Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Good Day

The day started out with the knowledge that I was off work for the morning. The sleep-in felt luxurious.

I was having my morning coffee ant checking to see what the computer world was up to when my friend called. Her dog had been sprayed by a skunk. I often do online research for her. They don't have a computer. I read off a homemade remedy to her, and told her about a product we sold at Tractor Supply. (Nature's Miracle) I like my friends. I like those questions.

I'm excited to get the guest bedroom all set up, but as usual, there's a ton of things to be done before I get to that. Existing furniture must be moved to their new home to make place for the 'new furniture'. I set up a sweet little office space on the third floor landing. I heard Tim's truck followed by a small explosion of excitement from William.

Grandpa had gone archery hunting and got a large doe. The rest of the day was spent processing the meat. Once again we have steaks and roasts and tenderloins in the freezer. William was excited to help, and this led to a long conversation about meat and where meat comes from. William had lots of questions. He wants to go hunting with Grandpa in the worst kind of way. Grandpa told him he'd have to learn not to ask so many questions in the woods first.

It was a busy day, but I was sure glad to be in the middle of it. At one point, Tim and I looked at each other. I said, "We are so very fortunate..." and Tim's answer came back without hesitation: "Yes we are." And William continued to ask questions.

Late edit: That little book went to its new home. The gentleman who signed the book out 54 years ago took it home today.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Happy.

http://pictures.estatesales.net/1038030/24757846/1.jpg

So this is the Victorian bed that Tim and I have our eye on for the spare bedroom. He's going to see if he can get it tomorrow first thing in the morning, if it is not snapped up by someone else.

If we can't get it, well, I'll console myself with the sweetest little 5 1/2 inch German 8 day key wound torsion clock that I got for $7. I'm easy.

PS: Tim got there today and bought not only the bed but the matching marble top dresser. I was a little surprised. He said, "Well, the dresser needs to match." Yes. It does. I thought that, but was embarrassed to say because the bed was kind of pricey. Can't wait to get a mattress set and get it all set up.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Estate Sale

I love to go to estate sales. I especially love the ones in big old houses. You know you're going to be exploring a lifetime of things at those sales.

Last month, I was at one. I bought a couple boxes of note cards, old ones, that were pretty cool. $2.00. I found some stencils that I could use for a project I've had in mind. 50 cents each. I found a very realistically carved duck w/ glass eyes. $5. My finds tend to be kind of eclectic.

 As I was roaming through the rooms looking, I heard a woman say to her friend, "This is so strange....that a person just walks out of their house and leaves everything behind??!! I mean, who does that?!!!"  Her friend gaped at her, and I have to say, I stopped in my tracks as well. The questioner stood there in her confusion. I said, "The person who lived her has probably died." The look on her face. She looked at her potential purchases with poorly disguised horror.

I didn't laugh at her (although her friend did...) I mean it IS kind of creepy. Clothes hanging in the closets, shoes, bed linens, even toiletries. People will buy half used toiletries. I cannot bring myself to do this. I've been to sales where you're looking at a box full of hair curlers with strands of gray hair around them, and yes, it is a little macabre. So no. I didn't laugh at that woman although I was amazed that she would have to be told that she was walking through a dead person's home.

Another cool thing is that you get to look inside some pretty neat houses that you have only seen from the outside.

Like the estate sale that I stopped at after work tonight. Tim called me at work and told me to get $20 and buy a toy tractor, a John Deere for William. He also wanted me to check out a four poster bed. That's one of the things that we try hard to do, buy furniture  that 'fits' the house. A four poster bed would fit in nicely.

I parked along the street in the general vicinity of the house and I walked to it. I was pleased to see it was a house that I'd always admired from the outside. I was pretty excited to get inside, It was a grand house, with interesting woodwork and stained glass windows, and a charming stove with a little mica windows set into the fireplace. There was a key wound Seth Thomas that they wanted too much money for (it had been badly repaired).  There was a gorgeous armoire that did me a great good favor by being sold before I got there. An empire couch and interesting old rocking chairs. Books, games. I enjoyed myself a great deal.

