I've had a splendid start to the school holidays. Last night I went to a 40th birthday party and had a marvellous time. Parties are good. I like them a lot. They're as scarce as hen's teeth for me for the most part, due to no longer being a young university student, and I find I leave somewhat earlier and less inebriated when I have a babysitter to return to.
Yesterday I also gardened. Holy grail of wonderfulness, scarcely ever achieved during term time this year. I pruned my blackcurrant bush, making a solid attempt to create a 'vase' shape like the gardening guides advise. I planted three of the prunings in the garden so that I can have more blackcurrants in future. At least this time I will know that they need three years from twig to fruit.
Today it occurred to me, as the scales of the outside world fell from my eyes and just after I paid a bill of $120 to get rid of 300kg of windows which were given to us, were torturously difficult to move to our house (not that I lifted them, but the lifters never miss an opportunity to remind me that I said 'yes' to the offer of rehousing them), that I could burn the huge mess of thin branches from the old sandpit. In our fire which runs day and night at the moment, no less. Why didn't I think of that before? Possibly because I was never home. Today I collected three buckets of twigs, snapping or loppering them into the right size, and feeding some of them into the fire. It has only made a small dent in the bonfire-sized pile so far, but I have the rest of the week. The twigs and branches come from when FH and his friend pruned the big back yard tree with a chainsaw in summer. The biggest logs from it went into the wood pile and I stashed the rest on the grave of what was once a functioning sandpit.
Last night we had a new babysitter and she was totally fabulous. Earlier in the day, I had thought of offering her some cleaning work as well, but then I changed my mind. I changed my mind because she is such a good babysitter and we have such a disappointingly messy house, that I might ruin her willingness to babysit by exposing her to the extent of the cleaning needs.
This led to me beginning to clean the oven myself. Crikey. I found a container of commercial oven cleaner on a high and largely unnoticed shelf in the wash house, but by the time I'd read all the safety warnings, it seemed totally mental to put that stuff in the oven and then cook in it. I do understand that you wash it off before using the oven again, but still. So I hauled out the baking soda and after about three thousand circular scrubbing motions, the glass door of the oven is mostly clean. The rest of the oven is untouched. Naturally I can't cook and clean the oven, so Dominoes won the toss.
I have a new, albeit minor, obsession. Slips. I grew up calling them petticoats, but these days, if they are mentioned at all, they are called slips. Given that I wear dresses or skirts with leggings for most if not all of winter, slips are very useful. I have a blue one from the Sallies (50 cents) which is very useful, but I wanted more. I wanted a fresh one each day, and overnight laundry isn't my preferred method of multi-tasking working parent survival. The other day I decided it was time to throw budgetary caution to the wind, all for the cause of my slip wardrobe. So now I have a medium length black slip with a lace top and bottom ($45) and a shorter black stretchy plain slip ($45). The shorter one is a bit too short for perfection. I'm on a quest. I want a knee length red slip, ideally with a split up the back. I don't want a super sexy negligee, though a quick trawl of the internet shows they are much more easily available. I want a slip to stop the mega cling all the way to the hem in what happens to be my favourite, hot, colour. If I had more choices, a purple one would be quite good, and a kelly green slip.
Trademe seemed a possibility, and so I bought a home made slip in a flesh (think Pakeha flesh) colour which arrived in today's post ($5 + postage). It is a couple of sizes too big, and goes all the way to my ankles. I'm thinking of hemming it to my perfect length, dyeing it red and adding red lace to the bottom. Which is why I am now researching acid dyes. I kept the last stock pot which I burnt to the point of near complete destruction in terms of cooking food and I'm hoping it will be serviceable enough to dye the slip in. If I ever get as far as sewing my own slip, then the Ruby Slip would be my choice of pattern.
Another treat yesterday was a gift of home made laundry liquid and rye bread from the wonderful N. Fionn's eczema has gone crazy again and my latest step in terms of trying to identify what prompted the outbreak is that Persil changed their laundry powder formulation earlier in the year. Home made laundry liquid which isn't made by me is as close to a perfect strategy as I can imagine. Especially as now two friends have made the same recipe and both have given me some. Tonight we mucked around with a baking soda and epsoms salts and lavendar oil bath, which hopefully will help ease the itching. On last checking there is now a new skin aggravation in a new place, just for fun. In respect to that discovery, I wonder if it is possible to get molluscum contagioso more than once...