I'm not busy every day. Some days I just get up late (a privilege of singlehood and retirement) make lunch, putter, make dinner, and watch a few science/nature DVDs. But I usually TRY to do something useful each day. Some days just don't work!
I had yesterday (Thursday) all planned out. I would get up early (for me) at 10 am, use the riding lawn mower to tow the 5'x8' hauling trailer to the street, hook it up to the car, drive the car to the UPS center to drop off 2 boxes, drive the car (filled with empty boxes) to the recycling center, stop at the nursery on the way back to get 2 bucket-loader loads on 1/2 soil 1/2 compost (premixed is great there), stop by the grocery store where the double rows of parking spaces allow for a car and trailer, and get home in time to let the cats out.
Hah! I stayed up til dawn, slept til 1 pm, and ate a fast lunch lunch. Then the riding lawn mower wouldn't start. I hadn't used it since late September. The marine battery I keep in the shed was dead too. So I went back to the house for the Jump-N-Carry JNC660 Jump Starter I bought a couple months ago to help with the car. That worked!
So I drove the riding mower (hereafter just "mower") around front to hook up to the trailer to move it. Oops, forgot the key ring. Back inside to get that. Unlocked the trailer lock, hooked up the mower. It some time to get the mower trailer ball directly under the trailer hitch. The trailer was on a slope and held in place by wheel chocks so I couldn't move the trailer up or down hill. And trying to use the brake lock thge the mower is in position is tricky. It wants to settle back a few inches...
But I got the trailer and mower connected and brought the trailer to the street so I could get the SUV attached. Hmm, I need a rake to spread the soil/compost mix level... Another 200' trip back to the shed and 200' back to the trailer. Oh, and I need a tarp to cover the load so it doesn't all blow away. I thought I had the in the car, but it was a small one that wouldn't cover the entire trailer. Off in search of a larger tarp I go!
Didn't find the one I wanted (later discovered the one I wanted was covering plywood on the deck) but found one "almost" large enough. Put that in the car. Checked to make sure I had the bungee cord tie-downs in the car. Nope! Searched for the bungee cords. In garage, in shed, in workshop... No luck. Re-checked each area. Nope!
I wasn't at the point of checking the refrigerator, but close. I use them for a lot of purposes, so I sat down and pictured them. Couple of minutes later, I said "AHA!" and walked right to them. I had a small basket of odds and ends left over from another project, and there they were! OK, into the car they went!
Darn, I don't have my grocery list! I made a list of all my usual items on a spreadsheet by category and with some blank lines after each for unusual items (and printed off a few hundred copies a few years ago). I don't really need it for most things. I know what fresh vegetables and meats I need, but its the odd items like ketchup or Crisco or minced horseradish I'll forget without the list. Plus, going by memory means I end up with 3 jars of fancy hot gardeniera veggies in the pantry...
So I got the list. Went to the SUV. Noticed the sun was setting. That means it is rush hour traffic, plus I don't want to do all these errands in the dark!
So I set my attention to dinner and today (Friday). I got up at 9 am, showerd etc, made a quick cheese/bacon omelet and toast, ate fast, and got going. Hurray, I was on the road at 11...
The UPS drop-off was easy, though it is annoying to stand in the place typing information into the computer to create a shipping label. I have my computer mouse buttons reversed for comfort, so using the regular arrangement is awkward. And their mouse pads are sticky so (between the two) it is hard to get the cursor on the spots they want. And they are Windows while I am Mac, so some routine shortcuts don't work.
But the label was made and printed eventually. I brought my 2 boxes to the UPS clerk. One box was a return of a crockpot. My 35 year old one finally died, so I ordered a replacement. I THOUGHT I was ordering the same size but with a removeable inset. OOPS! It was huge (for me). 5 quarts is a LOT bigger than I thought. Well, I have 5 gallon buckets I use frequently, and 1/4 that size seemed right. Nope! Apparently, I had a 2 quart crockpot before. So I had a return from that with a prepaid pre-printed label.
It was the kitchen knife return that took all the work. I bought a set of really great Wusthof-Trident kitchen knives from a Going-Out-Of Business store 10 years ago. But I added a few individually. One had a piece of the handle just fall off while I was cutting lettuce. Wusthof said to return it to then VERY securely packaged.
