Monday, October 31, 2022
Sunday, October 30, 2022
Differences of Opinion
He tells her that the world is flat ~
He knows the facts and that is that.
In altercations fierce and long,
She tries her best to prove him wrong.
But he has learned to argue well
He calls her arguments unsound
And often asks her not to yell.
She cannot win, he stands his ground.
The planet goes on being round.
I guess that is where I am at right now. We have 9 more days until election day. I am so sick of the advertising. I don't think that a governmental body should spend our money to influence to fight against the the other party candidate in an elecion that is bound to decide control of that governmental body. We are bombarded with advertising right now. Television ads coming one right after another. Mailers arriving virtually every day. Phone call after phone call, bogus 'surveys' mostly. Recent phone call (female voice) "Hello. I was wondering if you would mind answering a few questions for our survey." Me (having heard this nonsense so many times) "What candidate are you calling for?" Long pause: "Well...I just have some questions..." Me: "I'm trying to cut to the chase here. You have no questions for me. You just want to offer me information on your candidate. Who are you representing?" Long pause. She told me. I responded, "Now there, I've saved us both a great deal of time because no matter how hard you talk, I'm not voting for him."
I am taking a cue from John. I have given up the news at this point.
Saturday, October 29, 2022
I am a hot shower kind of girl. I pulled back the shower curtain and stepped into the steamy bathroom and grabbed my towel. I heard a strange noise, turned to look at the clawfoot tub and was horrified to see a tiny tsunami of rushing water ~HOT water~ across the bathroom floor. In an instant, the rugs were saturated. I threw my towel on the floor and began grabbing towels from beneath the vanity and dropping them on the floor while shouting for Tim.
He had been on the verge of walking out the door to go someplace but he headed down the hall, a little impatient at the interruption only to be met by the water overflowing the sill and washing across the hardwood floors in the hall.
"Hand me a towel!" he shouted, and I threw him the last three bathtowels while still trying to sop up the water on the bathroom floor. (Did I mention that it was hot? Because I feel like I might have not stressed that. This was hot water...) By then, my bathrobe and my flannel nightgown were both off the back of the door and on the floor being used, having run out of towels.
Tim rushed downstairs to the shutoff valve and turned the water off to the house. A pipe had burst.
He came upstairs and helped me pick up steamy, sopping towels, rugs and nightclothes from the floor and drop them into the bathtub.
Just the previous day, he had complained, "I don't know what you used when you mopped the bathroom floor, but it feels like it left a residue. I do not like it."
Naked as the day I was born, hair still dripping, I looked at him, and said, "Honey, I rinsed the residue off the bathroom floor for you."
We started the day with a bit of agenda. We had things to do. Instead, I hauled heavy wet things to the washer. Tim did some plumbing.
Late Edit: I want to make really clear that this was not an actual tsunami. It was a lot of water, and it was everywhere, but it was immediately caught, the water shut off right away, and no one was standing underwater in our house, even for a second. Feeble attempt at a humorous portrayal of actual events.
Friday, October 28, 2022
Pat, over at The Weaver of Grass , will turn 90 years old on Halloween. She can always be counted on for regular blog posts, so it's a bit concerning that she hasn't updated her blog for over a week now.
However, I'm going to hope that she's simply caught up in all the preparations...perhaps simply getting rested up for the big day. I do not know, but just know that I am wishing you a very happy birthday weekend.
Thursday, October 27, 2022
We Are Here to Fart Around
Wednesday, October 26, 2022
This is very interesting to me, and I really do want to hear your thoughts on it.
At this point in time, when we have any kind of respiratory thing going on, our thoughts naturally go to: 'What if this is covid?' We think it is important to err on the side of caution. We don't isolate, like in the bad old days, but we stay away from people. Tim stays home from church. We may take a quick run to the store, but we go early in the morning, and we wear masks.
Sometimes whatever is going on is severe, or we've got some special thing going on, we'll pick up a home test. If the symptoms warrant, we go to a walk in clinic, not only to be tested, but to get a medical opinion on whether we are seriously ill or not.
It is a crazy time.
But now there is me. I have been exposed to covid. I am showing very mild symptoms. William has spent more time that usual here last week, and he is sick too. His mother took him to the clinic where they tested him. He is negative for covid, positive for the Flu-type A.
Now, I was a little surprised when some of you suggested being tested. It had not even crossed my mind because 1) I am already taking covid precautions 2) I am not really sick sick, just mildly achey, sore throat, snuffly. No fever, although sometimes I get chills at night.
My question is two fold: 'Would you test? Why?
It certainly isn't a problem to pick up a home test. We don't keep them here. Perhaps we should.
Monday, October 24, 2022
Probably not Covid
I am not sick. I am not well. It's a strange thing, and in these strange times, it is hard to know what to do with yourself in this situation. So. I stay away from people. The good news is that it is probably NOT covid. William was diagnosed with the flu today, type A. Whatever that means.
