Saturday, September 30, 2023

Low Key

 It is good to have my youngest home. Her main focus seems to be ridding the attic of her years of 'stuff'. Her highschool things, college, graduate school,  I wish that it didn't matter, but she is her own person. A hallmark of our family, I suppose. 

She has many people to catch up with so yesterday, while she was out, I drove Tim up on the hill to pick up his truck. It is a new to him truck, and when he took it to be inspected, he was given a list of things to be repaired. He ticked those things off. The last repair was one that required a special tool, so he bought the part and had it installed at the shop. Then it needed to be aligned, and then it was ready to be inspected. There was a last minute snafu when his windshield got broken by something as he was driving down the road. $471 for that, alone. 

But now it is picked up and done, and for $4000 all in, he has a very fine truck. 

Since I was out in that direction, I headed for the Amish store. They had a two for one deal going on coffee. 28 oz bags were $6.99 for two. 12 oz bags, $3.99 for two. It is a good time to stock up and the vacuum sealed bags toss easily into the freezer for later use. I've got enough coffee to see me through the winter. They also had the Pepperidge Farm bread whole grain 16 seed bread we like at $1 a loaf, which is also great to toss in the freezer up on, being double sealed. 

Checking out, I saw something I have never seen before: the Amish girl at the register was heavily made up, with an expertly done 'smokey eye'. Her blush accented her high cheek bones. She looked very nice, but it was an unexpected sight.

I drove home sipping on carrot ginger juice and noticing how quickly the season is changing. Last night Cara brought pizza in for everyone, and later we went to the basketball court across the river to shoot hoops with William. 

Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Wide awake

Day is done. Sun is gone. From the hills, from the lake, from the sky, all is done, safely rest...

I got everything done that I wanted to get done. I got some things done that hadn't even occurred to me, but when they did, it just felt like I should do them too. 

I'm sure tired. 

Can I sleep? 


Tomorrow, we'll be picking my daughter up and bringing her home. 

I wonder if she's able to sleep? 

Monday, September 25, 2023

Check, check aaaaand check...

Today was spent in a flurry of preparations. Cara will be flying here in just two days. I haven't seen her since I went there in February 2022. I am looking forward to this more than words can say. 

Dylan and Brittani are coming home too. It sounds very strange to say it, but my oldest grandaughter has been to my house once. She was just a baby and she doesn't remember. There was the covid years and after that, it was just easier for me to go there because a five hour drive is not fun for a toddler, and then there were two little girls...and just never seemed to work out. 

But now they are all coming, and this means a great deal to me. So much that I found myself getting a bit nervous about it. I know that I'm being silly. Looking around the bedroom for Dylan and Brittani, the little Pack n Play set up in the corner, suddenly it hit me that I needed, with all due haste, to get light blocking curtains for the baby's afternoon nap. The room is bright with three windows. 

Off I went. Amazingly, I found what I needed, in the colors I needed, being clearanced out. How often does something like that happen? It was meant to be, wasn't it? I felt so good about it that I bought some pillow cases that matched with the comfortor on the bed. 

I brought everything home, made a zucchini frittata for supper, and while it was baking, ran back and forth between the kitchen and the upstairs. 

I think everything looks very pretty and fresh. 

All that's left is to get the upstairs bathroom a quick polish and I'm done. 

Being busy helps. The mindless busy-ness helps. There is something very comforting about ticking boxes at a worrying time. 

Cara's bedroom, check. 

Dylan and Brittani's bedroom, check, 

Furniture polished, check. 

Frittata, check, 

Ridiculously, I have Christmas shopping done for my son's family, check, check, check and check.  

I have my Christmas shopping just about done for my daughter and her husband, check and check.

It helps, because what I've discovered is that if I start talking about things, I can't stop. It's like the floodgates open and I blaaaaaaaaaab....  Tim is still being quiet about it all and I feel as if it is disresepctful of me. Much better for me to keep to my to-do list, to keep ticking things off my list. It makes me feel as if I have everything under control. 

(spoiler: I don't.)

Sunday, September 24, 2023


You know what I can't wait for? My son to get here. He's a huge football fan. So is Tim. We have ROKU and honestly, I've got a headache trying to figure out how to get football on it. Neither of us has the foggiest idea what we are doing. 

One very cool thing did happen today. About 3 years ago, there was a cat at the Grand Valley property. It was black and white, and I called him 'Get Along'. We saw him rarely, just a glimpse, but we kept him fed and I built a cozy little house for him for the winter. 

When two trees fell on the old house a couple years ago, it knocked everything catty-wumpus (no pun intended). The house is not structurally sound, and we did not want to waste a lot of money making it that way, because we just needed it to stand upright long enough to protect all the stuff we had stashed in there for the new build. 

And remember how I was getting those dvd shelves down from a second floor bedroom just a few days ago? I saw a flash of white in the dark hall from the corner of my eye. I immediately thought 'cat' although I couldn't have told you why. I didn't see anything clearly. 

Today, I was taking a load of vegetable scraps up to my compost bin, which I am quite pleased with. I can't compost outside because it attracts bears so  I compost inside the greenhouse. The heat that builds up in the greenhouse has really been doing a great job at composting quickly. I added my stuff and gave everything a good stir and came back out, closing the place up behind me. 

It's been nearly two years since I last caught a glimpse of him, but Get Along went tearing across the yard. I was so pleased to see him. (Even a glimpse of him). 

In the dark hall, that flash of white was probably him, I bet. I'm glad he has found his way inside. 

Saturday, September 23, 2023


My grandson has been keyed up all day long about some on line 'market' that was going to be open for only 24 hours. Everything was free. He and his friend were beside themselves about the things they were going to get, tools that would greatly enhance their ability to play 'Gorilla Tag'. 

When they got home from the fishing tournament, they both flew past me in the kitchen and thundered up the stairs.

I was putting a pan of tomatoes on the stove when they came thundering back down the stairs. William said "We need you to link your PayPal account to the market!"

I said, "We are definitely not doing that. I thought this was all free."

William pulled on his lip. "I was wrong about that..."

I turned on the burner. "We are not linking credit to your VR."

Heavy dramatic sigh. Heavy, depressed footsteps prodded slowly up the stairs.

Friday, September 22, 2023


 Day 1 without Facebook was just fine. I found plenty to keep me busy. We finished insulating the attic at the new build. Tim worked on some one man jobs and some mowing this afternoon. I came home to deliver some DVD shelving to someone who needed it. We sure didn't, and we had three of them stashed in the old house. It just amazes me still that people walk out of a house, shut the door and leave everything behind, dishes in the cupboards, furniture, clothing hanging in the closet. 

I walked up to where Tim was working. 'Did you find them?' he asked. I told him that I had, and then mentioned that he hadn't locked the house up when he left the previous day. He looked surprised. "Is everything okay?" 

"Nope," I answered. "The place is completely cleared out. Everything gone."

Tim said, "Well, that's good news, isn't it?" 

