Thursday, June 30, 2022

Dumb and Dumber

 Today, I went grocery shopping to buy the things that we would need for the 4th of July cookout. Watermelon. macaroni salad makings, broccoli salad makings, potato salad, hamburgers, hot dogs, buns, chips, the obligatory makings for strawberry shortcake, cheeses, things like that. It was quite a cart full of stuff and the store was crowded with people doing the same thing that I was. 

The lines were long and I listened to the girl repeating like an automaton, "Did you find everything you needed today?" at the beginning of the exchange, and "I hope you have a good 4th of July weekend!' She was concentrating on getting us through as quickly as possible. She was doing a good job. 

It was finally my turn, and I received my "Did you find everything you needed today?" and so I said, "Well, if you have any common sense around, I'd like to buy a heaping helping of that..." and just that one spark was enough to throw her off script and we exchanged bon mots. I said, "I've got too much stuff on the list to get done today, and of all days to have my mind misfiring. Let me just say that I've been keeping myself entertained."

She laughed and said that she was pretty good at keeping herself entertained as well, and even as she talked, spiff, spiff, spiff! She was scanning like crazy. 

I stood there thinking about all the ways that I was ridiculous in just that one day as I inserted my card. I was startled from my reverie to hear her say, "You can pull that card out any time," and I looked at the machine beeping away. I laughed. "Sorry. I was thinking of all the foolish things I've done just today. I guess that we can add this to it." She got a good laugh out of that. 

I drove home, and unpacked my groceries. Then I carried the last basket of  dirty laundry down to the basement. I set it on the dryer. I opened the dryer and pulled the dry laundry out and put it into the waiting empty basket. I took the wet clothes from the washer. and tossed them in the dryer. I started the washer for the last load and dumped the basket in. I shut the lid and grabbed the basket to carry upstairs to be folded. I stopped dead in my tracks. I was carrying the basket of dirty laundry. I'd thrown the basket of clean clothes in. 

Like I said, I keep myself pretty entertained. 

Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Home Again.

Monday, we packed up and went to the retirement property. I was returning all freshly washed bedding and the freshly washed dishes to their freshly cleaned cupboards. I made a list of all the little things that I didn't know I would need (the pepper grinder broke, we have no glasses, dish soap, etc) Also made some amazing discoveries (I found a vacuum in the closet and stared in astonishment as it slowly came back to me that I'd bought a stick vac last summer specifically so that I didn't have to haul my vacuum back and forth) 

Give me a couple years and I can probably hide my own Easter eggs.

The garden needed continued attention. It is going to be a real mixed bag. Seed crops are hit and miss. It looks as if something has been eating the seeds, specifically the corn, beans and peas. I got a decent amount of corn (one of four rows is pretty much decimated) and the beans and peas have a few survivors. The sad news is that we cannot replace those seeds to try again. We got things in late but I will have a lot more time to devote to that garden, and so I am hopeful. Tomatoes, peppers (five varieties of each), onions, cucumbers, squashes and potatoes look pretty nice. No. No pictures, sorry. I meant to get back out there and do that, but I didn't. 

Once up there though, we found ourselves stranded. We had driven the 'good car', and they tarred and chipped the road. Tim did not want to drive on fresh tar and chips and we had enough food and clean underwear, and lord knows we weren't going to run out of work, so we wound up staying an extra day.

It was a nice break. We worked hard on our respective projects, but had plenty of time for setting off some fireworks and giving four wheeler lessons to William. 

We came home today to find that our television and phone had been shut off. We were a little surprised by that. We pay our bill every month on the 10th. Turned out we were $10 short on the last payment. Tim is adamant that he paid what was billed, so I don't know what happened. They apologized and turned it back on and said the mistake was on their end. but that we still owe that mystery $10. We don't know why or where the charge came from and they can't explain it any more than to say that we owe it.

The plan was to take William to the pool to spend the afternoon today, but our temperatures only got into the low 70s and it was cloudy. We've delayed that for one day. Tomorrow is supposed to be in the 80s and hot and muggy, a much better day to spend at the pool. He's also got his drum lessons and he's about to hit 600 hours MINUTES (for pete's sake!) of reading since his last day of school on June 17th. He is just finishing his 4th book of the summer and his dollar is sitting on the coffee table as enticement. 

Tim called inside, "You've got a visitor!" and I went out. There was Mangey. He is looking quite healthy. He followed me inside while I dished out his cat food (he's special, he gets the good stuff). If you look closely, he still has thickened skin on his back and by one of his ears, but his hair has grown back. He was very vocal today, and did not eat until I sat down on the steps with him. We visited for a while, and I petted him. He finally settled down to eat after ten minutes or so, and spent another hour or so grooming himself and greeting people as they came in and out the door. Quite a change from the skittish cat several months back!

I'm headed to bed early tonight to read for a while myself. I'm dog tired (don't tell Mangey) and in need of an adult beverage.

Sunday, June 26, 2022

The Fecal Material Hits the Rotary Oscillator

My comments to Ellie yesterday were sincere. I have no wish to quarrel. Ed and I see things differently and we have e-mail discussions. My comments to him were sincere. I appreciate his patience and the fact that we can bounce our different perspectives off one another and at the end of it, he is still someone I regard highly. Kelly, ditto. Bob, ditto. 

