Thursday, September 30, 2021


 I have scheduled an appointment for a professional haircut for the first time in a couple years. 

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

The stove (again).


Last night, it was left that someone was coming to look at that stove this evening, and that if they didn't take it, I would get a call. 

This morning, I got a call on my cell. 'Gary' got two more calls from anxious buyers. He asked if I thought he had underpriced it. I answered honestly that I thought so. I gave him some specifics on the stove and we discussed it. 

After pondering it over, he decided the best way to handle it was to ask for bids on it, so he called back and got mine.$750 was as high as I would bid, sight unseen. He said that he'd talk to all of the callers, and let me know that evening. 

....and the stove is mine. 

Tuesday, September 28, 2021


Remember how I was telling you that I wanted this stove. 

And then Steve asked if it was pricey? 

And I said yes (stove above can cost you between $7000-$10000, actually.) But then I told you how we roll. We look for used. And being that we had plenty of time to look for the stove (the retirement house is not built yet) I was pretty sure we'd be able to locate something, although it would probably not be that beautiful blue color.

Looky here. 


It is about an hour and a half from us, The seller wants $500. 

We've told the guy we want it. Not sure how many people are interested. 

Keep your fingers crossed for us!

Saturday, September 25, 2021



When suddenly I wound up with six avocado trees (or was it seven? I forget) avocado trees growing all willy-nilly in one pot, I had no choice but to repot them. And like the avocado tree before them, they promptly showed their gratitude by dying. (Well all but two of them...) and I was really upset by this, and wondered what on earth I was doing wrong. And Steve Reed, the owner of an eight foot avocado tree, suggested waiting to see what happened. He claimed that they were a pretty resilient plant. I did not believe him, since my experience seemed to be that if you replant them, they will immediately die. But I left my pathetic waist high plant and watched it turn black, the leaves dead and drooping. The other plants...well...they didn't die completely, but they were pretty sad looking. 

Anyway, we went up to the garden today, and I picked more tomatoes, and more peppers, sweet, jalapeno and chillies, and dug the last of the carrots and grabbed my first home grown cabbage. I loaded up the car with my bounty and went to the greenhouse. I was bringing the hibiscus tree back home. Over the next couple weeks, I figured to make a decision on the sad corner of the avocado trees. Much to my shock, the deadest of the dead trees has new growth the complete length of its stalk. A little amazed, I looked carefully at all of the other potted trees and....every last one of them show signs of growth. 

So...thanks, Steve. I was on the verge of tossing the lot of them last spring!

However, ain't nobody needs that many avocado trees, so I will be looking for people to foist them on gift them to. 

Friday, September 24, 2021

Eleanor Rigby, revisited

My co-worker that died was a very nervous woman. I actually met her when I passed her walking on the road. It was one of those days when the sky was threatening heavy rain at any moment, and so I stopped to give her a ride. I was a bit surprised to find out how far a walk she had in front of her. 

I took her home that day, and she was very grateful. I saw her plenty of other times, and picked her up then, too. She always tried to pay me, and I always refused it. I didn't know much of her personal story, but like I said before, you could tell that life was hard for her. I'm not going to take money from someone who is walking back and forth to work from her rundown trailer in a equally run down mobile home park.

It was a couple of years ago, probably, when I met her, and I finally convinced her to just come over to my building after work and wait for me in the cafeteria if she needed a ride, and sometimes she did that. When I was permanently laid off, I wondered about her, whether she had found someone else to ride with. 

In any case, when my 'permanent' layoff was interrupted, I was glad to see her there too. She was driving a car, a shiny red one, and I was glad for that too. 

She's very quiet and nervous and spoke to no one. I spoke to her a couple times at lunch, but she always seemed in a hurry to end the conversation and retreat to 'her' table by herself. 

For a woman that has gone largely unnoticed, she is now noticed a lot. I listened to people talk about her. Apparently, she was known around her building because she cried a lot, silently, as she worked. She didn't talk, but people were concerned for her and wondered about mental problems. 

People talk about seeing her walking with her dog, a scruffy looking boxer-pit mix that she seemed very fond of. They wondered if the dog had gone to a good home. They knew that Jean had a brother, but there were problems there. Her mother died last year. 