I found a pile of books and I went through them. I found an old book inscribed to a child on May 18, 1906. I found a book from the 30s about a little cowboy. I found an ABC book from the 70s with very cool illustrations. At a buck apiece, I bought them. I spent some time roaming from room to room daydreaming about the house and people that used to live there.

I walked back out into the blustery day and came home to a hot cup of soup from the crock pot (cream of celery - all I needed to do was add a dollop of cream to my cup of broth). I curled up with my books and my daydreams and my hot cup of soup.

One of the books I bought turned out to be a book from a local school library. In the back, there was the old cardboard pocket with the card. The last time the book had been taken from the library was 1962, and children's names were carefully written on the card, along with the stamped date that the book was due back.

What a cool Christmas gift that would be, don't you think? To have a book that you had borrowed as a young child, the proof of it your name carefully penciled in cursive next to that stamped due date? I posted the names on facebook. I live in a small community. Someone will know one of these folks. The first person to get to me can have it.

Pretty exciting, innit?

Monday, August 3, 2015

It's Forty o'clock

I am so tickled with myself right this very minute.

I like clocks. I like them a lot. I bought a Seth Thomas electric mantle clock with a very interesting art deco type face design which I have never seen before. I wondered if it were from the 20's, but nope. It's a 1940 clock. It's only worth about $50, not much, but it's a pretty little clock and I like it, and besides, I only paid $10. for it.  It kept perfect time, but that thing was annoyingly loud. I was worried that perhaps the gears were grinding and that it would damage the clock over time, so I carefully ripped it apart and began to drop oil onto each individual gear.

Well. I tried to be careful, but I ended up screwing up the chimes. Had no idea what I'd done but I had a very quiet electric clock that kept perfect time but no longer chimed, which was dang disappointing since there is nothing that I love better than hearing a chiming clock. So I ripped it apart again, and observed and fiddled about. Much to my surprise, I fixed it. I now have a quiet clock that keeps perfect time AND chimes on the hour and half hour.

Quite impressed with myself, I found myself studying my 150 year old key wound. That clock has been back to the clock shop twice. TWICE. I spent $150 to get that bad boy up and running. It ran for about a month and then stopped. If the guy at the clock shop wasn't such a weirdo, I'd have taken it back again, but I don't like him.

Anyways, I thought to myself, "Well, you certainly can't do it any harm..." so I opened up the back and I watched. I set the pendulum swinging and then I watched it. I watched what moved. I watched what seemed to be happening as the pendulum slowed and finally stopped. I did a little fiddling with a gear and set the pendulum swinging.

An hour and a half later, I just heard the four clocks chime 10 PM.

I find myself studying my mother's cuckoo clock and wondering.... I certainly couldn't do it any harm...


Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Phone Call.

We've been on the receiving end of a flurry of strange calls lately.

Yesterday, the phone rang. It was obviously a call center. You could hear the voices in the background, including a heavily accented voice that was screaming like crazy at someone. "I don't care..." the bellow went.

A little surprised, I said, "Hello?!!"

And a heavily accented voice (think Jamaica, or the like) came on. He politely said, "May I speak to Timothy please."

I said, "No."

He wasn't prepared for that answer. He hesitated.

I said "We don't wish to speak to scammers."

Long pause. Polite 'click'.

I hope the person who was being screamed at found the wherewithall to hang up the phone.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

On the other side.

It amazes me the difference a job can make.

It's embarrassing to admit, but the pharmacy did not work out. It is the only job that I have ever worked that I left after giving a two day notice. In April, I received a raise that I'd been promised the previous August. A raise that was, after repeated questioning, finally promised in writing in October. As soon as I finally got that long awaited raise in April, my hours were cut from 40 to 30 hours per week.

That was the final straw.

I went back to what I know. I am working with the developmentally disabled. It is a 'fit'. I am happy in my job. I am earning a livable wage. I enjoy my clients, and I receive positive feedback from my superiors.

