Archive | July, 2012

Just Dashing Through

31 Jul

I left last Thursday – July 26th – to take The Squire’s godson and another young man from church off for five days in Williamsburg. (It was supposed to be six days, but more on that later.) We have a time-share, so lodging is no problem, and I got annual passes, so we can all go back next summer. The boys are 14, so I wondered if they’d enjoy it, but they said they had a blast and are really looking forward to going again.

Both of them were delightful company. They made their beds without my even suggesting it, said Yes, Ma’am, and No, Ma’am, offered their seats on the bus to women, and were just generally wonderful young men. They looked, asked intelligent questions, and I received a number of compliments on how well they carried themselves. Some one even stopped me in church to say they were impressed with the fact that the boys had passed the Peace with firm handshakes, looked folks in the eye and spoke clearly.  No mumbling or shifty eyes.

I had to chuckle at the Godson. He had remembered to bring his Prayer Book, but when I glanced at him halfway through service, he was using the red one from the pew. “Where is your own book?” He patted his pants pocket. “Right here” he whispered back.

This photo was taken outside the Capitol gates. The Godson is Mr. Cool. The mugs got you free refills of soda, cider, and soft-serve ice cream for the entire visit, and were prized possessions!

The resort has a hot tub in each ground floor unit, and even though it was over 100 outside, they spent two evenings splashing around in the tub.  Nuts.

Got home yesterday afternoon, and now I am gearing up to leave again to drive to North Carolina for The Squire’s 50th HS reunion. He had told me the dinner was this coming Saturday night, followed by a picnic on Sunday, so we planned on leaving Friday morning, which would have given me an extra day in Colonial Williamsburg. He couldn’t find the paper with the name of the restaurant, and after I convinced him to call and ask somebody (no, you can’t just drive around town looking for a place with lots of cars in front) he discovered the dinner is Friday night and the picnic is on Saturday afternoon.

No wonder God had to create women.

One More Time!

25 Jul

I went to the lawyer’s this afternoon and signed another set of “final” papers. I think we may be coming down the home-stretch. One of the checks I gave her was for the probate court. she said it would be another twenty days or so. Now, was that twenty “real” days, or twenty business days? All the papers were addressed to the Orphans Court. It seems odd to be considered an orphan at 70. That’s usually a term one saves for small children.

Well, at least I can go away without having to watch every penny.  I am leaving on Thursday morning to take The Squire’s godson and a another young man from church to Williamsburg for several days. They are both 14 – old enough that I don’t have to watch them every second, and young enough to still be enthralled by the sights and sounds.  I adore Williamsburg – this is what I teach! – but The Squire has difficulty walking great distances, and isn’t all that interested. On the other hand, I can go through the Air and Space Museum in twenty minutes flat and have time to go the rest room, while most men can spend hours admiring the astronauts’ toothbrushes.

To each his own…

Dodging Bullets, Washing Dishes

20 Jul

Wow! The “nice” rain storm we had here last night was a real monster in downtown Baltimore, where close to two and a half inches fell between 6:30 and 7:30.  In some areas, particularly near the harbor, the standing water was up to people’s knees.  They were canoeing down Aliceanna Street.

On top of this, two water mains broke on Tuesday. A twenty-inch pipe broke in the heart of the business district, and a much smaller one broke in a residential area.  As of yesterday – Thursday – folks were already sending irate letters to the paper, wanting to know why it was “taking so long” for repairs to be made. Yeesh! You can’t just put a big ol’ cork in a water pipe,  y’know. (I wonder if these are the same folks who want power lines buried?)

It really is a mess. You think things are tough with no electricity? You should try living in the city with no water. The Squire and I live way back of beyond, and no matter what happens, we can move the lid to the well and draw water for drinking, and flush the toilet with water from the pond.  You do have an odd perspective of what constitutes a “convenience” when you think it’s good the toilet is on the first floor and right under a window! We have also melted snow for drinking water, but that is almost more trouble than it’s worth. A blancher full of snow will give you a mug full of water. A foot of snow equals an inch of rain. I’d just as soon put on my boots and struggle out to the well.