I wouldn't have thought that I had caught covid so quickly from our tenant, Deb. But erring on the side of caution, we will stay away from people (Tim did not go to church on Sunday), and wait to see what happens next. If it gets no worse, I see no reason to test. I will keep on with the ibuprofen.
Today we loaded up the dump truck with a load of firewood, brought it home and stacked it. I texted Deb, the tenant with covid, and asked if she needed a porch drop. She said, "A half gallon of 2% milk," which was easy enough since her house is four doors down from where we were working. I ran it to her porch (along with a raspberry filled doughnut that came along for the ride). We talked, her from her door in her bathrobe, me standing in the front yard. Her symptoms are mild, and she's just handling everything with otc analgesics and happily reading books. I imagine that it is a nice respite from working so hard. She's also been under a bit of stress. Her daughter, Piper, is also on her 7th or 8th trip into Poland to provide humanitarian aid in Ukraine.
After the wood, there were little odd jobs aplenty to keep me busy. I worked on my house plants. Brought the geraniums in from the concrete urns for the winter. My sister wintered them for me last year and they did beautifully. She tells me that anyone can do it. I'm not so sure about that, since I have routinely killed my poor wintering geraniums for years now. These ones are the perfect color of red and I love them, and I will feel quite bad if they die over the winter.
I scrubbed the bathroom floor, washed cleaned the kitchen after lunch, and made a southern window sill beautiful with bottles, bits of colored glass, and plant cuttings.
I haven't seen my cats around, and I've been worried about them. A few nights back, pulling out of the driveway, Ginger was in the front yard. I tried to call him to be fed. He did not come.
I'm reading Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed. That girl can cut through the crap, I'll tell you. I have two more books on their way. 'Your Second Life Begins When You Realize You Only Have One,' It is not the poem but a book by Raphaelle Giordano. The other book is 'Passing On', by Penelope Lively.
The sick people at my son's house are all on the mend, and life there is returning to normal.
All is well in my corner of the world.
Saturday, October 22, 2022
A tenant stopped by with rent. I was glad to see her because it had been a tough week for her. Her beloved dog had died. A mutual friend had told Tim about it.
She looked exhausted. She older than I am, but she still works, cleaning AirBnbs. That's a hard job to do day after day, week in, week out. She's a retired nurse, so I asked her why she didn't just pick up a shift or two as a per diem nurse. They are paying crazy money. It would be a lot less physically demanding. The girl needs down time. You could tell it from looking at her exhausted face.
She said, "I'm really done with nursing," and she said it with such finality that I knew she meant it.
I commented that it is a hard time to be 'on the front lines' so to speak, and that led us to talking about covid.
"Hey," I asked, "have you had that latest booster?" I was curious to have medical imput. The numbers on this wave are so different from that first year when the hospitals were over flowing, when nursing homes were hit so hard that some of them lost over 1/3 of their residents, schools were closed, all of it. Yes, there is covid around. Tim's grands caught it and gave it to their mother after just four days of school. Both of my grand daughters (they live on the other side of the state) have it now. I hear about cases all the time, but they don't seem to manifest with the more serious symptoms.
Tim doesn't want to get the booster unless he perceives things as getting serious. The last booster exhausted him for the better part of a week. Me? I was exhausted too. But I went to bed early and woke up feeling fine. So, we're waffling around on it, and the frustrating part is that there is so much misinformation out there that it is hard to know what the right thing is.
The other thing is that for all the times that Tim and I have been exposed to it, we've never gotten it. We are amazed by that.
So Deb (the tenant and former nurse) and I discussed it. I was interested in getting her take on it. She said that she would have the booster, and that she was going to have the flu vaccine as well.
"I guess that it's the sensible thing," I said. "I'll have to talk Tim into it."
As she was headed out, I asked her did she want to take some chicken gravy and mashed potatoes home. It was rich with peas and carrots and celery. It would make a nice supper for her, something that she wouldn't have to fuss over. She could just put her feet up and rest.
She said that she wasn't really hungry. She also mentioned how hard it walk in the door and no RB coming to meet her.
I told her how sorry I was. I knew that the dog was having seizures very suddenly, but what I did not realize is that the dog had a 3 seizures in short order. She took him to her vet and he had another, one that they could not bring him out of. She made the decision to have him put down.
I felt awful. I had a dog put down 12 years ago, and I still cry to think about it.
"I'm sorry. I did not know that you'd had him put to sleep. That's so hard."
"He walked in that vet's office with his little tail wagging...he didn't know...."
I said, "Well, neither did you."
She said, "Yeah...." and got very teary.
I gave her a hug. "You need to go home and get some rest. I wish you'd take some supper."
"No." She repeated that she wasn't hungry. She was just tired.
I told her that it had been a tough week.
I watched her walk to her car and I just felt so bad for her.
I got a text from her yesterday. She's got covid.
I stayed home today getting caught up on laundry and cleaning, as evening moved in, I found that I was freezing and that my body aches. Now I have a sore throat.
I've been directly exposed to covid before, and never got it. Will my luck hold?