There is a lot of stuff to get rid of in that house. I don't even know how we'll get the massive dressers down the narrow stairs. Might be easier, when we are done pulling all the things out of the house that will be used in the new house, just to call the VFD and let them come and set the place on fire and use it as a training exercise. Seems like an awful waste, but the house has major damage from two large trees falling on it, and it is not structurally sound. 

While I was upstairs retrieving the shelves from the bedroom they were in, I saw a flash of white in the hall from the corner of my eye. I did not get a clear look at it, but it looked like something has moved in for the winter. I don't begrudge it. 

I came home and made a stirfry for supper and chopped up another gallon of peppers for the freezer. I put the beds in the guest rooms back together with fresh lavendar scented bedding. They are pretty rooms and comfortable, but not often used. I am looking forward to all my kids being home and in them. 

I found an old box of letters and stuff from a painful time in my life under one of the beds in a box. I read a couple of them, but the memories were just too much.  Why do I hang on to these things? I threw them away, and felt the better for it. 

My grandson is here, and his friend who had all the difficulty with the bully is here for a sleep over. They are going to a fishing derby with Tim tomorrow. The boy has gone from being nervous and awkward on his first visit to bursting in the door as if he'd been coming here all his days and it made me happy to see that he's doing so much better. We try to make a point of including him whenever it is possible. An extra kid is not a problem.

William says that his friend has gotten a lot more confident in school. Good news. The more confidence a child has, the less likely he is to be picked on, in my opinion.

Thursday, September 21, 2023


That post yesterday bugged me. I've been thinking about it all day. I also did some investigating. Once I discovered that my messenger would not be deactivated if I removed myself from facebook, I had some real thinking to do. 

Downsides of facebook: 

People tell flat out lies on it, and those lies get passed around and take on a life of their own. 

There are always these flattering comments, always from men with two first names, and they are always retired military or doctors and they are always widowed, and they want you to send them a friend request. (Yeah, buddy, not born yesterday). 

I like the market place stuff but really you can't ever tell what kind of scam you're getting into there. I've learned that you never want to respond to a kitchen aid mixer advertisement. 

Facebook is always running 'sponsored' ads, which tend to be companies pretending to be Bed, Bath, and Beyond, or Home Depot or Clark's Shoes or Lego, or something recognizable, like that. But they are not. They are some fly by night company, usually from China and they are trying to rip you off. (Shameful admission: I was ripped off twice by this. Don't ever order from a facebook ad, advice learned the hard way. 

You never know who is watching you. Why would I put info out there for people who don't even like me? 

Upside of facebook?

I'm going to miss some folks but they can always talk to me on messenger. 

Tonight, I deactivated my account. 

Wednesday, September 20, 2023


 After a sleepless night, I got up this morning tired and not ready to begin. I flipped through facebook. 

Things that I do not understand: 

A post:

I was in Warren ALDIs this morning and noticed a man following me in the isles. I didn’t really think to much of it and kept shopping. He followed me to the freezer isle and would pretend to get in the freezer but wouldn’t grab anything. 🤔
I thought that was strange but went on my way. I went all the way acrossed the store and a lady came up to me and asked me if I was here with a man. I told her ”no” and she said there is a man with long hair following you around the store and keeps staring at you. I told her I thought he was, but didn’t think to much about it.
She then said I should just be careful…I told her I would have someone walk me to my car. I continued to see him so, I walked to the back of the store and looked around until I saw him cash out. I went to checkout and I REALLY didn’t want to bother anyone by telling them what happened and ask if they would walk me to my car 🫣😫
Luckily, someone I knew was also checking out and I asked him he would walk to my car with me.
The lady came back into the store to let me know the man had gotten into his car but pulled out of the parking spot and was just sitting there. She said he eventually pulled out and went towards Jamestown but wasn’t sure how far he went.
I have NEVER witnessed something like this ever. It was seriously the scariest thing and I am so glad that lady was there to look out for me. 💕
Always look out for each other and NEVER be afraid to ask for help.

Why does this disturb me? Because of all the comments which pretty much amounted to "OMG!" "TERRIFYING!" followed by assertions that we must all begin to carry concealed weapons on our person because of all the human trafficking going on.

It also disturbs me because it is almost word for word copy and pasted from a post that regularly makes the rounds. A local store has been added. Also, the suspicious character is usually a Mexican. I guess this woman is not a xenophobe.

Why are people so quick to believe that they are in mortal peril each and every moment? This did not happen. My daughter works at the store. They have video surveillance. They would like the person to come and point out the man that was following her. The poster has disabled comments.

Why do people feel the need to post bullshit like this? Why do people feel the need to validate such bullshit?

I also saw another post. Someone is cleaning out their shed. One of the things that they are getting rid of is two very high end motion detector lights which switch on automatically as someone approaches the door.

Tim stopped by and picked them up on his way to the new build. We are always amazed to find people getting rid of perfectly good things, but, works for us.

My latest facebook posts:

Anyways, the many sides of facebook. The good, the bad, and the funny.

Tuesday, September 19, 2023

Life plods on.

 The sliding glass door is installed, and that was probably the hardest thing we've done so far. The door came as a kit, and the directions were not always really clear. Even worse, we discovered that we had extra pieces and parts, which was kind of worrisome...but the door looks nice and operates perfectly and...well...(quietly shoves the extra pieces in a dark corner). All the doors are in now. We have three more windows to install, but we don't really want to do that until we have the house laid out for sure and for certain. 

We will install the insulation in the attic tomorrow, which will take most of the day. 

I finished the most beautiful book today. I started it yesterday and got engrossed, but as it began to wind towards the ending, I couldn't quite bring myself to finish it. I set it aside, and this evening, I picked it up again. I was sorry to see it end. The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey

I can't sleep tonight. Tim is sawing some major logs, and I am glad for that. The days march on. We keep busy. What else can you do, really, but push the specters back into the shadows?

Cara is coming home for a couple weeks. We will pick her up at the airport next week. Dylan and Brittani and the girls will be coming home for a weekend. That will be a wonderful distraction. 

Not much to say today. 

Monday, September 18, 2023

Complaining AGAIN

 Today, we bought the sliding door for the new house. We priced carefully, and we had one last place to check before we committed, so we ran up there first. They only had three doors, and there was some things about them that Tim was not happy about. So, we left that store and headed for home. We'd buy our door at Lowe's. 

I wanted to check and see if they had juniper shrubs on sale, so Tim dropped me off at the plant section, the plan being that I would check and then head right over to 'Doors and Windows'. Tim had two questions and he wanted the woman working to answer them. We didn't want to drive all the way down to the new build to find out that we didn't have everything we needed to complete the job. 

We figured it would be zip, zip, zip. We were wrong.

An elderly lady arrived about the same time as Tim, and he politely let her go first. The woman had ordered a new storm door, but decided after thinking about it, that she wanted to get a new front door as well. She had questions. 

The employee excused herself to us, and walked back with the customer to search through the doors. She also needed the door to be added to the original order for the storm door because that was being installed. She wanted the door she had just bought to be installed as well and at the same time as her storm door. 

