Thursday, April 1, 2021

Coffee Talk: Spring Cleaning and March's Book Reviews

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.

Good morning! Let's catch up over coffee--it's been a long month, hasn't it? I'm having Starbucks Spring Day Blend. It's not too roasty and it's really perfect for these cool early spring mornings. As always, I have a scoop of GLG Collagen and a splash of half and half in my cup. What are you having?

What would you tell me over coffee?

If we were having coffee, I'd tell you that my husband and I have been busy this month sprucing up the cabin at the lake. I think I shared with you that we replaced the carpet in the cabin and that just spurred us on to do a few other minor updates--new throw rugs and wall decor. We also bought a new smart TV--the one up there was so old, we couldn't even hook up an Amazon fire stick to it. We don't watch a ton of TV up there, but it's pretty slim pickings and after suffering through non-stop My Pillow ads one day this winter, I had had enough. I know you feel me on this one.


If we were having coffee, I'd tell you that the projects we'd planned for our house are on hold right now. The town we live in has decided to replace the sewers and the water main on our street. Our street is completely torn up and there's dust and debris everywhere. There's no point in replacing the driveway until the work is done. Hopefully, we can at least do some of the interior projects! 

Pretty much my neighborhood

If we were having coffee, I'd share that I've decided not to bring back my cleaning lady. When the pandemic started a year ago, she stopped coming. Since it's just my husband and me, I've been able to do the cleaning myself. It's pretty disheartening what I've been finding--clearly she was just 'surface cleaning'. It's been a lot of work to get on top of it all. My new best friend is Mr. Clean and his magic eraser, which has restored my baseboards to white again. 

Now that would be magical!

If we were having coffee, I'd share my disappointment in people's behavior as we've started to open back up. The COVID cases in my area are exploding again; we've had a few cases in the clinic in people who've been vaccinated. While the vaccines are extremely effective, no vaccine is 100%. The more people who get the vaccine, the better it will be for everyone. My parents and father-in-law are fully vaccinated, my husband got his first dose last week, and my youngest son got the J&J vaccine in Wisconsin a few weeks ago. My oldest son is holding out for the J&J here but there are none to be found. 

And then there's these people...


If we were having coffee,
I'd share the books I read in March with you! As always, you can follow me on Goodreads

  • Blacktop Wasteland by SA Cosby was a wild ride. This is the story of a small town mechanic and car fanatic who occasionally has to rely on a 'side hustle' to make ends meet. The story starts out slow but builds to a big job that had my heart pounding as I read it! There are racial undertones and a lot of interesting characters in this one.
  • We Run the Tides by Vendela Vida is a coming of age story set in the 1980s. A group of middle school girls turn on one of their own. Been there, done that, right? I was completely amused by the over-the-top idolization of one of the main characters. The whole book took me back to middle school and yeah, I never would want to go back to the time in my life again! Fun read.
  • Writers and Lovers by Lily King is the story of an aspiring writer who works as a waitress to make ends meet. She's also grieving the passing of her mother and drowning in student loan debt. Oh, and she's dating 2 different men. Lots of interesting characters and great writing made this an engaging read. 
  • The Light Through the Leaves by Glendy Vanderah starts off with every mother's nightmare: distracted by her 2 sons, she puts the car seat holding her infant daughter down on the ground and drives off. When she returns, the baby is gone. This is the story of the baby, who is being raised by a mentally unstable recluse. The writing was incredibly engaging but there were a few strange twists that had me scratching my head. There are some interludes updating the reader on the mother as well. The ending was a little too Hallmark for me, but overall it was a very entertaining book.
  • This Won't End Well by Camille Pagán was a backlist read for me. With no library holds coming in, I found it in my Kindle and wasn't disappointed. Pagán is always a reliable author for me. A young woman whose career is sabotaged by a predatory boss quits and starts a new life. Once she figures things out, it all works out, and isn't that what we all want? By the way, the Kindle edition of all of Pagán's books are free if you are an Amazon Prime member!
  • Infinite Country by Patricia Engle is the story of a young Colombian family who emigrates to the US with dreams of a better life. Sadly, things don't work out quite like that for any of them. The father is deported. The youngest daughter, left behind with her grandmother, ends up in a prison for young girls. It's a fascinating but sad book. The author does a great job capturing the challenges of immigrants and the timing of this book couldn't be better.


I guess this wasn't a very exciting coffee date with me! Are you getting a lot of spring cleaning done? Doing any home renovations or updates? Did you get the COVID vaccine? Have you read any good books lately?

I'm linking up with Coco and Deborah for the Ultimate Coffee Date and with the ladies of Fit Five Friday:  DarleneMichelleReneeJenn, and Zenaida.



