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I have been picking out "window treatments" which is what they call it when you want to have nice sets of matching blinds professionally installed. We are getting Venetian blinds for some of the windows and, I think they call it a cellular shade (think a shade quilted in horizontal stripes stuffed with air instead of with batting so that it can be drawn up neatly to the top of the window, like a Venetian blind, except it folds up thinner) for the patio doors and kitchen window.

And I'm contemplating splurging and getting plantation shutters for two of the bedrooms that have smaller windows. I love the ease of opening and closing plantation shutters. (Think shutters on the inside face of the window that fold to the sides of the window when you want an unobstructed view and that also contain louvers that you can open to let light in without letting people see you, or close to keep light out.)

Since it seems wise to compare bids I have arranged for three separate companies to come and give us estimates. One came Friday and one came yesterday. I have one more coming Wednesday and then Kip and I will talk it over and pick one.

In the meantime Kip and I did some work on the garden, planting flowers, mostly, and I hired Paul, the handyman who tore down our old metal shed last year to come get rid of a--I'm going to call it a compost bin, though I honestly have no idea what it was originally intended for--that had been gradually falling apart on our property since we bought it. It was piled high with dead branches and had a couple of trees growing gamely up through the mess. Paul tore it down and hauled it away in a morning.

I did some cleaning up in the wood shop, yesterday I also vacuumed the rumpus room, which meant I spent about 40 minutes figuring out what I had done to the vacuum cleaner while trying to vacuum the rumpus room the day before. I had carelessly vacuumed up a piece of rag (got too close to the laundry basket I guess) and it had lodged somewhere in the vacuum's innards. I unplugged the poor thing, laid it out on the floor (next time I will clean off the table and put it there; working over things lying on the floor is hard on my back) and began methodically removing all the bits that were designed to be removed. Fortunately that vacuum is well designed, and when I eventually tracked the clog down to the hose that runs from the whirling brushes up to the dirt cup, it was possible to completely remove the hose from the vacuum. With the aid of a broom handle and some forceps I managed to force the rag out of the hose. Then I finished the vacuuming, though I will doubtless vacuum again when I have gotten more of the junk moved out.

Speaking of which, I spent much of today decluttering the rumpus room. Since the rumpus room is where my instruments and sheet music books and such reside, and also where I've been translating A Hatful of Sky into Dutch for the past year (!) and skyping with Dad, I had built up quite a bit of paper on pretty much every flat or near flat surface. I went through a lot of that and chucked most of it in the recycling. I cleaned off the flat surface in front of the bay window--which is one of the windows that will be getting blinds soon so I had better leave it fairly clear for a while. I taped up two pictures, and set a couple more aside to get frames. I cleaned off an end table, wiped off and rolled up our D&D wet-erase map mats, sorted through some of my books and made "give to library" and "take to used bookstore" piles. And at that point my back gave a warning twinge.

I am a connoisseur of warning twinges. This was a convincing warning twinge. I laid on my stomach for twenty minutes and then went and took a meloxicam and have given myself strict orders to stop cleaning up for the day.

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