We'd been standing there for very close to a half hour, but we waited. I wandered off to look at bathtub surrounds and found a dandy one marked down from $570-something to $270 something. I walked back and told Tim about it. He wandered over to have a look. On the way back to the window/door center, we saw a tile on sale and stopped to discuss that.  Tim walked off to use the restroom. I returned to the desk to wait for our turn.

The woman was struggling. Her problem as she explained, was that she didn't know how to add to the original order. The person that placed the orginal order was not there. She was not sure if he had even ordered the screen door. Her biggest fear was that she'd make a mistake she'd made previously. It seems that employees in their departments need to earn points, and one of the ways you earn them is based on the amount of product the employee sells. When she added to the order the last time, she wound up getting credit for the whole order, and the other employee was pretty mad at her, thinking she was intentionally trying to steal points from him. 

She was embarrassed and apologetic, but she said to the elderly woman and to us (by that time, Tim had returned) "I'm going to call for a manager. I'm not sure how to do this without getting in trouble. 

We'd been there a half an hour or more already, but I really did think that the employee was doing the best she could. She excused herself from the elderly lady and said, "I'll be right back. I'm going to help these folks while we wait for the manager."

She efficiently grabbed a cart, we scooted back. We could still see her desk and register from where we were. She answered our questions and we were in the process of loading up when the manager arrived on scene. 

The employee explained the problem. 

The manager stared at her with exaggerated patience. "Is this an emergency?"

The employee looked flustered. "It's just that these people have been waiting a really long time, and so is the lady at the register and...." 

The manager smiled, and sweetly asked, with a great deal of patience 'Is. This. An. Emergency?' and then she added. "We will talk later."   


I really could not believe that. The employee stared after her helplessly. 

I said, "Well. Thank goodness. It could have been worse. It could have been an emergency." 

We pushed the cart back up to her desk, as she explained, "I'm new in this department. There's not time to really be thoroughly trained." 

A fellow from another department came over to help and said impatiently, "You should know how to do this. You've done it before." The employee said, "I haven't though. I did it wrong when I did it." 

The elderly woman was showing signs of impatience. I said comfortingly, "There, there. It could be worse. The manager has explained that this is not an emergency."

I'd have liked to ask Nadiia (two i's) a question. We had over $1400 worth of product on our cart. The woman was ordering a door that cost over $500. That's combined sales of over $2000. How much money has to be involved before she thinks it is important enough to waste her precious time on? 

The two employees worked together, and to be perfectly honest, he didn't seem all that sure of the procedure, but they finally finished up business with the elderly lady. She efficiently rang our frame, our two panels, the screen and a brushed nickle handle, thanking us over and over again for our patience. "Listen," I said. "I really find that manager's attitude kind of shocking. If I call that to corporate's attention, will that get you in trouble? Do you want me to drop it?" 

She looked at me, thinking. She's worked there a pretty long time. She said, "No. If I were the customer, I'd complain." 

We walked out the door over an hour after we'd entered. 

And, yes, I complained. 

Sunday, September 17, 2023


I was a little surprised when Tim said, "There is a Bob Seger Tribute band coming to the Titusville Iron Works.  I would like to go." We had never been there before. It is an old (duh!) Iron Works factory, built in 1860, a mile from Drake's Well, its specific purpose being to supply the boomtown oil operations with the machinery that they needed. 

In its new incarnation, it is a huge warehouse of a building, true to its history, and filled with antique cars and oil related memorabilia, and Tim has always wanted to see the inside. 

I am not a fan of tribute bands myself, but I missed the opportunity to see Bob Seger. He's 78 and retired. I also happen to love that music. All of it. It seemed like a nice (and rare) night out. 

Last night was the night. 

The venue itself was very cool. A dragster sat atop the crane bridge still in place from the old factory. A city trolley was parked. The interior was lit, and it was filled with memorabilia. There were antique cars set atop the bathrooms and in the rafters. A large oil can collection ran along one wall. Cast iron clawfoot tubs held gas fire pits. A lot to see, and Tim was in his glory.

The band was alright. I mean, it's a tribute band. It is NOT Bob Seger, and I don't know that there is anyone in this world with just the right amount of gravel to his voice to capture that perfectly.

(ignore the poor sound)

But isn't there something wonderful about knowing the words to every song? To sit in a crowd who also knew all the words to every song? It was funny to look around and see people my own age, some of them looking like anybody's grandma, others looking like they were fighting as hard as they could NOT to look like anybody's grandma. 

I found myself wondering what we looked like, Tim and I sitting quietly in our corner, our heads bobbing along with the words we were singing.

Some folks danced. Tim is not a dancer. He is a preacher's kid, even after all these years and he was raised to believe it was a sin. He never quite got over that. We danced once. We also danced at our children's weddings. It was expected. I prodded him, and he did his duty. 

So we sat there in the dark, happily listening to the music,and I was remembering where I'd been in my life while these songs were popular, a little trip down memory lane.  The band broke into "We've Got Tonight". Yet another favorite. I sighed happily. Tim leaned over and said, "Want to dance?" 

And we did. 

Later we walked outside to the car holding hands. It was late, for us anyway and we had a hour to drive, half of it through some pretty serious woods with a pretty serious deer population. We listened to the finale blasting through the brick walls and joked that we didn't even have to pay the $25 ticket price. We could have sat in our car and heard every bit of it. We drove home with the echoes of the amplifiers ringing in our heads, our minds filled with old songs and old memories and old places.

I leave you with the real deal. 

Saturday, September 16, 2023

No Kid Left Behind

 One of the best things to come out of the whole bullying situation  is that there is a small group of kids who have been struggling that have banded together, walking to school together, traveling to class together, sitting together before and after school. Parents are working together to insure socialization opportunities after school. 

It's really quite nice to see it happening. 

Friday, September 15, 2023


 When times are tough, the tough get scrubbing. 

Last night was not a good night, and required a great deal of thinking. I am not a person who can sit and think something through. I need to be working feverishly at whatever it is that I'm doing, my mind moving as quickly as my hands.  

If you were to measure the size of the shock by the amount of work completed, well....

I scrubbed the bathroom floor and baseboards on my knees. 

I pulled out the cabinet at the end of the long hall and polished that to within a inch of its life. I scrubbed and polished the baseboards in the hall too. 

I scrubbed the pile of pots and pans from my last batch of tomato processing. 

I did laundry, washed, dried, folded, AND put away.

I washed every rug in the house and by the time they were done, the floors they lay on were scrubbed too. 

I polished the furniture in the livingroom. I pulled the cushions off the couches and vacuumed underneath. 

I vacuumed the whole downstairs. 

It is dark now, and the house is quiet. I can't say that my mind is quiet, but it is definately quieter. It is what it is. 

Oh. And I got my new electric toothbrush today. Unlike Tasker, Nick, and Ed, I do not have strong teeth. They need all the help they can get. 

Murphy's Law

 ..or sod's law, depending on where you live. 

