Monday, November 30, 2020

Helpers

Fred Rogers: “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, "Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.”  

It's better now, but prior to the election, there were times I could scarcely bring myself to watch the news. 

So I tried hard to look for the helpers. 

Across the street from us, there is an elderly man with long white hair. I see him outside frequently, but rarely do I see the woman I presume is his wife. But their porch is always perfectly kept, and the autumn wreath on their door has been replaced by a Christmas wreath. 

We have a lot of feral cats in the neighborhood. People move on and leave them behind. It's heart breaking really. My own Paddy is a rescue kitten from a feral who had been hit by a car. She was one of two kittens that was saved from that litter. The one thing that I can't do is save them all. (Tim would kill me.)

In any case, I first noticed that there was a stray cat hanging very close to that neat front porch across the street. He was a marmalade cat like my Paddy. I winced a little.

But I noticed that when the man came home, he'd always stop and speak to the cat who listened attentively. Even Tim noticed. It made him smile. I got hopeful for that little marmalade cat. 

It wasn't long and two dishes appeared on the front porch, along with a snug little cat home. That made me happy too. 

It's begun to get cold here, and we have had some snow. I noticed the little cat peering out at me from his little cat shelter and I worried about how he would make it through the winter. 

There was no need to. 

This past weekend, I watched the elderly man working with another younger man and they were building a feral cat shelter out of a tote .I also noticed that there was a cord running from the plastic tote on their porch. I think that shelter has a little heat source.

Today, dragging our leaves to the curb for pick up, I noticed the man and his wife playing with the cat with a feathered toy. 

Watching that little story unfold has been a wonderful blessing. 

For all of you following another story, Tim got a nice little 8 point within 3 hours of the start of the rifle season. He was pleased, mostly because we have a week to finish up the garage. 

Sunday, November 29, 2020

Buck Season

 Today, I loaded up lunch and headed down to the retirement property. Tim had left early to do some early hunting reconnaissance and to sight in his rifle. Tomorrow is the first day of buck season, and he's plenty excited about it. 

Once he was done with that, we had a big day. We are putting on the garage doors. Tim had watched approximately 1351 you-tube videos before settling on just the doors we were going to build. 

So on along 11AM, I loaded up the car and headed out. Driving there, I glanced in the rearview mirror, and when I brought my eyes forward, there was a deer leaping squarely in front of me. A car was coming the other way. Knowing nothing was behind me, I slammed on my brakes, dishes went flying everywhere, and the accident was unavoidable. 

Except...

The deer gave one mighty lunge, and I missed it. 

I cannot tell you how close this was. I think his hind quarters probably dusted the side of my car off. 

I scared the bejeebers out of myself. I was still shaking when I pulled into our driveway, and Tim stopped what he was doing to help me unload dinner from the car. I had the rear door open and was pulling covered dishes out from under the front seat. He could tell I was a little more emotional than usual. He looked quizzical. 

I explained about the deer and how close it was, and how badly it rattled me. "I've never come that close to a deer without hitting it," I said. 

He listened interestedly. "Was it a buck?" 

I stared at him in disbelief before I snapped, "I couldn't tell you, Tim!" and I headed inside.


Saturday, November 28, 2020

Fruitcake

An aunt of my ex-husband's looked me up on facebook through the kids. She's a fiercely independent woman. Don't get me wrong, I am too,  but she's a lot sharper and angrier than I have a tolerance for.  I accepted the friend request, but really didn't hear much from her until things got politically ugly on facebook. We are of a like mind on that subject anyway, so I suppose that kindled some warm feelings in her heart. We communicated back and forth a bit on facebook.

Now that the holiday season is approaching, one of my big regrets is that somehow in the tumult that was the crashing and burning of a marriage, a cross country move, the struggle to reset life for me and three children, I managed to lose something near and dear to my heart: Grandma Violet's fruitcake recipe. 

Before you say how much you hate fruitcake, let me say that you haven't tasted Grandma Violet's fruitcake. Seriously: Best. Fruitcake. Ever.

Every year, I pulled her recipe out of the box, unfolded it and set to work. I made fruitcakes and we gave those fruitcakes as gifts and everyone loved those fruitcakes, even if they thought they wouldn't. 

Anyways, fast forward, through a divorce and even though I vowed 'never again', it did happen again. Remarried to a quiet man, life settled down once more. For our first Christmas, I got my recipe box out and pulled out Grandma Violet's fruitcake recipe. I was sad to discover that somehow, I only had the first page of it. The rest of it was gone. I went through everything. I didn't have it. 

I grieved the loss of that recipe. 

By then dear Grandma Violet was in the throes of dementia. I wrote her regularly just as I always had since I married her grandson, but it became an issue when my ex remarried. When she heard that he and his wife were coming to visit, she got very excited. She couldn't wait for that visit. Except that when they walked in, she got very upset. "Where's Debby? They said that Debby was coming..." and she didn't stop looking for me for their whole visit. 

At this point, she was living with her daughter (that fiercely independent aunt) and the aunt was mortified at her mother's behavior. It also distressed the new wife a great deal. I thought they were all being a little silly, because after all, it was dementia. It was not like the poor thing could help it, but I took a deep breath and I stepped back. I stopped writing. It was simply adding to her confusion. 

She's gone now. She's been gone for many years, but I can tell you that she was a dear, dear woman. I loved her. 

 At the factory where I worked, Christmas season was our peak season and we worked mandatory overtime in the weeks before Christmas. Lots and lots of overtime. This year I am not working, and for the first time in many years, I have the time to devote to Christmas baking and Christmas cards and to Christmas decorating, and to Christmas wrapping...all of that Christmas stuff.  I am  greatly looking forward to it, and all these years later, once again that long lost fruitcake recipe popped into my mind. 

So I messaged that aunt that I was now in contact with, and asked if she happened to have that recipe. 

"Absolutely NOT!" and what followed was a bitter recounting of being forced to eat foods that she didn't like, and how she hated that fruitcake. 

I typed back carefully, "I'm sorry to stir up bad memories."

Another blast about how she would never subject her grandchildren to the torment she was subjected to. 

It's hard to have such very different memories of a person, but there you are. I had a rough childhood myself, so I respect that what people see from the outside doesn't always reflect the reality of what happens behind closed doors. I sort of reiterated my earlier comments and dropped the subject all together, figuring that the fruitcake was just a memory.

I have that one page still, neatly folded and still in my recipe box because it is in Grandma Violet's handwriting.

Last night when my daughter was here, her father called to wish her and Don and William a happy Thanksgiving. From where I was washing dishes, I said, "Hey, ask him if, by chance, he happens to have Grandma Violet's fruitcake recipe..."

And the reply came: he used to, but it wasn't the complete recipe. Part of it was missing...

I could've cried. 

Friday, November 27, 2020

The Reality of Covid

 For every person in this world who feels themselves qualified to argue with science, this post is for you. 