Today, a relative posted on Facebook: 

Let me be clear. I disagree with the recent Supreme Court decision re: Rowe Vs. Wade. I also do not believe any person should be treated differently due to their gender, color, race, beliefs. I believe that the second amendment needs some work and that it is a matter of common sense. Probably one hundred and one things that people might find controversial in their hearts are not controversial at all in mine. 

I will live my life according to those truths. 

However, I come from a conservative family. A lot of right wing evangelical Christians. Of my family I have one sister left. Just one. Due to the differences in our beliefs, the decision has been made that we simply don't discuss politics. 

Do I know they think differently? 


Do they know I think differently?

Also yes. 

Am I going to change their hearts? 


Are they going to change my heart? 

Also no. 

So, I accept that they vote their consciences just as I vote my own conscience, and I try very hard to respect them for that alone. I don't look any farther than that. 

So, while the post was placed by someone who I would agree with on many a topic, I disagreed with the sentiment of this post, I tried to verbalize that in a comment. 

Advice: Don't do that. Ever. 

People honestly seem to believe that family should be cut out for believing differently. I can tell you true, that's already happened with most of Tim's family. Even worse, I will be forever seen as the one who makes him think as he does. (Disclaimer: I'm not. He has his own strong opinions.) 

Is that fair? 


Respect, however is a two way street. 

So. Is it any fairer for that scenario to play out when I agree with the views?

Also no. 

Respect is still a two way street. 

However, you don't want to say something like that on social media. Take my word for it. 

Rumi: 'Out beyond the ideas of right-doing and wrong-doing, there is a field. I will meet you there. 

Just Another Day of Retirement

 I've had a garden for the past 4 or 5 years now. My problem is that the garden is a half hour away and working full time and trying to get out to take care of the garden was a tough row to hoe. (See what I did there?) So the garden was mainly a weekend project. Anyone with a garden will know that's not enough time. 

Last year was probably the most productive garden I ever had, however, just about the time that tomatoes started coming in, we went on mandatory 10 hour days at work. It made me sick but there was no way to keep up with my tomatoes. I picked on the weekend, but there was a lot went to waste. 

This year, however, things will be different. I'm retired.  Everything that could go wrong did go wrong as far as my plants went. Jiffy Pots = absolute failure. Less than half my seeds germinated, and the ones that did germinate did not thrive. However, my sister and daughter-in-law always plant more than they need in case of plant failure. I took their left overs. It worked out well. 

After the initial disaster with my seeds, (aka the great chipmunk caper)  I got more and planted. 

I took a week to go east and we've been finishing the apartment and helping our new guy (he's got a bad heart and the heat has him struggling), so once again, my poor garden began to look pretty neglected. 

Today, I went up and worked for several hours. It felt good to see progress. I wish that I would have remembered my hat though. The sun was hot.

It felt nice to go inside. The camp required a major cleaning. The long hours at work last summer and into the fall made closing the place up for winter pretty slap dash. I was pleased to see that once again, mice haven't been a big problem, but still, I spent the afternoon cleaning, wiping and disinfecting cupboards and counters and the bathroom,  hauling all the bed linens home to be washed and returned. I didn't get completely finished but I got most of it done. 

After 7 hours of hard work, we headed home. Tim was pleased with the amount of brush hogging he got done, I was pleased with my own progress inside and outdoors too. We are both too tired to give two hoots. Left overs for supper eaten sprawled on our couches watching 'Better Call Saul'. We will both sleep well tonight.

Sounds silly, I suppose, to get such satisfaction out of such physically hard work, but the thing is, when you haven't had the time to do things properly for such a long time, it feels like a luxury to be able to turn your hand to that work. It was a very satisfying day.

Note to Ellie: I wish that you hadn't felt the need to remove your comments. I disagree with you, but your opinions are  your own and I certainly don't think less of you for them. I just think differently, and that's something I think that this country needs to learn: to accept that not all of us think the same. Still friends? 

Saturday, June 25, 2022

Finally retired.

 I retired back in January. We were basically doing contract work for the employer. They wanted to make our positions permanent. I was ready to be done with them. Tim's plant was closing, and so he stayed on until he was permanently laid off in March. 

It didn't make much difference because we had two apartments that we were going great guns on. One was just a cleaning, and making small fixes and laying new linoleum where the tenant had burned the old (what do you do with a dying man who is smoking in a non-smoking apartment?) but the other was a full gut and took 2 1/2 months. Even though we were technically retired, we were working awfully hard. One of our tenants brought her son over to introduce him, and he observed 'If you guys are retired, you're doing it wrong.' 

But George moved into his new apartment. Jim moved into HIS new apartment, and suddenly...we are done. 

Yesterday, Tim worked on our poor neglected yard. I worked inside on our poor neglected house. 

We had goulash for supper and we dropped off a plate for Jim, who's still unpacking at his house.

Tim said, "Wanna go down and see what's playing at Music in the Park?" and since it sounded a bit like a date offer, I said yes. We walked downtown, passing by my old work place. 

"Miss it?" he asked. 

"Nope," I said. 

So Music in the Park was a good band playing classic rock and roll. I do have to say that it is always going to be a bit jarring to watch gray heads bobbing along in time to the music. Some folks danced up front. Tim's not a dancer. He's a preacher's kid, and dancing was a sin. It's okay, because I'm self conscious and dancing makes me feel foolish. So we sat in the grass and watched. A tall thin white haired lady danced up front in a very unselfconscious way, and she must have been a regular, because the band called her out by name, and asked the crowd to give her a hand (Me to Tim: "Wait? Did they just call her 'Coochie'?") 