In any case, I'd kind of made up my mind to go to the funeral home and pay my respects just because I figured that it would be sparsely attended. Much to my surprise, there is no visitation, no funeral, not even an obituary in the paper. 

That bothers me to think of, that one person should have been that solitary.

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Heating Things Up

Tim and I are planning our house, our last move. I have wanted a vintage stove for a long time, but the problem is that the ovens on most antique stoves are pretty small. Mine has to be big enough to hold my turkey roaster. This is so important, I measure. 

Tim found a company that makes stoves that look vintage, but are not. 

That oven is standard size. 

I am in love. 



 A coworker died suddenly on Sunday. 

There is a woman at work who has a son who is an EMS, and she is forever blabbing information that she shouldn't be blabbing, to include names. One day she will cost her son a job if she doesn't learn to keep her mouth shut. But she says that our co-worker died of covid. 

There has been no official verification of that, although because of the hubbub, a meeting was held to tell us that we would be notified if she was a covid death. 

It's a bit of a shock. 

She was a quiet soul, a nervous person. You could tell that her life was not easy. 

Now it is done. 

Tuesday, September 21, 2021


 "I hate to be the bearer of bad news..." 

I was working at my desk, and looked over to see two supervisors. Turns out they were there with a written warning due to my two missed days of work last week. 

I said, "I was sick." (I've still got the cough, even.) 

They said sympathetically that they knew. 

They explained the policy. 

I pointed out that we had a sign on the door. I pointed out that I had some of those symptoms. I pointed out that I'd sought medical treatment and had brought proof of that. 

It's a strange thing, but I was dead calm. 

The paper was set in front of me. I said, "I'm not signing that. I was sick. I sought medical attention and provided you with the documentation. I was following the directions that we have on the doors." 

The attendance policy was explained to me once again. 

I explained that I understood the attendance policy, but I had been sick. The signs on our doors list symptoms. If we have them, we are not to come inside. I followed those instructions, and provided documentation. The paper remained on my desk. I made no move to pick up my pen. 

In the end, they took their paper and left. I went back to work. Understand that they had not been mean, either one of them.  It wasn't personal, it was just that rules are rules and the company I work for has a reputation as being pretty brutal about the rules. 

Later, the supervisor came back and said, "I have forwarded your concerns."

I'd been thinking too. I said, "Listen, I'm not trying to be a pisser about the whole thing, but I believe that I behaved responsibly, and if this is going to become a big deal, I'll just quit." 

And here's the weird thing. These words were calm, and they were true. I guess that being at the end of your work life makes choices like these a little easier. I can't imagine that I'd have been so fearless when my kids were young, or in college, or when Tim and I had bills, or the one hundred and seventy-eleven other reasons that I always had for working as hard as I could, as fast as I could, as long as I could. 

But  that's done now. There's a certain power that comes from that knowledge. So I said what I said, and I meant it. "If this is going to turn into a big deal, I'll just quit." And we both looked at each other matter of factly. 

"Don't do that!" she said, and she left. 

It's a strange feeling, to be at the end of your work life. Today, though, it felt good.

Monday, September 20, 2021

Lost and Found

 William favors the elastic waisted long and loose fitting athletic shorts. He's been here for the weekend, and he loves working with his grandfather and earning some pocket money. 

This weekend, they hauled some firewood to the retirement property and did some work on the garage. Then they went walking through the woods looking for squirrels and deer trails. He was wearing long pants for his day, but when he got home last night, he switched into a pair of his comfortable shorts. He and Grandpa had a serious discussion about payment, and William earned a princely $5. which was quickly stuffed into the pocket of his shorts. 

This morning, he got up and showered. but he chose the same shorts that he wore the previous night while lounging around watching television.  He really loves those shorts and the other shorts he brought are not nearly as comfortable. Midway through the morning, he suddenly said, "I lost my five dollars!" with a wide eyed, panicked look. 

Tim said calmly, "You haven't gone anywhere yet, so it is in the house somewhere. Where'd you put it?"

And William said, "I put in right in my pocket," and patted the side of his shorts. He looked a bit teary.