Bob has an important message for us all. 

In my rural county, things are heating up: On October 28th, we had 66 cases. One month to the day later, we are reporting 231 cases, meaning that our cases have more than tripled in the last 30 days. 

A local restaurant has closed, a child care center has shut its doors. Churches had begun to cautiously open, but most of them have once again resumed virtual services. 

Still, people will not mask. 

Leftovers

 Ah, leftovers!

We have plenty of turkey left over. We do that on purpose, because we like leftover turkey. 

Tonight for supper there will be sliced up turkey added to the leftover gravy to be poured over the leftover potatoes, which will sit happily beside the leftover stuffing and the leftover cranberry sauce and sweet potato souffle.

We love turkey and will eat turkey salad sandwiches all weekend long. 

When it is picked clean, the carcass will be simmered overnight in the crock pot and there will be soup. 

Ah turkey.

One question does beg an answer though. Knowing full well the weekend menu, how does the shopper of the house forget to pick up a fresh jar of mayonnaise? 

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Lucky

 Instead of the big family doing that we are used to, it will be a small one with just the people in our 'bubble': William, his mother and Don. 

William did not have school today, so we cooked together. The cranberry relish is made, the sweet potato souffle, 3 pies, The turkey is stuffed. We've tried a new stuffing this year: an herbed bread stuffing with sausage, dried cranberries, apples, celery and onion. 

William is a dab hand at cracking eggs and browning sausage and making the crumb topping for the souffle. Tomorrow he'll help cut up the fruit for the fruit salad. He likes helping, but he was tired of the kitchen before it was all said and done. (So was I, for that matter.)

We'll get up early tomorrow, deliver some meals to shut ins. This year, everything is done by phone call, and then set the things on the porch and go. 

Then we'll come home baste the turkey. All that will be left to do is peel potatoes, heat the side dishes and make the gravy and fruit salad. The hard stuff is done. 

It will be a quieter Thanksgiving than we are used to.

It will be different  but the blessings we count will be the same. 

Not all Americans are so fortunate this year. 

We're thinking of them. 

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Christmas

 I am the grandma of two. One lives nearby and I see him regularly. I am his caregiver when school is out and his parents are working. William is 9, and he is a source of great joy. 

Iris lives five and a half hours away. She is only two. She is also a source of great joy, but the fact is, most of that joy has been through videos that I am sent. 

Things change quickly when a child is two, and I've been struggling mightily with this whole covid thing. I've only seen her three times this year. I missed her birthday. Every time that I saw her, she seemed like a whole different child, clicking off milestones one right after another, and I was missing them all.

My daughter in law is a nurse and she had a training to do so I went out there in September. At the time, we had somewhere between 30 and 40 cases for the county (since March). I got in my car and drove straight there without stopping. Once there, I stayed there. Then I got in the car and drove straight home again, non-stop. 

I still felt pretty guilty about it.

I did a stupid thing. I got my Christmas shopping done early. Filled with ideas from my visit, I ordered her gifts. A sensible person would have had the things shipped to THEIR house. I've never been accused of being sensible. As stupid as it sounds, it just didn't occur to me that I wouldn't see them again before the end of the year.

It should have. 

Suddenly Covid's second wave hit. Cases were spiking where they were. They are spiking here as well, increasing 40% in the past week alone. A local restaurant has shut down due to a rash of positives. A daycare has shut down due to the high number of cases among the children. Schools are preparing the kids for a shutdown.(I kind of have a hunch that kids will not return to physical classrooms after the Thanksgiving holiday, but that is just a hunch.)

Weather also gets pretty dicey this time of the year. 

I could mail the packages, but it occurred to me that it would be cheaper to put everything in a car and drive it there. I knew that a visit was not a good idea.

 My daughter in law felt that it didn't matter when Iris got her gifts, but...

It mattered to me...a lot. 

And so I got this idea, the wildly impractical idea of driving one dollhouse, one folding table and chair set (Trolls), and the presents from her aunt and uncle and cousin William along with a largish box of clothing that I've been picking up piece meal every time I got to a thrift store. 

It was, as I said in the last post, completely impractical. Unreasonable. Silly. One made totally on the basis of emotion. Pure grandma emotion. 

But I kept thinking it over. I could drive the five and a half hours out there, set the stuff on their front porch and then head back home. If I didn't enter their house, if I didn't hug anybody, if I just dropped the gifts off and left, I wasn't putting anyone at risk. 

After a couple days of trying unsuccessfully to talk myself out of it, I finally got up the nerve to talk to Tim about it. Sitting in bed, I finally got the courage to tell him what I was going to do. 

He looked at me.

I studied my hands as I put on my hand lotion. I was waiting for him to blast my impractical nature.

He said, "We can do that." 

I said, "What? You'd go?"

He said, "Yes. We should do it before Thanksgiving. Rifle season opens Saturday. Plus if they shut the schools down, we can't expect William to sit for 11 hours in a car while we drive there and back. It would also kill him not to be able to spend time with Dylan."

He considered. "The weather is supposed to be good Monday. We'll get up early and head out." 

And so we did. 

We drove there, unloaded the trunk and then turned right around and headed out. I was a bit more blubbery than I expected to be. I wanted to knock on the door more than I ever wanted to do anything in my life. But I didn't. Tim and I set the stuff down, got into the car and headed for home. 

Partway there, we got a very shocked call from my daughter in law. "WHERE ARE YOU????!!! You should have told us!!!!" 

I told her that it would have been too hard for Iris to understand. We have such fun when we are there. For me to wave and head on home would have broken her little heart. The fact of it is that it would have broken mine too. 

There were a hundred very good reasons why it was a ridiculous thing to do. 12 hours later, we were pulling back into our own driveway, and only one reason mattered: Iris' Christmas was delivered. 

In these strange days, the little things matter. A lot.

Monday, November 23, 2020

Ridiculous

Have you ever just gotten it in your head that you want to do something? Something that just feels important, but it's totally impractical? Something totally ridiculous that feels like absolutely the right thing to do for a hundred different reasons?  

I got one of those ideas and I've been tossing it over in my mind, trying to argue myself out of it, but I just couldn't. 

Last night for the first time, I actually got up the nerve to tell Tim what I was going to do. 

He looked at me. 

I braced myself for the perfectly reasonable comments about my ridiculousness.

His mouth opened, and he said, "We can do that." 

So the both of us are off doing a totally ridiculous thing for no other reason than it feels like the right thing to do in these strange days. 

Stay tuned. 

Saturday, November 21, 2020

Conquering Phobias

 I have two phobias. One is a fear of heights and the other is snakes. As I have gotten older, I've learned to control my fear response to both things, which I find interesting. 