I also look back at the last couple years and realize that I've been dealing with a pretty heavy duty depression.

I don't know why that should be, that a job determines so much of my feelings of worth, but it does.

But I'm starting to love life again. I am a pretty blessed woman.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Counting

Probably going to sound very stupid, but you know what I love? I love sitting in the semi dark and hearing the clocks strike the hour. First the clock in the hall (slowly, in a serious, deep tone), and then the clock in the library joins in (a tinkly, slower chime which continues on after the hall clock has efficiently done its job.) The two clocks seem to goad the livingroom clock in action, and it joins in, just as the library clock finishes.

As the clocks count the hours, I count my blessings. When the last chime fades into eternity, I sit there in silence, and I am counting still.


Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Karen in Texas wanted to know what was going on with the house. Well...we took a gamble. The house had been on the market for over a year. The decision was made that we would put in a bid once the house we'd been working on sold.

A friend noticed that the house was no longer on the market. She messaged right away to see if Tim had talked me into it. "No," I said.

Tim was dead certain that they'd pulled it and listed it with a new realtor, which had happened before, but I called our realtor just to be sure. Someone has put a bid on it. Tim still feels quite strongly about this house. I'm torn. It's a beauty of a house, but instead of the profit from the sold house going into our bank account, it would be going into yet another house. We have talked often about Tim retiring early. This purchase would have kept that plan on the back burner for a couple more years.

So, I'm okay with it. Tim is very disappointed, and is hoping against hope that the deal falls through. It was fun to daydream about it, but I'm happy where we are.

I had a nice moment Sunday night. The moon was glorious, just breath taking, hid within some clouds. I sat visiting with friends as the day turned into night, and I was grateful for friends.

Other than that, just working really hard right now.

Yearly cancer stuff on Monday, and I'm dreading it. I keep telling myself that I'm totally ridiculous that for the past 6 years every report has been good. I'm not sure why I'm being so superstitious.


Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Life and Death

Today, I was sitting at a red light at an intersection. The light changed and the cross traffic stopped. As I prepared to pull out, I noticed a semi truck coming very fast to my right. I hesitated, and watched him apply his brakes hard. The tires were smoking, and the brakes were hissing, and there was this horrifying moment when I realized that he was about to hit the little car waiting at the light.

My horrified gaze met the horrified gaze of the driver of the car and there was nothing to be done. I knew that it would be bad, very bad.

The truck got stopped. I mean, you can not even imagine how close this was. Seriously, the truck was no more than six feet from that little car.

It was over in seconds, really, although it seemed to take forever to unfold.

I finished pulling into the intersection and made my left turn.

I imagine that it was a terrifying moment for both the driver of the car and the truck. I pulled off to drop off a donation of hunting clothes to the Goodwill, and I watched that truck coming. He was flying in a 45 mile an hour zone.

I drove home the rest of the way wondering about that. How can you have such a close call and not be changed, not be filled with such relief and gratitude that you slow that rig down?

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Cheap entertainment

Tim has been talking about a house.

He's been talking a lot about this house, and yesterday he said, "I've got an appointment to go see this house. Come with me."

I said, "Tim, I don't want another house."

And Tim said, "It doesn't cost anything to look."

I said, "But I know how you work. We've been down this road before."

He pushed. I did go to see it, because I really did want to see what it looked like on the inside.

It is a big house with about 20 rooms on three stories. It has a big front porch, and across the street there is a big house that looks like a castle. The thing is THAT house caught the imagination of a child many years ago, and I imagined what it would be like to live in a castle. Every time that I see that house sitting there in it's quiet dignity, it reminds me of being a little child in the back seat of a car, daydreaming. I wondered what it would be like to remember that memory every single time I looked out my front window.

The house is huge, and it's got a bunch of neat details that appeal to the two of us. Like, for instance, window seats in the big bay windows. A winding staircase to the second level. A servants staircase going up to third floor which is not completely redone, but has the remains of an antique bathroom there that could be renovated. I looked at all the angles and knee walls and windows and that space runs the whole length of that big house.

