Friday, October 24, 2014

It's Carpeting Day #1!

Yesterday evening I got Durwood ensconced in the Super 8 so he doesn't spend the weekend breathing all the dust stirred up and the new carpet chemicals, then J&JJ came over to carry all the bookshelves, side tables, lamps, etc. into the garage for me, and shift the drawers from my dressers onto the guest room bed for the night.  Thanks, guys!  (and I only have to pay them homemade applesauce and cupcakes, what a deal)
 
This morning just after 8:30 the carpet guys arrived and got to work.  Almost before I knew it the "banana bread" kitchen carpet in the dinette and hall was gone and the master bedroom's wasn't far behind.  By 2:30 both rooms were re-carpeted, the closet doors rehung, the nightstand and bookshelves back in the master, and the bed reassembled.  After they left I got the drawers all back in, got this computer desk set back up, and remade the bed.  Then I carried all the drawers from Durwood's dressers into the master and piled them neatly on the bed.  I'll sleep in the guest room tonight so that when the carpet guy arrives tomorrow to finish the job I can help move the TV armoire and living room computer desk, then go off and have breakfast with Durwood -- or maybe even go to the Farmer's Market.  Tomorrow's the last one for the season and I have hardly been, I haven't been very organized this year.

After Friday Night Knitting I carefully disassembled Durwood's dinosaur of a desktop computer (thanks for labeling all the cords and cables, DS) and put them into the dinette with the living room TV, cable box thing, and the DVD player.  Tomorrow I'll stow the antique clock in the master bedroom and the carpet guy will help move the couch, the computer desk and TV armoire, Durwood's dressers and nightstand.  He'll move the bed all by himself and get to work carpeting the last two rooms and be done!

On Sunday I'll wash all the curtains and slowly empty the garage of bookshelves, etc. and Chez Malcolm will get back to (sub)normal.  It'll be a relief.  Of course there's always the danger that new carpeting will make all the furniture look like fried crap but I think over time a bit of smart shopping might solve that problem too, or I'll buy some throws and a slipcover.  

For now I"m bushed and I'm going to hit the hay.  After all, tomorrow IS another day.  (Goodnight, Scarlett.)
--Barbara

Thursday, October 23, 2014

I'm Freaking Out a Bit


Do I have everything boxed up so that it can be hauled out of the room so that tonight's musclemen can move things efficiently?  Will the carpet guy get the bedroom done so I have a place to sleep tomorrow night?  (thanks for that one, Durwood, I hadn't considered that)  Will Durwood be okay in his motel room with no real way to escape or drive away without me?  Will the carpet installer call today to tell me what time he'll be here or will he just show up while I'm still asleep?  Obsess, obsess, obsess--sometimes it's my best thing.  I know in my intellectual brain that all will work out but my six-year-old brain (maybe it's not even that old) is running around like a chicken with its head lopped off screaming, "oh my god! oh my god! there's so much to do, too much to think about! gah!"  I make myself tired.

This morning when I poked my head out there was the barest line of peachy pink hiding behind the trees and a few wispy clouds tinted the palest of pinks.  An hour later the sky was crisscrossed with vapor trails.  Every time I see one I wish I was on the airplane that made it no matter where it's going.

I knit about 50 stitches last night, maybe a couple hundred because I did one row on my Oriole Wings Wrap because it was glaring at me when I finally sat down on the couch to watch a little TV between clearing off Durwood's dresser tops and hauling up a microwave to take to his motel for him.  There's a coffee pot and fridge in the room but no micro and it's just too far for him to use the one in the breakfast area.  I use a small cheap one to cook my lotions and since it fits into the biggest suitcase for ease of transport he gets a microwave.

I think the work point of sale computer is finally coming around.  It's never good when the software provider "upgrades" your stuff.  What they see as an improvement usually means it's endlessly buggy and won't work the way they say it will.  At least we can still do business, handwriting invoices and figuring out tax on a calculator.  Today I'm going to be on the phone with the tech learning how to do a transaction, taking copious notes since there's no online tutorial or physical manual to help us.  Wouldn't you think you'd write down a few directions when you completely overhaul something?  Last week one day the tech kept trying to make it do things and it wouldn't.  Finally she said, "I think your machine's possessed" and hung up to go harass the programmers to figure out the problems.  But we're getting it and we haven't had to threaten it with a double-barreled shotgun in, oh, at least a day.

