Happy Thanksgiving

26 Nov

The Squire and I celebrated at home together this afternoon, just the two of us. We had invited a recently widowed friend, but he told us he didn’t feel up to it just yet.

We pulled out all the stops, even used the gallery tray and the sterling. I’d purchased a spatchcocked chicken about a month ago, and it was plenty for the two of us. The Squire fixed his world-famous mashed potatoes and I made a pumpkin pie. A packet of nuked mixed vegetable, and we were all set. The wine is a light, sweet one called “Naughty and Nice” – perfect for dessert.

And no dinner chez Rice Paddy is complete without a crossword puzzle or two!

Just Wear the Damned Mask

19 Nov

So says Governor Larry Hogan. I found this picture on-line, and it certainly shows why you should wear a mask in public.

A doctor sneezed, coughed, sang, and spoke toward agar plates, both wearing a mask and unmasked.

Do you get the picture?

Is This Message Really Necessary?

15 Nov

From the latest issue of the Smithsonian:

Boiling Chickens in Yellowstone’s Hot Springs Is Illegal

“Some things should go without saying, but just to remind everyone: it’s definitely illegal to boil chickens in Yellowstone’s hot springs. But in August, three men learned this unspoken rule the hard way.

After being caught in the act by a park ranger, the trio pleaded guilty to a series of infractions that resulted in two years’ probation, during which time the men are banned from visiting the national park, and fines totaling between $500 and $1,200.”

The men said they double-wrapped the chickens in burlap to avoid contaminating the water, and “meant no disrespect” to the Park. Park personnel reminded the men that A) it is illegal to wander off the designated trails, and B) it is also illegal to put anything into the water, including tossing coins for “good luck”. It is very dangerous to walk near the thermal springs, as what can appear to be solid ground may only be a thin crust.  In 2016 a young man left the designated boardwalk in the Norris Geyser Basin and subsequently broke through such a crust and fell into a scalding, highly acidic spring. The young person died and his body was never recovered.

The men may have avoided being boiled alive, but they definitely managed to cook their own goose.

Hi, Ho! Hi, Ho!

14 Nov

My agency called me a week or so back to ask if I’d be interested in a job working in an office two days a week, and from home the other three. Sounded interesting, so I told them to go ahead and submit my resume. I didn’t hear from them for a while, so I figured I hadn’t gotten the position, but there’s always something else. I got a call last week – Monday, I think, asking if I could report on Wednesday morning, so off I went.

I’m working for an international company that sells athletic clothing and shoes. With Covid-19 hanging around, they have half the office working Monday and Wednesday, and the other half on Tuesday and Thursday, with everybody working remote on Friday. I was in the office both Wednesday and Thursday, because I really wasn’t ready to ‘fly solo’ after one day’s training, although the girl who was training me seemed to think so.

The company is extremely careful of their employees during this crisis. Folks were sitting back-to-back in double cubicles, but now each person is on a different schedule, so you do not share space, and the entire place is sanitized on Fridays. All walkways are one-way, although if you don’t see anybody else in the passage between you and your desk you may dart through, rather than going a-l-l t-h-e w-a-y a-r-o-u-n-d the office. I happened to pop into another person’s cubicle, looking for a paper clip, and she reached over to place it on a desk for me to pick up, “because if covid”. You’d think we were Orthodox Jews or something. Only a few people are allowed in the lunchroom at a time, and because the building is in the middle of nowhere and there’s no place to buy anything, you are allowed to eat your sandwich at your desk.

Very nice people, very warm and funny, and I think I’m going to enjoy working here for the next couple of weeks.

I left last night with all of my own stuff – lunch containers, knitting, etc. – plus a laptop, keyboard, and mouse to work from home today. Except – they forgot the power cord, and my laptop is dead. The Squire checked all the usual places to see if he had a spare, but no luck. All of our computers are Dell, and this is an HP; you’d think the connections would be universal, just as they are on cell phones, but no. I called my site boss and she told me to take the day off and they would take care of things on Monday.

I made bread and cleaned the bedroom. Maybe I’ll manage to get my hair cut tomorrow.

Oh, Yetch!

5 Nov

A few days ago, we managed to snag a carpet scrubber on FreeCycle. The woman who posted it said it “wasn’t working quite right” but The Squire is handy, and it was free – and a brand I liked – so what the heck.