When I worked for the county doing West Nile Virus surveillance, trapping and counting mosquitoes, I spent a lot of time trekking through swamps and back woods setting up my light traps. Snakes were a part of the job. Since I couldn't be screaming my fool head off every time that I saw a snake, I gradually taught myself to freeze, clench my jaw, and wait for them to glide by on their way to do whatever snakes do. I continue on doing whatever it is that I need to do. 

Same way with heights. I still don't like them, but sometimes I need to just suck it up and deal with it. Our business is buying houses and rehabbing them either for rentals or for flipping. I work with Tim and we haven't got time for me to be a baby. That being said, I can't do pitched roofs because walking on uneven surfaces sometimes causes my wonky knee to give way without warning, but walking on a flat surface is okay. It makes me squeamish and I have to move slowly. I avoid looking down. 

There are a lot of snakes at the retirement property. As we remove debris, we find them and we get rid of them. I know that people will disagree, but when you're hauling stuff away and find 30 snakes, well, that's more than any habitat needs.

PS this is not an exaggeration. 

It is also why I'm not ever going to live in that house. But since that house holds a lot of the stuff we are going to use in the new house, we need it to stand at least through this winter. So once the trees were removed, we needed to repair the damage. 

It was chilly and we worked all day. Despite my fear, I climbed up and down ladders fetching and carrying. I also hauled sheets of tin from a pile of used tin that Tim saved because it was in good shape and he knew it would eventually come in handy. At one point I was pushing a large sheet of tin up a ladder to the second floor roof for Tim, It was heavy and bulky and dirty. I was high up and trying not to look down. As I pushed it over top of the ladder a snake shed slid down and across my hand. 

I've never dealt with two phobias simultaneously. I clenched my jaw and there was no screaming. I did not fall off the ladder. 

Sweet mother of God, this was a stressful day and I'm so glad it is done.

A Delicate Operation

 We got to the retirement property with the last load of rough cut, to finish the garage. As we went to turn in the driveway, we saw a big orange truck parked and set up. It was the tree removal team.

They were partially finished with the job. One fellow stayed on the ground. He said, "I'm the 'grabbit guy', and the 'what-did-I do-with-that guy'. I said, "Pleased to meet you. I'm the 'hold-this-right-there-like-that girl."  

This tree above? The guy was riding in a 'cherry picker', a truck with a 60 foot boom, carrying a chain saw. As he lopped away at the big tree over hanging the house, the thing became less top heavy. As he continued to cut, the tree began to move. He yelled down to his assistant that the tree was going to 'stand up', and it did almost as soon as the words left his mouth. 
The cave disappeared once again before I ever got an opportunity to dig around in the dirt for arrow heads. We now had a 30 foot tall 'stump' heavy with branches, and way too close to the house. 

All that had happened before our arrival. By the time we got there, he was hard at work on the second tree. That tree had snapped off, probably knocked down by the uprooted tree. The entire weight of it rested on the house. It had gone through the roof, knocked down the chimney, and pushed in the back of the house.  

The chainsaw guy moved nimbly back and forth with his running chainsaw. Eventually, once he got the biggest branches removed from top of the tree, he climbed out of the bucket, and began climbing down that tree, lopping off branches and then sawing off the trunk in chunks, throwing the wood over the side of the house. The tree became very unstable, and it was very hard to watch him dancing around on that steep roof with his running chainsaw. 

In the end, he shut off his chainsaw and studied the situation unsure of how to proceed. He had lopped off everything right down to the last 20 feet of the log. It rested directly (and heavily) on the house. 


Cutting the log in two would cause the log to drop off the roof, but he was afraid that the weight of it sliding down would further damage the house, maybe cause the back to cave completely in, or for the roof to collapse. There was the additional problem that he was standing on that self same log which was standing on that damaged roof. If it dropped, he would drop along with it. If the roof collapsed or the back of the house buckled, he would take a nasty fall.

 He was making his assistant a bit nervous. "Why don't you get back in the bucket truck and come down and look at it from this angle?" 

And the man in high places said, "There's no climbing back up that roof. I climbed down the tree to get to where I am. The roof is too steep." 

The wind had also picked up again. The gusts were making me nervous.

His buddy said, "Well, how are you going to get down?" The man in high places considered things. 

I called up, "We've got ladders. Want us to run up and bring one down?"

The fellow answered, "No. I don't like ladders. They're dangerous." The three of us stared up at him. He said, "I know that sounds ridiculous given my present predicament..." which made everyone laugh. He was good natured, given that 'predicament'. In the end, he used the remaining tree trunk as a ladder, climbing down trimming the last of the branches as he came.

They roped the remaining 20 feet or so trunk off and raised it enough to clear the roof by using a come-along attached to the highway bridge. Once the tree cleared the roof, the chainsaw fellow notched it very carefully, taking his time, making the notch deeper and deeper until at last, it cracked and crashed to the ground as the man leapt backwards to get out of the way. 

The last thing to worry about was that 30 foot stump that had stood itself up. The wind gusts made it clear that the whole thing was very unstable, so they took it completely down. 

Anticlimactic really. 

In the end, the guy charged us $500 more than his original estimate. He said, "I knew it would be tricky, but it turned out to be a lot more dangerous than I expected."

I think that he thought Tim would quibble. He didn't. That pair was worth every penny we paid them that day. 


Thursday, November 19, 2020

Bubble-y

When Tim and I first started dating, 23 years ago, I was a little shocked at his first Christmas tree. It was a forlorn looking thing with just a few handmade ornaments from his kids. There were lights, of course, one string of them, but not much else. 

We got engaged at Christmas time. After months of telling him I wasn't ever going to marry again, and meaning it with all my heart, he brought the subject up again, just before Christmas. Over come by Christmas joy, I suppose, I found myself looking at him and realizing that what stood in front of me was a good man. Nothing fancy about him, but he was as good a person as I'd ever met, and that being married to him was not going deja vu. 

So I said yes. 

He looked at me startled. 

He clarified that I was agreeing to marriage, and not something like 'Yes, I agree that we should have split pea soup for supper."

I said it again. "Yes. You're a good person. I'm a good person. There's no reason the two of us cannot make a good marriage." 

And, quick as a wink, just like that, the man was putting on his boots and headed out the door. I mean, seriously, I don't remember any talking at all. He did give me a kiss, but, boom! he was gone.

I wasn't even sure what had happened. Tim is a quiet man, but the departure had been so abrupt. We were supposed to go to a Christmas party that night. He hadn't said one word about whether he was coming back. I didn't know. 

So, we had a quiet supper that night. The kids were all asking why Tim wasn't there. (The man didn't often miss supper.) I had to tell them that I didn't know. We were getting ready to head out the door for that Christmas party when it opened and Tim came walking back in. 

I almost cried. He looked surprised, I said "Well. I wasn't sure you were coming back. I didn't know what had happened there. You just walked out the door without a word."

He said, "I've got a big family. I had a lot of calls to make. I needed to tell everyone we were getting married, and your family's party started at 6." 