But the music was good and it was a pleasant evening sitting in the crowd and listening to music from our much younger years, and our gray heads were bobbing right along with the rest of them. Tim reached over and picked me a buttercup and handed it to me in his quiet way. 

At nine, the music was over. We picked ourselves up and dusted ourselves off and began walking home. We took a detour through the Peace Walk, which winds past a local church, a quiet place with a burbling waterfall and a bench. You are surrounded by trees and solar lights, a soothing place. The lightning bugs accompanied us on the walk home, and under a tree covered sidewalk, we ran into a whole swarm of them, it seemed like. I held out my hand and watched a couple land. 

We got 8 hours of sleep last night, and woke up in a leisurely way this morning. We'll go to the retirement property. Tim will work on brush hogging. I will work on the garden and this afternoon, when it is hot, I will work inside getting the camp open for business this summer. 

We have said it several times today...we're both starting to feel retired. 

Friday, June 24, 2022

Cognitive Dissonance

Cognitive dissonance is a term that JD Vance used a lot in his book 'Hillbilly Elegy'. He applied it to poor people. People for instance who will describe themselves as hard working Americans, but yet they are collecting welfare and disparaging the people they think are 'using the system'. Or people that will talk about God's will, applying it to others, and yet seemingly unable to apply it to themselves. People who will scream 'don't tread on me!' and yet, they have no trouble at all treading on anyone they disagree with. "I got a right to my opinion" and yet, their opinions are factually incorrect. Even more frustrating? While they have a right to their opinion, you've got no right to have your own opinion. 

So. It is applied to the poor and it's true. Lots and lots of examples. 

But today, I ran up against another sort of cognitive dissonance. There is a person who is extremely well off that I know. In the 25 years that I have known her, I know that she has always been very much about flaunting that comfortable life style. She also believed that she was envied. Probably by some folks, she was. Anyone's disagreement with her was quickly written off as jealousy. Most shocking, to me, is that she believes that if you live a God approved life, God gives you stuff. The more stuff you have, the more pleased God is with you. 

I'm not close to her. We are too far apart in values. The stuff that she places great importance on, I don't. Simply put. That's not to say that her way is wrong. It is just not my way. That's all.

When Tim and I started out, life was difficult. Really hard. But we worked very hard and lived a careful life, and one by one, five kids grew up and got their college educations even though NAFTA led to a lot of layoffs in the machining field and Tim was frequently out of work. He found and we bought an old house in very poor shape that had been on the market for years. We paid about $3500 for it. And during those layoffs, Tim worked on that house. It was our first rental, with an upstairs and downstairs unit. 

And we were off. 

But the one thing that I noticed was that as our own life got easier, there was (no other way to put it) signs of jealousy from the corner of the acquaintance with the comfortable life. It was overt. She was shocked at one of our purchases (they have one of their own) and she got quite irritated about it, which I thought was strange. Irritation

We had already been through our hard times, and had found a business that would see us through, but it was the opposite for them. Their business began to see more difficult times and she began to complain about the government a lot more. Every downturn was the direct fault of the government. 

Tim read a post from her on facebook. 

About how hard Americans have to work now that Biden is president. (She left her job years back)

About how we are slaves to the government because we need to buy a new car, and the payments require us to work and we come home exhausted at the end of the day and cannot enjoy our lives (no. People don't need new cars. Again, she does not work outside the home. She seems to enjoy her life quite a lot.)

About how we don't own our homes, the government does, they just 'let' us think we do. (Based on what? I don't understand this at all, and no explanation was offered, just disgust that it was so, at least in her mind)

Her list of complaints against the government went on and on. I won't bother to hit them all point by point, but what I saw was a foolish woman addicted to a comfortable lifestyle. 

What we noticed from watching afar is that she simply did not have the ability (desire?) to adapt her life to changing circumstances. When times are tight in our house, we tighten our belts. In her life, the new cars, the new clothes, the fancy gee-gaws, they all continued, and to do without any of the things that she has become accustomed to was, in her mind, a deprived life. 

Cognitive dissonance. Not just for poor folk. 

Thursday, June 23, 2022

No Good Deed, etc.

 You ever sign up for something that turns out to be just a wee bit more than you thought you were signing up for? I spent 6 1/2 scrubbing a house. 

(Sadly, it is not mine.) 

Still, I got to spend the day with my sister. 

(Sadly, it was not her house either.) 

Saddest of all? We did not get it all done.

Oh, PS: Lemonade: 1 cup lemon concentrate, 3/4 cup sugar, Add 2 quarts water, throw in a heaping helping of sour cherries. Refreshing. 

Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Lest you think...

 My experience selling online was marginally frustrating, but there are some real upsides to it. 

F'rinstance, my daughter in law was mentioning that when my granddaughter was first born, they had a cradle of sorts. A small bed that swung. It had been lent to them by her brother and his wife, but that it was not available this time around, having been loaned out to another new baby. 

Brittani is very practical, and so she said, "I'm keeping my eye out for a used one."

I privately made up my mind to keep my eyes open as well. 

Now an odd thing happened, while I was there. My facebook was suddenly locked. I suppose it was a hacker, but after a few days, I made up my mind that I was going to live without facebook. (I use it for mostly keeping track of family via IM anyway). No sooner had I made that decision than it came back through no effort of my own.