Right before we went to bed last night, I asked The Squire to start the dishwasher, which he did. Unfortunately, he assumed I’d put in the detergent, so they got washed with simple hot water and violence. The dishes look respectable, but the silverware was obviously in need of some hand-washing.

My mother tried to convince us (maybe she really believed it) that cutlery dried shinier if you didn’t rinse off the soap.  My father once grumbled that they gave people soapy water to make them throw up when they ate something poisonous, and would try to sneak in a rinse if she wasn’t looking. She also had a “thing” about wiping the dishes, rather than let them air-dry. One time she and my dad went out and left my sister and me to wash – and dry – the dinner dishes. We washed them, stacked them in the drainer, and went to watch TV. Unfortunately, we forgot to go back and them away. When we saw the headlights turn into the drive, we both raced to the kitchen and began slamming silverware into drawers and dishes into cabinets. We didn’t move fast enough, so there were still dishes in the drainer when my mom walked in. She went over to the sink, got herself a glass of water, drank half of it, and then poured what she hadn’t finished over the dry dishes. She very nicely rinsed out her glass several times, pouring that water over the dishes, too.

She could be just plain mean, in addition to probably being mad as a hatter.

Great News!

19 Jul

It is raining! This is the first rain we have had here in three weeks; the last rain was that horrible storm on June 29th, which brought down all the trees and knocked out the power.  We have had a nice steady rain for the last three hours. Not dreadfully hard, but it is soaking into the ground better this way. There is thunder and lightning all around us, so maybe it will last a good while. Still hot, though – it’s 80 on the patio at 7:00.

When I went out to feed the raccoons, I poked my head around the corner and startled a great blue heron who had been standing in the pond.  It flapped away – they are the most ungainly of God’s creatures – and tried to land in the branches of the smaller of our two weeping willows. Big bird + small tree = bad news. The bird finally managed to get airborne again and sailed off. Can a bird look embarrassed?


Country Magic

19 Jul

I went out about 9:30 last night to feed the raccoons, and sat for a moment in the rocker on the patio to enjoy the “cool” (it was down to 85 from a high of 104) and just listen to the night noises.

The raccoon family came out – first time I’ve ever seen all of them at once. Both parents and two kits. I sat absolutely still, enthralled, while they ate. The parents took a few bites of dog food and then moved back to the let the kits eat until they were full. In the meantime, Jiggs (I suppose; it was the larger adult) wandered around, looking and snuffling. He came over to where I was sitting, sniffed my bare feet, and then reached up and put his front paws on my knee and looked me straight in the eye. I was SOOO tempted to reach over and stroke his back, but decided not to risk it. It was enough that he had approached me. After a few seconds, satisfied, he dropped back down to all fours and walked over to finish his supper.

I stayed where I was until they had all filed back down into the drain pipe, almost unable to believe my good fortune. Magic!

A Very Merry Un-Birthday – to ME!

16 Jul

Yesterday, The Squire and I went up to Eldest Daughter’s house for a birthday party for the Grandson. I was a tad suspicious because I had asked if she and the kids wanted to go to the baseball game on Saturday and she had said they were having a party for him, but The Squire said, No, she’d just gotten the days mixed up – and besides, my birthday isn’t until next week.

It was just a group of our closest friends from church – three other couples, plus Eldest Daughter, both of her children and their fiancées.  Both young couples were bubbling over with wedding plans, showing off engagements rings, and generally glowing with happiness.  They are all delightful kids, and we are so pleased for them.

I got a HUGE cup and saucer, decorated with yellow roses – my favorite flower – and some fancy tea bags, plus shower gel and other things to make me “boo-ful”.  I got a very nice sleep mask, and a card from one couple that had us all laughing. On the front, it said “On the day that you were born, the angels got together and said…” and when you open the card, there is maniacal laughter, and “this one is going to cause some serious trouble down there”.  Oh! Do they know me!