Friday, October 21, 2022
Dough! Doe! Doh!
I bought new yeast today. I am happy to report that my starter bubbled and frothed and when I added the flour, magic happened just like the magic is supposed to happen.
Thursday, October 20, 2022
Bugs, bucks, bread and trees
My daughter-in-law is very good about keeping me in the loop. The baby tested positive for RSV and Covid. She seems to be getting better. Today I received the message that their eldest has now tested positive for Covid. My son is still sick. Thank goodness that my daughter in law is well enough to keep that ship afloat. There is no way for me to be helpful. I know it. It does not stop me from wishing that I could.
Tim got up early and went hunting. It was not a good morning for it. It was blustery, and the wary deer tend lie low and not move because they cannot hear danger in all the rustling and wind noise. I got a message at 9 that he had not seen one tail. Disappointing for him, but it is very early and the rut doesn't seem to have started just yet.
I spent a lot of time in the kitchen today. I was looking forward to my bread making day. The dough did not rise, which was very disappointing, The only sensible thing to do was to roll it out into a pizza crust for supper. I checked my yeast. It was not outdated. This is puzzling to me.
The tree guy came to take down a dead tree that Tim's been worrying about at one of the rentals. Now that the tree is down, we'll have work for a couple days cutting up and stacking firewood. for the wood burner. A cheerful fire crackling in behind the glass of the woodburner makes winter a bit brighter.
Tim has gotten up to episode 54 of Resurrection. Only 404 more episodes to go. Oy.
Wednesday, October 19, 2022
Tuesday, October 18, 2022
Over the weekend, I opened my mailbox, and what to my wondering eyes should appear...but a Christmas catalog! Not cool. Not cool at all. And the prices were eye watering...a 4.4 oz bag of candy for $19.95. Some very beautiful sweaters for $190. Night gowns for $90. Some cute sheets: $120 for twin size. Pretty sure I won't be placing any orders there.
We had to make a run north this morning, over the state line. Our wondering eyes were treated yet again, this time to the vision of snow covered cars. Once we crossed into New York state, snow was lightly covering the ground. So the forecast was right. We had accumulations in the area. I didn't find that very cool either.
We finished up our business in fairly short order. Since we were so close, I suggested picking up a box of bananas from Brigiottas, which is a farm store/deli place. My Amish friend told me about this. You can go out back of the store to their warehouse and buy 'seconds'. She bought a box of bananas, which made me laugh. 35 lbs of bananas! I asked her if she was planning to make banana bread. She rolled her eyes. It was a Wednesday. She explained to me that her children loved bananas and that by the end of the week, every one of those bananas would be gone. When I dropped her off, it had made me laugh to see all the children lined up on the porch waving good bye with a banana in their hand.
So, Tim and I stopped at the store. I had no clue, but the box cost only $8. Less than 25 cents a pound. I hadn't really looked at what Mattie had bought, but I took the time to look my purchase over. I was surprised that they were very nice bananas. No worse than something you might buy at the Walmart or something. Such a good bargain, but Tim and I could never use that many bananas!
When we pulled up in their driveway, one of her youngest was on the porch. She waved and scampered inside to let her mother know we were there. Mattie came out as I was setting the box down. I said, "I seem to remember a group of young monkeys who live here..." and Mattie laughed. "Yes. The children sure do love bananas!"
We didn't have time to visit, not really. It was almost meal time and we did not want to intrude. Levi and his oldest would be walking over from the sawmill in short order. We also had our own things to finish. I still had the other half of my apples to get ready for the freezer. Tim wanted to stop and get another bag of red potatoes from the Amish stand. I had also bought two large bags of bell peppers that would need to be chopped up and put in the freezer as well.
On the way home, my phone dinged with a message from my daughter-in-law. They've all been sick with congestion and colds. Today, the baby tested positive for covid and RSV. Thankfully, she is not displaying any of the severe symptoms, but it is hard not to be concerned. With two sick kids and two sick parents, I'm sure that it is a struggle for them, and we are too far away to be any real help.
While we were discussing the situation, we heard a radio advertisement for a day of the dead haunted house. Not uncommon. Haunted Hayrides and ghostly themed activities abound this time of the year. What made this one different was the final line: they will have Disney Princesses there.
Disney princesses in combination with a haunted house? Sounds potentially traumatic to my ears.
Monday, October 17, 2022
Another Thrilling Day
Today we got our first snow. It was a few flurries, and it did not accumulate, of course, but the weather forecast predicts snow flurries until Wednesday, with accumulations possible. I find that hard to believe, but it is cold, gray, windy so who knows.
We went back up on the hill to the Amish produce stand to buy more apples. Tim saw 50 lb bags of red potatoes and he does love red potatoes. At $16.00 per bag, that worked out to $3.20 per 10 pound weight. In the grocery store, white potatoes are $5.99 per 10 lb bag. (We didn't see any red potatoes, which are usually more expensive.)