41 comments :

  1. Its so frustrating to see the numbers going up even though more and more people have had the vaccine. If we could just hold out a little longer, things could be better really soon! My husband and I both got it a few months ago; my mom has had one dose and my dad gets his second one this weekend!
    I need to do some spring cleaning but there's never enough time!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So true and I'm doing it little by little. I'm frustrated that I can't get the windows washed right now--with the construction on the streets, it wouldn't make sense.

      Delete
  2. I have to answer a questionnaire for jury duty, and am glad to at least have had my first vaccine. Because I'm almost always picked. :( I'm still wondering what happens if something falls on the date of my second vaccine?

    I'm sorry your renos have had to be put on hold. We don't really have anything planned.

    A lot of cleaning ladies seem to only do surface cleaning. They have someone who cleans the apartments where my mom lives, but I can just see the dust. Of course I can see the dust at home too . . .

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I’m pretty sure not being fully vaccinated would be a legitimate reason to ask for a later date!

      Delete
  3. My cleaning crew went away as soon as I caught one of them eating from my pantry. That was the last straw. Seriously I don't really mind doing it myself. They did a very poor job and ruined so many things in the process.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I’m sure my cleaning lady helped herself, lol! But she always left us tamales, so it worked out!

      Delete
  4. I just got a bunch of new books so I need to get to those. You read a lot this month! Fixing up the lake house sounds like a great project and you will both be so happy when it's all done. However, I feel like there is no end to home improvement and maintenance at our house. We did the roof last summer and we are doing a bunch of windows this month.
    This mr clean product sounds interesting-my baseboards could use that!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thanks for your book recommendations. I love to read and prefer it to mindless TV.

    I didn't care which vaccine I got..I just wanted the vaccine. It is opening up here and easier to get appts but you still have to be persistent.

    I am lousy with putting the time in to clean. My house shows it but my cleaning moved to Fla so.... I think I will try to find a new one.

    We just got a new roof. We have plans to re-do our kitchen.... so much work and so much money!!! Hopefully end of summer.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I am impressed with all of the books you've read. I always get some great suggestions from you. How about a blog page with your books? I know you have one for running books. I had two very old TVs for about 15 years before I finally upgraded to a smart TV. Why did I wait so long? :-)

    ReplyDelete
  7. Our street is all torn up too. They are laying new high speed internet cable. Looking forward to dropping our cable.

    My house is cleaner now that I don't have house cleaners as well.

    I had my first dose of Pfizer and get my second dose in a week! I can't wait. As a veterinarian, we're essential workers in Texas, so there has been no working from home for me. A couple of coworkers had Covid, but somehow it didn't spread through the staff.

    Thank you for the book reviews. I've read a number of books off your lists. I listen to audiobooks on my long commutes and on some of my runs. Recently, I enjoyed Oona Out of Order by Margarita Montimore and Anxious People by Frederik Backman.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I didn't realize you were a vet!!! My pup is having major surgery this weekend and I can't even go inside to drop her off. This is such a tough time.

      Delete
    2. Sorry you have to do drop off from your car. When the surgery is all behind you, I bet Cocoa and you will be happy you had it done. It's the wild west here in Texas. Our hospital does a mix of both in person and curbside. Of course, masks and hand washing like there's no tomorrow. I will breathe a big sigh of relief after I'm fully vaccinated.

      Delete
  8. As more and more opens here our numbers are rising too - it's so frustrating to watch how people conduct themselves!

    I let go of my cleaning crew a while ago when it became really obvious that all they were doing was surface cleaning. Honestly, I think my house is cleaner now that we do it ourselves.

    Thanks for sharing your book reviews - I love the range of stories you read!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Oh yes those magic earasers work wonders. I just bought the ones that are the sheets. Have you tried those? Hopefully your neighborhood will get back to normal and you'll be able to work on your driveway and such!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I will look for those sheets! I'm in love with Mr Clean, lol

      Delete
  10. I got my first shot this week! I was also hoping to hold out for J&J but I just took whatever I could get, and that was Moderna.
    Writers and Lovers is on my TBR list! I don't know if I could read We Run the Tides- my own experience in middle school was so horrible, and my daughter is in 6th grade now (ack!) Even reading your description of that book made me anxious.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We Run the Tides was more funny than angsty, but yeah, I get your fear!

      Delete
  11. Sorry to hear about the street! Hopefully they finish up soon, but good that you can work on indoor projects for the time being!

    I'm disappointed in people's behavior as well. :[ It's been a pretty disheartening 12 months.