I said, "Tim, honestly, you need to learn how to talk." It was not the first time I'd said that, and 23 years later, it has been a regular theme. 

But, I digress. The first glimpse of his forlorn little Christmas tree left me shocked. I looked at him and said, "Tim, I gotta tell you. I've got a lot of Christmas ornaments. You're going to have to commit to a bigger tree." I figured that he'd find out about the Christmas table cloth, table decorations, the wreath made of pine cones from the Black Forest, the creche...no need to spring it on him all at once. 

Our first Christmas together was an eye opener for him. Before that I hadn't had room to set everything out in the little apartment. His house had a lot more space. It was way more than he was used to.

But as the years passed, this quiet man got comfortable with boxes dragged down from the attic, Christmas springing from every quiet place. I knew that we'd turned a corner when he went out with the kids to get a Christmas tree. Standing on a slope, the tree appeared to be taller than it actually was. 

When he cut it down, he realized his mistake. The kids didn't care. They were all excited, sure they'd gotten the finest Christmas tree we ever had. Tim was mournful. "I got a small tree by mistake." and he confessed it as if he had violated a very basic marital law, like fidelity or something.

We made do. The marriage wasn't over, but he commented over and over during that particular season, that the tree was just not big enough. 

Anyways, once again, I have digressed. 

Tim had a poor childhood. His father was a minister. There were 6 kids. His mother was a hard working woman who canned and sewed and made do. He doesn't talk about it much, but sometimes, someone will tell me a story that makes me gasp at the glimpse of the meanness of it. One story involved actual going hungry. 

And many years later, two middle aged people living a very comfortable middle aged life were walking around an estate sale with their energetic grandson. And Tim discovered a table with two bubble light bulbs. He got very excited. He wanted those light bulbs with a very big want. He was explaining them to William, what they did, and I got a glimpse of a long ago little boy who was fascinated by bubble lights, but lived in a family where that kind of extravagance was frowned upon. 

We bought those bubble lights and he brought them home and screwed them into the chandelier. One worked. One did not. But he and William sat and watched it in rapt fascination. 

Yesterday, I needed to pick something up, and as is my custom, I stopped at the thrift store to see if they had it there first. Buying second hand is always a better way to go in my mind. And lo, I found what I was looking for. ( I really have good luck that way.) Headed back down the aisle, I saw a bubbling light candelabra. It was still in its box and you could tell it was old. I guesstimated late 40s to early 50s. How often do you see Christmas lights in a cardboard box emblazoned  with 'ELECTRIC' as if electric Christmas lights were still a bit of a novelty.

Anyways, I remembered Tim's rapt eyes, and so I bought it. $4.99. 

I brought it home and set it up on an end table in the livingroom and tested it. Before long it was bubbling merrily, and when Tim came home from hunting, he was cold and he was tired. I heated up a bowl of soup and some homemade bread for him. He was sitting on his couch in the semidarkness watching the bubble light and his eyes had a far away look. .

"That is really cool," he said.

He ate his hot bowl of soup off the wooden folding table and watched those lights as he ate. I could tell that he was not a 63 year old man coming home to a warm and comfortable life, trying to thaw out after a long cold day in the woods. 

He was a little boy once again, and bubble lights were magic.



Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Roses

When my sister called her husband at work to tell him that Tim was laid off for the whole hunting season, Dave said, "What???!!!! You know, that man could fall in the mud and get up with roses. Things always work out for him. He's the luckiest...." 

And so on and so forth. 

The trees fell on the house. My sister was worried about it. I reassured her, saying "it's okay...it's covered by insurance." 

"Is it?" she said in a disbelieving voice.

Cara was a little more blunt about it. "How did he manage to get insurance on THAT?" 

It is an old house, and in need of some TLC. Or torn down. One of the two. But yes. We have insurance on the property and on the buildings. The insurance adjuster will come out. It will be interesting to see what comes of it. Anything from that will go directly in the new house fund.

And my sister said, "Roses..." 

We called some tree guys and left messages, but we expected them to be very busy cleaning up from the storm. A few hours later, we received a call, the man agreed to meet Tim at the property. Tim headed out to the property for the third time of the day, stopping to pick up William who was anxious to see the sight with his own two eyes. 

Once there, the guy asked a few questions, explained to Tim how he was going to do things, quoted him a very reasonable price (because he doesn't have to get rid of the wood). Tim hired him on the spot. 

Roses.

Meanwhile, my job was to head to Walmart to get pictures printed off for the insurance company. I jumped into my car and headed out, quickly did my errands and got the heck out of dodge, Except that when I turned the key, my car draaaaaaaaaaaaggggggedd. 

Uh-oh. 

I turned the key again and heard the dreaded clicking noise.

I called Tim. He doesn't like Walmart batteries so it wasn't a simple matter of walking in the store and getting a new battery. He also has the jumper cables. He said, "I'm just leaving now the property now so I'll be there in a half hour." 

I was going to go back into the store, but I was parked in. A car in front of me. On both sides of me. I didn't know how Tim was going to be able to jump the car. I decided to wait in my car, so that if someone came out to leave, I could try to 'hold' the spot by explaining to people about my dead battery. 

I darn near froze to death waiting in my cold car. Finally, the lights on the car next to me flickered and people began unloading their groceries. As they backed out, I got out of my car and saw Tim driving up.

Roses. 

Tim started my car, and followed me home. He did some research on the battery. He thinks it's under warranty but will know for sure when he takes it to NAPA tomorrow morning.

I think we need a bigger vase. 

Monday, November 16, 2020

Ill Wind

Tim was happily sitting on the couch watching his Steelers. They're 9-0 and he's excited about that.
I was dumbing around on my phone, because I'm not nearly as excited about football as he is. 
(This translates to 'I could give a rat's butt'.)
However, he likes it when I'm enjoying the game with him. 

It was a blustery day. Earlier, I had to make a quick run to Walmart.
I was shocked when I came out the door. The wind was blowing so hard it literally knocked me backwards through the door. I took a deep breath and headed back out the door. By the time that I got to the car, the gust had settled to a bluster and I could walk upright. 

I got home and decided to spend the rest of the afternoon pretending that I cared about football 
with my husband who isn't pretending. 

I received a flurry of texts even as my brother in law called. 
"You might want to get down to Grand Valley. You've got two trees down on your house."

I told Tim. 
He waited patiently for the punch line. 
Dave's a joker. 
Except not this time.

So we got in our car and headed out. It was already getting dark. The power outage started in Youngsville and continued all the way to Grand Valley. 

It was a strange thing driving 25 minutes and never seeing a light. 

When we got to the retirement property it was completely dark, but in the headlights, 
we could see that one of the trees hung over the front of the house by 20 feet. 

Tim said, "Well I wasn't expecting this."

We stood in the glare of the headlights, shining the flashlight up. 

Tim said, "This is bad," and then he walked around the house.