I made a meatloaf and made mashed potatoes from the red potatoes, just to give them a try. Tim was so pleased with them that he is headed back up tomorrow to buy another 50 lb bag. They will last, stored in the old coal room in the basement and a hundred pounds of them will get us nicely through the winter and probably provide nice seed potatoes for this spring.
I did half of my apples today, and will do the other half of them tomorrow.
William opened his first bank account tonight and he feels very much like a man. He earns money working for his grandfather, and his tendency has been to spend it all as soon as it crosses his palm, a dangerous habit.
This has been quite a sticking point with him. He feels that he earns the money and it is his. We argue that it is never a smart thing to spend all your money. We have begun to insist that he has to wait one week before spending his money, a 'cooling off' period. We also are insisting he save a portion of his pay.
He waited a week and he was quite irritated about it, but interestingly, he decided that we were right. He did not buy what he thought he wanted for some carefully thought out reasons. He did spend $6 leaving him with $8 left over from his two weeks pay. He decided to bank half of it, leaving his $4 to add to next week's pay, when, once again, he'll have some decisions to make. The deal is, whatever he banks, we will match, which is a very attractive incentive to him. It cost us $25 to open the account and we are hopeful that it will lead to more better money handling skills.
Tim gets caught up in Netflix series. Breaking Bad was the first. He got caught up in The Last Kingdom. Better Call Saul, and then Valhalla. Now he's watching some Turkish thing called Resurrection. I'm kind of amazed. It's all in Turkish, with subtitles, but he is fascinated. The other day, he said, "This has five seasons. I've watched over 30 episodes. How many episodes does it have?"
I wandered off to Google to find out.
458 episodes. Totally not kidding. 458 episodes.
"Holy cow!" he said.
"You'll be watching this when you're 70," I said.
And that's today.
Sunday, October 16, 2022
Saturday, October 15, 2022
We had a plan for this morning, but were surprised to wake up and discover that it was raining. So much for hooking Tim's beloved S-10 Baja up and hauling it from one garage to another. (Don't ask me why it is special. Don't ask me why things need to be moved eleventy-seven times before he's satisfied. I have no answers to give you.)
Tim was disappointed. Me? Not so much.
My solution was much more pleasant. I suggested that we pick up a bushel of apples and a bushel of pie pumpkins from the Amish. It would be a good day to spend in the kitchen.
Tim was disappointed. Me? Not so much.
It stopped raining.
I was disappointed. Tim? Not so much.
So he and William headed off to the garage with the car dolly. I headed off to visit the produce stand. Tim did not want a bushel of apples. He thought it was too much so I bought a peck of cortlands and a bushel of pie pumpkins. I got a large cabbage because it was there. $18.50 was a good price for my haul.
I spent the day paring apples and slicing them up as my split pumpkins roasted, 3 at a time. By the time that the apples were on the stove, I could begin skinning my pumpkins and chopping them up. The apples are done, the pumpkins cooking. Tim sampled the apples and decided that he was wrong after all. We need to go back and get a bushel of apples on Monday "because they are better than any apple you can get in the store."
Strangely enough, most of the pumpkin puree winds up not as pie filling, but as soup. I can't really give you measurements because it is all done by eyeball, but I use an equal amount of puree and chicken broth. I run a medium onion and some kielbasa through the food processer, add it to the pumpkin mixture and then let it simmer in a crock pot for a couple hours. I thin it with cream, and serve it with a nice toasted bread. It is one of Tim's favorite meals.
Stir fry for supper tonight, chicken thighs and vegetables in crock pot for tomorrow night's supper: chicken and dumplings.
William has been picked up and is on his way to a big night out, a haunted hayride. He's been very excited about this adventure. He's also very excited about our second annual Halloween dinner. He was busy planning our meal. Monster wraps and kitty litter cake for dessert. He has some nice appetizers picked out.
Tomorrow we are getting up early and heading north. We're going to Letchworth Park up in New York State to do a hike or two. I'll take some pictures.
I hope everyone is having a nice weekend. It has been a great one here.
Thursday, October 13, 2022
I thought the congressional hearing today was a very good presentation. I don't understand how anybody who watched these can argue that Donald Trump should not have been subpoena'ed.
But. They will.
It was raining for the first part of the day, and that was okay. I had to stay close to home anyway. The gas company was coming to cut the line. We are switching to a different supplier. Tim is convinced it will pay off in the long run, but given the uncertainty of oil supplies right now, I am not sure how it will work out.
So, staying home, I found plenty to keep myself occupied.
I channeled my inner "Pat" today and cleaned out the refrigerator, took it all apart, washed it, reassembled it and, I must say, I did a great job. I'll look like an idiot when I tell you that I have walked by it a
couple times lot of times, and opened the door just to admire its gleaming white interior and the neat arrangement of my foodstuffs.
I also did some cleaning in the basement today.
Laundry, three loads of it.
We didn't know for sure when the gas company was coming to shut off the gas, so I put together a crock pot full of soup from last Easter's ham. Tossed in the potatoes, carrots, celery, cabbage and onion. Seasoned with bay leaves and thyme. Let it simmer all day while I folded laundry and watched the congressional hearings.