And because my mind was so made up to live without facebook, I immediately began scrolling through posts. Much to my surprise, someone was selling a Graco baby bed swing. They had used it for a couple of months, but the baby outgrew is quickly (as they are wont to do) and it had been put back in its box and stored for a few years. They finally decided that there would be no more babies, and it was time to put it up for sale. $30. 

Now stuff like this tends to go very quickly, and so I was very suspicious when I saw that it had been posted for 5 days with no takers. I showed the picture to Brittani, and she agreed that this was exactly what she'd been hoping to find.  I sent a message asking the woman if she'd be willing to hold it until I got back into town the following afternoon. 

She was willing. 

I went to get it, and it was packed it the box. I was advised to leave the money on the porch. 

I let her know that I had to be sure that it worked and that all the pieces were there. Her husband was pretty unhappy about it, but I've been 'taken' before, so I was adamant. 

It worked, 

Without instructions it took Tim and I a ridiculous amount of time to put together, but this is the end result:

The inside mat was in the washer, but what a lucky find! Online sales are not all bad. 

PS: Price to buy new? $209. or thereabouts. 

Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Things That Make Me Say 'Huh.'

Tim took a stained glass light down and replaced it with an LED fixture. It's brighter and more in line with what is needed in that room. The stained glass one was pretty enough, a five light chandelier type, but we really didn't have any place to put it. We were going to set it out with a free sign, but really, it was awfully nice, in perfect shape. I got the idea to post it on one of the online garage sale sites. 

So I took a picture, posted it, and marked $20, which was a fair price, I thought. It had been an expensive lamp back in the day. 

Immediately, I got a response. A woman said she'd pay $15 and come for it right away. 

Since she was the first hit, I felt comfortable turning it down. "No," I responded. "$20 is a fair price."

There was no response. 

Several hours later, she messaged back. She could pay $20, if I'd hold it for her until 5 PM the following afternoon. Since she was the first one to contact me, I felt that the fair thing to do was to give her first crack at it, so I said that I would hold it, but that if she didn't show up, I'd go on to the next person on the list. I gave her my address.  I gave her my cell number, I told her to call if anything changed. I let the others know that the light was pending pick up but if it fell through for any reason, I'd go down the list. 

I was cooking supper the following night when I noticed that it was 5:15. She hadn't showed, so I went to get my cell phone to call the next person on the list. 

Much to my surprise, she had called me twice, the first call coming at 4:30. She was sitting out in front of my house. The second message came 15 minutes later. She was still in front of my house, and obviously I was not going to meet her, so she would like to arrange to meet the following week. 

A little surprised, I texted back. "I was cooking supper. My phone was on the charger. The door was wide open and the light was sitting right in the entrance way waiting for you. I figured you would just come to the door." 

She protested that she had called twice and messaged three times. 

"I still don't understand why you did not come to the open door." 

No response from her. 

(Serious question: does everyone carry their cell with them all around the house. I don't....) 

At that point, I thanked her for her interest and told her I was moving on to the next person. 

That exchange went perfectly. 

I got William signed up for the library summer reading program. I figure since he's already reading, this would 'sweeten the pot' even more. He gets a dollar for every book he reads, but he also gets a ticket for every hour he reads from the library which goes into a prize pot. If his ticket is selected, he gets a prize. 

 We picked up the book bag with all the information inside and sat down to read it together when we got home. 

It read, in part, "We suggest making a goal of how many hours you would like to read this summer and then break it down into manageable time slots to accommodate for all of the things that you have going on this summer. For example, reading 20 minutes a day for 5 days equals an hour of reading that will get you one ticket!" 

I stopped reading to do my own calculations. Reading 20 minutes a day for five days equals 100 minutes of reading which is one hour and 40 minutes. 

I was typing at the computer when Tim came out. 'Hey? Have you seen my gum?' I picked up the papers I was typing from, expecting to find a pack of gum. Instead, the papers stuck to the desk. I gave a little tug and they came away from a wad of gum. 

I stared in amazement, first at the gum, and then at Tim. "WTH?"

He laughed, popped the gum in his mouth and headed back out of the office. "Inflation, babe. Inflation." 

LATE EDIT: I knew there was one more. I just remembered it. While I was placing my ad on the on-line market place, I noticed another ad for a pair of pants. I believe they were bicycling pants or motocross pants, can't say for sure, but here's what caught my eye. They were in perfect condition but the zipper only goes half way up. 



 I am old enough that I can apply for social security and medicare. We are in a position to delay receiving social security, and waiting to receive those benefits allows you to collect a bigger check when you do apply for them. 

Medicare is another thing. You have to have insurance or one medical issue can bankrupt you. In our country, insurance is provided by your employer in most cases. Once you retire and no longer have an employer, at 65 you can apply for medicare, which is a government funded insurance. So Tim and I applied for our benefits in March. He received a card immediately. I did not. 

I know how things can be delayed, and I am a patient soul, so I waited patiently. Today, nearly 3 months later, I called. I had to wade through a myriad of questions and each time I answered a question, the system helpfully told me that I could do all these things on line. (True. I could if I actually had an active medicare status, I suppose.) At the end of all the back and forth and the innumerable reminders that I could go to to do anything I had to do, the helpful prerecorded message told me that my status was still in process and that it could take as long as 2-4 weeks to fully process. It then asked me if there was anything else I needed before disconnecting. 