Got to talking about life in general and one of the fellows told us about the time he and a friend found a six-pack of beer cooling in a mountain stream. Without a word, the two of them emptied their canteens,  filled them with beer, and continued their hike. After about an hour, between the heat of the day and the jostling of the mountain climb, the canteens exploded. “Turned into aluminum flowers” was the way he described it. “We ended up licking the insides of the canteens.” Don’t believe anything they tell you about Eagle Scouts!

Eldest Daughter used an entire box of candles on the cake, and then we couldn’t find anything to light them. Nobody smokes any more, so there were no lighters or matches to be found. One of the fellows finally got the foot long lighter from the gas grill, and we sang happy birthday, cut the cake, and enjoyed watching a tremendous thunder-storm, with loads of rain.

Unfortunately, although it rained up there, it didn’t rain a drop down here. Maybe next week, on my real birthday.

Amazing Grace

15 Jul

Last night, The Squire and I went to a baseball game.

Our seats were exactly in the middle of the row, and although the row in front of us was nearly empty, our row was occupied from end to end. About midway through the game, I decided to go out and get something to eat – chicken tenders for the carnivore in the group and cheese nachos for myself, plus a soda to split.

Going out, and heading downhill, I stepped onto the seat in the row in front of us.  Coming back, I handed the food to The Squire, but still had the soda in my hand. Going up, I again stepped on the seat of the row in front of us – and slid DOWN the seat, getting my foot caught between the back and the seat.  I felt as if my leg was caught in a bear trap! I pretty much managed to hang onto the soda, but squeezed the cup and splashed a fair part of our drink all over my front, as well as several spectators, and the book I was reading.

A bad sprain, but all bandaged up this morning, and I think I’ll survive.

Another Fine Mess

13 Jul

I finally had a few minutes to spare this morning and laid out the stuff to complete the shingles on Savannah’s house: shingles, paint, hot glue, waxed paper.

When I spun the house around to put the last few shingles on the back of the roof, I discovered the wallpaper I had printed off and applied in the little girl’s room had “bled” all over the place. It looked as if some blue and red fungus had taken root, instead of the Raggedy Ann and Andy I’d put in there. Talk about revolting developments! I peeled off as much of the paper as I could, but the ink has actually gone through the paper and is now embedded in the walls.


Will have to go to Michael’s and get some scrapbook paper, and redo the room. I hate when that happens.

Dante’s Inferno

7 Jul

It is blistering here (still 102 f at 7:45 in the evening), and the compressor in the bedroom a/c went up last night. It was still far too hot outside to open the windows and just use the fan to pull in fresh air.

Under normal circumstances, we would have gone down and opened the sofa bed, but for reasons way beyond MY comprehension, The Squire decided to put the downstairs unit in the kitchen instead on the living room.  The living room and dining room are one long space, but the kitchen is off to the side, and there is no circulation. What was he thinking? I needed a sweater in the kitchen and it was almost 100 f in the dining room. Mind you, if he could find some itty-bitty unit for the kitchen, that would be great, but we do NOT need 8,000 BTUs in a room barely 11 feet to a side.

I went in and spent ten minutes getting all the junk off my guestroom bed (which doubles as a sewing/craft room) and slept in there, as that a/c was working.

I knew he was going to the movies this morning, and the last thing I said to him was, “When you and Mac go to the movies tomorrow, be sure to stop at Lowe’s and get a new a/c”.  I had to run out to the library and the farmer’s market today,  and he had come home while I was out.

“Do you need help with the a/c or did Mac already help you?”

Blank look. “Honestly, it completely slipped my mind.”