October 23--Roman, Wall Painting from Room H of the Villa of P. Fannuis Synistor at Boscoreale.  Maria crept up behind Lucia as she sat playing her small harp.  Maria loved the music.  She thought it sounded like birds wings and water flowing in the stream behind the garden.  She wasn't supposed to be in the house, wasn't supposed to bother Lucia when she was practicing for the competition but the music drew her every time.

Oh, man, time has gotten away from me.  I need to dress and eat and stop at the pharmacy and grocery store and still get to work by 10.  Better run.
--Barbara

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Frosty & Foggy *P.S.*

It was a gorgeous sunny day yesterday but I don't think today will be the same.  Right now the grass is covered with frost and it's getting foggier by the minute.  I don't mind, it has a certain, late October creepiness about it that I kind of like.

We got all our errands and appointments done yesterday, and the best thing you can say about it was as we waited in the doc's office to be called in some old pals, G&MK, came out from getting their flu shots so we got to catch up on what they're doing, what their kids are doing, what our kids are up to, and how we're getting on.  It was great to see them and now I've friended her on Facebook so we can keep in touch the modern way.  The second best thing was just being out in the sunny day with Durwood.

Our investment advisor and the others of the same company club together once a year to host a big dinner with a speaker to talk about investments.  Durwood likes to go and this time he needed a driver and wheelchair pusher so I went too.  We got there early enough to get seats at the end of a table so we could collapse his chair and be out of the way.  The food was, once again, Wisconsin buffet food, this time served family style and with the addition of beef tips.  The food was good (it was all I could do not to eat every broasted/fried chicken wing in sight, god, they're good), the speaker was, well, let's just say we decided that she was talking to the brokers, not the clients, so Durwood didn't feel like he got anything out of it and apologized for dragging me there, but I had my Kindle so I had a book to read on the sly and early in the evening I met an old high school acquaintance I hadn't seen in donkey's years.  We were never friends or did things together but it was a small school and we recognized each other.  In fact the reason she spoke to me at first was because I leaned across the table to tell Durwood that I'd forgotten my knitting and she stopped beside me and said, "me too, but since I'm working I'd probably get fired."  I looked up and said, "hey, you're Gretchen!" and she said, "you're Barbara!"  We visited for a very few minutes and then she dashed off but it was fun to see her.  Mercifully the speaker only talked for about 40 minutes and there weren't many questions which made it obvious that Durwood wasn't the only one scratching his head over what she'd said. But neither of us had to cook.

I discovered last night that I had neglected to copy my iTunes library from the old laptop to the new one and that hooking up the iPod to the new laptop doesn't make it suck what's on the iPod into the laptop.  Now I've got "Home Sharing" turned on on both laptops and am trying to make them share nice.  I suspect I'll be taking both computers to work, or maybe I'll wait until next week when my life isn't such a zoo.  Yeah, that's a good plan, especially since now I've got the new audiobook on the iPod so I won't run out of book.  I never want to run out of book.

October 22--Nigeria, Leopard Figure.  The little cat figure stood on all fours, its fangs in full view, and the spots of its carved fur glinted in the weak light.  Zinnia was allergic to cats, even being in a store with a shop cat made her itchy, but she was drawn to this little bronze leopard figurine.  She thought it looked more like a Disney leopard than a true jungle predator but she knew it had been a powerful totem for a warrior or more likely a shaman.  She pictured a nearly naked man dancing around a blazing fire wearing a leopard skin over his shoulders, the gape-jawed skull on top of his head.  She imagined the accelerating rhythm of a circle of drums driving his dance ever faster as the villagers hung back at the edge of the light.