This house is the one that has snakes living in the walls. 
We rehab houses and I was not against rehabbing this one, until I discovered 
that whole snake thing.
 I planted my foot firmly. 

  (I can put up with a lot of stuff, but I'm not putting up with that, thanks.) 

So it's not a terrible thing that two trees fell on this house. 

The problem is that we've been filling it up with the stuff for the new house. Someone was throwing out an unused woodstove. We envisioned a woodstove on our screened in back porch at our retirement house, so that thing came home with us and got stuck in the snakey house. Along with some furniture that had belonged to his mom that Tim wanted. And my butcher block. A french casement window we both fell in love with. A very cool exterior door. A friend was selling a very nice hickory kitchen. Two years ago a tree had dropped on his house. He decided as long as he was rebuilding, he'd redesign his kitchen. We liked those well built hickory cabinets and bought them off him. They got stuffed in that little house too. That boarded in front porch? That holds two four wheelers and a rototiller. 

So our storage unit is full. While it is not terrible that two trees fell on it, we needed to maintain the integrity of that storage space until next summer. The tree was through the roof on one side, had splintered rafters on the other, and the back of the house was pushed in, with broken windows and a door knocked completely out of the wall and laying against the opposite wall.

                                 We did some chainsaw work, put the door back in, propped it in place.                                         Not much else you do can in the dark.


 But it's an ill wind that blows no good. We went back up today. This is the root system of the pine tree blown over. The 'cave' is about 12 feet tall. I can't wait to get in there and start looking for artifacts!

Informal poll: If you buy a hickory kitchen from a man who had a tornado hit his house and knock a tree down on it, and then you bring those aforementioned cabinets to be stored in a house that has two trees blow down on it, would you consider the cabinets cursed and not install them in the new house?

Sunday, November 15, 2020

Shadows

 Everyone has seen this picture...

Which came from this picture:
Ruby Bridges gave an interview on the 60th anniversary of her first day of school. 

This is not ancient history. It happened during my lifetime. (No comments from the peanut gallery please) I was raised in a racist environment so my understanding of this as a child would have been much different from my understanding of it today, older, wiser, and a grandmother. 

Lucille Bridges is the mother of Ruby Bridges, and it was her courage that allowed her daughter to move into a world that did not want her there, despite the legal ruling that had already set aside 'separate but equal.' She understood that for anything to change, that line needed to be crossed.

Lucille Bridges died on November 11th. 

I just wanted everyone to take a moment to remember the shadow behind the shadow that is behind the picture of Kamala Harris. 


Saturday, November 14, 2020

Weaver

 Everyone, do me a favor, please. Can you pop over to Weaver of Grass and leave a comment? She's back home after a bad fall, and we are all so very happy to see her back on line. 

Friday, November 13, 2020

Courage


I recognized the name. I wouldn't have guessed the picture. She looked so beautiful and young, fresh and alive. Except now she is not. 

I remember the grandparents of her young son. There were times that the daycare had to call them because she hadn't shown up to pick up the boy, the same age as our William, Such a beautiful child and you could tell that despite everything, there were four grandparents who were doing everything they could for the boy. 

There wasn't anything they could do for his mother. 

You could see the pain in their eyes as they made another excuse. They must have misunderstood. They didn't know she wanted them to pick up the boy. Something must have come up. She must not have her cell phone. 

No matter what they said, though, we knew. They knew too. Everyone knew, but there are things that the truth doesn't fix and this situation was one of them. 

I looked at the picture at the top of the obituary and I read the words. 

"After a long battle with addiction..." 

I knew the pain behind those six words, the big yawning blankness of pain. They all tried, over and over, all of them, I know that they did. I saw it. With every new beginning came the new hope that this time was going to be different. 

But it wasn't. Ever. 

And now everything is different. 

They put the words out there for all the world to see. It was not sugar coated. It was not disguised.

"After a long battle with addiction..." 

In the midst of their pain, once again they put the truth out there. The truth couldn't save that girl, but maybe, just maybe that truth could save someone else.

Courage is a fierce and beautiful thing, isn't it?

The Layoff

 It was a bit of a shock when Tim's company began to slow down, but I suppose  it was not totally unexpected. They rushed to get jobs out the door before the fiscal year ended. The company was also being sold - it had gone from Dresser-Rand to Siemens, and now it has been sold once again, and it is Siemen Energy. 

The company builds huge in-line compressors for pipelines and these compressors go all over the world, to Russia, UAE, Australia, here in America, Asia and South America. These things are so huge that the containers they are shipped in are built around them and they are called 'houses' for good reason. They are hauled by trailer to the shipping yards on the east coast, and it can be a very big production. 

No one else builds these compressors and so that is job security. Rushing product out the door led to a slow time in the shipping department. Compressors are still being built. It will just take some time for the compressors to be finished and ready to ship.

At this point, Tim has a return date of December 14th. 

He called from work today to tell me that they had a meeting. The company will pay the insurance premiums for the guys affected. They also told them that they would pay them for the four day Thanksgiving weekend. Tim was a bit concerned about his 60 hours of vacation. It has to be used up by the end of the year. The company offered them the chance to cash in that vacation so that they would not lose the money.  However, they would let them keep the hours that they had so that if they chose to take time off during the Christmas holidays, they'd still have the available time to do so, 

The company's generosity made Tim feel assured that what was happening was not due to financial problems within the company but more of a matter of a company changing hands, and the old company trying to get the maximum profit before the turnover. Once the new company begins getting those compressors out (they take weeks to build and the inspections from foreign companies are brutally thorough), it will be back to business as usual. 

So he has a 30 day vacation which allows him to finish his garage and to hunt to his heart's content. 

"Tim..." I said,

"What?"

"Please tell me that you did not dance out of that meeting!"

He laughed. 

I'm afraid he might have. 

Thursday, November 12, 2020

Where We Are Headed

On Monday, they announced that the place where I used to work will closing their doors. I don't think it came as much of a surprise to anyone. The tariffs had really negatively impacted an already struggling company, and covid was the final blow. They declared bankruptcy, and the big question was would the new owner continue operations or not. The answer came: Not.
 
Tim came home from work this afternoon. His company needs people to take a temporary layoff. All the economic uncertainty impacted them as well.  

You never quite know what lies around the bend do you?

 

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Alex Trebek

 We are 'Jeopardy!' fans in this house, and so we were sorry to hear of Alex Trebek's passing Saturday morning. 

We turned in Monday evening, not sure what we would be seeing, but there was Alex Trebek hosting just as usual. I picked up my tablet and did some googling. Turns out that they tape two days a week, five shows each day. Each week, they end up with 10 programs (two weeks of programming). Alex Trebek's last day of work was October 29th. His last program will air on Christmas Day. 

I find myself thinking about his family. Does seeing him live in front of their very eyes, listening to his voice, watching him laugh...does that make things harder or easier? 