Remember when I went to buy heads for my electric toothbrush? I bought a five pack at Walmart (for $40) and discovered that Phillips sonicare toothbrushes are not all the same. So I had to return the toothbrush heads. The store did not have the ones that I needed. I thought maybe my brush had become obsolete (don't you hate when they change things up like that?) but when I looked on A----n, they had them. I had paid $12 for a pack of 10, with free shipping, of course. 

I was, as Northsider Dave would say, 'a happy bunny'. 

Except two days ago, my toothbrush quit in the middle of a brushing. I plugged it into the charger and thought nothing more of it. But the next time I tried to use it, it would not turn on. I fiddled around with it, using different charging blocks, but in the end, decided that it was toast. 

And me with my stockpile of replacement heads! Murphy's law!

I know that my toothbrush is not the more popular one which stands in a charger. Mine uses a USB cable and a charging block and I liked that because if I was, say, visiting my daughter, that toothbrush could travel with me. I'd just need to borrow one of their charging blocks to plug my USB cable into.

It also came with a cute little travel case. (I know, I surely doesn't take much to turn my head, does it?)

I knew that I did not want to buy it on A----n, know. I don't get over stuff, and I still haz a mad at them. I had canceled my Prime account and vowed to use them as little as possible. The low price on my toothbrush was $34, which wasn't a bad deal, but I went off for a bit of a looky-loo. (Thanks, Ed. I use that A LOT)

I wound up getting one for $18.95, free shipping, on Flea-bay (thanks to GZ for that terminology). I hesitated for a minute because I would save money if I bought two, but in the end, placed my order for one toothbrush, declining the replacement heads since I have 8 sitting in a drawer here. 

I used to do a great deal of shopping through The Company That Shall Not Be Named. Being a prime member meant that I never paid for shipping. It was also convenient. I guess that it had become a habit. 

It amazes me that I'm buying Christmas gifts right now and putting things away, to avoid the last minute panic shopping that reduces me simply taking the easiest path (A----n) to get things accomplished quickly. That shopping has borne out the very same lesson as my toothbrush. Almost everything that I have ordered came with free shipping, and the prices, if not lower, were comparable, 

This has been an eye opener for me. 

Thursday, September 14, 2023


 When our friend Jim decided that it was not good for him to live one more winter in the country. he matter of factly put his house on the market and called to see if we had a place open. We did. 

We had two of them open, but the one that I wanted him to have had a covered back porch overlooking the river. There is a high wall of shrubs separating his property from the house next door. We built the steps going down to the river, so that he and Paula (the tenant on the other side)  could walk down and sit by the water, with the view across to a heavily wooded island which blocks the view of town across the river. From his back porch, a person could forget that he wasn't in the country.

I was afraid that he might have trouble adapting to life in town and I really wanted to make it just as nice as we could for him. 

It worked out well, very well. Paula lives in the other half of the house, and they are good friends. A third tenant down the street comes down to sit with them by the river sometimes, and they all visit back and forth as the sun goes down.

Probably the best part of it is that Jim has become quite a photographer. There are eagles that come daily to sit in the dead sycamore tree across the creek to watch for fish. 

He's gotten some terrific shots of an osprey eating a nice fish he'd just caught. He's invested in some pretty expensive camera equipment to get even better close-ups, and he generally posts his eagle pictures first thing in the morning. 

Earlier in the week, he posted, "No eagle this morning" and treated us to a nice shot of a green heron walking along the river bank. 

I commented, "Maybe they're sick. 
Be careful. You don't want to get yourself into an ill eagle situation."

(Oh, I crack myself up.)

He posted something a while back and someone asked him how he liked living in town after so many years of living in the country. He posted back, inviting them to come and sit out back. He said, "I can't explain it. You're not going to understand unless you come and sit on my back porch." He went on to say that he sees more nature from that vantage spot than he ever did in his old house. 

I can't tell you how happy it makes us to see our old friend content. It's not always easy being a landlord, but when it works out, it really is a beautiful thing.

Wednesday, September 13, 2023

What is THIS fresh hell?

Tim is a quiet person. In his current situation, I take my cues from him. He does the telling in our local circle, Our kids know, of course. Our close friends. But over all, not many. Except that I've broadcast it worldwide, but my blog is not read locally, so it is not as intrusive as you might think. 

Anyways, one of his friends assured him that this was all a big nothing-burger. He had the surgery, and it is nothing. He doesn't have any problems, so Tim has nothing to worry about. 

Tim got off the phone with him and came in and sat down on the couch. "________ says this is no big deal." 

I looked at him from my couch. "You know, someday, I'm going to kick his ass. He did NOT have the same thing. He did NOT have cancer. He had a TURP and it is NOT the same thing." 

Tim threw up his hands in exasperation. "Fine! Fine!" 

I have a secret fear. Tim was once scheduled for surgery on his spine. A vertebrate was pressing on a nerve. The morning of the surgery, I got up at o'dark thirty and hopped in the shower. We had a long drive ahead of us. Tim came in and said, "I'm not having the surgery." 

And he didn't. Just like that. He's a stubborn man. He's dealt with that nerve pain ever since, his thoughts on it being that he had seen too many people have back surgery, and that surgery started a chain of events that were the start of a real decline in their health and mobility. He didn't want to be unable to work. 

We have this surgery scheduled for October 27th. I am worried because I harbor this fear that Tim will simply wake up and decide not to have surgery. 

So I don't want to hear it minimized. Neither do I want to catastrophize it. It is what it is. He has cancer, and the goal is to stop the spread. 

This friend of Tim's happened to call while Tim was out. Tim had left his phone on the table. And his friend began to speak in a voice dripping with concern. "How IS Tim?" 

"He's doing fine. It is a waiting time, and that is never fun, but we are keeping busy."

And he began to tell me that this was nothing to worry about. I did not reply because I was becoming irritated with him. He must have sensed it, because he said, "Listen, if you don't want to talk about it..." and I said, "Tim is a quiet man, and he is shy. I don't know what he's told people and I feel like that is his decision how information he wants to share. But I can tell you this. You did NOT have the same thing. This is serious. This is cancer. This is a high grade, aggressive cancer."

There. I said it. 

And he began to nosey around a bit. I began to get quite vague. 

He said, "Don't be offended, but I wanted to tell you that I pray for Tim. I pray Catholic prayers, and that offends some people." 

"Why would it be offensive?" I said, a bit more peevishly than I meant to be. "My God, we're not evangelicals."

He wound up with "If there is anything you need..." and I said, "Really, there is not, not now anyway. Things might change after the surgery, but we really are just perfectly fine.

He said, "I would be glad to drive you to Erie. I'll sit with you..." At that moment, Tim pulled in the driveway. I have never been so grateful to see him. "Tim's home," I said and I carried that phone right out to the car.

Later that night, I said to Tim, "Whatever you do, do not agree to let him drive us to Erie. I swear to sweet Jesus I would kill him." 

Tim laughed.