ACKKK! I almost shouted 'Noooooooo!' out loud but restrained myself. "Operator! Operator! Operator!" I repeated.

The helpful tinned voice came back. "Did I want to speak with an agent?" 

"YES!" I said. 

"I'm sorry. I did not catch that. Would you like to speak with an agent?" 

"Agent, agent, agent!" I repeated.

"I'm sorry..." and the response was drowned out by the loud hissing of my cappuccino maker frothing my milk. 

I was fumbling with the machine when the tinned voice said, "I'm sorry. I did not catch that. I will get someone to assist you." 

Since that's what I wanted anyway, I breathed a sigh of relief and sat down at the table with a hot cup...

...and I was still sitting there when the hot cup was finished. 

45 minutes later, a voice came on the line, a very echo-ey far-away sounding voice. 

"I can't hear you. You're echoing."

*garbled mumbling that went on for some time.*

I listened desperately trying to make it out. 

"Listen," I said. "I've been on hold for over 45 minutes, can you call me back?" 

I picked 'no' out of what came next. along with something that indicated I could call back.

"No." I said. "I've waited 45 minutes already and we are going to get through this." 

She began to ask questions. I began to ask her to speak slowly so that I could piece together what she wanted. We got through it. 

"Your claim status is in process," she helpfully told me in a very slow voice. 

I pointed out that it has been in status for nearly 3 months now. She assured me that I would be receiving my card by the end of the month. 

Anyone care to place a wager? 

Monday, June 20, 2022

Notes from a Trip

 In addition to three silver quarters, two dead bears, and a fox with dinner in its mouth, there were other things that caught my eye. 

Like the Poco Casa restaurant. The sign out front read "Best Pho in Town". 


At a library program held in a local park, a policeman came to talk to the kids. A little girl with big eyes asked the policeman what he does with bad people. He said, "Well, it depends on how bad they are. If they have made a mistake or were just a little bad, I talk to them. Sometimes they are very bad, and I have to take them to jail." The little girl whispered, "I lost a library book..." 

There was the night that I was tucked into a comfortable bed, watching the lightning flash and the thunder rumble. I knew that my grandchildren were asleep under the same roof. A train whistle rang out from across the mountains and it felt perfect, just a perfect, perfect moment. 

There was a very hot day at the park. The kids were fussy and whining, and I could see that Brittani was beginning to wilt. I suggested that we make a stop at a restaurant for lunch. We walked in the door and it was so blessedly cool. My granddaughter held her stuffed cat, 'Black and Brown' (she is going to be a very literal child) and perked up immediately. The whining from both William and her stopped immediately. By the time that drinks were delivered, it had started once again. "I'm chilly. It's too cold." 


That day, a little girl had a nap and she woke up feeling a lot better about life. 

We had a terrible storm while I was gone. It did not hit the town where I live, but it did hit the southern part of our county. It danced across Grand Valley where our retirement property is, touching down here and there,  We lost a tree. Our new tenant lost ALL of his trees. My sister was without power for 24 hours. They finally got it back and within a few hours, another tree fell and took the wires down again. 

It skipped across the bottom of our county and hit Tidioute very badly, bringing down enough trees to make the roads impassible. Four days later, most of the town was still without power. Based on the trail of damage, people think it was another tornado although we have had no official confirmation of this. 

Saturday, June 18, 2022

I'm Back!

William and I had a great time visiting. To have both grands in the same place is a special thing...and just a couple months from now, there will be another to add to the mix. My grandma heart is very full right now. 

My granddaughter really loved spending time with her cousin, and she is a hand holder. It was sweet to see them walking together hand in hand. During our action packed week, we went to the pool. We went bowling. We went to the park twice. We went to Ringing Rocks Park. William scampered out a lot farther than I dared to go with a 3 year old. It seemed like the best rocks were in the middle of the field, but my granddaughter enjoyed her hammer time and we did find some 'ringers'. 

Another great thing?  My son got to come home. It was unexpected, but so wonderful to get an evening with him as well before we headed out. 
We stopped at Crystal Cave on the way home. It was William's first time doing a cave tour and he felt like quite the adventurer. At one point, the guide asked for volunteers. His hand shot up and he was chosen. His job was to turn off the light switch so that we could see how dark it was for the first people that explored the caves. The room went black, and there were audible gasps. I knew that William would not like it, and lo, he did not. His cell phone was out of his pocket immediately and his little light shone in the darkness. 

One strange thing? He picked out his souvenirs with agonizing care. He got a fossilized shark's tooth, a piece of meteorite, and a post card. When I paid the money, I received my change, with three silver quarters (as opposed to the 'sandwich'  quarters ~ so named for the layer of copper between the two nickel-copper layers~ which have been in use since 1965)   I was shocked not only because I recognized right away what I had, but also that I had received three of them. I said to the cashier, "Um. You're aware that you are handing out silver quarters, which are worth a lot more than 25 cents?" She said, "Oh well...lucky you."

I did feel very lucky. On the way home, William studied the quarters, and I told him how I remembered reading about the 'new' quarters back when I was just a child, in our Weekly Reader news paper at school. One quarter was minted in 1950. His great-grandma and grandpa were about his age when that coin was made. The other two were dated 1959 and 1961, when I was just two and four. He was a little surprised to read that just for the silver alone, they were worth about $3.50 each. 

