The First Sparkle of the Season

This might look like china or crystal to you.  To me, this is my crown jewel of Monday: It all started with a big Boy Scout project I needed to start: end of year re-chartering and catching up on tracking advancements and reports for our scouts and implementing a new system to track advancement. I’ve worked on the foothills of this project a few times already, but now I need to commit to it like a cost accountant working an 8-hour day tracking costs on the refurbishment of Endeavor’s boosters. As I think about that blip in my life at Sundstrand, I see a desk and a table with me swiveling around on my chair between the two of them. The space was committed to the project. At the end of the day, I left a pile in the middle of the desk and that was where I started the next day. This scene is what I need to replicate to get my mind around this scout project.

The job requires setting up two computers side by side. The advancement tracking system is on one computer, but that computer refuses to talk to my printer. My personal computer sits next door and accepts emails with attachments that need to be printed. The printer is in our living room next to the table that occasionally hosts sit-down meals. I need a chair on my right to hold a file drawer full of folders. I need flat work space to shuffle paper in the folders. In the past, I have set up this project on the table in our living room, but the complexity of the job ahead means we would be looking at this set-up for a couple of weeks.

Perhaps no one dreads this as much as Bill – although it’s also a thorn in my side to walk by it when I’m off-duty. Last year when this table was enveloped in mounds during this season, Liam asked, “Mom, do you get paid for this?” which lead to a much needed conversation about volunteerism.

As I write this, I know where I need to set up: the dining room. I can move the printer and the table it’s on to the dining room, which will make more room for the Christmas tree in the living room. Plus, as I write this Wednesday morning, I know the best part of this set up is the newly shined crown jewel. On my Monday calendar, there was a two-hour block marked as “Boy Scouts” that I lived out as “putz.”

Over time, my china hutch has become crammed with stuff I didn’t want to get broken. Monday, on an unplanned trip to the Container Store to find shelves to hang on my pantry door for all of my spices, I found small stand-alone shelves that would work as risers in the china hutch. I could double-deck each shelf. I came home without spice racks (they were too wide for the pantry door) but rather armed with shelves.

My thought was to just scooch stuff around and work the shelves in, but once inside the china closet, I saw how dirty every glass was. So I washed all of the glasses by hand, then installed the shelves, then wound battery-operated twinkle lights through the shiny glasses. Now, it sparkles like the holidays!

Note: In 1999 when I was working on the 25-page paper to finish off my Master’s degree, I painted the entire kitchen two days before the paper was due. I’m an excellent procrastinator, and what I accomplish under pressure is some of my best work. …. So now it’s Thursday. I missed writing the Hump Day Short on Tuesday as I had to slide the scout project to Tuesday. It was a successful day with all equipment set up as planned. I faced the china closet with twinkle lights a-glow and had my Christmas music playing as I finished the reports that were needed for the scout meeting Tuesday night. Then, on Wednesday I got a call that a repairman was on his way to replace the light switch above the stove. And Wednesday got putzed away waiting for him. (Coincidentally, this was a new guy that came out to take care of this simple replacement. He blew the new switch trying to push it back into place with the power running live. He’ll need to come back in a few days and try again.)

Today, Thursday, the Boy Scout project is on the back burner. The special-order replacement windows for the dining room came in and installers will be there today. I broke down the Boy Scout work station and threw a table cloth over the printer so it won’t get dusty. I’ve retreated to my favorite place in town: the quiet room in the library. And I’m ready to write yesterday’s Hump Day Short.

Now… where to begin... Did I mention I spruced up my china hutch?

Here's the matching dining room table -- A 25-year-old Piece of Oak decked out for Christmas!