We agreed that it would make a great bedroom for us, using the southern end of the space for a sitting area for the two of us. The north end could be walled off for his 'mancave'. The space is so huge that even with a bathroom, we could have a bedroom that our bedroom furniture would be lost in.

On the second floor there are six bedrooms, two sitting rooms, another bathroom. The second floor is a split level design which we've never seen before, but is remarkable. On the first floor there is small room that would be a perfect office, a kitchen, a butler's pantry, formal dining room, a half bath, a laundry room, and a living room.

On the plus side, there's lots of parking, something that is a problem right now. A little garage which could be used for a business venture we've been rolling around in our heads for some time now. It has a huge basement, with a walkout, which would make a great workplace for Tim. Plenty of room, exquisite details that neither of us have every seen in a house before: a dutch door for the main entrance, arched doors to the living room, five fireplaces that have been set up for gas. A dumb waiter that was used to ferry the firewood between the 3 stories. A new roof.

It would certainly be a nice investment property.

Downside: lots of renovations. The kitchen needs to be redone completely. One bathroom would have to be redone completely. Carpets ripped out. Some windows replaced.  Way bigger house than we actually need. A bunch of very crappy 'modernizations' that need to be ripped out completely, including huge fricking plate glass mirrors installed everywhere (including one in a fireplace! Who DOES that?)

Long story short, this is a sweet house, but a lot of work, and we can take it or leave it. We're in no rush, because we are happy in our own house now. But we will watch it carefully. Last night, in bed, Tim and I held hands in the dark and dreamed out loud.

That's always fun, and dreaming is still free.

http://www.njshattuckhomes.com/index.php?action=listingview&listingID=1349


Monday, March 30, 2015

Seasons

I've been back from my vacation for a week now. Aside from missing Cara, probably the thing that I miss the most is that there in New Orleans, it was warm and sunny, and we spent most of our time outside. There were birds and blooming jasmine. They were well in the throes of spring there. Here? It's snowing. It's cold.

There are signs of spring everywhere. It's even supposed to get into the fifties this week, and I am looking very forward to that. The grackles are back, and the redwing blackbirds and the robins. You can see buds on the trees, buds waiting for their moment to open. The snow is certainly melting off - there's a lot less of it, and there are patches of grass peaking through. The promise of spring is everywhere, but the promise is not realized yet.

Tim and I went out to buy our meats for the week yesterday. There's a store which has good meat prices, and so we generally go there on Sunday afternoon or evening. We see what is on sale, and that determines what we eat for the week. This week I saw packages of catfish. I saw packages of crawdads. I got an idea. I bought some andouille sausage (not such a bargain, but a necessity). I'll pick up the shrimp at another store today.

I'm making the base for a gumbo.William helped me shuck the crawdads (he played with them, and cried when I 'ope'd' the last one. He was having a good time.) I cut up the sausage, and dumped it in with the catfish, crawdads, onions and celery. I added a can of tomatoes and chiles and let it simmer over night in the crock pot.

I've shut down the crockpot now (I had a cup of broth for breakfast and it was good!) In a few minutes, I'll put the base into the fridge. Tomorrow, I'll skim off the grease, and then I'll spend the day putting together gumbo. Invites issued, and I'm looking very forward to it.

I know that the blog has been quiet. It's been a 'withdrawing' time for me. My life has been dreadfully unbalanced. Too much focus on work. I've also lost some friends. Two have died, another dear friend has withdrawn after making it clear that in her mind, I have 'called Jesus a liar', news that came as a dreadful shock to me. After examining my own conscience, I realized that she was hearing a different message. She feels that we have been charged to tell people that without Jesus, they are going to hell. In my thinking, I would never tell anyone that they are going to hell. Judgement is God's job, and it says THAT in the Bible too. I'm not sure why she views it so very differently from me, why it is such an issue in her heart, but I know her. She is my oldest friend, and it is a shock to lose the comfort of that friendship after all these years, but I have spent much of the winter pondering my thoughts on the subject, and I cannot change what I feel (and feel strongly). At the same time, I know that my friend has a good heart. Whatever is happening here is not happening because my friend is a bad person. She says that she cannot talk to me about the things that are most important to her.

