Five Things Friday Vol. 67

Five Things Friday: just five things I’m thinking about or things that made my week, or things that I otherwise feel like sharing.

Earlier this week, I had a project meeting where I had to present our progress (or, I should say, progress for my subtask, as we had a couple of other presenters as well) to a group of cooperators (read: the people who pay for the project). I don’t know about you, but for me it’s always a little nerve-racking (perfectionist over here!) and I had frantically worked on the PowerPoint slides until 11 pm the night before. How people often think that you can “throw together a PowerPoint presentation in “just a couple of hours” is beyond me.
And then our program chief went over his time during introductions and tried to cut my presenter time short, but I was not having that. (Yup, I am still working on the “standing up for myself” piece!) I hadn’t put all this work in to NOT show my slides. I am also always the person with the “pretty maps and graphics”, so I knew that this is what people want to see – not just boring numbers and spreadsheets. Visualization of data is everything (if you ask me).

Needless to say, my slides were well received and the colleague I work directly with on this project sent an email with very kind words about my presentation to my supervisor afterward (which I really appreciated!).

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I scored some rhubarb at the local grocery store, of all places. I had looked at Trader Joe’s and the Farmers Market in the last couple of weeks and couldn’t find any, but today the local supermarket had some! Then the lady at the checkout asked me how to actually use rhubarb. She said she loves strawberry rhubarb pie but has never made it herself because she didn’t know how to use the fresh rhubarb. Well, all I do is wash/peel it, chop it up, and put it on the cake batter. Come to think of it, it might be a slightly different approach for a pie, but it doesn’t need to be cooked, as it will soften and fall apart during the baking process. How do you use rhubarb?

*   *   *

I have to give a huge shoutout to my parents this week. They went on a 100 km/60-mile bike ride last Sunday and I am just so proud of them for staying so active. I think I mentioned before that my dad still plays (team) tennis and frequents the gym, while my mom has become an avid walker in recent years. And now they also started going on bike rides together. It runs in my blood, peeps.

*   *   *

I am looking forward to a long weekend. Monday is Juneteenth, a (new) federal holiday, which was NOT on my radar at all, so I was pleasantly surprised this week when I realized that I was going to have Monday off. Yesterday, our department held a Juneteenth celebration event and I listened to a well-done speech by a Frederick Douglass impersonator.

*   *   *

Tile saga update! After four weeks of silence, we received a text message from our landlords yesterday, asking if a new handyman could come by Friday morning (today!) between 9 and 11 am. Oh, and then another message saying that “matching tile is hard to find” (no kidding!), that they were thinking about just replacing the whole floor with vinyl flooring, and asked what we thought about it.

What do we think? The first reasonable suggestion that I have heard!

Nerd that is me went googling right away (because I know nothing about vinyl flooring). I wanted to be prepared and able to ask questions. We got up bright and early this morning so that I could get my workout out of the way and be showered by the time the handyman shows up. At 11:15 am, we get another text message that the handyman couldn’t make 11 am (well, we already noticed!) and if he could stop by around 1 pm.

I had already delayed my Friday morning grocery shopping, so I told them that we were going out to run some errands (lest they think we can just “wait around” all day for someone to show up) but that we should be back by 1 pm. (TBH, I was a little pissed again. What is it with people not making their appointments? They gave us a two-hour window! This was not off to a good start.)

The new handyman did show up at 1 pm and he seemed knowledgeable enough. I asked him if this was his full-time job, or if he was doing this kind of work on the side. He said it was his full-time job and he’d be doing the work during the normal work week. (Ok, promising!). He also assured me that he would take out the tiles and level the floors (I was afraid that they might think to just lay the vinyl over the existing floor) and he was able to “identify” the subflooring underneath the tiles and commented that whoever had laid the tiles, hadn’t done a good job (ahem, yeah, a blind person can see that but I think this guy is legit).

He took measurements of our kitchen and will now submit a cost estimate to our landlords. We have a small laundry room off to the side with a door out to the yard, and he was wondering if they wanted to do that area too. Jon (who doesn’t want to move the washer and dryer) said that he didn’t want him to do it, but honestly, I’d rather have him do the whole thing. It would be stupid to leave out an area of 3 sqm if they can get it all done once and for all and it would otherwise look ugly, too.