There ensued a brief and frantic search for that $5 bill. Until William realized he'd put his shorts on backwards and the money was in his other pocket. 

Sunday, September 19, 2021

Nosy Nellies

 I was peeling the tomatoes at the kitchen table when William came flying in the back door. 

"Hi, Grandma! You'll never guess what happened!" This as he flew out of the kitchen.

I laughed to myself a little, thinking that he needed to use the bathroom.

But hot on his heels was Grandpa, and I said, "What's up?" as he, too, flew out of the kitchen.

Hmmmm. This required further investigation, to be sure. I set my knife down and walked into the foyer. I heard Grandpa saying, "Turn off the light!" 

I walked through the living room and into the office to see two heads side by side, peering out the window to across the street where the police stood talking to the people from the upstairs apartment. 

William breathlessly said, "We heard sirens, and we saw the flashing lights, and I said, 'I wonder where they are going,' and then THEY. TURNED. ONTO. OUR. STREET!'

I laughed at the two of them, and went back to my tomatoes. 

Friday, September 17, 2021

Getting Back Into It

Today, finally, this cold/flu/plague has started to ease. I guess the flu is going around. Hopefully no one else will catch it. 

A tenant stopped in to pay rent with her little dog. We visited a while. Tim was eating his supper, stuffed zucchini. This one was stuffed with ricotta, cream cheese, mozzarella and spinach, and baked wrapped in bacon. The little dog was much interested in Tim's supper which made us laugh. I asked her if RB could have a bite of bacon. She answered firmly that he could not, that he was on a serious diet. 

"Poor RB," I said, sympathetically. He never took his gaze from Tim's plate. 

"I know," she sighed. "He hasn't spoken to me since this all started." 

It made me laugh, and when they left, she had to pull him from the house. 

After two days home, I went back to work with my negative covid test in hand, but volunteered to take my breaks after everyone else had come back from theirs in a vector control attempt. (Our desks are six feet apart with shields between them.) They jumped right on that idea.

We have hired new people and our backlog has shrunk dramatically. They canceled overtime for Thursday and Friday, for which I am more grateful than you can guess. 

It allowed me to duck out and get to the garden and pick yet another basket of tomatoes last night. So you know what I'm up to tonight. 

TGIF anyway!

I got home from work today. and sat in my car a minute with the door open, checking for texts. A small cat appeared at the side of the car and looked at me. I've been worried about this cat. It was a young cat with a collar, but somebody must have moved out and left it behind. It is so thin. It is skittish enough that you can't get near it, but I've been worried about that collar. I was relieved that someone had gotten ahold of him and removed the collar. 

I got out of the car, talking to him. He watched me warily from under a truck. I got him some food for the little dish I keep outside. He waited for me to return to the house, before making a beeline to it. Poor thing.

William is coming to spend the weekend. It is his mother's 40th birthday tomorrow, and they have  plans. We have plans too. We are going to bake a birthday cake and have a special dinner for them on Sunday. 

It seems a bit unfair. I just got used to the fact that all my children are in their 30s...and now I've got a 40 year old! Tempus is fugiting all over the place, isn't it? (Note: please don't feel the need for a latin lesson. It's one of my corny expressions, and meant as a joke. Have a good weekend.)

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

 I've managed to catch something. The rapid test is negative for covid, but I'm pretty miserable right now. 

Sunday, September 12, 2021


Exhausted from the chaos and 'stupid' in this world, I have narrowed my focus. I am up to my armpits in tomatoes. They cannot be ignored. 

First there is the gathering. The very saddest part is that at this stage of the game, I need to be picking them every single day. I can't, because I am working 10 hour days. The garden is a half hour away. Last weekend, I got four bags of them, and this weekend, I got another large basket of them. 

I bring them home and wash them, and then dunk them in boiling water to make them easy to skin. Then I simmer them in a large pot. Last week, I did them plain, this week, I did them with peppers, onions, and garlic. 

Since it is just Tim and I, our large freezer has plenty of room. We're in a race to clear out the last of the venison in preparation for this year's venison, and the 80 lbs of chicken I bought last January is quite nearly used up. 