Just one of those tangents my mind wanders off on. 


Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Taking the Day Off

 


We did not work on the garage on Sunday. Tim just wanted to do something else. It has been a weekend of glorious weather. Brilliant blue skies. I just could not stop marveling over those cloudless blue skies. I tried to take a picture of it, with the white of a sycamore tree silhouetted against it to show the contrast. As always, I came away knowing once again, my phone camera is crap. 

We went walking on Sunday. We went to Oil Creek State Park outside of Titusville. Home of the first world's first oil well, don't you know? 

That discovery led to a 'boom' not unlike the California gold rush, with speculators rushing to drill their own wells

The stories of those days are many. The road we travel to the retirement property was once the road taken by horses pulling barrels of the oil to the train. The horses were driven through chest deep mud until they dropped in their traces and then they were simply unhooked and new horses brought in. I don't ever drive that road without thinking of the misery of it. The old Acock Inn was built to feed these drivers, and it is where the drivers switched out, a rested driver replacing the exhausted driver who dropped into a bed at the Inn and slept until it he was waked up to take his place on another wagon. It is said that this procession ran nonstop around the clock, one wagon right after another. 

When our need for oil was sated, and when oil was discovered in three other states, the value of oil dropped, and the boom died just as quickly as it had started. It left multiple ghost towns and a very damaged land that mother nature began to heal. Oil Creek State Park has nearly 10 miles of walking/bike trails that work their way though nature, while allowing glimpses of what it used to be during the 20 or so 'boom years'. 

It was a nice way to enjoy a beautiful day, and we said once more, "We won't get many more days like this." We met other walkers who greeted us cheerfully, said words to the same effect. One woman said, "Oh, if I had my way, it would stay like this until May," and I replied "...and then the weather would get nice." We both laughed at ourselves. 

We've had our hard frosts. We've had our first snow. And now we have shirt sleeve weather in November! I'll take it!

We didn't walk far. Probably no more than 3 miles, but it was a nice way to spend the afternoon.

On the way home, Tim said, "The garage will get done when it gets done." 

He's right. 



Saturday, November 7, 2020

Today

When I grab a new tube of toothpaste (or dishsoap, or handsoap or whatever), I usually just make a mental note, and the next time I'm out, I grab a new whatever-it-was that I just started using. That way, when the stuff I'm using is gone, there's always a spare one. Except I didn't do it this time, for whatever reason - senility, distracted thought processes - who knows. But when I went to grab a new toothpaste, I didn't have one. 

That was irksome. I used Tim's brand, but once I was dressed, I ducked out quickly to buy two tubes of my favorite brand toothpaste. 

That is how it came to be that I was standing in the check-out line with two tubes of 'my' toothpaste when it happened.

My phone went bananas. Absolutely freaking bananas. One 'ding' after another signaling messages, the musical tones that tell me I've got a text. I couldn't stop what I was doing, but I set my stuff on the counter, paid for it, and walked out of the door grabbing for my phone which was still making all sorts of noises. 

What on earth was going on?!!!

And there it was. AP had called Pennsylvania. Our 20 electoral votes went to Biden. He was projected to be the 46th president of the United States. I have a private facebook page for local like minded souls, a place where we can safely discuss our concerns. My 'peeps' were messaging me and texting me.

I read them, one right after another as I sat in my car, and what I felt was relief. Just relief. 

There was a celebration in my little town. People wanted to celebrate on the street in front of the courthouse. I knew that there would be signs, some of them mocking. I knew that people would drive by and they would yell epithets, because we live in a red county. We are the minority. I can't begrudge people their celebration, but I didn't want to be a part of that. I just thought that the gloating was in poor taste. I remembered what it felt like in 2016 to be on the other side of it.

So I spent the day working with my husband on our garage. I measured and marked the boards, he cut, I carried the board to the wall and used the level to make sure it was straight while he cut the batten. He came around the corner of the garage with the batten, I held everything until he got a nail in it, and then I headed back to get another 8 foot board from the pile and set it up to be cut.  We worked together efficiently. 

William was with us this day. Don and Brianna were celebrating an anniversary weekend. He practiced calling bucks in with his Tim's grunt call. He separated the recycling. He shot his bb gun at targets. He carried batten as needed, gathered up the wood scraps and dropped them in the fire. 

In between his fun and his work, he was talking a blue streak. Nearly every sentence out of William's mouth begins with "Did ya know....?" Today he was telling his grandfather about the election. "Did you know that Biden won the election?" And Tim said, "Yes." And Tim had a 'did ya know...' of his own. He explained to William that we were the state that gave Biden and Harris the points that they so badly needed. 

"Yep," William answered. 

Grandpa said, "I'm glad it was us. I thought Georgia might be first, or Nevada, but it was Pennsylvania, and we ought to be proud of our state." 

"Yep," William answered, and he went off to shoot at a tin can for a while. 

We worked until dark and we headed home. We were all tired, and we wanted to have a celebratory supper. Tim picked up two pizzas. William and I picked out a desert. We sprawled on the couch watching CNN, watching the celebrations in cities from one coast to another, and people were explaining what this election meant to them, how ready they were for a change. 

I listened to the speeches. It was about our country. About America. About Americans. About our history. A hopeful vision for the future. The speeches were not praising self; they were praising us. It urged us to set aside our differences and see each other as Americans. They quoted Ecclesiastes, telling us it was a time to heal. 

Suddenly, there were big fat tears rolling down my face. They surprised me as much as they surprised everyone else. "What's the matter, grandma?" William wanted to know. Tim just looked nervous. Even after 22 years, the poor man has never quite figured out what  you're supposed to do with an emotional woman. 

"I'm just happy," I said. 

I am not naive. I don't expect that life will be perfect, that there will be rainbows and unicorns farting glittery pixie dust every day. But I do feel hopeful, and for right now, that's enough.

In this election, 159.8 million people voted their conscience, and their conscience got Joe Biden and Kamala Harris elected. The people have spoken. 

So be it. 

Happy Place

Over at Cheryl's blog, she struggles with the approach of winter and is considering a sunlamp to combat what might be Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). 

I don't like winter. Although depression is something that I've struggled with for most of my life, I don't think it's SAD really. It's more that I don't like being cold. My hands and feet get miserably cold and it takes forever to get them warm again. I also don't like driving in bad weather if I don't have to. (Usually, I had to because I had to go to work.)

I think that what is going to make this winter more difficult is the isolation. You can't pop over and visit with friends like you used to. Even meeting someone for coffee is out of the question once winter gets here. You can't sit comfortably at an outside table in a snow storm sipping coffee. Isolation and depression are a bad combination, so I imagine people who suffer from SAD are going to have an even harder time this winter.

Just two days ago, we had snow on the ground. You would not have guessed it by today. It was a beautiful day. We spent most of it outside working on the garage. We're siding it now. It was nearly 70 degrees and it was easy to forget that winter was coming. It will remain warm for the next 4 days. We hope to use that weather to finish the garage (except for the doors) during this last stretch of nice days. 