Huh.  The misty fog is gone as quickly as it came, and the first pass of the garbage truck just went by.  It sure is pretty out there with the cold light, colored leaves, some bare trees, and others still green.  Too soon it'll all be covered in a thick blanket of white.  Hmm, better get the snowblower picked up and serviced, or maybe LJ can do it, he did offer... I'll check his rates.  It's a work day and then tonight Durwood and I have to tackle the last few items on our "get ready for carpeting" list because tomorrow after work the muscle men are coming and Durwood's going to the Super 8 since breathing all the dust of the ages that'll be kicked up over the next few days wouldn't be good for his lungs at all.  Plus we'll both get a little vacation from each other, although I was kind of envious of G&MK being both retired but I'm afraid I'd go batshit crazy without a part time job (Durwood agrees), plus I do love me a paycheck.  I'll think about it, I'm young yet, only 63.  (hey, wait, MK's younger than me... oh well)  Toodle-oo.
--Barbara

P.S. Three years ago today Mom died.  Some days it seems like yesterday and some days it seems like a century ago.  I miss her, and in a lot of ways I'm turning into her which is kinda scary.  Miss you and love you, Mom.  Hope there's lots of bridge games where you are.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Followed By Tuesday...

...which I always have such high hopes for being a quiet, easy day and always ends up being a run around, appointments and errands day.  I keep thinking, "boy, when I retire I'm going to have endless days to just sit around and relax" but I hear from many retired friends that that just ain't so, that they're busier than ever.  I'm doomed to never have a quiet day on the couch.


I went out to fill the birdfeeders early this morning and noticed that the fence across the top of the retaining wall that keeps the eye doctor's office employees cars from parking in our yard is leaning quite a bit.  I don't think it's the crushing weight of the birdfeeders I have hanging from it.  Maybe someone got a bit enthusiastic parking up there.  I hope that the snow plow driver doesn't pile the snow in such a way that it shoves the fence over -- again.

On Sunday I installed the birdbath heater which is a good thing because the weather guesser said it's supposed to get down to 30 degrees tonight.  Brrr.

I've been craving apple pie and I noticed that there is at least a pie's worth of apples within arms reach on the tree that hangs over the fence.  Hmm, there might be a pie in our future, maybe one of those rustic flat ones that you fold around the apples.


October 21--Kadmat Island, India. It looked like everyone's vision of Paradise, a small thatched cottage nestled in a grove of palms at the edge of a white sand beach a stone's throw from the blue Indian Ocean. Picture perfect, right? Far from it. When Elaine got the letter from the lawyers that she had inherited an island home from her long-estranged father she thought it was a joke or a scam, but she had done her research and finally, after a visit from the junior Mr. Adams of Woodes, Adams & Blanchard, she had believed that it was true. According to Mr. Adams, Dad had lived on a small stipend left to him by a pair of maiden aunts, building a home on a tiny island off the coast on India, and when he died late last winter all of his estate had passed to her. Elaine's first instinct was to have the lawyer sell the property and be done with it but when she saw the photos she knew she'd have to go. It was the perfect time for a trip. She had accumulated nearly eight weeks' vacation and the company was pressing her to take it. The economy was down and business was slow so the timing was right. Jeremy, her boyfriend of the past fourteen years had left her for his yoga instructor who was almost ten years younger than Elaine, and her dog had died. She had come home two Fridays ago to find him stretched out in his little dog bed cold and stiff. That was the last straw. She had gone online and booked a flight to Goa, India, the coastal city closest to Kadmat, called Mr. Adams for copies of her ownership documents, stopped at the clinic for a tetanus shot and some anti-malaria and anti-diarrhea pills. Her wardrobe was more suited to a boardroom than a beach house so she bought some khaki cotton pants and shorts, a handful of cotton tees in neutrals, and some sturdy sandals all of which she packed into a carry-on with wheels and backpack straps that she bought at a dive shop.

I am totally ready to stow-away in Elaine's luggage and flee.  I know it's just because I'm feeling the pressure of being ready for the carpet guys on Friday but a tropical runaway sounds pretty darned good after the latest string of gray and dreary days--and it's not even winter yet.  I think I'm in deep doodoo.  Off to make errands go away.
--Barbara

Monday, October 20, 2014

It's Monday Again


I know I've said it before but, man, these Mondays whirl around fast, don't they?  The good thing about Monday is I have a shiny new paycheck to cash.  And I only have to work 3 days this week--before Friday and Saturday turn into the crazy days with new carpet installed in the ENTIRE house.  It'll be great when it's done but right now the run-up's keeping me awake.  (I keep trying to convince the furniture to levitate about 2 feet off the floor but it's just not cooperating.)  I'm taking the prep in small doses so I don't overdo or wear out my helpers so I pack a box every once in a while or carry something downstairs (something not too heavy).  I'm nearing the "what gets done gets done" frame of mind. I know that having JJ & JJ haul the smaller things to the garage on Thursday evening will be the frosting on the preparation cake.