When we got it home, I made a pass or two at our dining room carpet to see exactly how it “wasn’t working quite right”. It left a trail of black yuck across the rug. Fortunately this was dry, so I just picked up the bits with my fingers, and we took it into the back room to see what we could see. The first hint we got was that the screws holding the suction scoop to the base had to be loosened with a shot of 3-in1 oil. I do not think this lady had ever cleaned the machine! We had to use a dry brush on the mechanical part, and then soaked all of the removable parts – suction scoop, waste water bucket, and even the tub where you put the clean water and rug shampoo – overnight in hot water with Mr. Clean. There is a filter inside that has to be cleaned off frequently, and I had to use a putty knife on it. This morning The Squire and I went over all of the pieces with a scrub brush, and half a packet of pipe cleaners.

I will say, this – it is a darned good machine! We have light blue carpets on the downstairs floors – not a wise move, I’ll grant you – and it did a fine job on cleaning them. I will have to go ever the rugs a second time, but they look a darned sight better than they did. Tremendous amount of suction, which is good. We vacuum every other day with dry carpet cleaner, mostly to counteract the delicate aroma of Dog. The rug scrubber drew up a bunch of that powder along with ground-in pet hair; every once in a while it would cough up a wad of hair and I could feel the powder in it when I picked them up. Even the best suction is no match for wet, gritty dog hair!

And before you ask, this is a Bissell Lift-Off steam cleaner. Not only is it quite powerful, but the “Lift-Off” refers to a smaller unit with a long hose, light enough to be carried up the steps as you clean the carpet treads.

Our Freebie
without the dog!

To Sleep, Perchance to Dream

4 Nov

As of 10:30, I have only slept one hour in the last twenty-four, and it has not been this cliff-hanger of an election that has me wandering around like Marley’s ghost.

I call it Restless leg Syndrome; the doctors call it Idiopathic Muscle Spasms. Whatever name it goes by, it makes sleeping impossible. When I go to bed – or sit still for too long, for that matter – my legs begin to jerk uncontrollably, and then the rest of my body joins the party. My torso curls, my head moves around, and my hands will begin to flex. Over the years, I’ve taken umpteen different anticonvulsants and Parkinson meds, most of which work fine for a while, and then some sort of dreadful side effect starts up.

Can you say, “Maddening”?

Last night I took my medicine around 9:00, and went upstairs a little after 10 PM to find the cat was there before me. OK, the cat can stay if he curls up at the foot of the bed. I moved Eddie to his designated spot and slid between the covers myself. The resident feline decided he did not want to sleep by himself, but proceeded to walk up my body and sit on my chest. I shoved him rather unceremoniously to one side, and he snuggled up on the pillow, leaning against my head.

And decided to take a nice long bath.

I shoved him out the door and climbed back into bed, only to discover that my medicine had not taken hold, and I was all over the place. I figured I hadn’t waited long enough, so I went back downstairs, cleared the dining room table, and put on a fresh tablecloth. About a year or so ago we got rid of our old work-horse of a table and replaced it with an oval solid cherry model. Now I have no tablecloths that actually fit, and I am OCD enough that this drives me bonkers. I got a ruler and measured how far this cloth hung over on each side – six inches – and then pulled the cloth toward me until the far end was also hanging over six inches. Next step was the measure the long end that was hanging nearly to the floor, mark it a half foot, pull the cloth off, fold it in half and draw the proper radius with a yardstick and a washable pen. The kitchen scissors won’t cut fabric, and The Squire was sawing wood, oblivious to my thrashing around, so I just put the cloth back on the table. I’ll finish it today.

Another trip to the bedroom, and I’m still twitching, so I got up AGAIN and made a pot of corn chowder. Peeled potatoes, chopped onions, yada, yada, and got it going, then took the compost out to the back of the lot, and swept and “Swiffered” the kitchen floor. I took another pill at 2:30, and wandered back to bed at 3:30 this morning. At 5:00 I gave up completely, took a shower and got dressed.

The Squire left around 8:30 to see a doctor about that sore shoulder, so I went upstairs again and slept for an hour. Aaargh!

Tuesday, November 3rd

1 Nov

Choose wisely. The future of our country – and our planet – is at stake.

I am currently reading a book by Jason Stanley, entitled How Fascism Works. In one of the early chapters, he says:

Fascist states focus on dismantling the rule of law, with the goal of replacing it with the dictates of individual rulers or party bosses. It is standard in fascist politics for harsh criticisms of an independent judiciary to occur in the form of accusations of bias, a kind of corruption, critiques that are then used to replace the independent judges with ones who will cynically employ the law as a means to protect the interests of the ruling party. . . . Officially, the justification was that prior practices of judicial neutrality were a mask for bias against the ruling party.