Terribly organized, aren't I? I was all set for the shut off.
The gas company stopped by to let us know that they'll be back to do the work tomorrow.
It was a good day for getting things done though.
I was washing supper dishes when Tim pulled on his boots and headed out the back door. "What are you up to?" I asked in an absent minded way. His answer shocked me spitless. I whirled around in amazement and said, "WHAT?????!!!!"
He looked at me confused.
I repeated myself. "WHAT are you doing???!!!"
He said, "I'm cleaning my ditch." He was referring to a small ditch that he had dug to guide the water from the downspout away from the house.
I need to get my hearing checked.
Wednesday, October 12, 2022
Does this happen to anybody else? Up in my attic, I've got two large totes of pictures that my parents took. Most of them don't have people in them but if they do, I don't know who they are. The vast majority are pictures that they took while on vacation, traveling out west. I don't know where they were taken, or what they are of. After the death of my mother, my sister and I took the pictures and divided them up between the kids and grandkids, giving them all the pictures of themselves as they grew up. We gave them each a Christmas ornament from my parents' Christmas tree, and my sister put together pictures of our family history and ancestors and put it on a disc for everyone so that they had their family history. We put them in Christmas tins and presented them as Christmas gifts.
But... after all was said and done, there were still two large totes of pictures of God knows who or what. I cannot quite bring myself to throw them away. They are happy days in my parents lives, so they sit in a corner of my attic.
We had a chance to go through my parents house after my mother died. Due to family tensions, it was just my sister and I alone. It was a special day for the two of us, moving from room to room, reminiscing. We had already been told that it was our only chance and that once we were done, that was it. We knew when we walked out the door, we would never walk in it again.
It is funny the things that I found myself unable to leave behind. I have the round cake pans that my mother baked her Easter bunny cake in. I have the stained glass blue jay I got my dad for a birthday. I found it in the bottom of a closet. The old typewriter that was my mother's graduation gift in 1956. I remembered being a small child and tapping out my ABCs on it.The old and chipped glass FireKing bowl she used to raise her bread in. (I use it still). The cuckoo clock. A musical figurine that meant a great deal to me. Their diplomas and a year book. Things like that, I wanted and I'm not sorry that I did. Those are sensible things.
But there are other things. Old quilts, tatters, really, put together by my great-great grandmother. They are not artistic. Purely functional, heavy quilts made out of old denim and old flannel shirts. They have been in a cedar chest for years now. I know that I will never use them. They are not worth having repaired, but I cannot bring myself to discard them, not yet.
I've got a rocking horse that my uncle made for us when we were small children. He's seen better days. He needs to be taken apart and put back together. My sister didn't want him. Either did I, not really, but when I saw him sitting outside in her yard, I couldn't not take him. I remembered rocking on him in my bedroom 60+ years ago. He needs a new tail. He needs new ears (his old ones were made out of pinched black rubber from an inner tube.)
My sister suggested giving him to my grandaughters, but I know for a fact that shabby thing would not be welcome in their house. So he sits in the corner of my livingroom.
There's the old high chair upstairs. I don't want that either, but there it sits.
So yes, there are those things that I saved that I love. There are those things that I feel nostalgic about. But there are also things that I have no interest in at all, but have found myself the keeper of them, for reasons that I don't really understand.
I keep thinking that the time will come when it is time to let these things go, but that time hasn't come yet. My mother died 11 years ago. My father died 10 years before that.
It puzzles me though, that I have things that I cannot quite let go, even though I do not want them. Why is that?
Tuesday, October 11, 2022
Today was the day for signing the lease with the new tenant. She is so excited to move into her new place.
I was putzing around with the lease paperwork. Our friend showed up while Tim was out, and me, being me, invited him back to supper at the end of the day when Tim was home. He took me up on the offer right away.
I had a package of veal out of the freezer, so I got a second package out, just to make sure that there was enough. I was making a new recipe, veal piccata. It looked easy enough.
Tim came back and then I headed out to help him load up another load from one garage. He was bringing it back to our house to sort. Some would stay here, in our garage. Some stuff was to be used at the next renovation. Some was to be hauled down to the garage at the retirement property. Some ~hallelujah~ was being burned. He decided it was not needed. Late to the party, that. I had come to that conclusion some years back.
After I helped Tim load up, I headed out to the grocery store to pick up some things (lemon, capers) that I did not have on hand for supper.
As I was checking out, much to my horror, I discovered that my debit card was not in my purse. I knew exactly where it was. With great embarrassment, I explained my predicament to the cashier. I told her where I lived and that I would head home to get my card and come right back.
She was nice as she could be about the whole thing. She rang everything up and suspended the transaction, pushing my cart off to the side. She would not hear of my apologies. "Did you ever have a Monday on a Tuesday?" I asked, and she said that she'd had a whole week of Mondays once, so she knew how I felt.