    That's awesome that you were able to get so much reading in! I really need to start that again!

    ReplyDelete
  12. That meme about street repair is spot-on for my town. A few years ago, there was major work on one the main through streets, and (as you can guess) there ALSO was work done on all the connecting streets...so traffic was a nightmare. And this is small town Iowa...many don't believe in turn signals, either.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I’m impressed by how many books you read. My book list is so long but now that the weather is better I’ll be able to read outside.
    I’m so over COVID. I think people are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel and are giving up on be cautious.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm over it too. I wish people would just get the vaccine--the more people who are vaccinated, the less it will spread and we can all get back to normal! Is it so hard to understand? (I know, rhetorical question)

      Delete
    2. 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻

      Delete
  14. Good luck to your son in finding the J&J vaccine,. I just read they had to discard 15 million doses due to a mix up at the factory. Bill and I had our first shot (Pfizer) last Saturday. I hear you about people acting like it's all over. A majority of people are not vaccinated yet. It isn't over yet!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. For sure! I wish my son would just go and get ANY vaccine.

      Delete
  15. I don’t like hearing about cases in vaccinated people. Ugh. It’s not my turn yet here in Virginia, so I am still staying at home — except for going to PT. I am there for an hour at a time, but the room is pretty big, everyone is wearing masks, and we are definitely at least 6 feet apart. Still, it’s the longest I’ve been inside with others .... We don’t have a cleaning service or a very clean house. I focus on the kitchen and bathrooms, and the rest gets vacuumed regularly but dusted only occasionally.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Well done on updating the cabin at the lake! When you retire, do you plan to live there over the entire summer? That would be awesome!

    I don't mind not having a TV (we don't have one here in South Africa) but I do need a good wifi. The apartment here came with a cleaning service but we soon stopped that after we realized the quality wasn't very good at all.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We're torn between selling it and building on a different lot or tearing it down and building there. Regardless, we plan on retiring full-time up there!

      Delete
    2. Wow! That's even more exciting!

      Delete
  17. My moving / organising has turned into spring cleaning/organizing! and the garden project is definitely on hold because Mamma doesn't have that kind of money (who knew???). But the meme made me laugh because I swear every time I think of walking a different route, the road is blocked off for construction :D

    The current vaccination discussions are killing me. I'm on an Americans in the Netherlands FB group and people are actually considering flying back to the US to get vaccinated so they can go on with their lives. Um. OK. But when you get back you can't go on with your life because the rest of us aren't vaccinated and nothing will open up until the situation is better. Also? You're going to fly across the world to get a vaccine that you may need two doses of, and that's not coming from a place of severe privilege and entitlement? I just can't. On one hand i get it - I am so incredibly saddened that two countries where COVID went really, really wrong are the first to have a ramped up vaccination program (US and UK) while we here in Europe are struggling with supply and red tape through the EU. I want to be vaccinated too. I want my life back and I want to travel to see my parents. But no way, no how will I get on a plane with the slight chance that I could pick something up and possibly have it affect my dad. Nope, nope, nope. The vaccine is not 100%. Having a negative test when you get ON a plane doesn't mean you won't pick it up or have the virus a few days later. Anyway. Sorry for the rant...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Rant on! You are singing my song, sister. I didn't realize it was so bad there. Not being able to get vaccinated has to be incredibly frustrating.

      Delete
  18. Sometimes, it feels so good to just dive in and do a deep cleaning, whether you have hired someone to do it or not. It's cathartic!

    I want to see your cabin!

    You can get J&J here - it was my second choice. I was happy getting Pfizer, though. I hope everyone finds and gets what they want and need.

    ReplyDelete
  19. I just got my second vaccine, yay. But there are a lot of covid deniers/conspiracy theorists in my town who won't get it. They say they are worried about side effects, meanwhile eating fast food, not exercising, smoking and drinking. What also puzzles me is seemingly intelligent people who plan to get the vaccine having large gatherings. It's like they think it's over.

    ReplyDelete
  20. You know it's funny, I've been thinking about finding someone to clean that house and never considered they may not be very thorough lol. I have a bunch of "bootleg" Magic Erasers that I've used to get marks off the wall, though I wonder if the real brand would work better!

    I've definitely been nervous about rising cases. I'm still waiting for my turn and hoping to find an appointment soon, now that I'm eligible.

    ReplyDelete
  21. I read about OxyClean and Magic Erasers on your blog and started using both of them. I can't use Tide detergent as I break out in a rash plus it's a bit over the top with perfume but I like the way OxyClean makes my clothes smell and look. So belated thanks on both of those recommendations.

    ReplyDelete