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» Sunday, March 17, 2013Spring Arrives for the Weekend
Yeah, I know. Yuck. Spring has finally arrived. It went up to the high 70s on Saturday, but it was saved by a nice breeze. Slightly cooler today and clouds keeping the glare from our eyes. The Bradford pear trees have seemingly exploded in blooms overnight and form huge snowballs on their stocky trunks.
Anyway, my compressed Friday off was a great relief, as I have been exhausted by all the changes at work. I slept in until nine and would certainly have gone longer had I not wanted to fritter a day off sleeping. Believe me, I was tempted, as I am awakened by creaking knees and hurting hips several times a night.
I spent the day cleaning house and dubbing off a couple of things on the DVR that I'd recorded for James, Toward the Unknown (with William Holden, the story of a disgraced Air Force pilot who was "broken" by the Koreans and now no one thinks he can be trusted, so when he claims there is a structural problem in a new plane, no one believes him) and Thunder Birds, a World War II film with Preston Foster. I discovered that when I record standard ratio films (4:3) off TCM, I need to record off the standard def channel, not the high def one, as the pictures are small when recorded through the DVD recorder (which isn't high def). If he wants a decent copy of Toward the Unknown (lots of military jets), he's going to have to buy it from TCM's shop. I finally vacuumed those damn stairs, cleaned the bathrooms a bit, swept the kitchen, put a bunch of stuff away, and listened to the Cadfael story Monk's Hood on BBC Radio 4, and felt aggravated that I didn't get more done. There's a boxful of books downstairs that needs to be shelved, at least!
James was home a little early after having a doctor's appointment, so we went to Red Lobster since we could make it just in time to order lunch. Never figured out why I can get scallops easily at lunch and for supper it's like pulling teeth. We also stopped at Michael's with a coupon, dropped in at Dollar Tree (stocked up on more Pears' soap), and finally treated ourselves to ice cream at Bruster's.
Oh, yeah, and I gave Willow a bath. She behaved pretty well and didn't squirm as much as usual. It's just hard on my knees and my back to lean over the tub, especially when I'm pretty much rooted to one spot due to the toilet being so close. But she's clean now for Sunday, which is her fifteenth birthday.*
Saturday was the Farmer's Market, and a nice day for it; we had to abandon our jackets by the time we got downtown. We bought cucumbers, tomatoes, a pot roast pot pie for Sunday, and goat cheese. When I got to the Big Daddy dog biscuit booth, I decided to try their new gluten-free cookie, made with garbanzo beans and flavored with several things including banana and cinnamon. When I told the proprietor that Willow was going to be fifteen, she tossed in a big shamrock-shaped dog biscuit for free!
We also did the shopping at Kroger after having breakfast at Chick-Fil-A (yay, oatmeal!). They were waxing the concrete part of the floor and the person doing the waxing had not finished, leaving big glops of brown-stained wax all over the floor. By the time we were picking up our last items, the smell of the stuff was making me queasy, so was very glad to check out and go home. Wish they would have done it earlier, when fewer people were in the store.
James headed off for his club meeting in the afternoon, and I had intended to at least go get gasoline, plus go to the bank to see if my new debit card worked (I accidentally used the old one before going to the Farmer's Market and was soundly told "Card has expired!"). But I ended up doing more chores, including vacuuming the bedrooms, plus working on a wallpaper for James' e-reader. Soon he'd arrived home and we were headed out for a treat: dinner at the Colonnade and then a night out at the Atlanta Radio Theatre Company's performance of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.
The Colonnade was crowded as always, but we had an efficient waiter and were served promptly. I had the turkey as always, but James decided to have the short ribs, a favorite of some of our friends. Alas, the cook was a bit off tonight and James finally asked the waiter to take it away, as it was overcooked in some parts and greasy. Instead he had the turkey, which sat much better.
We arrived at the Academy Theatre early enough to have a nice chat with Daniel and Clair, both who have had colds, and John Campbell, before it was time for the performance. The opening play was Visions of Vampires, a production we had seen the end of during our Sunday at AnachroCon. James was iffy on it, but I enjoyed it, including the running gag about watercolors vs. oils. The part of the play in which a spirit spoke through a living man was quite scary; I saw a few people get up and leave.
