Saturday, February 2, 2019

The Guest

For this winter, when Paddy goes down to the basement to use her litter box, she generally comes tearing back up the stairs like something is chasing her.

When doing the laundry or cleaning aforementioned litter box, I've taken to casting wary glances around me. We have a big old coal room that has no light and it creeps me out. Whatever could be in there? Spooks? Rats? Boogey men?

After one of Paddy's recent screaming tears up the basement steps, I said to Tim, "I'd sure like to know what it is that scares her down there."

Tim says, "Well there is something down there. I've heard a chipmunk scolding me when I work down there. I never have seen him and I can't tell where the noise is coming from, but he's hanging out down there."

We don't know how he's getting in and out. We're not sure what he's eating. We're not sure if he's coming upstairs (we have to leave the door open for Paddy.) I suppose this is better than a spook.

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

It's so cold...

...that Tim said, "Hey, is my side of the electric blanket hooked up?"

And then he went in and turned it on.

The end. 

Friday, January 25, 2019


This is kind of an embarrassing thing to admit, but I have a big house. Seriously, there are rooms that I don't have much to do with. The library has sort of been one of those rooms. It's a nice room, but it tends to collect stuff. William likes to do his legos and crafts in there in front of the fire. There was a new light fixture for my kitchen laying across the big couch. There are three of my unfinished crafts in there. Tim has a collection of fans in there that he's been experimenting with to circulate heat from the wood fire through the house.

It has nice furniture, but it's not a room we spend a lot of time in, but with all of Tim's puttering, that room now has a fireplace insert and has seen more traffic than it has seen for a while.

I had an extra day off work this week, so I spent some time pondering this room today. Tim and I came to an agreement about his fan collection (one fan migrated to each spare bedroom upstairs, where they will come in handy in the summer). Since William wasn't here today, I just moved all his stuff back into his playroom.

I studied the room and got the idea to do some rearranging. Tim was a pretty good sport about it, even though I know he'd rather do just about anything than move furniture.

One of the things in that room is a curved front glass curio cabinet, like this. Oak China Cabinet, ca. 1905"
So I got this idea that instead sitting back in the corner, I wanted it centered between the two windows, which required emptying the stuff out of it. It's not jam packed by any means, but I forgot how much stuff was actually in the thing.

The wine glasses that I plan to take with me to Australia to toast Amanda and Sophie and her mother, four wine glasses that I got years ago on a shopping trip with Cara when she first moved to Indiana PA to get her master's degree. I remembered that day so long ago even as I anticipated a day that is long overdue, a trip to Australia. It'll happen.

I carefully lifted out my little collection of china and pressed glass critters. There was one that I meant to send to Pam. If I don't do things right away, I forget. Is this senility? I carefully set the little glass squirrel aside. I have a box to mail it out.

Cara's cup 'I love Afghanistan' I didn't, not so much, but I knew that she felt like she was making a difference. Everyone should know that feeling. A cup that Tim and I got on a trip to Dylan and Brittani's house. A little crystal salt cellar, It's a swan. It's silver wings fold back so that you can scoop out the salt with a tiny spoon. A hinged china egg, beautifully painted and hinged.

And vases. Honestly. I can't tell you the number of times I've muttered 'I know there's a vase in this house...' The tiny little crystal one from a dear friend's house, the beautifully shaped clear glass urn with the cobalt neck, the delicate glass one that a friend filled with flowers from her garden for my 60th birthday. A couple more.

The little tiny tea set for dolls. I'd found at an antique store, and bought it with a mind to building a fairy garden, which I didn't quite get around to.  At the back, tucked away for safe keeping, the bubble lights that Tim had thrilled to find. He was even more thrilled to find that they worked.

Two musical figurines, one that, as a child, I had wrapped for my father. He gave it to my mother for Christmas. Years later, as left her bedside as she lay dying, something (the vibration of my feet maybe)  set it off and it played, one slow note after another, ' sweetheart...' and then it whirred slowly to a stop. I remembered turning to look at it on her dresser and I was comforted. All these years later, it is a comfort still.

 There's another music box too. It's a testament to the love of a 100 year old man and his beloved wife. I never met her, but he was a treasure. I'm sure he was right when he called his wife a treasure too.

So many precious things, and it was a little bit shocking that there was so much that I'd flatly forgotten about.

I cleaned everything, and I replaced it carefully, smiling at a thousand different memories of other times, dear faces of friends, some of whom are no longer here.