I remember when I was diagnosed with cancer. This same friend came to the house. Tim had left for work. My daughter and I listened to him for over an hour. He told tales of people he knew who had died gruesome cancer deaths. He finished each story with, "But you don't have to worry about that. Yours is a different kind of cancer." Then he would launch into another story. When he left, I said to my daughter, "You know, I get the feeling that he wanted to make me cry so that he could be a comfort..." She replied, "All I know is that I will never get that hour of my life back." 

People have been kind. People have been very encouraging to Tim and I am so grateful for that. I really am. 

But this is not kindness. 

It is not concern. 

I'm not even sure what you would call it. 

Tuesday, September 12, 2023

Satisfying Day

 Well, Joanne was sure helpful. I went straight out to our hardware 'stash' and got a package of two ceiling hooks. I can get those mandevilla hung sometime this week. It would be wonderful if I could successfully winter them inside, and it would be the icing on the cake if they bloomed all winter long. Thanks Joanne! (And Granny Sue, I will surely keep you updated on them). 

Remember our tenant with the bat problem? We got a call last night, about midnight. She had another bat! We trekked out down to her house and there he was, flying wildly about her bedroom. He was pretty active and the chase was pretty intense and our tenant was a shrieker. At some point, the bat decided the sensible thing was to exit the premises and he did. Luckily, Tim saw exactly where that access was. We closed it up for the night, and came back home to try to sleep. 

I lay on my side of the bed brainstorming. A good inspection needed to be done. The house is one of the oldest in town and it had old hand hewn wood beams. We even found a very old hatchet tucked up on top of one of them when we removed the ceiling. Those beams were so darn cool that we left them exposed. Their rough uneven texture leave little gaps. Bats don't need much of a gap, so in hindsight, leaving the beams open probably wasn't our greatest idea. The tenant loves them though, and so do we. 

I figured that going along stuffing those little gaps with steel wool would solve the problem. We could then go along and seal it with silicone (bats don't chew). That should keep them out of the house, but now we are left with the problem of figuring where they came in at. We thought we had that solved with the new roof. It has to be the eaves somewhere.

Anyways, I lay awake for quite a while, my mind going batty. I know that Tim was awake for a while too. Since his stroke, his legs jerk and this makes it hard for him to fall sleep sometimes.

We got up early to get William off to school and then got ourselves ready to head down to the new build. We were building the stairs from the basement to the first floor. I am not sure why Tim was having such an awful time with it, but he was. He was also tired and snappish, probably from our lack of sleep the night before. I quit trying to be helpful and backed off. I did some plant stuff. In the end, he came up with his plan and he was not happy with it. We cut the stringers and left it at that. He still had to cut out for the risers and treads. I kept still. 

In the end, we had to leave, because we had an appointment with Paula to work on those beams. 

Albert-the-produce-guy-down-the-road had tomatoes. We always stop to see what he's selling and to pet his dog. I was shocked to see that he had San Marzano tomatoes, beautiful and perfect, for $14 a bushel. Tomatoes are double that in every place that I know of.  We still had a lot to do in our day, so I just bought a half bushel. However, I was able to get them all processed and I have a large pot of spaghetti going, and another of plain stewed tomatoes. I'll go back and grab another half bushel tomorrow. 

I really had not planned to do a lot of food preserving this year. I had a few peppers and tomatoes, but we did not have a garden. I knew that there would be no time with the construction going on. We also need to rethink that situation, since we are having a problem with blight. However, it seems to have been a good year for gardens everywhere else, and when we see good produce deals along the road, we stop and buy. My sister is begging me to help her out with her excess garden bounty. It would be foolish NOT to make use of it. 

I worked in the kitchen. Tim took a nap to make up for the sleep he missed last night. He woke up and came out to the kitchen with a big smile. "I know how to do the stairs!" he said. "I don't know what I was thinking..." He does that. He goes to sleep with a problem on his mind, and wakes up with a solution. It surprised me when we were first married, because I do the same thing. I thought I was the only person who did. Not so. 

I also found time to lift my geraniums out of their concrete urns on the porch and put them in their new pots so that I can bring them inside for the winter. I did pretty well with them last year, which pleased me. They are a brilliant deep red, not the orangey-red like most of the geraniums I see, and I'm very fond of them. They are getting pretty big after two years, and I am eager to see what next year brings. 

Monday, September 11, 2023

Home Alone

 Today, Tim was going to work on the basement stairs down at the new build. I was still dumbing around with my coffee, but he said that he didn't need me there today anyway. 

I spent the day finishing up in the bedroom, polishing and rearranging. I do believe that I am satisfied with the feng shui, thank you very much.

That is finished now. I moved right along into the bathroom, getting rid of outdated stuff. 

I made a nice shrimp curry for supper. I liked it. William liked it. Tim was not a fan. 

I have a problem, people. Tim went to Lowe's. He asked if I needed anythng. I was joking (sort of) when I said, "Well, if a couple of those day lilies fall into your cart, my heart would not be broken. One yellow. One orange." 

He came home and said, "Well, figure out where you're putting your flowers."

Lo, I was tickled, because he usually doesn't do stuff like that. When I went to the car, what to my wondering eyes should appear but....

Mandevilla vine. 

I was a bit aghast. I hadn't seen this on the $4 cart. "These were on clearance?" 

"No," he said, "but I liked 'em." 

Whoo boy. I killed my last mandevilla trying to winter it. Any tips from my green thumbed crew? (ignore the clutter. I moved a batch of plants around today, and didn't get back in to tidy up the office plant table.)

Sunday, September 10, 2023


 Yesterday, Tim walked in to get a rubber seal for an outlet in the basement. I waited in the car. He came out 15 minutes later with a boot box under his arm. 

Now, you have to understand that the man just bought a pair of boots at Necker's General Store not more than two months ago. I made a face at him as he got in the car. 

He grinned. "Guess how much I paid for these?" he said. "$60! Marked down from $185!"

"But Tim," I started. "There isn't anything wrong with your other Muck boots." 

"These are insulated. They go down to -50 degrees." No arguing with that, I guess. Later, he gleefully pointed out that the boots were $225 on Amazon. I pointed out that we don't buy from Amazon anymore if we can possibly help it. 

But here's the thing. I rearranged the bedroom and I needed two runners to go along side the bed to match the rug that I brought a while back to go at the foot of the bed. (It's complicated, but I know what I need). It is tax month here, and we will be paying our first installment to our taxes: $5200. So I said to myself, "Self. You don't need those runners. You want those runners and that's two very different things. You can wait until next month." And I agreed with me, because I was absolutely correct.

But there's my husband with another pair of new boots. I was thinking as we drove to the new build. "You know what? Tomorrow, I am going to buy some runners for along side the bed to match the rug at the foot of the bed." 

He looked at me and said, "Okay." 

Huh. I just thought there'd be a bit more discussing involved. 

Anyhow, today was the day. I worked some more in the bedroom. You know how sometimes you just accumulate stuff? There was an accumulation of things that I decided to donate books, clothing, shoes, the like, and so I began bagging that up. I dusted and vacuumed. The room looks a lot roomier rearranged. 