There's also been the concern about Tim's shoulder, and the worry about Cara, and concern for William and his safety. Yeah. It's been a long winter.

But, like I said, the promise of spring is everywhere. Yesterday at work, I realized that I was truly enjoying myself, enjoying the interaction with my customers, the busyness of the job. A coworker asked if I'd always lived in Warren, because it seemed like I knew everybody, and that everyone knew me.

I thought of that last night as William and I worked together. The crawdads weren't the only thing coming out of their shell. The season is changing, and I'm looking forward to what comes next.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Update

Hi, folks.

All is well here.

Tim is back to work. He has regained full range of motion, and is continuing to strengthen his arm.

William has turned 4, and is still a joy.

I spent last week in New Orleans with Cara, who was home for an educational conference. It was a joyous week and a nice break from bitterly cold weather here in Pennsylvania. It was in the 80s every single day, and we spent most of that time outside, soaking up the beauty of full-on spring. I took a ton of pictures on Cara's Nikon, and I've been well and truly bitten by the photography bug. Will share pictures later. They are on her camera card. Cara is back in Kabul, and I miss her terribly.

We have a house to put on the market in a couple weeks. Tim and our hired man completely renovated our home in the woods, and it is beautiful.

My life is good and sweet and busy.

Although there was that great and glorious moment when I was laying sleepless in bed and pondering things...and it occurred to me, apropos to absolutely nothing that in 12 years I'll be 70. I laid sleepless in bed for quite a while after thinking that think...

Today at work: A fellow is jawjacking in line, and half paying attention. I got his prescription and said, "Your copay today is a hundred dollars.' His eyes got wide, his face got red, and he stuttered around. I burst out laughing and said, "Just seeing if you're paying attention. It's $11.' Hard to tell who was laughing harder, him or the people in line behind him.

It was a funny day, with lots of chances to joke and laugh with the customers. I enjoy that part of my job very much.


Saturday, January 3, 2015

Update on Tim

Tim is still in his sling. His shoulder was far more damaged than expected. He has been in his sling since the 3rd of December, and he has at least two more weeks to go.

We all joke about the time that Tim had the flu for 20 minutes several years back. He simply never gets sick. We had all succumbed one by one to a terrible flu and Tim kept saying, "It can't possibly be THAT bad." Not the sort of thing one wants to hear when they are in the midst of a two day bug that keeps you close to a bathroom for one reason or the other, or both simultaneously. (Sorry for the visuals, but this was some bad stuff...)

Anyways, after over a week of one person or another being sickened, there came the great and glorious day that we all once again sat down to have supper together. Granted, there were some pale faces among us, and none of us ate heartily. Suddenly Tim pushed his chair back from the table, and said, "Gees. I don't feel so great..."

I would like to say that we were sympathetic, but we all muttered, "NOW he'll see..." He staggered over to the sofa, flopped down, fell soundly asleep. After 20 minutes, he suddenly popped up. We dove out of the way, knowing what was coming.

Instead Tim said, "Man. I don't know what that was, but it was awful." And then he got up to go work on a car down at the garage. We all sat in shocked silence. Dylan finally said, "If he ever dies, we need to donate his body to science. His immune system is a super power."

That's Tim. I can count the times that he's been sick, really sick, during our sixteen years of marriage on one finger. And now this.

He had great plans. He knew that the doctors were being over dramatic. Two days after surgery, he had some reno work planned. I cautioned him that he might feel quite differently about it after he actually HAD surgery, but he pooh-poohed me.

He had the surgery, and it took nearly three hours. Thank goodness for a new friend Helmuth who kept up his end of a fascinating conversation. I was grateful for his presence. When Tim finally was done with surgery, he was fretful and ready to go home almost as soon as he woke up.