So I put the pureed tomatoes into ziplocks and put them away in the freezer on a cookie sheet so that they freeze flat and can be stacked. They can be added to soups and recipes all winter long. They join the bags of grated zucchini which will be brought out in their turn to be turned into zucchini bread (and muffins, thanks to Kelly). There's also sliced carrots in there and grated carrot, celery, and onion mixes to add to soups. 

Focusing on the little tasks makes my mind easier, and to be honest, I think the world would be better off right now if everyone was trying to keep up with their garden produce. 

I've got pumpkins galore. The vines have been dying off and I've enough to give away. I have never had such a year for pumpkins. William has his pumpkins picked. 

I had been planning to get back out to Dylan and Brittani's house in early October to get one last visit in before the weather makes planning these trips trickier. The last time I went out for an extended visit was in June. Dylan and Brittani were supposed to go away for their anniversary, but everyone was succumbing to a bug and so no one went anywhere at all. We still had an awfully nice time. I'd like to give them a chance to go away again. It will also be an opportunity to deliver a half dozen pumpkins for Iris. 

One of Iris' and my 'traditions' is the pineapple bag. It is just a reusable shopping bag with pineapples on it, but it sits in a quiet corner of my bedroom and 'collects' stuff. I dressed my children on a single mother's wage by using thrift stores and consignment shops. Brittani became intrigued by that, but out there on the more populous side of the state, thrift stores are much higher priced. I can buy them much cheaper here, and I do. Those things are washed and tossed in the pineapple bag. Books. stickers, new items for her dress-up box... As I see little things that would appeal to her, I buy them and toss them in too. 

When I visit, I always call ahead. This gives Brittani time to let the dogs out if Iris is sleeping, or if Dylan is working from home. It also guarantees that Iris and Brittani are on the steps to greet me, Iris calls 'ama, ama, ama!!' I call, "Iris, Iris, Iris!!!" When I open the trunk, she is looking for that pineapple bag, and it is always very exciting. She loves trying on her new clothes and the little surprises always tickle her. 

The pineapple bag is getting full once again. One of the things in it is a book about the Five Little Pumpkins. I am excited to teach her that little counting song, just as I taught it to her father and her aunts. In turn, I remember learning it in kindergarten and loving it. 

You know, I thought that Google had the answer to every question I had, but they don't. I was trying to google to see how old that song was. I believe that my mother was tickled when she heard five year old me singing that song, because she had sung it herself as a child. I got page after page of activities and crafts and pumpkin games (useful, and some of these things will be used to entertain little Iris), but was unable to discover the origins of the song. 

If you don't mind, did you sing that song in school? How long ago was that? 

I've got my produce taken care of, save some peppers that need chopped for the freezer. I will do that this afternoon, dreaming of a trip east that may or may not happen, I will think on days gone, and days to come. As much as possible, I will avoid thinking of things that I can't change. 

Saturday, September 11, 2021


 In local news, the anti masking parents have been protesting vigorously. Their gripe is that no doctor was willing to sign any paperwork that would allow their child(ren) to attend school unmasked. 

The school board has made a decision that a doctor's input is not necessary. They helpfully provided the paperwork to print off. If your child does not want to wear a mask, sign the paper and send it to school.

What a horrible, weak thing to do. They've totally ignored the input of the whole medical community to make people happy. 

Friday, September 10, 2021


Today, I am staying off social media. Mostly. I'm pretty sure blogging counts as social media, but here I am, staying off social media. 

It's awful out there right now, at least in my area. Parents are lashing back at this mandatory masking in schools. There is one woman (who I actually know) who's taken this on in a big way. Every time that she sees a post about our duty, about our responsibility, she wades in to post her antimasking point of view. 

(Her reason for fighting? The masks give her daughter a headache and she doesn't like them. Sum total reason. Let it sink in.) 

Yesterday, a group of friends and I were having a discussion about what we feel our responsibilities are during this pandemic. Teachers were weighing in. People with immune disorders. A mother with two kids with asthma who is also the aunt of a severely handicapped little girl. 

The woman waded into this full bore and began to post things like: 'Masks don't work'. ' 'the vaccine obviously doesn't work since vaccinated are getting covid.' Finally, she said that the vaccinated are the carriers of covid, not the unvaccinated.' 