But winter is coming and when it gets here, I've got a secret weapon in my arsenal. 


I have a sunny southern window in the office, and I make use of it. 
Remember that Christmas cactus that I thought that I killed? The one that belonged to my great grandmother? I took it to camp  last summer, having heard that they liked being outside. It spent the summer on the deck and seemed happy enough. Lots of new growth all over the place. When I brought it inside, it protested, and began to die. 

I read countless articles. I repotted it. I sprayed it for aphids that I don't think it had. I tried my best to save it, but soon I had a very dead Christmas cactus. I stuck it out in the mudroom intending to take it to the compost pile. I felt guilty every time that I walked past it. I mean, my great-grandmother had it. My grandmother. My mother, And then it came to me to die. 

I finally took a deep breath and hauled the pot to the compost heap. As I was pulling the dead stuff out, I was surprised to discover some live growth down in the middle of all that dead. I brought the pot back to the house,  I've been speaking gently to it. and watering it faithfully. I bought special food for it, and it is doing quite nicely. It looks kind of silly in that great big pot, but I'm afraid to repot it. I don't want to disturb it. It used to be so large you couldn't even SEE that pot though, and I have hopes that it will return to its former glory. 

Yesterday, I had an hour to kill between two meetings and could quite bring myself to come home, so I went to a thrift store and found this very cool glass bowl. It was a bargain at $2.99, but it was also 50% off on top of it all. I am a weak willed person. I grabbed it for a mere $1.50. I planted some succulents inside, and it will take a while before they 'take', but I'm still happy with it. 

This is my happy place. If there is any sun to be had, I'll find it in this room. When winter comes, if I find myself feeling blue, I bring my morning coffee here. The southern and western windows collect any available sun. I can drink my coffee and roam around the world via blogs. I can spend time on the elliptical if I want. I can tend to my plants. I have a hibiscus tree that blooms happily throughout the winter, and a big african violet that puts out one bloom right after another. The little gas stove keeps the room toasty no matter how cold it is outside. 

I can almost forget the weather outside. Don't tell me that being oblivious cannot sometimes prove to be a blessing. 


Friday, November 6, 2020

Election

 Biden has inched past tRUMP in Pennsylvania votes now. 15 minutes ago, a humvee plastered with Qanon propaganda was taken into custody along with two heavily armed militants outside a Philadelphia vote counting center. 

This is not a coincidence. Just yesterday, this man stood before his country and claimed massive fraud, a plot, a stolen election all this before ABC interrupted his diatribe to fact check. In what I believe to be an unprecedented move, they did not return to Trump's speech. NBC and MSN followed suit. Fox carried that speech in full. 

Just yesterday, Junior tweeted that American patriots must prepare themselves for war.

Their reckless and baseless accusations are endangering our country. 

There is no conspiracy. What we have is an America that is deeply divided. We can't agree on much these days. In my country, if you are a trumper, you believe that the virus is a hoax, that mail in voting is dangerous and rife with ways to cheat. If you are a democrat, you believe in personal responsibilty and wearing a mask. You know that Covid is real. You also have faith in the system. You know that mail in voting is nothing new, that it has been done right along, for years, for a number of reasons. 

And so...the early voting, the mail-in voting...that was primarily used by democratic voters. We had millions of mail in votes and we have a strange law in the books that says the live votes must be counted first. There was a motion brought forward, due to the sheer volume of votes, to begin counting them early. It was blocked by the Republicans

What is happening now is just what I personally expected to happen. Trump's voter base would wait to vote on Nov 3rd. The law here is that you count the day's votes first. This showed Trump with a huge lead. However the mail-in votes are heavily requested and returned by Democrats. There is nothing fraudulent about Biden moving ahead of Trump.

What is fraudulent Trump's tweets, his speeches, his attempts to convince legislators in key areas that they can replace the electoral voters with people who will cast their electoral vote for him, no matter what. What is dangerous is this reckless attack on the democratic process and he needs to go. 

He is now losing in Georgia, Pennsylvania, and Nevada. 

It appears it is happening. 


Wednesday, November 4, 2020

Thanks To Lady M

 One of the interesting things about blog surfing is that there is always new things to learn. I can drink my morning cup and take a short trip around the world. There's always some darn thing that I've never heard of and I usually wind up tumbling down a 'rabbit hole' as I google for background information. 

One blog is Magnon's Meanderings. One recent post referred to his prized bramley apples and Lady M.'s masterful creation of something called a Tarte Tatin. Never having had such a thing, but having an abundance of apples from our own trees, I slipped off down another google rabbit hole. It sounded like something that I could manage. I printed off a recipe for myself. 

Yesterday was an overwhelming sort of a day. I kept myself busy and away from the television set. But then the laundry was done, and the cryptogram was done, and I studied next weeks lesson for awhile, and organized the bedroom, packed away the camp linens for when we open things back up in the spring. 

Running low on entertainment, I remembered my recipe. 

It took me a while, but I went carefully step by step. My apples were small, so I did a lot of peeling, and a lot of arranging.

but

in the end

TADA!


It is a rustic dessert, I've read.Mine is probably more rustic than most, because when I went to tip it out of the cast iron I nearly lost the whole thing.  That part, I'll have to practice a bit more. It's not pretty.

 I discovered a solitary pack of tenderloin venison in the freezer from last year. I thought I had cleared it all  out to make way for this year's venison. Apparently, I missed one.  I  made a nice broth and let it simmer to make a gravy with.  I served it with mashed potatoes and some beans I'd frozen and tucked away for the winter. 

Tim walked into the house after work he said, "It smells good in here."
I said "I tried a new recipe." He looked a little wary. 

(My last experiment was Butternut Squash Soup. Turns out Tims are not fans of butternut squash soup.) 

When he pushed away from the table today, he said in a very satisfied way, "Boy, that was great! 

I said, "It kept my mind occupied." 

He never complains about what I cook, but when he's happy with something, he makes sure I know it. Today, I knew it. 

I don't think that his stomach would mind if this election uncertainty dragged on a bit longer.



I Will Not Stress Eat



 Remember how I told you that when life gets overwhelming, I disappear upstairs to carefully, mindfully, wrap Christmas presents? Do the ribbons and bows and the fancy labels? Consider the delight of the recipient? 



I'ma need more Christmas presents. 

How are the rest of you doing?


Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Training

This morning, Cara sent me this little snippet. 24 hours ago, she was on a train in the Netherlands. 

A Dutch train burst past the end of its elevated tracks Monday in the Netherlands.

But instead of crashing to the ground 30 feet below, the metro train was caught — held aloft by an artist's massive sculpture of a whale's tail. Despite some damage, no injuries or deaths were reported.

