Not to be Allowed Out Alone

9 Jun

Either of us.

Yesterday morning we had half a dozen errands to run, culminating in returning and picking up library books.

They were having their semi-annual books sale, and that was all she wrote! A shopping bag full of books was $5, so we collected quite a haul. At one point The Squire put the bag on a table and as he put it “played Tetris” so he could fit even more books into the sack.

We can home with about 35 books, enough to keep both of us out of mischief for quite some time. Jim&Dani

We’re supposed to be downsizing. Getting ready to move, you know. We could probably have much worse habits, and we both married well. We’ll read them all and then donate them back for the next crew to buy and recycle.

This cartoon is from the current issue of The New Yorker.  It certainly looks as if it might be some people we know. Hmmm.

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Halfway There

8 Jun

Back in early February I mentioned that our water pump began running constantly due to a leak someplace in the system.  For several months we had to turn the pump on and off when we ran the dishwasher or take a shower. We had to schedule trips to the bathroom.  In the meantime we had various professionals out to see if they could figure out the problem.

The inside plumber had us pulling up sections of the floor to see if there was a leak under the house.

Nada.

He also suggested we replace the pump, but we decided to keep looking.

The outside plumber wandered around and opined there was a leak in the pipe between the well and the house. This would involve running a new line, and he could fix it for “only” $6,000.

No thanks.

Quite a few years ago some people had come out to dig up iris and nicked the line with a shovel. The plumber du jour  had used an air pump to force air backwards through the line, watched for bubbles, and patched the pipe. The Squire thought the patch might have failed (this is something he could repair himself) so he and a young man from church dug down, located the patch, and found it to be in perfect condition. That as a classic bad-news-good-news situation. Easy to fix, but it wasn’t the problem.

One day this week The Squire used a sump pump to empty the well so he could take a look at the foot valve. (For those of you who are city folks, a foot valve is a caged ball which floats upward when the pump is running and allows water to reach the house. It drops back down when the pump cuts off to keep the water from flowing back into the well.) He discovered that the acid in our water had completely dissolved the plastic ball, which is why the pump was running non-stop; it could never built up the pressure needed to cut off.  Another call to another plumber,  and the foot valve was quickly – and cheaply – replaced.  However, having to run the pump for half an hour at a time when we ran the dishwasher meant it wasn’t working as well as it should, so The Squire toddled off and bought a new pump. The plumber will be back out to install it one day this week. At least now the pump does hold some pressure after we turn it off, so we can, say, brush our teeth without having to run turn the pump on and back off.

A nice place in the country isn’t always as great as it’s cracked up to be.

An Alarming Situation

4 Jun

Or, don’t let your right hand know what your left hand is doing.

Shortly after I came downstairs yesterday morning I heard an odd triple-beep sound, which I attributed to the fancy, new smoke detector we got about a year ago. After a good bit of head-cocking and cussing, The Squire figured out it was the burglar alarm that was beeping, because the backup battery was dead.

He removed the battery and went off in search of a new one, which he installed. Apparently the new battery did not come fully-charged, but gradually built up steam when it was installed – much the way a cellphone battery works, I guess – so the system continued to beep.

In the mean time, we received a frantic call from Eldest Daughter, telling us she had gotten a call from the security system, saying they had gotten an intrusion alarm from us, had not been able to reach us, so were going to call the police. We had not gotten any calls from them ourselves, either on the land line or The Squire’s cell. While I was calling Vector, The Squire fielded a call from Mac’s wife, with the same info, as Mac is also an emergency contact.

We called Vector and explained the situation, and the woman said she’d put us off-line for 24 hours.

An hour later, the same thing happened. Calls from Eldest and Mrs. Mac, but no call from Vector.

And, rinse and repeat. The third time it happened I lit into the poor man who answered the Customer Service line. I explained that I wasn’t fussing with him, “but for Pete’s sake, don’t you guys have this noted on the computer?” If I understood him correctly, the information doesn’t show up until the next day! When I left Blue Cross in 1983 info was posted immediately ! Good grief!

So, at the moment it looks as if all is well. The panel is not beeping, and we haven’t heard from either Eldest Daughter or Mrs. Mac.

Or the cops.