How 'bout them Packers?  I'm not a fan but it would have been hard to miss hearing the TV here at home, Durwood's sedate cheering, and the radio announcers' manic enthusiasm in the stores I was in.  I think they might have won.  The flyover was a giant, slow, bright orange helicopter.  I don't know who it belonged to but it was pretty cool looking.  Of course, I was trying to take a picture of a woodpecker when it flew over so I didn't get a shot of it.  *shrugs* Oh well.

In the quiet times at work on Saturday and last night after I got too tired to haul or pack more I got the first side of the Sari Purse Fill-In almost done.  It blends better in person than in the picture, at least I think so, and since I don't have matching yarn (if there is such a thing with this random a yarn) it'll have to do.  I love the colors.

October 20--Claude Monet, The Stroller.  Suzanne walked along the path, the tip of her umbrella making a wavering trail in the sawdust.  Her steps were aimless and staggering.  Her hat sat crooked on her mussed hair and there was a rip in the sleeve of her dress.  She had been carrying a purse but it had dropped from her nerveless fingers far behind...

That's when I fell asleep.  I know there was more to that story, what it is I haven't a clue.  I woke up at 5 o'clock this morning.  I am not pleased.  It promises to be very Monday today.  Auf wiedersehen.
--Barbara

Sunday, October 19, 2014

We Had A Sunrise!



A visible one today, not just a gradual lightening of the gray gray gray dreary gray.  I hoped to sleep longer but was up just before 7 o'clock (a whole hour more) and when I opened the patio door curtains there it was, all pink and yellow and sunrise-y.  There was even a tiny crescent of moon high up in the blue dawn sky.  Even though it was so cold that the birdbath was frozen solid I still went out and took sunrise pictures.  Later on I took a few minutes to scrub out the birdbath (I finally let my old scrub brush go and bought a new one this afternoon since I'd scrubbed the bristles nearly down to the wood--and you know how old it had to be to have a real wood top; a new one was plastic and three bucks, I splurged) and hook up the birdbath heater so our feathered friends wouldn't have to break their beaks on the ice.

When I was going out to clean the birdbath Durwood noticed that there was a Downy Woodpecker on the squirrel corn.  It was really going to town.  Neither of us knew that woodpeckers liked corn and not just suet, but it was working hard and me going outside didn't bother it one bit.

Over the last couple weeks I've been sorting through my purses (haven't found more than a dime so far, dammit) and when I loaded my wallet and a few other things into a sari silk bag that was my first knitting project I remembered why I'd stopped using it--it's too shallow so all my things were right there for the pickpocketing.  I'd sewn in a Velcro closure to keep it shut but then hardly anything fit, so I dug out another skein of the sari silk, a crochet hook, and some long needles so I could pick up stitches along the top edges and knit a purse dickey, fill in the V, so to speak.  It's working quite well, I think.  I'll end up lining the new parts with muslin like I did the original bag but then I'll be able to use it.  I should use it, I really like it.

DS came over for an hour this afternoon to mark all of the cords and cables that hook Durwood's desktop computer together so that when it gets taken apart to be moved so new carpet can be installed it can be reassembled--and work.  That last part's the important part.  It was great to have DS's help, he has such a logical mind and thought his way through, I lose patience with stuff like that and wig out.  Now we just have to box up the arsenal (Durwood's BB gun he uses to plink squirrels off the birdfeeders) and Ft. Knox (his box of pennies) before Friday when the carpet miracle will occur.  I got a few more shelves boxed up, got the muscle men lined up for Thursday night, and think it's going to be fine.

October 19--Turkey,  Belt with Powder Measure and Primer.  Mack stretched his left leg out as far as the chain would allow.  His big toe just touched the iron nail lying on the stone floor of his cell.  The season was changing and, for less than five minutes that day, a ray of light had shone thorough a crack in the painted-over window.  Once his eyes had adjusted to the light he had seen the glint of metal in the far corner.  His right ankle was chained to a ring in the wall opposite the door but if he stretched he could barely tease the flat nail out from under the straw mouse nest and ease it within reach.  Careful not to drop it and give away that he had such a treasure he threaded it into the chain links where it blended it.  Every day in the few minutes of light, he used the nail to probe the lock of his leg iron and within a week he was able to unlock it and relock it with ease.  He used the time without the manacle to run in place and work his muscles to build up his strength because the thought of escaping was the only thing keeping him from going mad.