At this point, I said, "Where are you even getting your 'facts'?' 

She began the taunting, which is the way of these people. "My God, do you do any research at all or do you just live in your little bubble?'

Someone else challenged her to post her sources.


So I posted with my own sources: the CDC, the AMA, the AAP, the local hospital. I pointed out that unlike these sources were good because they updated as new information came in which allowed us to receive and process new data and to change our minds. I pointed out that the disease was mutating, and that another word for that was changing, which was why the information from medical experts was changing as well. As the disease changed, so does the treatment. The changes do not mean that the experts don't know what they are talking about.

She never responded, but I see that she's gone on to other posts, continuing her claims and rhetoric.

These people consider themselves to be patriots. Freedom fighters. It is bad in my little county and there are divisions in our family. 

It's not just here. I watched a boy address the school board on the subject of masks, and he spoke movingly of the death of his grandmother, a teacher. Grown adults mocked and laughed at him while holding signs that read 'Let them smile!' 

They all talk about how 'they' are coming to take our freedom away. They will not take this lying down, by God. They will fight. This message is, in some cases, coming from the pulpit, as these 'men of God' talk about 'demoncrats' and how their country is being destroyed

Yesterday, our president announced mandatory vaccinations or negative weekly covid tests. 

It's going to get ugly. 

Meanwhile, every school in our county has children sent home to quarantine with covid. William came home from school because his very best friend, Gabe, has covid and they sit together at lunch. His mother comforted him with the fact that they've all come in contact with covid, but no one has gotten it so far, that everything will be alright. 


Wednesday, September 8, 2021


 The mask mandate continues to heat up. Parents picketed. "My child, my choice", one sign read. A local lawyer/oilman has gotten involved, representing a teacher. His wife is the school superintendent, by the way. (Late Edit: Anonymous has pointed out that the lawyer is not the husband of the school superintendent. My apologies for taking that claim at face value).  The local newspaper ran a poll. 222 votes against masks. 85 for. 

I hope every picketing parent has a plan for when the schools close their doors again. 

At work, the girl one desk in front of me has covid. The young man two desks behind hasn't been there for two weeks. Today, someone else pointed out another guy who has not been here since last week. The three of them are smokers, and take breaks together. But if you ask the bosses if they have covid, they say, "We can not tell you that." (The only reason that we know for sure one person has it it that someone she carpools with said that she'd tested positive.) 

I think we should be officially informed if we have covid spreading. They don't have to say names, even though the group is small enough that we'd probably be able to figure it out in short order. 

I've been accused of being afraid of covid. I'm not, but I also think that you're a fool if you cannot see the need for commonsense protective measures. 

Tuesday, September 7, 2021

A bloody miracle.

One of the things about Friday's finger fiasco was the amount of blood. Yet, for all the blood everywhere, what was most notable was where it wasn't. Tim had selected white rugs for the bathroom when we replaced them a couple months ago, and on the drive back home, once the panic had settled (and before I realized I'd left a pot on the stove), I was dreading the sight of those rugs. 

Not a single drop. 

Sunday, September 5, 2021

I despair

A group of local parents have taken up the fight against the mask mandate in schools. They plan to sue the school district to prevent this. 

I don't understand it. I really don't understand it at all. Our William wears a mask to school, even before the mandate kicked in. It just seemed prudent to do so since covid cases were once again on the rise. He is only 10 and cannot be vaccinated and the delta variant does affect children. He's a sensible kid. His mother explained why he was wearing a mask when others did not. It made sense to him, and he does it without complaint. 

The mandate kicked in the second week of school and the fit hit the shan. A friend posted her thoughts on it, decrying the uproar. She felt that kids were learning to view the schools and the authorities in them with distrust. 

My point is simple. Our schools are in enough trouble financially, and now we're going to spend precious money on legal battles? 

One mother's outraged response was that masks do nothing, and her daughter complains that they give her a headache. 

I responded that the masks DO work, not just for covid but for all flus and colds and their related complications as well. That's documented. 

It slipped quickly into "that's not what I'm reading," as if her faithbased sources are more reliable than science. 