The Sparrow Has Found Her a Nest

29 May

The weather for past couple of weeks have been miserable, but today dawned clear and bright – always, of course, subject to change without notice – so we decided to hang out what clothes hadn’t gone through the electric drier yesterday.  Sheets and rugs, for the most part.

I use plastic milk jugs to hold my clothespins; they are virtually free, pretty much biodegradable, and easily replaced. I slice the handle just where it joins the body of the jug, cut an opening in the front, and slip it over the line. The jugs slide along the line easily and three of them hold all the pins we need.

I’ve been keeping the pins on a shelf on the patio when we’re not using them, and when I went to grab them this morning, this is what I found. One deserted bird’s nest, made of moss and dried leaves. Safe from wind, ran, and various predators. Clever, these little creatures. I’m just glad it had been abandoned, as I would have done without rather than disturb the mama bird.

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Letting it all Hang Out

28 May

The Squire and I went off this morning on our weekly “day out”. We go to the laundromat, swing into KFC for lunch and then stop at Aldi’s for groceries. (I’ll tell you, those Rice’s are a wild bunch!)

Another couple came in while we were eating lunch, and after they ordered I noticed the woman talking on her phone, and hunched over as if she was fiddling with her belt buckle. No such luck. She walked over to the table where the napkins and utensils are stacked, and proceeded to talk on the phone and pick at her belly.

Those of us who are a certain age generally suffer from mild to severe cases of Dunlop’s Disease, where our bellies tend to sag a bit and lop over our belts. This gal had pulled up her shirt, and lifted her ‘lop’ so it hung over her shorts! and was engaged in some sort of personal hygiene. I though perhaps she had a pierced naval that was giving her trouble, but that didn’t seem to be the case. In any event, she spent about five minutes – in the middle of the restaurant! – digging at the skin on her tummy.  Lady, there’s a rest room right around the corner!

I’m really trying to be less judgmental, but this sort of s–t makes it just about impossible!

We All Scream For Ice Cream

27 May

A week or so back I found a freezer-burned carton of ice cream on the bottom shelf – Pumpkin Pie flavor, if that gives you any idea how old the stuff was.

I took it out back and left it beside the dish we use to feed the foxes. The carton was gone the next day;  not surprising, as they will frequently carry off plastic carry-out trays or the like to eat at their leisure. Today I had a bunch of stale bread to toss out to the critters – deer will eat bread, as do the birds and squirrels – and as I was coming back I noticed a flash of orange in one of the trees.

Apparently the raccoons had taken the carton away and climbed the tree to eat the ice cream in peace and quiet. The tree is about thirty feet from the dish so I wasn’t likely to see it there, and it was also on the back side of the tree. The carton was in the mulberry tree on the far right of the photo, about four feet off the ground. (We feed the foxes in an old angel food pan, dropped over a stake pounded into the ground. Food dishes are among the things they have carted off, and we got tired of searching for their dish.)

Can’t blame them.  I feel the same way about ice cream. Keep your paws off!

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Graduation Day

24 May

The Squire and I drove over to College Park to watch one of our granddaughters graduate from University of Maryland. She had originally wanted to be a vet, but changed her major to Environmental Policy – or something. My friends call me the “recycling queen”, but Jess has me beat by a mile. She got her Bachelor Degree in Environmental Science and Policy Laws. with a concentration in Wildlife Ecology and Management.

The University of Maryland was founded as an agricultural college – animal husbandry, crop and field studies (improving the soil and what sort of stuff to plant for the area), avian improvement, and the like. Over the years it has expanded its scope, offering every imaginable course, including medicine. The courses on crop and field studies offer a degree in golf course management! And, presumably, a job at Mar-a-lago.

This photo of Jessica captures her spirit exactly! Pretty, funny, great with kids and animals, smart as whip, and a little bit crazy. (What can I Jessica Gradsay? She likes to climb cliffs.)

During the ceremony, we heard a siren, and several cell phone began to chirp. The Dean looked a bit startled, and then announced “We have a tornado warning.” Please follow the staff to the lower level auditorium.” And so we did. And then we did it all in reverse. Actually, the crowd was so large that only half of us had gotten out before the warning was lifted, so we just returned to our seats. A ceremony that should have lasted one hour dragged on for two.

And there was another one scheduled behind us. Running late before it even got started.

And we didn’t get a drop of rain at home.