The trip excitement was seeing a very large dead bear at the side of the road. You don't often see them and it was a bit of a shock. To top it all off, we saw another on the way home, about 20 miles from where we saw the first. He was a much smaller one. 

William also caught sight of a fox coming home with dinner. 

We got home about 5:30. I'm beat, but it was a wonderful break. 

Our new tenant posted pictures of his new home, and his river view from his newly finished back deck. He seems very happy with things.  

That makes all the work worthwhile. 

Sunday, June 12, 2022

Done and Dusted

 Tim had a party to attend. I stayed behind. I had a list of things to be done at the apartment before I leave Monday morning. 

I went first to have a key made for the front door for the new tenant. I stopped for a sandwich. I checked the thrift shop and found four cute sundresses for my grand daughter, along with four books.

I headed back to the apartment and got down to work, vacuuming the cold air returns, hand scrubbing old paint splatters from a plank floor, removing the stickers from the new windows with a razor blade. It was not a long list, but it was important. 

I was supposed to be meeting up with the new tenant at 2 to give him the keys so that he begin moving his things in. It's a big change for him, but I must say that he seems to have made his peace with it. He even seems as if he might be excited about it all. I showed him the receptacle Tim would be replacing and he asked if Tim would mind putting up some miniblinds for him. He said, "You all have done a lot of work for me and I appreciate it." 

I helped him haul his things in and then he headed back home. I headed home too. 

I had laundry and packing to do. William and I are headed east, and I'm grateful for the break. Tim couldn't relax for a week if his life depended on it. He gets restless, so he's staying behind. He's got a deck to work on, and no real rush to get it done. He's got some pests to eradicate at the retirement property and some brush hogging he's anxious to get done. 

We talked about it last night in bed, how great it was that suddenly, the pressure is just gone. We both agreed that it feels wonderful to have our life back again. When we fell asleep, we slept soundly. No one woke up in the middle of the night. We slept for 11 hours. I can't even tell you the last time THAT happened. 

Saturday, June 11, 2022


I have a pair of garden shoes, knock off crocs, that I keep on the decking at the retirement property. When I go to the garden, I slip the shoes I'm wearing off and put on the garden shoes. 

Well. Most of the time. Sometimes, I am working away and then notice that I haven't, well after I have muddied up my good shoes. 

When I went up last weekend, I was wearing my brand new shoes, and I was actually proud of myself for remembering to make the switch. I worked for a while, and when it was time to go, I actually felt as if I had accomplished something. That's the beauty of a garden, isn't it?

When I got home, I slipped of my shoes and realized that this time, I had forgotten to take my garden shoes off and replace them on the deck. My new shoes were still down there where I'd left them. 

Anyways, we went to my sister's for supper and it was nice to visit. She cooked a good meal and we played Scrabble. She has to go to bed by 8, because she gets up at 2:30 to go to work, which gave Tim and I plenty of time to duck across the road after visiting and check on the garden and to retrieve my new shoes. 

The first thing we saw is that a rabbit had somehow gotten itself inside the fencing and was running around in frantic circles leaping and jumping at the fencing trying to remember the way back out. We opened the gate for him and stood back, but with one mighty hurrah, he sailed over the fence at the far end of the garden and was gone like the wind. 

We also noticed that after two days of soaking rain, everything is popping up nicely. 

And...after two days of soaking rain, my shoes were still okay. 

Finally, Tim noticed that raccoons had carried out a full covered bucket of grain and managed to pry the lid off to have a raccoon party. Tim was a very unhappy man. 

Thursday, June 9, 2022


 I watched the first night of coverage of the congressional hearings of January 6th. It is jarring. Even though I watched it unfold on the television a year and a half ago, it was no less shocking to me to see it once again. 

What bothers me the most, I think, is that 1/3 of our nation will dismiss this information as fake news. They will still support tRUMP. They will still believe that he is no better or no worse than any other president we ever had. 

I will never understand this. 

My prediction? Nothing will happen. 

It should. 

It won't. 

Wednesday, June 8, 2022


 Funny things about the end of a renovation...things pop up. No, we're not done, but we are close enough to being done that I don't have a job for tomorrow. The carpets are installed and the closet flooring is down as well. 

Never fear! I have come up with a job on my own: I'll start working on leveling out that side walk. It is an outside job, but I'm leaving the remainder of inside work to Tim for right now. He has two things on his list, but I've noticed that he keeps coming up with other small jobs...and they all seem to have him running to Lowes. 

At the end of the day, though, we'll be able to have supper with my sister and her husband, to mark my birthday. I'm looking forward to just sitting and visiting, talking about something besides renovations. 

Tuesday, June 7, 2022

Finish line...maybe

 We set rather an optimistic goal...renovation done by tomorrow. 

It will be so close. We laid the carpeting in three rooms today, the one big job left. I have 1/2 of the living room left to stretch and tuck but the two bedrooms are done. 

Tim has begun hauling tools out in earnest. We have the dining room to do, which is all cosmetic, really. He hopes to paint tomorrow. I'll scrub the plank floor when he is done. He has an outlet to do, some caulking, some trim work that he decided to do. 

Really minor things. 

It might truly be done tomorrow!

We have the deck to finish and a sidewalk to level outside. Those things are important, and we'll get them done, but the place is ready for Jim to move in and that was the important thing. 