I headed home, got my card, and returned to the store. It really irked me because I had company coming for supper (yes, this was my own fault), and I had a meeting at 5:30 to sign the paperwork for the apartment, so I was trying to get as much ready ahead of time as I could.
I very quickly threw together a cake. I couldn't find my cake pan and I fussed around in a 'it HAS to be here somewhere' sort of way, before remembering that it had gone home with my daughter.
I poured the batter into two round pans and popped them in the oven.
I peeled the potatoes and got them cooking.
I pounded the veal and got the 'dredge' ready. I got a pan of water for the green beans. I pulled the cake, frosted it. The potatoes were done, so I shut them off, and left the house for my meeting. The meal preparation being done ahead of time meant that I could have supper on the table quick as a wink when I got home.
While doing the walk through with our tenant, I discovered that while I had checked to make sure the oven was clean, I had not checked the warming drawer beneath the oven. It was dirty which was mortifying. I apologized for that, and told her I would return to clean that out the following morning. The tenant's whole family was there and they are excited for their girl. She had found a couch on Marketplace that they were all going to pick up and deliver. Her father relaxed when he saw that his baby was moving into a quiet house on a quiet street. He and Tim talked comfortably, and I think that helped. Everyone chattered back and forth actually, and all the excitement kind of camoflaged my embarrassment.
When we were through, Tim and I were hurrying back home when I heard the clock tower chiming the hour. "It's six?" I gasped. It was. We had company coming at 6:15.
We were walking up the sidewalk to our house when Ray pulled in. "Supper might be the tiniest bit late!" I said as I scooted in the door. I dredged the pounded veal and dropped the slices into the hot pan. I drained the potatoes, dumped them in the mixer bowl, added cream and butter and salt and pepper and turned on the mixer, In between flipping the thin slices of veal, and transferring the cooked slices to a pie pan, I was heating water for the beans, slicing bread for the broiler. When the veal was done, I made the gravy. While that was cooking, I got the bread out of the oven, drained the beans.
Sounds very efficient, doesn't it?
Much to my horror, I'd gotten over generous with the cream. The potatoes were like mortar. The veal turned out okay and the gravy was alright, but it certainly wasn't great. (That is the danger of a new recipe being tried out in front of an audience.) I forgot to salt the beans. To my credit, I did not burn the bread. We visited over a very mediocre meal. I managed to tip over a glass of water. I'm not sure how I even did that.
I am glad that Ray is an old friend.
It is time for bed now, and the best thing that I can say about this day is that it is done and I did not die of embarrassment. I could have. Multiple times.
Tim puts on his grumpy pants.
I don't know a great deal about Persian carpets, but from what I'm reading, there is a very good chance that this is the real deal. The guy getting rid of it claimed that it was. It is marked on the back in yellow, but I don't know what the writing means, and I haven't had time to really look into it because this is a huge rug. just over 9 feet wide by just over 13 feet long. What that meant is that not only did I have to move the rug that was in the living room, I had to move furniture in the living room.
Monday, October 10, 2022
Getting the apartment rented has been more of an adventure than usual this time around. It is a nice two bedroom apartment. Small, well appointed kitchen, nice sized bathroom with the original hardwood flooring to old house (the only room that we could save it in) big livingroom with vaulted ceiling, dining room, walk in pantry/storage, balcony over looking the river. The doors to the closets and bedrooms are from the original house which is cool (to us, anyway...we were glad to save them). Garage with electric garage door opener, washer and dryer in the basement for tenant use.
The thing that I DON'T say is that the utilities are included. Tim thinks that this is a big mistake not to say this, that it is a big 'selling point' and it is, but it leads to phone calls from people looking to take advantage. People who wish to move three kids, their boyfriend and a coon hound into an efficiency apartment. People who want to rent, but during the conversation, you discover their intention is to bring a few friends in to live with them, stuff like that.
A sure ticket to chaos.
Since it is usually me who fields the phone calls, I am the one saying no, and this often leads to angry responses. "We are used to living in small spaces!" or "Once I begin paying rent, it is my space, and I can have friends living with me." Believe it or not, I even had a young man whose mother explained to him that he could not be punching holes in the wall every time he got pissed about something. So what I see is that there are desperate people looking for deals. You can't fault that, but they rarely make good tenants.
So. I don't put that in. I get fewer replies because the price is a bit higher, but the ones who you do get are prepared to pay the higher rent. They are not showing up with an eye to taking advantage of the situation. Finding out that monthly rent includes water, sewage, gas, electric, and the garbage pick up is a nice surprise for them, and we usually get a nice handful of applicants to choose from, as opposed to an overwhelming response with few suitable tenants.
The ad needs to be winnowed down into three lines. So. We ended up with: (name of town) 2 bdrm, upper apt, washer, dryer, garage and a phone number.
The ad generated just four phone calls.
One from a fellow just released from jail in July. Based on his records and his and his girlfriend's facebook pages, these were not the type of people we wanted in the building.
Another from a single woman in her forties who "was in love" with the apartment and wanted it badly. Except that we made the appointment to get the lease signed and give her the keys and the garage door opener. A few hours later, she called back to regretfully say that she couldn't sign the lease because her mother thought it was not a good idea.