Does any of this sound even remotely familiar? It may well be that certain rulers are not as uneducated as they want us to think. This sort of cynicism is very well planned and executed.

Long, Long Day

30 Oct

Yesterday morning I woke up with an odd black lump on my neck. I had The Squire take a look at it, and he announced I had a deer tick “hanging out near the penthouse”, as he put it. Lovely. Since deer ticks carry Lyme disease we decided a trip to the Doc in a Box was in order. The doctor I saw said scientists have learned that it takes 36 hours for these ticks to actual transmit Lyme to a person, but he still said it was a wise thing to have it removed, “with all of the inward parts”, as he put it.

This 36 hour thing bewilders me. Maybe it’s because the tick was on my neck, but it hurt, and I can’t imagine anybody ignoring it for that long. These critters are incredibly small, which is why I didn’t notice it last night when I washed my face – I probably thought it was another mole popping up – but by morning it was quite obvious.

Anyway, while I was out, I went ahead and did my Thursday evening shopping, and came home to get things sorted out and start a batch of Onion-Dill bread. While that was “doing its thing” I walked out to the road to bring back the recycling bin. As I turned around I saw a man get out of his car and slip on the rain-slicked road. I immediately left the wheelie bin and trotted up to see if he needed help. Turned out he and his wife had seen an injured raccoon in the street and had gotten the critter out of traffic by getting it to chomp down on a snow scraper and dragging it into the ditch. Primitive, but safer than trying to lift several pounds of “armed and dangerous”  Procyon lotor. They had been calling around to various veterinarians and animal shelters, trying to find somebody to help. And of course, “Little Miss Fixit” had to lend a hand.

I went out to the barn to get my parents’ cat carrier, and grabbed an old bathmat on the way back to the road. I figured the rug was considerably heavier than a towel, and arguing with an irate raccoon needed all the protection available. After a fair amount of trouble, the gentleman – Kevin, by name – and I took the crate apart and threw the rug over the ‘coon, which immediately turned around and began to wrestle with it, which was exactly what we hoped it would do. We managed to slide the animal and rug into the bottom of the crate, and then put it back together so we could lug it up to the house.

Not our raccoon

Kevin knew of a no-kill shelter up in Freeland, so he and his wife took crate and all up the road. They came back today to return the carrier and told us they had just about as much trouble getting Mr. R from one cage to the other as we had had getting him into ours in the first place. The lady who runs the shelter finally sprinkled some cat chow into the new living quarters and the raccoon scuttled over with no hesitation. It looked as if it had a broken leg, and one eye was red, but the vet at the shelter said she didn’t think it was anything that couldn’t be repaired.

I still had to run down to White Marsh to collect the bread for the Dough-nation at 9:00, so it was pretty late when I finally tumbled into bed. My trusty pedometer had slightly over 6,000 steps on it, and it does undercount, to it’s no wonder I’m a bit draggy today.

It’s Always Something

28 Oct

Two weeks ago, The Squire fell on the patio and hurt his shoulder. “No big deal. I’m fine.” Uh-huh.

Monday, he asked me to take a look at the sole of his right foot, and we discovered he had a huge abscess. A quick call to his podiatrist, and I drove him up to the office for a look-see. (Because of the trouble The Squire has with his feet, his doctor is always quick to squeeze him in if there’s a problem.) He came out with his foot bandaged up, and two prescriptions – one for a cream and the other for some pills – and strict instructions not to put any weight on the foot at all. He hobbled into the house with his cane, but quickly discovered that the sore shoulder means he can’t use the crutches.

I rolled out the sofa bed so he wouldn’t have to tackle our steps and played Steppin Fetchit most of the day. When I replaced the dressing on his foot I saw a line of dots from near the ankle to the to of his big toe. “What’s that?” asked the nurse? “Oh. Dr. O says if the redness goes up as far as that line, I’m to go to the ER right away.” Lovely.

The Squire is an easy patient, and tries to do as much as possible for himself, but I am very much aware of how much there is to do around here when there’s only one person to do it!

Was There Ever Any Doubt?

19 Oct

Yesterday morning was a bit chilly, even by my standards – 36-F – and I wore a velour robe when I went out to take care of the various critters. I expected it to be the same this morning, but was closer to 50, so when I came in, I unzipped my robe and slipped my arms out, then zipped it back up and tied the sleeves in front.

The Squire was sitting at his computer, fully dressed, and wearing a sweater, while I was half naked. Same room, a foot or so apart, and I was roasting, while he was cold.

He looked at me and chuckled. “You know, if opposites attract, you and I were obviously made for each other.”