I have no idea how much the estimate will be for the whole kitchen and if our landlords are ready to invest (although I really think they don’t have much of a choice.) Anyway, don’t get too excited. I am still VERY skeptical. 

What’s new with you this week?

  1. Hope the tile saga has a happy conclusion soon!!

    My friend made a rhubarb lemonade this week which was delicious. I usually stew it with a bit of sugar and boil it until it’s soft. It’s yummy over ice cream that way. But for the most part, I don’t really use rhubarb much.

    By the way – this post showed up in Old Reader immediately (I added your feed in there to “test” things); it did NOT show up in Feedly. So it seems to have something to do with the fetching program, since it showed up as per normal in Old Reader!

    1. Oh that’s a great way to use rhubarb! :)

      Thanks for the feedback – I have subscribed to my blog with Old Reader and Inoreader and yeah, my post showed up on both within an hour. Sigh. I don’t know what’s going on with Feedly and it makes me so mad.

  2. Oh, I was wondering if there was a tile update! Vinyl flooring has come a long way and can look very nice. It’s also super practical.
    I strongly dislike rhubarb so I never use it!
    Congrats on your excellent work presentation! I am not surprised in the least that it went well!

    1. I am glad to hear some positive feedback about vinyl flooring, that sounds promising (if the landlords actually give the go-ahead.)

      Oh, you dislike rhubarb? That’s interesting… but maybe not, as it’s not a very common fruit.

      Thank you – I was thrilled about the positive work feedback. It doesn’t happen too often.

  3. I had vinyl tile put in my small bathroom and it was under $1k but it is a small space. Cheaper than I expected though and it has held up well!

    1. I am glad to hear you’re liking your vinyl floor. Promising!

  4. San! I read the tile update with extreme interest. I am so hopeful that this is the guy who can replace your flooring and do it well!
    Loved the point about your parents. Sounds like they are active and vibrant people, which is fabulous. My parents are like that too (although in different ways) and I truly think active lifestyles help keep you young.

    I have never eaten rhubarb! I find it very intimidating, to be honest. It looks like celery so I feel like it will be savory (and stringy), and the whole idea of making a dessert with it makes me nervous.

    1. Thank you Suzanne. I appreciate it.
      And I am so happy that you’ll have your parents close by now. What a gift! P)
      Haha, rhubarb does look like celery… but it’s so tasty. A little sweet, a little tart when baked. So good! It completely falls apart when cooked/baked and it’s not stringy! You should give it a try sometime.

  5. congrats on successfully delivered a ppt and being recognized! what a great feeling right?
    a kudos to your parents! I wish my mom keeps up with activities as much as yours. she’s 72 and only walks. I hope I can keep up being active until my 70s.

    1. Thank you, Coco. It did feel great to get some positive feedback.
      It’s great that your mom walks at least – so many people that age are sedentary! I have no doubt you’ll be an active person well into old age ;) you’re already setting yourself up for it!

  6. I think the last time I ate rhubarb was when I was little and my Grandmother cooked it. I don’t even remember if I liked it or not- I just always associate it with my Grandmother.
    Sounds like things are going well for you! The work presentation, the tile, a three-day weekend… everything is going your way! Let’s hope it continues and you can GET THAT FLOOR DONE!

    1. So interesting you associate rhubarb with your Grandma. But maybe it used to be a cheap, or easy to grow, vegetable back in the day?

      Thank you – things are indeed going well, or at least in the right direction ;)

  7. Yay for standing up for yourself and still giving your FULL presentation. You deserve those kudos. The pretty charts and graphs are my fave part of a presentation :)

    I use rhubarb by throwing it in the trash. Ha. Just kidding, but I don’t care for it. My mom has a ton of it growing and makes things she wants me to eat and they never taste good to me! So I obviously have not had the right thing yet.

    Your parents rock! I am proud of them too!

    I am not holding my breath on the tiling either but am cautiously optimistic ;)

    1. Thank you for confirming that: visualized data are the cherry on top of every presentation ;)
      Oh no, you don’t like rhubarb – how does your mom use it? I love it as a substitute for cherries or berries in a crumble pie!
      Thank you, I am not holding my breath yet either regarding the kitchen floor, but I am cautiously hopeful something will be done soon.