Back to square one.
We received a call from a woman who said that she needed to speak with her boyfriend to set up a time to come and look at it. (She never called back.)
A call from a blocked number in a city two and a half hours away. He had a lot of questions. What city was it near? I tried to explain. What stores is it by? "Well, it depends on what you're shopping for, I guess..." to which he answered "Groceries." I said, "Well, there's an Aldi. Walmart." He interrupted to say that none of those stores were acceptable, and that he would need to grow his own. (I cautiously thought, "Boy, I hope we're still talking vegetables, here....) I said, "I guess that I'm a little confused here. You don't know the area at all here, but are planning a big move to a place you've never been. Do you have a job here, and you're transferring? Or will you be looking for a job once you're here?" He explained that he was on disability. "You do accept that, right? Most people do." I said, "Well, yes, but I guess that, not knowing the nature of your disability, it's rather unusal for someone just to move away from their medical providers, to a whole different state and have to start the process of setting up medical care all over again. He launched in to a hysterical recounting of the fact that his father cheated on his mother with several women and that he had fathered children with many of them and that he had a sister he was trying to get a PFA on... and I thought to myself, 'Mental illness. Very disordered thought process.' We have dealt with this situation before, and it is not an experience we wish to repeat. So I said, as gently as I could, "You sound like you really need to consider this move carefully and to take your time with it." to which he replied, "You don't get it! SUNY Binghamton is bringing in foreign students and I have to call the police on them over and over..." His voice was getting louder and louder. I cut him off. "You're pretty upset and we don't like a lot of drama." He began to scream. I said, "You're not even making sense right now," and hung up the phone.
The following day, we received no calls at all. I said to Tim, "I don't think that there are any sane folk with clean records looking for an apartment right now." He began to complain (yet again) that it was because I placed the ad in the paper not mentioning the included utilities.
The following day, we got a call. A quiet voice asked if the apartment was still available. I told her it was. She made an appointment to come and look at it. A young woman met us. She was with her mother. She was a quiet girl, 25, Tim had gone to school with her father. He hadn't come because he was grappling with the fact that 'his baby' was old enough to move out. The girl said in her quiet way, "I'm 25. It is TIME...." and rolled her eyes a bit. She is the cousin of another of our long term tenants (she didn't realize it). Non-smoker. She had two small dogs but they had lived with her parents while she was away at college and they had all decided that it would be best for the dogs to remain in the home that they had always known. She is a preschool teacher and had the income to afford the place. We explained about the security deposit and the first month's rent. It would not be a problem, she said in her quiet voice. She'd been putting money away for several months now in preparation for this.
This all seemed a little too good to be true. The more we talked, the more boxes were ticked off. I think that she and her mother were finding that we ticked off some boxes too.
We gave her an application, and told her to consider it carefully.
An hour later, she called back to say that she'd filled out the application and dropped it off in the mail box as instructed. I started to say that we'd let her know in the next day or two, but from his couch, Tim said, "Tell her she's got it."
Saturday, October 8, 2022
Now we carry computers in our pockets. My youngest daughter is a grown woman who lives half a world away with her husband.
But even as my world 'smooths', the rest of the world seems to be falling apart.
My day was pleasantly smoothed. Thank you, NorthStoke.
Friday, October 7, 2022
Life on Water St.
We've been getting an apartment ready to rent out. After seven years, we made a decision not to renew the lease on that place. The woman always paid her rent on time, but she had one problem.
She was a pot-stirrer.
No matter what, if the downstairs tenant in that house was a woman, there was going to be a problem. Passive aggressive stuff, the sort of stuff that made people mad, but if a complaint was made, it allowed her to roll her eyes and claim that the other woman was just being petty. There was a lot a mediation, which is frustrating. We thought we had the problem solved when we rented the downstairs apartment to a single guy who was really into physical fitness. They were close to the same age.
And it seemed like it would work for a while.
But in the end, she was back at it. This time, she was telling horrible lies about Tim and I and firing up the neighbors on all sides of the street. The last one wound up with a survey and a fence to resolve an boundary issue where we had supposedly told her that we owned half of the neighbor's house. We had never said such a thing, but they were furious, and things got heated, and we spent a lot of money to calm shit down.
She got her certified letter of non-renewal of lease.
After a week of painting and caulking and making everything right, we're now showing the apartment. One of the first calls came from a polite young man wanted to view the apartment. I gave him an appointment for 10 am the following morning.
I hung around the house. He had said he was calling at 9:30 before he headed out to make sure that nothing had changed. He didn't call, so I texted him on my cell at the number on the landline, and headed down to the apartment. A few minutes before 10, I got a message that he was on his way but that he was on foot, so he'd be there between 10 and 10:10. He got there much later, in the middle of the second viewing of the day.
He and his girlfriend wanted the apartment, and he filled out the application. He explained to us that we would receive the deposit and first three months rent from someone else, and we would need to talk to him. He gave us the phone number.