I had bought the rug at Lowe's. It was being clearanced out a while back and I was hopeful of finding two matching runners. So I went there first. Alas. it was not to be. 

I ambled out back to look at the clearance plants, as one does. They had a magnificent cart full of yellow and orange day lilies going for $4 a pop. There was all sorts of goodies on that cart. A man and a woman were loading up a cart. A second guy came up pushing a cart. "We're going to need a bigger cart," he said.

I said, "Well, that's something that I have never heard my husband tell me in the middle of Lowe's garden center." 

The three of them laughed. 

One man was still loading up the cart, and the woman said, "I am not sure these all fit in the car" and the man with the bigger cart said, "We'll make 'em fit." 

I said, "My God. He's, like, the perfect husband!"

The woman let go a bray of laughter. She said, "But he's not my husband!" and quick as a wink I said, "Well, if he's not yours, can I have him then?" 

The woman was still howling as I went around the corner. 

I ended up getting 4 carpets. I also got two pots on clearance so that I could bring in my geraniums from their concrete urns outside. They wintered so well last year, I'm eager to try it again. 

The new rugs look nice in the bedroom, and tomorrow, I'm hauling my schefflera home from the green house. It is probably 15 years old and it has gone nuts over the summer. It's going into the bedroom on the table in front of the french doors, which don't get used in the winter anyways. At this point, it will take up quite a bit of that window.  

Everything looks nice in the bedroom. and it made me happy to survey the new setting. Now. If I can just get used to it. I got up in the middle of the night last night, forgetting the the bedroom was rearranged. I did quite a bit of banging around before I remembered that fact. 

Saturday, September 9, 2023

The Most Boring Post in The History of Blogland.

Today was spent at the new build. We got the bathtub lifted in to the house with the tractor. We lifted the Moore gas stove from the old house and drove that up to the new house, where it went into the basement. It will keep things above freezing over the winter. 

I had a nice visit with Chris' mother, and came away much encouraged by the conversation. We will, of course, keep a close eye on the situation. Walter knows that any misteps in the next two years will see him arrested and charged, so we are hopeful that this will sidestep any ideas of retaliation. It also explains why his mother was so angry at me, I imagine, since I put the issue in the public eye. 

There are other things going on behind the scenes which I am not at liberty to discuss, but it seems like things are headed in the right direction. 

Once home, I spent the rest of the day folding laundry. Then I rearranged the bedroom so that our bed is closer to the bedroom door, making it easier for Tim post surgery. 

Friday, September 8, 2023

Walter's Mother

 I couldn't stand to think about Chris. I didn't know his situation at all. I wondered if he had someone at home who had his back. Or was he a kid from a chaotic family who would wind up getting lost in the shuffle, being bullied day in and day out, suffering in silence. 

I couldn't stand the thought of it, so I went to facebook and posted a post.

There is a kid named Chris who attends Beaty. He was being pestered by a kid today. When he told the kid to leave him alone or he would tell the teacher, the kid slapped his face and knocked his glasses off. All parents with a kid named Chris, please talk to your kid tonight.

I talked to ours. The conversation went like this: "Did he tell the teacher?"

Answer: "Well, the kid slapped his face and told him not to!"

Me: "So the bully won."

Grandson: "Well...."

I said, "Did you tell a teacher?"

Hung head.

Me: "You NEVER witness someone being assaulted and not do something about it. You always tell. ALWAYS."

Last year at the end of the school year, we heard all sorts of reports about the behavior of kids. Looks like it is starting out to be much the same.


I was very surprised when that post was shared many times. Maaaaany times. 

I received a private message from Chris' mom the following evening. She had no clue and was grateful to know. The bullying had been relentless since the beginning of school and she had no idea it was even happening. 

We talked. 

This morning there were new comments from three of Walter's friends, all of them insisting that there was more to the story. 

I responded with: 

"Step out and let the adults handle this. Your friend has no right to put his hands on any student in that school. If you don't understand that, you'll find yourself learning the same lesson the hard way. You're also giving the school a nice start to a list of who they need to be keeping an eye on. It doesn't matter what happened, there are right ways and wrong ways to handle things. Your buddy handled things the wrong way. There are consequences for that."

Much to my surprise, one of the kids responded that perhaps I was right.

I gave him an 'atta boy!' for that.

The post went to the school superintendent, and then to the principal. The police are involved. The mother is not pressing charges, but wants to be sure that the boy understands that this is unacceptable behavior and if it happens again, there is proof that this has been explained to him. 

Mostly what I was pleased to see was a good round table discussion on how to empower kids to step up and to speak up if they witness bullying. Parents were having those talks with their kids. The school was involved. Someone thanked me for bringing the issue to the masses. "It takes a village!" she commented. It does. We all need to be looking out for our kids. 

Along came mama. "Look I am that child's mother how about you grow up Debby and get a life you want to talk about bullies about look in the mirror the story was taken water out of proportion and everything now back off"

Explains a lot, doesn't it? 

I didn't respond to her. I wanted to choose my words carefully, being mindful of the fact that I'd had a productive conversation with a seventh grader already. All those responses from parents talking to their children, addressing the topic. All very encouraging to me. All I had to do was respond from my head, not fly off with some knee jerk response. 

I did comment that the poster who commented that 'It takes a village' was right. I also commented that if the comments were read, we would all plainly see why the village school was struggling. Not everyone wanted to be a part of that village. 

That was all. 

The other parents did not let her off so easily, calling her out by name, and pointing out her contribution to this problem. 

Walter's mother disabled her facebook. 

Thursday, September 7, 2023


 Last year my grandson had some trouble with a kid who just seems like he gets his kicks from being mean. Really mean. 

Yesterday, he came home from school. He said, "Today a kid was being mean to my friend, Chris. Chris told him to leave him alone, or he was going to tell the teacher. Then the kid slapped him so hard his glasses flew off and told him that if he told a teacher, he'd beat him up."

I said, "So. Did he tell the teacher?" 

He looked at me all agog. "He couldn't! Walter told him..." 

I said, "So the bully won today." 

My grandson said nothing.

I said, "What did you do? You witnessed an assault. Did YOU tell a teacher?" 

He hung his head. 

"Bullies feed on your fear. If you are afraid to act, it makes them feel strong and powerful. DO NOT GIVE THEM THAT POWER. You tell. You always tell." We also went through the proper response if ever the bully laid a hand on him

Middle school is tough, and it is especially tough here. I don't know why it should be, but it is. The second half of last year, it was totally out of control, and this was from the teachers themselves. Promises were made to get the situation under control. It was very discouraging to see the same kid behaving the same way so early in the school year. Actually, escalating his behavior. Last year he threatened to hit. This year, he was doing it. 

I couldn't stop thinking about the boy. I knew his name was Chris. I knew he was in seventh grade. I knew that he wore glasses, and it bothered me that he was a kid who needed help but was afraid to ask for it. 