I can understand THAT! Knives defy most packaging. So I found a flat box 4" longer than the knife. I cut pieces from another box to hold the knife. The handle has two narrow spots, so I punched holes in one cardboard piece to match those and used twist ties to hold the handle in place leaving 2" all around the knife. Then I placed the 2nd cardboard piece on top of the 1st and used duct tape all around it. That knife AIN'T moving.
Then I put the broken handle piece in a sandwich bag (with a separate label inside the bag explaining what it was) and tucked it in between the cardboards and taped THAT in place. Then I wrapped the whole thing in small bubble-wrap. I added a copy of all the emails between Wusthof and I (with pictures) into the box after writing my name, phone number, email address on the copy.
When I was done, was was still some movement of the cardboard knife-holder in the box so I packed the edges equally around with styrofoam peanuts. When I was done, an earthquake could not have made the contents shift around in the box. I am nothing if not thorough!
So I got away from UPS in only 20 minutes. On my way to get rid of the recyclable cardboard boxes...
Naturally, there was a person ahead of me. She didn't seem to have the slightest idea how recycling worked. She had her trunk open and the workers were picking through the contents. She had electronics, boxes, garbage, metal, and some non-recyclable junk in there. Hey, if it is her first time trying to recycle, I'm patient.
So I decided to just carry my boxes from a car-length further away. But one of the guys there took my boxes as I approached the cardboard compactor and said "She comes here every week with weird stuff and makes us take some stuff we really shouldn't accept for free" (actual garbage costs money to dispose of), "but if we complain we get in trouble".
I thanked the guy who helped me empty the boxes from the SUV, and commiserated with him about some of the strange "customers" they get. Apparently some people try really hard to get their actual garbage "recycled" for free when there is a dumspter right there saying "$1 per bag of garbage". And they show up in luxury cars!
People are weird!
If you have read THIS far, you get an A+.
So from the recycling center, I went to the landscaping/nursery at the end of the same street. I needed a lot of good soil to fill the cages of the Tulip and Hyacinth bulbs I am planting in an edged circle in the newly-leveled back yard. I asked the "Loading Manager" if they still had the 1/2 topsoil 1/2 compost mix. I told him I wanted 2 bucketloads and set my covering tarp so that the dumped mix would hold the front of the tarp in place, then went to the office to pay for it.
I went back out with the receipt and waved it to the bucket-loader guy. He dumped one, then the 2nd. I was spreading the load out evenly when I noticed he was waving at me. Apparwntly, He felt the 2nd load had been a bit light. He brought a 3rd! Cool!
He didn't hang around like he was wanting a tip, so I gave him a big smile and a slight salute! And he parked his machine and left.
So I went to use the bungee cords to hold down the tarp over the soil in the trailer. Imagine my surprise when I realized I had set the tarp sideways. So I pulled it out from under the soil/compost mix and set it the right direction. I tucked the front edge under the soil as best I could, and used the bungee cords to lock down the sides and back.
I hadn't driven 1/2 miles when the front came loose. so I pulled over to the side of the road to redo the front. I'm glad I had an extra container of bungee cords in the car. It seemed (and was) secure. But I saw some birdfeathers on the road (some unfortunate crow), and put several in the exposed (uncovered) back of the trailer where the "wrong" tarp didn't reach. A little experiment on how much of the purschased soil/compost mix I might lose driving home.
The feathers were still there when I got home, so I guess I didn't lose any soil mix on the way home. Aerodynamics are weird!
So I stopped at the Safeway grocery store. They have double row parking spaces that can fit a car and trailer. Did my shopping; won't bore you with that. But I needed stamps and they sell them at no markup. I had written on my shopping list "Don't Forget Stamps". I forgot the stamps.
So I got home, unhooked the trailer, covered the exposed part of the soil/compost mix with another tarp. Got inside at 1PM, opened the deck door and a few windows (it was 70F) and let the cats out. They LOVED it.
Next time, the first planting of new Tulips and Hyacinths using the new-built cages and 1/2 soil 1/2 compost mix...
And if you have read THIS farther, you get an A++