We really are going to take the rest of the summer off though. 

I just read the news that Jim Seals died. Seals and Crofts was the first concert I ever went to. 

It was 47 years ago. How time does fly. 


 It is a cool and windy day, and the rain is pouring down. Just what my garden needs. I am sure that this will make things 'pop'. I love that! 

Speaking of 'pop', the green spaces along the highways and the median strips between the traffic headed in in opposite directions? Why is that mown? It is a huge waste of Department of Transportation money. It seems so much simpler just to plant it all in wildflowers and let it go wild. 

This is the last week of school. I remember how that free feeling of getting off the bus one last time, and knowing that I did not have to go back to school for three whole months. William is getting psyched up for it now and I cannot listen to his excited chatter without remembering my own excitement 55 years ago.

So much has changed since then. I remember the big green shades above the open windows and rattle of them when the wind blew. The rows of florescent lights in the perforated tiled ceiling. The way the doors would be propped open at the end of each hall to make a breezeway. Parents simply walked into the school to pick up their kids. We had holiday parties with home made treats that our classmates bought in. 

So many tiny memories, and it makes me sad to think that our children and grandchildren will never know them. 

Monday, June 6, 2022

Better yet!

 It was a working day, and that was okay. Tomorrow we're laying the carpets. 

A cool thing happened. Mangey came back. He brought a friend. I decided not to give him a second dose of medication. He really does not seem to need it. He had improved so much after a week. 24 hours later, he's improving still. I was so happy, I gave both of them tuna fish to celebrate. 

Sunday, June 5, 2022

Nice Day

 I started out my Sunday as usual, by drinking my coffee while pounding out a letter to my daughter. I enjoy that couple of hours, when the house is empty. I don't get much alone time, and I'm a person who needs that. 

I spent some time in the garden. We're supposed to get rain for most of this week, and that is very good news. I carried buckets to the garden to give everything a good watering before the rain hits Monday night or Tuesday morning. 

William's last day of school is Friday. Monday morning on the 13th, he and I are headed east for a week. He's plenty excited and so am I.  I will have both grands in the same place and there is a promise of lots of pool time. On the way home, we'll visit Crystal Caves. William doesn't know about that. It will be a surprise. 

We bought the carpeting for the renovation. The guys were funny and talkative, even though they were having difficulty with the cutting/rolling machine. We offered to return the following day, because it was getting close to closing time. They wouldn't hear of it. Their good humor made spending a large sum of money a lot less painful. We were still laughing when we left the store. 

It should be the final big expense for the place, which is a big happy. 

Once at the apartment, the tenant who lives in the other side of the house came right out to give us a hand to haul four heavy rolls inside, bless her heart. 

I told Tim he was treating me to a six pack of Raspberry Ice wine coolers. He did so without complaint and I had him drop me off at Paula's.  I knocked on her door. I handed one of the wine coolers over to her and we both laughed like loons, me headed for home, she uncapping as she walked back inside her home. 

When I got home, there was yet one more happy event. Mangey was waiting outside the door. When he saw me, he spoke pleasantly. I asked him if he was hungry and took his bowl in side. His mange looks a LOT better. He doesn't appear to be digging at it. I'll probably give him another dose of medication later in the week, but I was awfully glad to see how much his skin has improved. 

It was an ordinary day, I suppose. Boring even, I suppose, but I'm sitting here perfectly happy, and I don't think it's just the Smirnoff. 

Saturday, June 4, 2022


We are down to a single digit list of things to do to the inside of the apartment. We're kind of thinking to be done by Wednesday, and we're both chomping at the bit to get it all done.

Next week, I'll be headed to my son's house for a week. He's working away for the next two weeks, and this will give my daughter-in-law a bit of a break from flying solo. 

Tim went happened on a yard sale this afternoon, and came back with two pair of converse sneakers for William. He sent me back over to look at the clothing. There were two of the most adorable little baby dresses, smocked and embroidered. I could not restrain myself. I asked the woman if she had any boys clothes. She waved her hand at a gaggle of boys riding bikes, a little girl trying to keep up with them. "Boys clothes gets handed down 3 or 4 times. There's nothing left of them when they get done. I only have one girl." Made me laugh. 

A strange thing happened. A pair of geese were resting behind the renovation. They had four half grown goslings. I thought it was sweet, the little ones all curled up around one of the adults. The other adult was standing alertly watching me. I went back inside and continued working. Later, I came out and saw one gosling all by itself, silently walking up and down the bank scanning the water. 

I know that geese are very devoted parents, so I was convinced this was not one of the family of geese that I saw earlier. However, the very next day, I saw a pair of geese come up from the river to curl up once again. This time they had only three goslings with them. 

I've been keeping an eye out for one lone gosling. I haven't see him. 

Friday, June 3, 2022

Losing It

 Did you ever lose something that was really important to you? 

I did. 

I was absolutely sick about it. Mostly sick because it is something that never leaves the house. There's no reason for it to go anywhere. 

I ripped apart sofas and vacuumed, I pulled things out and vacuumed. Under beds (and vacuumed), behind desks (and vacuumed). It wasn't all bad, I suppose.

After several days of looking and not finding it, and feeling worse and worse with every passing day, I had begun to ask people who had been to the house whether they had inadvertently picked it up. 

No one had. 