He didn't like that he couldn't feel his arm at all. He didn't like that several hours after surgery, he could still not feel that arm. I tried to convince him to take the painkillers as prescribed. We had both been warned about letting the pain get ahead of the painkiller, to take them as prescribed to prevent the pain from getting out of hand. But no...I am married to Tim. He was fretful, and he wanted Pizza Hut Pizza, and he was not happy about that arm being numb, and he wasn't taking painkillers that he didn't need.

And this is how we wound up in the ER at 2 AM. Tim's IV 'pain cocktail' knocked him for a loop, and this time he was ever so grateful for the numbness. I trundled him back home to bed at 5 AM.

That experience was an eye opener for him. He has been following the doctor's orders to the very letter, and I have heard no more about reno work. He has been taking it easy, and has not take that sling off except for short showers.

He is healing well. At least two more weeks in a sling before they can ever begin physical therapy. Only then will we know whether the surgery was successful or not.


Just kidding around...

https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=713087844786

We spent Christmas at Dylan and Brittani's house. It was perfect. William got quite a charge out of their dog Maggie, as you can see in the video.

Dylan loves nothing more than a good joke. He said, "I think that boy needs a dog, Tim." He said it a couple times for effect. He knows that Tim is not a fan of dogs in the house, which is why we don't have one, although Maggie is always welcome to come for a visit. Anyhow, Dylan laughed and laughed at his little joke.

Until we all shot back with this: "Maggie needs a little boy, Dylan." We said it a couple times for effect. We know that Dylan is not quite 'there' yet, although his nephew is always welcome to come for a visit. And we all laughed and laughed at our little joke.

There was no more discussions of dogs OR little boys.



Friday, January 2, 2015

Gone Girl

There are so many stories of this season. I will tell them to you one at a time.

She looked across the room at me with a strange expression. Suddenly she said, "Mom, I want you to have my car."

It was a little like being sucker punched. Amazed I said, "Why?" Since she had gone overseas, it had set in Dylan's garage, waiting for her to come home.

"Because," she began to explain. "I'm not coming back at the end of the year, unless they make us shut down the university and I have to."

"Because," she explained, "you and Tim gave the car to me as a gift and so you should be the ones to get it back."

"Because," she explained, "it's just taking up space in Dylan's garage and that is not fair to either one of them."

What popped into my mind was that she was getting rid of her worldly possessions. I knew that was stupid, but it's what it felt like.

I said, "I don't WANT your car," and her response was, "You and Tim need it."

She came home for two days. In those two days, she cleared all traces of herself from her room. She said, "I want William to have my bedroom furniture." Her loft bed is heavy duty, and the matching desk and dresser and bookshelf are in perfect condition.

One by one, the ties to this place are loosened and she is free to walk in this world. What remains here are boxes of things in the attic.

'Cara's room' is now 'William's room'. 'Cara's car' is now 'mom's car'. She freely gave of her things. Her DVD player showed up in our bedroom. She gave things to her sister.

Sunday she leaves again, headed back to Afghanistan. I drove her car home from work in the dark last night, and I listened to the CD that she left behind. The band is 'A Great Big World', and snippets of lyrics catch my ear.


If only New York wasn't so far away
I promise the city won't get in our way
When you're scared and alone,
Just know that I'm already home

or


Another year you made a promise
Another chance to turn it all around
And do not save this for tomorrow
Embrace the past and you can live for now

or

Shorty don't wait in line
Short don't wait til' the sun don't shine
Shorty don't wait in line
Shorty don't wait until your life goes by


I listen to the lyrics, all of them. Words catch my ear, and feel like valuable clues, or maybe secret messages to me. I drive in the dark, and I find myself missing her so much that it actually hurts.


But she is doing great things, and I am proud of her. In her, I see what I used to be. Where did that go? When did it stop?

I have her little car and I will drive it around my world, and it is a connection to my girl who travels in a much larger world.