  8. Well done on standing up for yourself and giving your presentation! I HATE it when people before me go over their allotted time and then I feel like what I have to say isn’t important enough to push the timings forward – but actually it’s not MY fault that someone else went over. Great work on getting your presentation in.

    I am so glad to hear tile saga is progressing! We have vinyl flooring in our bathroom, which was a very cheap solution to us needing a new floor. However, it’s easy to clean and I’m happy with it so far. Sounds like you vetted this new floor person well so my fingers are crossed it works out well.

    I love Rhubarb in a rhubarb and apple crumble, but I tend to stew the rhubarb in a bit of sugar first before adding it to the crumble. Sometimes I find it bitter otherwise.

    1. Thank you, Rachel. Every time I have to stand up for myself at work now, I think of you, because you really made good points about this in some of your blog posts! :)

      I am glad to hear you have vinyl flooring and like it. I know it’s the cheap solution. Since we’re renting, I don’t think we have much of a say, but if it holds up well, I am all for it.

      Yes, I also know about stewing rhubarb with a bit of sugar, but don’t feel like for most baked goods it’s necessary (but I do peel it and chop it in small bits beforehand to avoid any bitterness!)

  9. In our kitchen, they didn’t put wood floor under the stove, but there’s tile there that’s cracking like crazy. I honestly don’t know what to do with it because I otherwise like the floor in the kitchen! It’s not even on our long-term renovation list, but hearing your tile saga makes me sort of wonder what you’d think if you came into our house!

  10. I’m glad you’re finally getting a bit more forward movement in the tile saga.

    I normally just stew our rhubarb with a little bit of brown sugar to have on my cereal. You can also do it in the oven which is probably better. I’ve also made a strawberry and rhubarb cobbler which is really yummy.

  11. I have never peeled rhubarb! We just cut the bottoms and tops off and cut it up. We used to always make rhubarb slush when I was growing up. It calls for something like 16 cups of cut up rhubarb! You cook it down and strain it. My mom has other uses for it, but they don’t have a rhubarb patch now that they’ve live at the lake. They’ve tried growing it and it dies off!

    PS another batch of posts showed up today. Gosh Feedly is weird.

    1. This is so strange that a batch of posts showed up for you on Thursday. I checked and could see that Feedly accessed my blog on Thursday, but strangely, when I logged into Feedly, it didn’t update with the latest posts for me. So, it’s updating for some people but not for all. It’s all so strange and you’d think it would be an easy thing to fix. Sigh.

  12. Just like Lisa, a whole batch of your posts just showed up in my Feedly today! I have missed so many posts from you. Darn you, Feedly!!

    Kudos to the awesome presentation and I am interested to see how this tile saga progresses as I catch up on your blog posts!

    1. This is so strange that a batch of posts showed up for you on Thursday. I checked and could see that Feedly accessed my blog on Thursday, but strangely, when I logged into my Feedly, it didn’t update with the latest posts for me. So, it’s updating for some people but not for all. It’s all so strange and you’d think it would be an easy thing to fix. Sigh.

  13. […] for myself better. In progress. You might remember that I mentioned here and there that I have been standing up for myself at work. It still is hard for me to do, but I am trying to […]

  14. I am so, so hopeful for your tile saga to have a reasonable – if not happy – ending at this point. Come on, handyman #2! I can’t comment on vinyl flooring, but I do think you have a good point on the laundry alcove and should override Jon if the landlords want to do it.
    And yay for an awesome work presentation AND for standing your ground. I have very text-heavy slides for some of my lectures and … yeah. They’re boring. So good for you for bringing the fun stuff and not letting your boss derail your presentation. SO hard to do. (I suspect you are very, very, VERY good at what you do, my friend…)
    (Also with the Feedly issues, btw. Sorry.)

  15. Oh my gosh this tile story is becoming a while series on the blog. Who would have thought. Since it’s been four weeks since then I bet if I get caught up here on the blog I will see how the story continues (caution to say ends…).

    It is great that you parents are still so active. Mine unfortunately have some issues ever that car accident last year and my dad unfortunately can’t walk much anymore. So they are struggle finding a new normal specially now during vacation. They used to go hiking and exploring and walking a lot. It’s been many bike rides but not all can be done by bike. It is a bit sad now that they almost retire and had so many plans.

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