20,000 Leagues was excellent! They solved the problem of this being an all-male story by making Professor Arronax's assistant Conseil his niece, Christine, and also cast a woman as the navigator of the Nautilus. David Benedict captured Captain Nemo's suppressed rage well, and Ned Land was just a big, brusque Canadian rather than an over-the-top Kirk Douglas type. (I did joke to Daniel Kiernan that I missed him singing "Whale of a Tale" and he replied with a straight face that the sea lion never showed up—if you've seen the impressive Disney version of this tale, you'll understand.) 20,000 Leagues has a good deal of exposition and scientific theory, and the script balanced this and the human drama well.
[Left to right: Daniel S. Taylor, Clair Kiernan, Daniel Kiernan, Ron Zukowski, Dave Schroeder]
Afterwards there was a cake served out in the lobby area, an extraordinary piece of work. The main cake part was made to look like a book, and the top had the squid and the nose of the Nautilus bursting from it with a neat effect, the "cover" curled back with pages of print showing! Both squid and Nautilus were edible.
An uneventful ride home and then on chat for about an hour; by the time one o'clock came I was wiped and could have easily fallen into bed without a shower.
This morning came too early, but breakfast was leisurely. We finally headed out about 11:30 to BJ's for a stock-up trip, as we needed Chex, Mandarin oranges, AAA batteries, and Lysol, and also had some good coupons. I squeaked when I saw the final bill, but really, we didn't buy anything we didn't need, plus I found two pairs of Gloria Vanderbilt "Amanda" jeans in my size and length, a nice cafe au lait color as well as in a dark chocolate brown. They had special "spring" colors, too, in eye-popping pink, yellow, and polka dot, but I avoided those. Sadly, they didn't have the pretty grey ones in my size.
We came home by Publix intending just to get money (the new debit card did work), but found several twofers, including cut watermelon, that notched the bill up a bit. I'm very relieved this weekend is over from a spending point of view, especially after needing to buy gasoline as well! (We took Willow with us as a treat, but she only looked anxious. I suppose I can't blame her, as mostly when she goes for a ride in the car she's either going to the vet or on vacation, neither which she likes!)
I figured it was time to do the taxes. I usually do them right after I get both W-2s, but James's never showed up because his company has taken on a new billing service. We discovered why when they gave him a new printout of it: they had our old address on it! Honestly, we have been here seven years! What old records did they get into? I also decided after last year that I was not going to pay for a TurboTax CD anymore. There is no way our deductions, even with the mortgage payments, are adding up to give us a higher total than the standard deduction for a married couple, and it's just not worth the trouble. I just had to decide on which website I wanted to do the tax return; ended up going to TurboTax because they would file both Federal and State. Still had to pay for the State, of course, but it was less than the price of the TurboTax software, even at one of the buying clubs with a coupon! It took about an hour and at the end of it James had supper finished (the pot-roast pot pie and a salad) and we could go on to happier things, watching the final part of the "dollar house" reconstruction we'd started over the weekend on Rehab Addict, a great episode of one of my favorites, Flipping Boston (Peter and Dave redo a house—in the midst of a seemingly endless series of snowstorms—for a friend who lost a leg in a car accident), and finally Lab-mix, Ibizian hound, and the cutest Pomeranian puppies ever on Too Cute.
Willow had wet dog food for her birthday dinner and then was allowed to lick out the bowl the watermelon pieces were in, and then for dessert was given that huge shamrock cookie. She tried valiantly, but couldn't finish it. Ah, well, there's always tomorrow. (Schuyler glared at her so when she saw Willow with the cookie that I gave her a sprig of millet!)
* We actually don't know when Willow was whelped. We got her on the last week of May, and they told us she was ten weeks old, so I counted back to a date I could remember. :-) Schuyler has the same deal: she was just a new baby when I bought her on the Friday of Memorial Day weekend, so I counted back a month and picked out another date I could remember (April 23, St. George's Day and Shakespeare's birthday).