Neat New Year

What is it about the new year that makes us feel like it is the perfect time to be productive? There is no magical space between 11:59pm and 12:00am that actually wipes the slate clean or begins something truly unusual – it is the same passage of time that happens 364 other days of the year. Yet still, we enter a new year with new hopes, new plans, and new goals. For me, New Year’s Day often includes a fit of cleaning and neatening up – both recovering from the holiday clutter and some of that mystical shiny “clean slate” effect. Aaron felt it too and we spent most of the afternoon puttering around the house getting “things” done.

First up, a mirror for our half bath off of the kitchen.  When we bought the house, the bathroom was about as simple as you could get – sink, toilet, TP holder.  We knew it needed a mirror to look complete, but somehow that got bumped down the list – we put in a GFI (ok, that was kind of important), a towel holder (handy), and a new light switch and vent fan timer (very handy – we kept leaving the fan on all day!).  Along with other things taking its place, it also took us forever to find a mirror we liked.  Those who know us have probably noticed that we gravitate towards simple, clean design.  Some might even call it bland. Both of us were determined to get a mirror that had a little character.  Between low quality (melamine, yuck) and boring designs (another beveled edge, really?), we were underwhelmed.  Then we happened upon a simple, clean but interesting design that we agreed on.  Narrow enough to fit over the small sink, tall enough to give you a good view, and with a back-etched olive leaf design that caught both of our eyes. We had it tucked in a corner for a month or two, but the “New Year Effect” took hold and Aaron finally mounted it.
Another project, not home improvement, also got a little attention from Aaron today – his “Ciser” (hybrid of mead and hard cider). He conferred with a local expert at the Hop Shop about what he believed were some rather disappointing results from his current attempt. Come to find out, his Ciser is “complex”, “has legs”, and will be excellent once he lets it age appropriately. It will also be about 15% alcohol.  We taste-tested it after the initial fermentation 3 weeks ago and I dubbed it “Firelight” for the immediate and long-lasting warmth you got from a couple of sips. So I wasn’t shocked to hear that the alcohol content was going to be a bit on the high side. He purchased a carboy and move it out of the brew bucket so that he could get a better view of its progress during the next six months or so. He’s promised a tasting for our local brew enthusiasts (aka everyone we know in ME) when Firelight 2013 is ready for prime time.

While he was racking the heady-smelling brew, I tackled a task I’d been waylaid from months ago – filling the bookcases. Well, technically I could have filled the one in the den anytime I wanted to, but I couldn’t find the pins for the shelves on the other bookcase, so I held off. I’d put the pins a “really good place” so that I wouldn’t confuse them with old solonoid pins from Aaron’s time in at Borg Warner. He worked on a special project for months while we still lived in NY and the pins hitchhiked home in his pockets. I found them months and year later while cleaning. Thankfully, Aaron found the “really good place” I put the shelf pins a week ago and I took advantage of his activity in the spare bedroom (aka Brewery) tonight, putting up shelves while watching the brew slide into its new home. I unpacked the books, the board games, and even our small collection of DVDs and CDs. Because they are heavy and ugly, the reference books are still chilling in the garage.  I’ll mess with them when the office starts to take shape. We both felt like there must be more books somewhere but aside from my Complete Works of Shakespeare tome, we couldn’t put a finger on what those books would be.  I suspect Will is spending some quality time with SQL and C++ books, and that is OK for now.

Harry Potter, Stephanie Plum, and Katniss
show off in the den.

A random mix of mysteries, dog, and non-fiction
hang out with the big board games in the spare bedroom.

My mother likes to say that civilized houses have bookcases. Look, Mom! She didn’t say the books had to be great literature – though Walter the Farting Dog probably has a cadre of enthusiastic fans somewhere.

As with every year, there is a hope that our productivity will continue and we’ll make steady progress in putting the house “together”. But I know that the shine will wear off this New Year and we may settle for the fits and starts that have marked all our previous years together. Time will tell.

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