I've got chicken thighs and drumsticks, a white potato and a sweet potato all on the grill and I think it won't be long before the timer buzzes.  Durwood cleaned and cut up some fresh broccoli so we're eating like rich folks tonight.  I think there's even chocolate pudding for dessert.  (who am I kidding, I made the darned stuff, I know there's chocolate pudding)  Happy Sunday, I hope your day was as good as mine was.  Mwa!
--Barbara

Saturday, October 18, 2014

A Winning Evening



Last night Mr. Boss came in to relieve me at 4:30 so I could zoom home to pick up Durwood and go to the Baylanders Barbershop cabaret.  They have a chicken dinner buffet (great broasted [quick-fried in a pressure cooker] chicken) with green beans, mashed potatoes and gravy, a few salads (coleslaw, my fave), cranberry sauce (much better than what I tried to serve the other night), rolls & butter, and bars for dessert.

Then there's 4-part singing by the chorus and a few quartets.  In between sets they bring up the lights and draw for door prizes and, since the night's a fundraiser for music programs in the schools, they sell raffle tickets throughout the evening.   The door prizes are kind of odd, a mix of slightly off-beat donations and stuff you want.  They called Durwood's name and here's what he won: a gallon of windshield washer solvent, 2 rolls of shop towels, and a $10 gift card from Sammy's Pizza.  Now the washer solvent and the towels are useful but the gift card's a real prize.  Sammy's makes great pizza and we hardly ever go.  We were thrilled. 
Some of the prizes were shop towels and a bottle of booze, not bad, but not Sammy's. The last prize intermission is for the 5 big raffle prizes.  We bought our 6-for-$5 tickets early and resisted buying more despite the blandishments and cajoling of random chorus members, but I didn't hold out much hope since we'd already won something and had never won any of the big stuff.  They handed out a couple of the prizes (I don't remember what they were) and then they announced the next one was a $50 Fleet Farm gift card.  I wanted that one so I crossed my fingers and stared hard at our ticket numbers.  The emcee called out, "3-6-3-dramatic pause-2-6-5."  We won!  There it was, right in the middle of the strip, 363265!  Both fists popped into the air and I woohoo-ed, which is what they told us to do if we won but most
people were too shy to do it.  Not me, I hooted and smiled and profusely thanked the guy who delivered the gift card.  (coincidentally he'd been one of the ones trying to sell us more tickets but I told him I already had the winning one, and I did!)  It was a fun evening, we had good, Wisconsin buffet-type food, good entertainment (some of it we got to sing along with), and excellent prizes to take home and chuckle over.  The birdies are going to eat well this winter because Fleet Farm's where I buy my birdseed these days.

I saw a peek of blue sky this morning, not a lot, but a little proof that the sky's still up there.  The nasturtiums are still blooming away and the sedum is blooming too so life hasn't totally fled.  Yesterday Durwood noticed the first junco at the feeders.  Juncos live way up in the arctic in summer and come down to Wisconsin where it's warm (not!) for the winter, so when we see the first one we know winter's on the way and when the last one leaves we know summer can't be far behind.  Plus the hawk likes juncos, evidently they're a bit easier to catch.  Hey, raptors have to eat too.

October 18--Turkey, Belt with Powder Measure and Primer.  The cord lay coiled in a yellowed sheet of newsprint tucked at the bottom of the box.  Sadie smoothed the paper out and tilted it toward the attic window.  It was dated March 27, 1935.  There were ads for liver pills and stories about who was visiting Victorville from other towns.  One column was devoted to a rapturous description of a bridal gown and the couple's honeymoon destination.  Sadie untangled the silver gilt powder horn and what she assumed were ceremonial shooting accessories and tried to figure out a way she could fashion the coral beads and silver fittings into jewelry.

Okey-dokey.  Now that I've gotten the feeders filled, some sweaters and warmer socks brought up from the basement, and crowed to you about winning those cool prizes I need to go get dressed because I get to work today.  I hardly ever have to work on Saturday but I do today.  Just think of the big paycheck I'll be getting.  Can I get a woohoo?  Talk to you tomorrow.
--Barbara