In any other disease you can name, treatments have changed over the years as we learn more about the disease process itself. Take breast cancer for instance. New discoveries led to changes in treatment and these breakthroughs are lauded and reported in the news. We can now even predict who is at risk for the disease, something that is important for my own children (my son is at a higher risk for reproductive cancer as well.) 

Yet this is never the case with covid. Every new discovery is greeted as proof of government conspiracy and every change in treatment is seen as evidence of ineptitude.

Tomorrow night, we will receive a phone call to let us know whether we have computers and are returning to work. Tuesday morning, we were also told that masks were once again mandatory. I'm not arguing. Last week the girl at the desk in front of me tested positive for covid. 

Saturday, September 4, 2021


The flooding out east has impacted work. Our external computer system's server is in Philadelphia, smack in the middle of the flooding. So we're working still. Our internal programs still work, We can adjust accounts as usual, but we cannot look up things outside of our internal programs because we do not have access to the internet. (I am pretty good at sorting things out and it's one of the things that I enjoy about the job. It's like doing detective work although, unlike Midsommer, no dead bodies at every turn.) 

Anyway, Connor, the kid who works in front of me shot back to hiss "Debby, we're going home!" 

I said, "Yes. At 3:30. Back to work, Grasshopper!"

"No," he insisted. "Right now! They're coming around!" I looked and sure enough, the supervisors were working around the room having small group discussions. 

Turns out that they needed to take our computers completely off line so they could begin to get the system linked back in with our server. We were being sent home early, with the last two hours of our day being paid. My mind translated to "That's the most money I have ever been paid for cleaning my house!" and I shot home, a happy little vegemite. 

Brianna and Don were at the house. Tim had taken the day off and one of his projects was to do a repair on their car. I came in and put a pot of water on. I had tomatoes to process and I could do that as I cleaned the kitchen. I had barely gotten started when I heard a quiet exclamation from the back door and I heard somebody say, "Oh my God." Tim was rolling out from under the car and I asked 'what's happened?' as he shot past me into the house. 

When Tim is moving at high speed, I know something is wrong, so I followed along. He put his hand in the sink, and turned on the water, and it ran red. "Let me see!" I said, and the problem was you couldn't see because it was bleeding so heavily. I said, "Cripes. You will need stitches for that. We're going to the Emergency Room." 

Out the door we shot, leaving Don and Brianna to take their car off the jack. 

The ER was packed, but active blood flow gets you seen pretty quickly. 4 stitches and an hour and a half later we were on our way home. I said, "How lucky it was that work let out early!" Tim agreed. 

Perhaps not all that lucky though. If I had not have come home from work early, there would not have been a pot of water for the tomatoes boiling away on the stove. The last of the water was disappearing from the bottom of the pot as we walked in the door. 

I kept telling myself all night long, "All's well that end's well." It's true. Tim has all ten fingers and the house did not burn down. 

I still cannot believe that I was so stupid. 

Wednesday, September 1, 2021


 It has been a working summer, really, with little time for pleasure, especially for Tim and I on our own. Last spring, we saw that the Doobie Brothers were playing outside of Pittsburgh. We talked about covid, but things were so hopeful then, with the vaccine coming out. It just seemed like we were on the edge of coming out the other side of that time. 

So we bought tickets. It was an outdoor concert at an arena, and we opted for lawn seating which would allow us to socially distance ourselves. 

The concert was on September 4th, and we've been looking forward to it very much. 

And now there's the delta variant and we've been waffling back and forth on whether we should go or not. It's three hours away near Pittsburgh, and being an urban area, it's getting harder hit than we are here in podunk. Last night, we finally decided to do it. We'd be sitting outside. We're vaccinated. We decided to wear N95 masks and we would discard them into a zip lock bag to burn when we got home. We could pack a supper picnic. 

At breaktime today, I saw an e-mail. The concert is postponed due to a case of covid in their tour personnel. 

Disappointing, but sensible. 

I texted Tim to let him know, and then I thought about last spring, and how optimistic I was. 

In the background, the news reported on the devastation of Hurricane Ida. Made my disappointment seem very small in comparison. 


Going, going, gone

 We finished the ceiling today. We have probably 1/2 of the drywall on the walls. We were able to take my sister and brother-in-law's dr...