The library is done now. The couch and the love seat look nice in their L shape.  The arm chair is tucked into a corner with a reading lamp. I changed out tables, moving one upstairs to a spare bedroom, swapping other tables from the library and the livingroom. I vacuumed and dusted and polished, and when I was done, switched off the light and stood watching the flickering fire reflecting in the glass, in the gleaming wood.

It's good to take stock from time to time. I am a very blessed woman.

The Putterer

Tim is between houses right now, so he's got a lot of time on his hands. To make matters worse, he's been hanging close to home because the weather has been pretty bad. 

He decided that we shouldn't finish the kitchen until we know exactly how much the sewage treatment operation is going to cost at the house we are trying to sell. He's right, of course, but, maybe, just MAYBE, he should be thinking about these things before he rips out half the kitchen. 

He, on the other hand, feels completely justified in the ripping out procedure because, as he points out, the window was a major source of heat loss. Plus I have a mudroom with a pantry. Which I noticed, the other day, stepping into my pantry, that I can't. Because there's an upright air compressor in there. And a shop vac....but I digress.

During this cold snap, Tim's been walking around the house with a temperature gun, shooting temps here, comparing temps, studying things, pondering things. I came home and there was a new vent between the kitchen and our bedroom. He explained it is for air circulation. 

"Tim. We have an electric blanket in the bedroom. The bedroom is not a problem."

He tells me once again that he doesn't like electric blankets. 

Two days ago, I came home and there's a hole in the wall between the library and the foyer. A ladder. A sheet thoughtfully covers the sideboard and the pictures and the antique clock.

 Last night I came home, and there was a new gangbox, with an outlet and two switches. He tells me that we need more outlets in that particular spot, which is actually true. He also flicks a switch and like magic, two wall sconces that I'd picked out years ago came to life. I was well and truly happy to see that. The back of the foyer is dark and those lights are just as gorgeous as I thought they'd be. 

I also see that he has a 'booster' fan to install in the vent he's making. The fan will pull heat from the library fireplace/woodstove insert and circulate it to our bedroom. He feels that the vent between our bedroom and the kitchen will be allow for better air movement.

He's very excited about this. He tells me that all we have to do is shut the french doors in the library at night before we go to bed, allowing the heat to build up. We'll turn on the fan in the foyer, and it will move the warm air directly into the bedroom.

I tell him I will still be using my side of the electric blanket. 

He laughs. 

That night, as we're getting ready for bed, he shuts of the foyer lights. 

"Um. Tim? The bathroom lights went off." 

I heard him laugh. "They must be on the same circuit as the foyer lights. I can fix that." 

The man is entertaining alright. I'll let you know how his theory works out next week when we get our -13 degree weather. In the meantime, any suggestions on how to keep Tim busy would be much appreciated. 

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Winter Storm Harper

The eastern United State got hard hit by winter storm Harper. In my little area, we got a foot of snow over night. Outlying areas had more. Tim got up twice in the night to shovel the driveway. I feel terrible, because, quite honestly, I never heard/felt him leave the bed.

Anyway, we got up this morning and both of us hit it hard.

The neighbor was trying to get his truck out without shoveling. We helped push him.

We met a girl from across the street. She didn't have a snow shovel to dig out her car, so we showed her where our stack was (we buy them in bulk at the end of season and keep them on hand for the rentals), and invited her to grab one whenever she needed it. We helped her dig out her little car and as we dug, we talked.

Her name is Kathleen, and she is from Williamsport, which we know, because both boys went to Penn College of Technology. She said that she has lived in her little apartment since August, but we're the first people she's met on the street.

I hate to say it but we know who lives where, but we don't really know people that well. A lot of the houses on our block are rentals and people come and go. We try to be good neighbors, but it is not always possible.

Mentally, I began to make a list. When the weather turns, I'll take her for a walk and introduce her to the folks I do know.

For now, however, it is cold. Bitterly, wickedly cold. I had high hopes of watching the eclipse with William tonight, but it's way too cold for that. The house is cold, even with a wood fire. The floors are just awful. The warning says that windchill will be -30.

We were set pretty well for it. I got groceries Friday evening after work so that we didn't need to go anywhere if things were difficult.

Whenever we needed to go outdoors today, there was a pot of hot homemade soup waiting when we got back inside.

Yesterday, before he went home, William and I baked a coconut cake. Winter storms are easier to take with cake.

And God bless electric blankets.