts covered. Words to live by this New Year. Happy 2017!

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Had to take this picture before Christmas. How happy are these giant bears? If you can find one on clearance, snap it up. Big teddy bear snuggles will keep you warm!

 

 

 

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Got Snow? Ice? Locusts Wearing Parkas?

by Kimberly A. Cook                         (Twitter@  WarriorTales)

The best laid plans of mice and women. On Dec. 7th I picked up a load of artwork and plants from my sister and brother-in-law’s house to help them move into their new mini-house; they are in my neighborhood now.

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Comet on his commandeered pillows in the new house master bedroom closet. Waiting for Mom and Dad.

 

On Thursday they made two early morning car loads. I was at their new house babysitting their cat and baking lasagna when the snow storm hit about noon. So with a full moving truck, they were stuck at their old home with everything packed except two LaZBoys and food in the frig and freezer.

The moving crew barely slid up and off their hill but the 150 foot difference in elevation made for an auto slip and slide. Their old house is on the top of a steep mountain. They watched one neighbor’s car get to the side of their house and then slide backwards down the long hill. Not a trick to try with a full moving truck.

Waited for the oven to finish cooking the pasta. Five minutes after I took the lasagna out at 2 p.m. I heard it on the window. Tink, tink. Crap cakes! Freezing rain.

Threw the still hot lasagna in the frig, said goodbye to Comet and hightailed it home. Long story short, I babysat Comet on Friday while they were still stuck. Saturday they were able to get the truck off the hill around 11 a.m. and the moving crew unloaded in the afternoon and evening.

Long day Saturday but got the second load moved and unloaded too, the lasagna ate and Comet got to see his parents again. He’d been in kitty solitary in a new place for more than 48  hours but was doing fine since he was wearing his kitty calming lavender collar. We all needed one.

Sunday I watched three NFL games in a row from my LaZBoy. Barely moved. Forgot what it’s like to heft a few boxes. Spec Ops Cat made up for missed lap time. Monday and Tuesday spent grocery shopping and meeting a friend for lunch. Finished up chores in time to get ready for the next snow storm due in yesterday.

Which became quite interesting because today I had jury duty. Snow started at 1 p.m. Wednesday and dumped. So everybody and their brother, co-worker, relative and favorite enemy ended up bailing onto the highways at the same time. Gridlock ensued!

Basically Portland shut down. The freeways shut down. But my bird bath heater is working great. Iceageddon ensured my jury duty was finally cancelled today, so I’m home playing hooky. Trying to catch up on blog posts.

So here’s a video of Nora the polar bear and the river otters at the Oregon Zoo enjoying their second snow. Last week. This last storm was our third. We might have more this weekend. It’s going to be one of those winters!

The rest of the country has been hit hard by bad winter weather too, so we are not alone. Since we don’t use salt to treat our roads and we have hills, snow turns to ice and it amounts to toddlers trying to drive cars on a hilly skating rink. Does not end well.

A HUGE thank you to the law enforcement and medical first responders, road crews, mass transit folks, electric line repair personnel and “essential personnel” who go out in these messes and help us all. Plus the UPS driver who just drove through my neighborhood with chains on the big brown truck. Wishing you donuts and hot chocolate or coffee!

Everybody stock up on food, books, cat litter, blankets, soup, cat food, chocolate, chips and dips now. Good luck this winter. We might just need it! Go Nora!

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How To Get A New Closet

by Kimberly A. Cook                   (Twitter@  WarriorTales)

Ding, dong the beast is dead! No, I’m not talking about a witch, but my electric furnace/heat pump. When I bought my house eighteen years ago, I had this marvelous heating and cooling machine that worked great for about six years, then it started getting cranky.

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Spec Ops Cat makes one final inspection of the beast before it meets the demo team.

 

The first time was a winter night when I heard a Huey helicopter landing upstairs in my office; except there was no chopper. When I called HVAC guy to come inspect, it was a block of ice in the heat pump thingy that the fan blades were clanging against.

Turned on the emergency heat strips and proceeded to devise a gravity drain using my orange bucket and leftover aquarium tubing to catch the melting water. This contraption would prove invaluable over the coming years.

A year or two later sitting in my living room I heard drips. Never a good sign. There were not supposed to be drips. Followed the noise into the kitchen and found my ceiling was peeing water into the silverware basket of my dish drainer. From upstairs.

The drain line which goes outside from the heat pump had frozen, backed up the water and then more peeing ensued.

So there followed many more instances of peeing ceilings. After they ripped the innards out and put in bigger pipes in the unit I had the kitchen ceiling fixed. Not long after, more peeing once again. Gave up and left the hole as artwork.

So on a hot day in August, ninety-seven degrees to be exact, peeing and no cooling. Yes siree folks, the entire unit officially died dead.

Next came the bid rodeo. It came down to replace the electric furnace/heat pump with a split unit/furnace or with split unit/ductless. All in all the cost was either $12,800 or $13,600ish. Ack!

Doing my due diligence I called Energy Trust to ask the big question. Turns out the electric furnace is a major power suck, no matter how efficient.

Also, given how my row house is arranged, I wanted to improve the air flow and be able to regulate the temperature in each room; the only way to accomplish that was to go ductless. The best part? They would rip out the peeing beast, take it away and I would get a new closet. SOLD!

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Presto! Magic! It’s gone! This picture only lasted for about ten minutes before I started moving stuff into this space. Will do a makeover in the Spring and paint it pink. Because I can, that’s why.   

 

So for three days in October two great guys and one wild electrician were in every room of my house, the crawl space and the attic while drilling, sawing and making noise. Spec Ops Cat was not amused. They also covered all the carpet with floor coverings, so the entire house looked like it had a diaper.

Found the crawlspace door I had not touched in eighteen years. Then spent time chasing Spec Ops Cat to stay out of it! Most of the time he camped under my bed, unless they were working in there too.

I could sit in the LaZBoy or at the kitchen table since every other area was a construction zone. Managed to sort my tax receipts and read.

They dragged the metal beast out of the house in a driving rainstorm complete with thunder and lightning, which proves my point it was the devil’s spawn. It didn’t want to go. I did pray they were not lit up as lightning rods and they got back safely.

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This is the big boy of the four units in the house. This heats/cools the living room, kitchen and dining room. Spec Ops Cat is still keeping an eye on it these days; it’s a new contraption. Yes, my living room walls are pink.  

 

Now I am toasty warm. More so than I’ve ever been. I have to keep turning the heat down, the house is too warm. I’ve come to the conclusion the beast pretty much heated only itself in its final days.

Now  I have four remotes, one for each unit. And yes, I have already stuffed things into the new closet, a staging space for when I can paint it pink and move in four more bookshelves and my personal yarn store.

Can’t wait to see my heating bill. Expect it to go down forty percent. Old furnace used 180 watts, all ductless units use 25 watts. More money for books!

Do you need a new closet?

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