The sculpture at the end of the tracks was given a prescient name: "Saved by the Whale's Tail," according to France 24. It was built in 2002, installed at the De Akkers station in Spijkenisse, a city just outside Rotterdam.

It's unclear why the train didn't stop. The partial derailment is under investigation, and the train driver was the only person on board, according to The Associated Press.

The driver was questioned by police and sent home, the local emergency service said Monday afternoon.

The train will spend the night on the whale's tail. On Tuesday morning, workers will attempt to lift the train to safety by using slings, local authorities said.

"It's like the scene of a Hollywood movie," said Ruud Natrop, a spokesman for safety in the Rotterdam-Rijnmond area, according to The New York Times. "Thank God the tail was there.

The architect who created the sculpture, Maarten Struijs, was shocked it held up.

"I am amazed that it is so strong," Struijs said, according to The Guardian. "When plastic has stood for 20 years, you don't expect it to hold up a metro train."

I have worried about a lot of things when Cara travels, but I have to admit, I've never worried about a train running off the track and being caught by a whale's tale. It would appear that I have been remiss. 

Monday, November 2, 2020

Stupid Is....


 We got 6 inches of snow overnight. School was delayed, and Tim called in a vacation day. He drives an hour and 15 minutes to get to work and turns right around and does it again at the end of the day. I'm not a fan of winter, because I worry about him. He goes through some pretty remote areas of the Seneca Nation to get to work. If something were to happen, he would likely not have cell service. 

(His response to this always is that he has a good car) 

(My response is always that nice cars get crashed too)

Anyways, he got up at 4:30AM and quickly decided to take a vacation day. He could use it to go hunting. Snow on the ground is a big plus during hunting season. So he was out of bed and in the shower and buzzing around excitedly. He made his sandwich. I gathered snacks. He pulled his wool pants over his long johns and got put on his warm wool shirt. 

He got his coat on and he began to gather his things things together. His lunch. He patted his chest. Yes. He had his range finder. He checked his coat pocket. He had his grunt call. He had his license. A pencil. The last I saw him, he was headed out to his car with a spring in his step..

I made my coffee and started a pot of chili for supper. It's a hearty soup for a cold day, and it can be dished up whenever he returns home. 

I came back to the office to sit down at the computer with my coffee. I was surprised to hear the back door open and footsteps. I got up and headed towards the kitchen. it was Tim. I was a little flabbergasted. "What happened?" I asked, thinking of car issues. My car had already refused to start. Weak batteries and cold mornings are not a good mix.

He looked at me sheepishly. "I got too excited to get out the door." 

I looked at him. "What did you forget?" 

Embarrassed, he said, "My bow." 

The man had gotten half way to camp and a buck leaped across the road. Lucky for him that it did. That's when he realized that he didn't have his crossbow. 

I worry about both of us sometimes. My father would have called us both 'rattle asses'. I'm forever forgetting where I put things down. Or why I walked in a room. Tim doesn't remember anything without writing it down. I'm the same way. But I usually forget the list 

After he left the second time, I returned to my coffee in the office. Ed had posted a reading suggestion for the first snow.  I read this years ago and laughed myself stupid over it. All these years later, I laughed myself stupid once again. 

However, I'm thinking the trip to stupid is not nearly as long as it used to be. 

PS: These political calls are starting to make me crazy. One right after another. I'll be glad when tomorrow is over. 

Get out there and vote, people. 

PPS: Cara's trip is done. She and her cat Mack are settling back in. 

Sunday, November 1, 2020

Tricks and treats

 Never one to let grass grow under her feet, my daughter picked up her suitcases, one street cat (who has seen more countries that most people) and set off last night to her husband. It's a long trip, and involves planes, trains, and a ferry. 

This covid stuff has complicated everything, and following the events of Europe, It feels like she's just one step ahead of another covid shutdown no matter where she is, or where she is headed next. Being an American further complicates matters. We are the modern day equivalent of lepers.

We messaged back and forth last night until the plane took off. I knew that it would be hours before we got our next update.

I put my cell and the house phone on my bedside table last night and when I woke up in the middle of the night (never you mind why), I checked my phone to make sure that she hadn't messaged me, or put a status update on facebook.

In the middle of that, I noticed an small exchange between a friend and 'Alisa'. Oddly worded, it said to the effect that he was a very interesting man and his posts were always fascinating, and that she'd tried many times to friend him on facebook but could not (??????). She asked him to send her a friend request. 

The language made it clear that English was not her (and that's even questionable) first language. I clicked her picture and saw a facebook page that had been very recently opened and had no other posts on it. Just a photo of a beautiful woman mischieviously sticking her tongue out at the camera. 

I went back to the post and 'Bud' had just politely answered, 'Thank you. I will do that." 

There was a pleased reply that expressed her anxiousness for him to do so.

Every party has a pooper. 

I typed "BUD! DO NOT SEND THIS WOMAN A FRIEND REQUEST!"

And he sent me an innocent IM. "Why? Do you know Alisa?"

Thus began a flurry of messages in the middle of the night. 

I typed "Do YOU?" 

and "Bud, look at the way that's written. She's not a local gal."

and "Go to her profile. It's brand new."

and finally, "Have you EVER in your life not been able to send a friend request to someone?"

Long pause. He finally said, "I canceled that and blocked her." 

I said, "Good." and tried to comfort him. "I get stuff like that all the time. I never friend someone I don't personally know.'

He said, "I get a lot of friend requests from Nigerian princesses who send me their runway model pictures." 

"Yeah," I said. "and then you find out they are fabulously wealthy but need someone outside the country to help them get that money past a corrupt government."

"yeah," came the reply. 

I set my phone down on the night table and laid back down in bed. 

It's another very gray day here. I woke up to an update from Cara and a bulletin that we've got our first winter snow storm on the way starting at 6PM tonight, ending tomorrow at 7AM. We will likely have our first fire tonight, which will be nice. 

Halloween is done now. We had a total of six of Trick or Treaters, with three of them related to us. Those goblins got to come into the house.


My grandson William is in the back. He was a plague doctor. It will be interesting to hear how trick or treating went. He's been very interested in the Black Plague, and the 'doctors' and is filled with a number of interesting facts. He's just waiting for someone to ask a question. They will never get him off their porches. 

We had a lot of candy. Our quiet little brick street does not normally attract a lot of visitors, but we wanted to be prepared. It's been a rough year to be a kid. They've had to give up a lot.  When we had just three trick or treaters show up at nearly the end of the things, I said, "Set your bags down", and then dumped a double handful of candies into their bags. They were greatly excited about it, because it certainly was a LOT of candy scooped into their bags. 

With that, Halloween was over, Cara's bound for the next place she will belong, I saved a friend from a princess and winter's coming. That's a lot to take on in just one 24 hour period.

Laughs

 It was a day of getting ready to go, getting everything packed up. We are headed east to see Iris' ballet recital.  I picked up some la...