How can you possibly walk out of a movie theater, which is usually cold enough to hang meat, and not be reminded that your bedroom is going to be just about as hot as the sidewalk? Sometimes, I wonder just which one of us had the stroke.

At any rate, we did move the downstairs unit out of the kitchen and into the living room, which is half the battle. Next came calling every home improvement store between Philly and DC to find a new one for the bedroom. Small comfort, I suppose, to learn that Lowe’s didn’t have one in stock, anyway. He finally located one at Sears, and we got it hooked up as soon as he got home.

Will somebody please explain why on Earth a person needs a remore control for an air conditioner? Good Lord, deliver us!

Some Photos from the Baptism, and an Ugh! Moment

7 Jul

 This is a shot of my nephew Brian, his wife Ruth, and their son Eric, along with her brother, Andrew, who is Timothy Martin’s godfather. Andy’s wife is Tim’s godmother, but she was working out of town.

I had to get a quick update from my brother-in-law on how Lutherans do Communion. It’s been over 45 years since I left the Missouri Synod, and even though Lutherans change at the same glacial rate as Episcopalians, things do creep along. Back in the day, the pastor gave each person a small individual cup of wine, but at this service the pastor had a chalice of wine, and the server had a tray of small cups,  a few with white grape juice, and wine in the rest. They moved along side by side, so you could partake as you wished.   When I left Missouri, there was a great hoo-rah going on about whether to continue using all personal cups or switch to a common chalice. They seem to have reached a nice compromise.  At another Lutheran church we attended, those who wanted to use individual cups had to come up at the end, which really made them obvious. This way moved much more smoothly.

After the service, I mentioned to Pastor Linthicum that our rector always compares wearing a polyester alb in the summer to preaching in a zip-lock bag.  He laughed and said it was more like being wrapped in a shower curtain, especially since there was no A/C that day.  And, of course, there’s always a spotlight over the altar, which just makes it hotter. I’ve looked in pattern books to see about making myself a cotton or linen alb to wear when I am a chalicist but even with as much sewing as I’ve done over the years, it seems to be a rather daunting task.

Many years ago, we gave each of our grandchildren a plaque with their names in English in the center, and as many alphabets as we could find around the outside.  I decided this was as good a time as any to do up a set for Brian and Ruth’s boys, and I also made one for Brian’s brother’s daughter, Brooklyn.  There is no B or R in Cherokee, so Erik became “Elik(e)” and poor Brooklyn is just “Ooklyn”. The writing on these is Cherokee, Russian, Hindi, Hebrew, Japanese, and Greek.  (Other than an S sound, all Cherokee syllables end in a vowel sound, so even Brooklyn had an uh on the end.)

The Squire is very hard of hearing, and we do not have central air conditioning, so there is always a buzzing going on in the summer. Yesterday morning, the cat was screaming outside our bedroom door, that he was going to just lay down and DIE if he didn’t get fed right now. I stumbled down stairs, took my synthroid,  fed both Eddie and Blazer, filled all the various outdoor feeders, and staggered back up to bed. I set the timer for an hour and a half, as I had an appointment with the back surgeon at 10:30, closed my eyes, and was gone.

Apparently, my getting into bed disturbed The Squire enough to get him out, which was just as well, as he had to see the dermatologist at 9:30.  He came up and woke me when he was leaving, bearing a cup of coffee and the newspaper. He said he hadn’t seen Eddie and Blazer wouldn’t eat his breakfast.  Well, Eddie had gone out after he ate, and Blazer was full of his first breakfast. (First dog I’ve ever had that didn’t eat until he fell over; he’ll eat what he wants and then quits.)

So – this afternoon when I got home I removed my contacts, washed my face, and put on my jammies, then started to work on the Bombay house some more. I dropped a small part to a lamp (still haven’t found it) and while I was crawling around on the dining room floor I noticed a largish, dark blob, which I first thought might be a pillow from the dollhouse sofa.

It was a gift from dear Eddie – the head of a mouse. Blegh!