Checking his facebook page, we saw a pretty vulgar young man. Most of his poses incorporated his middle fingers. His friend list included known drug offenders. Checking his police record, we discovered that he'd just gotten out of jail in July, and for 19, he had quite a list of offenses, multiple burglaries and assault.
Based on her facebook page, it was plain to see that his girlfriend of a few weeks was not going to be a positive influence.
We made the decision not to rent to them, but I called the name he had given us simply to let the man know of our decision and that no payment was required. The man who answered the phone asked why.
In for a penny, in for a pound, so I told him that the young man had arrived late for his appointment. "It sounds stupid," I said, "but if someone has no respect for you and your time, that's a black mark right out of the gate." I went on to mention that his facebook page sort of bore out that impression, and that his friends list was pretty sketchy. Finally, I said, "His criminal record is too recent. He just got out of jail. We've rented to people with criminal records before, but what we like to see is someone who has turned the corner, someone who has held down a job for a while, kept his nose clean. We have another tenant in that house, and it wouldn't be fair to him to take in someone we're not sure of. "
I was kind of braced for the person to try to persuade me to take a chance. Much to my surprise, he explained that he served as a liason between the parole board, the landlords, and the person. He said that he was surprised that the young man had been late since that's one of the unbreakable rules. He makes his appointment with them. If they are going to be late, they must call. If they don't or if the reason is bogus, they go immediately back to jail for the week. He said that he understood our reservations completely and that we had to do right by the tenant already there.
We are having a new gas service installing line at our house, and they showed up today to do that. Tim was outside for most of the afternoon to see how they did it.
I did a bit of grocery shopping to get us through the next week. We were out of potatoes and milk and eggs. I got everything put away and it was time to walk over and meet William after school. He'll be here for the next two days while his mother works evening shift. He's taking bagpipe lessons now and much excited about that. He's still having his drum lessons, but now he takes them at school for band.
Tim and I headed out for an evening walk. I had 4 books that I wanted to drop off at two different "free book" stands. One is set up in a park and you can drop off books for adults. The other site is specifically for middle schoolers and is set up at a church. I had a couple books that William had already read to be dropped of there. William was headed along on his light up scooter. He was anxious to see the Halloween displays already being set up at houses along the street.
We had just started out when two kids that William knows from school came down the street, headed the other way. They were carefully holding a box that contained an injured chipmunk. Recognizing William, they stopped us. They were looking for someone to drive them to the local hospital.
I was a little surprised that two kids in middle school would not realize that a hospital is not going to help with an injured animal. I also knew that the nearest wildlife rehabilitation center is a couple hours away.
I looked at the poor thing. Its back legs were twisted in such a way that it made me think 'spinal cord injury' right away. I did not want to tell them that the poor creature was not going to make it, but I said, "First thing, you've got to keep him warm. Do you have a heating pad to set this box on?" They did. I suggested setting the box on top of a heating pad set on low, cautioning them that they did not want it hot, just warm. If the creature began to act a bit more lively, I suggested that they give it a few drops of sugar water with an eye dropper or a syringe. I showed them our house, and told them that they could bring him to me on their way to school tomorrow if he lived through the night.
I don't expect to see them.
So...that's life on Water St.
Tuesday, October 4, 2022
What Makes Me Mad
I watched a pretty horrifying video on the news last week.
Monday, October 3, 2022
I saw a woman at a store. She was shopping, just like I was, but she was happily singing along with the classic rock music coming across the PA system. She would stop to greet people from time to time in a cheerful voice, carry on a conversation, and then return to her singing.
She seemed perfectly happy and comfortable in her own skin.
I found myself a bit wistful as I watched her, wondering what it would be like to be that unselfconscious.
Sunday, October 2, 2022
Saturday, October 1, 2022
DUMB, DUMB, DUMMMMMMBBBBB!
I am home. I've been away for the week being an extra set of hands for my daughter-in-law while my son was away on a business trip.
The baby had a doctor's appointment at the same time that the four year old was getting out of school. It is the second time that I've driven her in my car and it sounds ridiculous, but I still get nervous over that. My son had popped her carseat in my car before he headed to the airport. I was glad for the help. They are a lot more complicated than they were when MY children needed them! Despite my niggling fears, all was well.
It was a wonderful week of morning walks, school dropoffs and pickups, playgrounds, a parade, a picnic, two trips to the library,. crafts, babyholding and four year old snuggles.
I got up this morning and headed out. It was a good time to slip away, in the midst of all the excitement about 'DADDY'S COMING HOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!'
I drove leisurely, marveling at how much the leaves had changed just in the week since I'd driven the same route there. My mind wandered freely as I navigated the now familiar route. I pulled over for my regular break just before getting on the interstate. I need that large unsweetened iced tea with lots of ice and double lemon. I parked the car and pulled the mirror down to check my hair when (DUMB DUMB DUMB!!!!!) I saw it.
Two hours into my trip, I noticed that their car seat still securely strapped in my back seat.