I sat down and wrote a facebook post, giving a brief summary of what had happened. I closed it with "If you have a son named Chris, who is in seventh grade at Beaty and wears glasses, talk to him. Find out if he needs help."

This morning, my grandson went off to school. "I'm going to stop in the office and report what happened to Chris." 

I am happy to say that my post was forwarded to the school superintendent. At least on the surface, they are taking this seriously. 

Late Edit: The post spread like wildfire. I am pleased to say that Chris' mom was contacted by a bunch of people while he was at school the following day, all of them wanting to know if it were her Chris. She was not sure it was him until she talked to him. It turns out that Walter has targeted this kid, and that he's been ashamed and afraid to tell. His mother told him that it had been reported and that the principal knew what happened, and he broke down and told her the whole story. 

She messaged me to thank me. She doesn't think Chris would have said a word. 

Wednesday, September 6, 2023


 Steve? This might be something that you could use. 

If it is not enough of a deterrent, you could slap up a few pictures of this: 
 It is an extreme close up of an ant.

The door. Please note, it is not yet stained. 
 Window on the front side of the house. 

You can see one side of my retaining wall in front of the basement door. It is not done. We will have a pretty good idea whether it is high enough or not after the rain this evening. If it is high enough, it will be capped with some flat pavers and then it will be done. 

Tim got a call from the surgeon's office. 
His surgery is scheduled early in the morning on October 27th. 

Late Edit: 

Because I just had to:

Tuesday, September 5, 2023

Wicked Hot

 I would like to say that great things got accomplished today. They didn't. We brought the windows up from storage in the unliveable house. (You know...because of the snakes...) 

We put them in the new house. We unloaded the windows we had in the truck and brought them inside. We put the door we bought from Mona inside as well. That felt like a lot of work, because it was HOT. Humid. The kind of day when sweat pours off you for no other reason than because you're standing outside. 

The windows were all framed in. Tim needed to cut out the sheeting. I put flashing around the inside of the windows and then we pulled the windows into place, Tim on the outside, me on the inside. He nailed them into place 

The end two windows are in what will be our bedroom. The smaller window is in what will be the laundry room. Tim changed his mind on the size, and we bought the smaller window on the day of the careless cashiers, but then we didn't like it. The first window was too big. The new window was too small. and so he pulled out another window he had in his 'stash', and and it was just right. However, that change in size meant that he had to redo the framework that he already had for for the original size window. That took a bit.

This is the front of the house. I wanted you to see the roof that Levi and the boys put on for us. We did the trusses and perlins, but the tin was done by them. We are indebted. 

That opening is for the window in the spare bedroom. That goes in tomorrow. The big square that you see on the front at the right side of the front will be where the sliding glass doors go eventually. We can't install them until we get the cast iron bathtub lifted inside through that opening though. We are using the tractor for that. Once that is inside, we can install the sliding doors. They are not on site yet, but we did pick them out. Eventually they will open into a three season screened porch for relaxing. At the right side of the house, we will be putting in the door. We are going to hold off installing any windows on that end until we are 100% sure of the layout. 

Tomorrow is supposed to be another scorcher, but they are calling for thunderstorms in the evening, which will be mighty welcome, believe you me. Not just for the cooler weather, but we will finally see whether the retaining walls will solve our little problem of eroding dirt. I may have to add another row of concrete blocks. Once we are sure that problem is solved, we will be able to finish backfilling the front of the house. 

So that's it really. Both of us came home with little energy. We watched an episode of Antiques Roadtrip today. They went to Chesterfield. I saw familiar sights, and it made me happy to know that I'd seen them with my own eyes. 

Monday, September 4, 2023

Working On.

 Tomorrow, we will begin installing the windows. We have seven to install, not including the sliding glass door in the front (which is not yet purchased). They are framed in. It will be neat to see how many we can get in. We also have two doors. 

That will make a huge difference.

I'll take pictures. 

I feel Dirty

 Okay. I think of myself as an honest person, but after today, I'm questioning that. 

One of the things that William needs for his bedroom at his mom's house is a desk, and I wanted to price one. Tim wanted to go to the Home Depot. The nearest one is up in New York State. I asked him if we could stop at a store to price desks, and he agreed. 

His bed at his mother's is modern, metal, industrial looking, and I found a desk that was very modern looking. I also found a very cool industrial style metal chair for $30. We loaded them both in the cart. On the way up, he noticed a lamp he wanted, so we tossed that on too. 

At the register, the cashier rang up the chair. She rang up the lamp. Then she tried to ring up the desk. There was no barcode. She called for her manager. The manager came, in no particular hurry. The cashier explained the problem, and the manager picked up the large carton turning it this way and that, before deciding that the cashier knew what she was talking about. The cashier watched impassively, eating her peanut M and M's from a large bag beneath her register. 

The manager said she'd go look and I went with her to show her the display desk with the tagged price. She pointed to a box beneath and said, "This is not the same." I moved the top carton and said, "No, it isn't but these underneath are", pointing out the brand name. This is what we have up front." She agreed, and got the sku from the display tag and came up front, where she called out the number from the tag. The cashier punched them in the register and said, "That's not enough numbers." 

Once again the manager agreed and left, presumably to look the correct number up in some store system. Once again, we stood at the register waiting for her to come back as the cashier munched on her peanut M and M's, ignoring us.  Finally, the manager did return, and she gave the casher the number. She punched it in and gave us our total, "$43." I was confused, but figured that Tim had paid for something while I was back with the manager so that the cashier could continue to ring up other customers while waiting for her manager and I to return. 

Walking across the parking lot, I mentioned that the total had shocked me until I figured out that he'd already paid for part of the order. "No. I didn't," he snapped, "and we are not going back into that store again. They've got a cashier standing there munching away and a manager running around, and if they can't figure it out between the two of them, that's on them. I'm not wasting any more time on it." 

He had a point, but I was still feeling guilty. We put the stuff on the truck. Tim decided he was hungry. I wasn't, not really. I just got a drink and a wrap, and William didn't want anything. The place was not really busy, but they seemed to be struggling in the kitchen.  We were waiting on quickly, but it took quite a while to get our order. They handed Tim the tray. He looked down and said, "We didn't order any fries..." and was told 'keep 'em." He also had ordered a fish sandwich. He got a chicken sandwich with bacon which was much more expensive. He ate, laughing. "I wonder what they will do for us at Home Depot!"

You will not believe this, people. 

Home Depot carried some windows in sizes that our Lowe's at home would have to special order. We wanted a small high window for the bathroom, and we found just what we were looking for. Musing, I said, "You know this would be just the right size for over the kitchen sink too." He was fine with that. So we got two of them. 

Something we'd also discussed is that he thought we did not need a big double hung in the laundry room. He wanted a shorter window. Lowe's hadn't had what he was looking for, but browsing there at the Home Depot, he found what he wanted. I thought it would be fine, and so we laid that on top of our cart as well. 