I then went to the dark place in my brain that wondered if I had done something with it? Is this early onset alzheimers? I mean, it happens. And every stupid thing that I did (and I can do some stupid shit) just sort of reinforced the fear that my brain was slipping. 

After a week, a full week of this, today, I found it. 

Tears were shed.

Thursday, June 2, 2022

Old Man, Young Man

 Our tenant Paula wanted a storm door so that she can get the breeze off the river at night. Tim said, "Oh, yeah, I got one of those." So we trucked on down to where it was stored and grabbed it. It's another one of those 'stock pile' things from Lowe's. It was a clearance thing and Lord knows how long we've had it stored away, but we figured it would be needed at some point, and now, 7 or 8 years later, it is. 

We hauled it down the street to Paula's and set it on her back deck. She wasn't home, and we meant to stop over and talk to her about getting it installed the next time we saw her car. 

This morning, walking down to the renovation, I saw a man standing on her back deck, looking at the door. I was a little horrified because we never meant for her to install the door. I stopped in to talk to the gentleman, a thin, tall fellow, white haired and bearded, quiet soothing voice. About the same time, Paula came busting around the corner with my husband. 

We all laughed. Paula said, "Well, I see you've met 'Old Man' (not his real name, but it was a disrespectful  term for an old man), and she introduced Tim and the tape measure came out, and the installation discussed. Old Man volunteered to be the second set of hands right away. He is a very quiet guy who just likes to be useful. 

Paula made a little noise and gesture, and Old Man turned around. A tall thin woman was trying to unlock the car. "Excuse me," he said, and scooted off the deck and across the yard. 

Paula looked after him with great affection. He is another one of the Kinzua people and they have known each other since they were children. "His wife has Alzheimers. She's declining very quickly," she said in a sad voice. 

I watched him speaking quietly to her. helping her to get into the car in a slow and patient way. Then he scooted back up to the deck, where it was quickly agreed that Paula would call him when we were ready to get the door installed, and with quick long steps he went back to his car and his wife. 

Paula said, "He got such a good heart. He and his wife are hippies. They always have been. They traveled all over, once hopping on a motorcycle and traveling across the country at a leisurely pace, Old Man stopped and did odd jobs whenever they needed money. Now they live in a tiny two room house in the woods, and have for years."

I spent the day cleaning and scraping paint and repainting. It's coming together so quickly now that it's amazing. We tested the washer and dryer and everything works. Tim's trimming out the bank of windows in the bedroom. At this point, 4 of 7 rooms are completely done. The other three are so very nearly done. 

I listened to old rock and roll as I worked, and all them seemed to be about love that lasts forever. I thought of Old Man and his wife, together all their unconventional, adventuresome lives, and now they are facing their final adventure. She is not aware, I suppose, but he is. He has the sort of quiet nature, I guess you would call him 'zen'. but what he is is exactly what his wife needs right now. 

It's a uncommon thing is this crazy world. It's sad. It's sweet. We're all walking that path, aren't we, headed down a path that will come to an end, and the beloved souls at our side are the blessing of it all. 

I got a second chance today. I walked down to meet William after school. I waited in front of the house while he dropped his back pack inside the door. He came running back down the driveway just as Dante, the kid I scared so badly a couple weeks ago. "Hi, Dante," I said, "this is my grandson, William, that I told you about." The two boys talked shyly about the Carnival the school is having to celebrate the end of the school point. I listened to them. 

When we got to the renovation, we all said goodbye and I felt like something had been fixed. 

No sign of Mangey today, so I don't think I'm getting a second chance with him. I've only seen him once this week, but I'm not the only person who tends to stray cats, so he may have found someone who is not so hell bent on helping. 

Wednesday, June 1, 2022

The Warning

 Last night there were unending warnings of the severe storms headed our way. Warnings. Discussions of hail and tornadoes. 

Today, the sky was filled with dark threatening clouds and distant thunder rumbled for most of the afternoon. The warnings continued unabated, a tracking of the storms, and when they were supposed to hit right down to the minute. 

We had things to do, so I did my polyurethaning while Tim did his things. 

It started to sprinkle, and we had to stop work. Tim had seen a hot water heater on sale at (you guessed it) Lowes, and had bought it for another house. It was still on the truck, so we hauled it to where it needed to go. By the time we were done, it had stopped raining. 

"Huh," said Tim.

We worked until nearly 6 and came home to eat our salads in front of the news, just to catch the weather. The storms were coming. Tornado warnings for 4 or 5 counties, but not ours. But the storms were supposed to be baddies. Everyone was on high alert, and it was all anyone could talk about. 

Tim put his cell phone on the charger just in case the power went out. I was vacuuming. When I shut the vacuum down, I heard the tornado siren. I was a little surprised, since the tornado warning was not for our county. 

I stayed in the kitchen washing dishes with the door open. I figured that I would hear a tornado coming, early enough to get us both down to the basement, but I heard nothing, and the siren stopped. It wasn't even raining. 

I got on the Emergency facebook page to see what was going on. There were a bunch of very nervous people trying to figure out what was going on. Should they seek cover? Had a tornado been sighted? 

The response came. The warning was for Forest County, not us. Forest County is an hour's drive from here. Why in the world would you sound a tornado siren for people not even within earshot, scaring the socks off the people who were within earshot?

It's ridiculous. 

Music to our Ears.

 Well, the concert was good fun. It was not nearly as loud as the last event we went to, which was a bit of a relief to my poor ears. Tim en...