Tim picked up other things that our Lowe's didn't carry or that were cheaper there. I looked at what they had for plants. William fell in love with a $30 five foot skeleton with glowing eyes (he had the cash at home in his wallet.) Our flat cart was pretty well stacked. 

We got up to the cashier and she began to ring stuff up. She was having all sorts of problems. She was scanning the UPC code instead of the Barcode and the register was beeping wildly.  She was flighty and fast talking, and didn't seem able to understand what she was doing wrong. She called for her manager, and leaned back to wait. I used the silence to try to explain once again. "You're scanning the wrong codes. This is what you need to scan." I pointed it out to her. I pushed the smaller window on top and pointed to the two bar codes. "We've got one of these, and we've got two of these ones, and this is the bar code for those."  

About that time, her manager and another person came walking up. "Hi Damiannnnnnn!" she sang in a very flirty way.

"Hi," he said shortly. 

"We found the bar codes," I said.

"I was scanning these..." she giggled. "We're okay now."

I said, "Did you scan all three windows. You should have two of these and one of that," indicating. 

"Do you want to come train for us?" Damian asked me. 

We were on our way home with a truckload of stuff, several hundred dollars worth, and I was examining the receipt. 

The girl had charged us for three small windows. 

We stared incredulously at each other.  "That's about enough shopping for the day," Tim said. 

Sunday, September 3, 2023

The Old Woman

 It is no secret that Tim and I are incorporating a lot of used things into our 'new' build. We have always done so. The things that people put up for sale for virtually nothing will never fail to astound us. 

The hickory kitchen cupboards were from a friend's house. Two trees fell on his house during a tornado. He decided that while he was doing the extensive repairs, he would also replace his kitchen, the lay out of which he had never been happy with. We got them all for $500. 

We have decorative 'parlor' stove with nickel trim and glass fronted. That was gotten on the curb.  A man had bought it for his garage but never got around to installing it. Years later, he had sold his house, and needed it gone. Being tenderhearted souls, we helped him out in that regard, and got a brand new never used wood stove. 

We got a cast iron Kohler bathtub that retails for $1300 for $100. A man was building a low profile shower for his elderly mother. He wanted the heavy tub gone. We drove to New York state for that and wrestled it on the truck. It will be lifted into the house with the tractor and set in place. The walls will be built around it. 

The pedestal sink is a beauty, very elegant looking. I don't even LIKE pedestal sinks but it was in someone's yard with a free sign. 

The toilet is very cool as well, from the mid-40s. Tim had pulled it from one of the renovations and was going to take it to the transfer station on a load of junk. I asked him not to, because I loved the shape of it. It's been packed away in the old house we use for storage on the property where the new house is being built. It will be very interesting to see it again, because I have forgotten what it was that made it catch my eye. 

So that is how we roll. We have saved a lot of money over the years. 

One thing we do not skimp on is weatherproofing and insulating and so to that end, we went up to Eastern States to buy another four rolls of zip tape for sealing off any cracks and gaps between the sheeting boards. 

Across the road from the huge sprawling expanse that the business sits on was a house with a front door leaning against the garage. It caught my eye immediately, being quite unique. It was plain but elegant. It had a for sale sign on it. While Tim went in to make his purchase, I ducked across the road to look at that door. It had all the hardware, and it was NOT a cheap door. I studied it. There was no price, so I walked up to the door of the garage.

The elderly woman who came to the door was very chatty. She was harvesting sunflower seeds from the garden. The birds had been helping. She told me the door was $100. I told her that I'd have to talk to my husband and asked if I could take her phone number. We were driving the car so if we wanted that door, we'd have to come back with the truck. 

She said yes and held the door for me to come inside. When I hesitated, she said, "Please come in. It feels good to have someone in the house. My husband died of cancer a few months ago..." and my heart just seized a little my chest.

She led the way through her tidy home, to her neat as a pin kitchen with the perfect shiny floors, talking "....the house just seems so empty and quiet and I'm having an awful time getting used to that..." 

She rummaged around in a drawer and pulled out a pen and paper. "He fought for four years. It was so hard, but he didn't make it. I just never thought..."  

I listened to her with a horrible feeling. Was I seeing my own future self? I spontaneously blurted out, "My husband was diagnosed with cancer a couple weeks ago." She looked at me, and said, "I'm sorry to hear that." 

"We're pretty hopeful at this point." 

"So were we." 

She gave me the paper, and I thanked her, She walked out to the driveway with me. Tim had pulled up in the car. "That IS a nice door," he agreed, looking at it. 

"The hardware alone is worth $100," she said. 

Tim agreed. 

I told her that I would call her no matter what we decided, and as we got into the car, she said, "I'll give you that door for $75. Good luck to you." 

Saturday, September 2, 2023

Scenes from a Marriage

Last week: 

 In the quiet car coming home from the doctor appointment that changed everythng, Tim attempted to make a joke about our situation. (Remember that ultimately, what the doctor had explained to us had not registered with Tim. I do believe he went into a kind of shock.) In any case, he made a joke. 

"Tim," I said, "we've been married for over 25 years, and just in case you have not noticed, when I get afraid, I cover it up by being mad. If I'm very afraid, I am very mad. Right this moment, I'm more afraid than I've been in my life, so I'd strongly suggest that you don't try to turn this into a joke. It will not end well." 

This week: 

I spent a couple days building my concrete retaining walls on either side of the basement mandoor. They turned out quite nicely, and I enjoyed the digging, stacking leveling, concrete and rebar work. It was my project, and I worked alone hauling the concrete across the yard. It was good exercise. 

Tim was working on his own project. He had used the tractor to fill in around the house where the dirt had settled or washed away in the rain. He scooped up dirt from the still huge pile of dirt left from when the basement was dug out, and moved it up against the house. I shoveled it in place. In the tight places this was accomplished with a wheelbarrow, and I used the pickaxe to loosen dirt from the pile. It was good hard manual labor and, strangely enough, it made me feel good and strong and able to do anything, which I really do think that I need to feel right now. It's reassuring. 

Anyways, I worked on the second side of my retaining wall yesterday. Tim had gotten 2 tons of gravel and was using the weighted dump truck to tamp the soil around the foundation of the house, and then dumping piles of gravel encircling the house which I would be pushing on top of the dirt when I got done with what I was doing. 

At one point, working away, I noticed that he was backing the truck up on the bank that the walk way was cut through. It's hard to explain, but the dump truck was over my head backing up on an unstable bank that was washing away, which was why I was building the walls. 


Tim stopped the truck and got out. "What?" 

"You're getting awfully close to the edge of that bank. If it crumbles, I'm down here." 

He looked in an unconcerned way. 

"Okay, in a couple months, you're going to need me, so you might want to hold off killing me until after that." 

He laughed and got back in the truck. I noticed that he did go work on another side of the house. 

I continued what I was doing. I guess we're both feeling more confident about things now that the situation figures into our jokes. 

The Lawyer.

 Remember how I told you that we'd talked to another local government person? We thought that if more people were aware of what had happ...