Archive | May, 2013

I Fooled You!

30 May

Because of a massively uncooperative thyroid, my hair is very, very thin. For years, I have worn it in a pixie cut and covered my head with a wig. I have several, all the same color as my own hair,and all the same length, but styled differently.

Wednesday morning, I took my shower, gathered my knitting supplies and the dog and, because it was so hot and my head was still wet, didn’t bother to put on a wig.

Several people mentioned that I had gotten my hair cut short. “Is that just for the summer?”

Like the Tar Baby in Bre’r Rabbit, I just didn’t say anything at all.


Things I Have Learned…

28 May

…that I didn’t necessarily want to learn. First of all, two weeks without a kitchen seems to be a month – or more.

What Don calls cove molding

What Don calls cove molding

Second, what Don calls cove molding is NOT what The Squire and I expected. At all.  You know, an inverted quarter round, or something. No such luck. This stuff is 4 inches wide, and about as flexible as an iron bar. Third, the search feature on Sears website is the pits. From what we’ve heard, you can buy both inside and outside corners for this stuff, which you put in place and then simply cut the pieces to fit in between.

You may remember when we looked up the flooring, which is called Rendezvous, we ended up with bras and patio furniture, culminating with a rendezvous with death. Well, I typed in the name of the molding directly off the box and ended up with office furniture. I added the word “floor” to the name and got auto floor mats.

We finally removed what we had installed – just around the mixing cabinet and behind the door – and The Squire went on a search for the wooden molding we had removed. It is slightly narrower than this plastic stuff, so we had to scrub and scrape to remove the glue from the wall, but it will be much, much easier in the long run.

Just a quick update on the break-in at Eldest Daughter’s rental property. At first, it seemed the only thing that had been taken was the framing hammer. Son-in-law has a motor which is sort of a masculine version of an Osterizer.  You can connect all sorts of things to this and use it as an electric nail gun, a power drill, a saw, and so forth. The thieves took the motor and left all of the accessories. They also used the basement bathroom, and left the lights and the fan turned on.

As I said, very sophisticated squatters.

Closing in on it!

23 May

Well, I now have a working cooktop, a sink, and a dishwasher. We are getting into the big time, here, folks, let me tell you!

Tuesday, The Squire had his godson come over to help us get the countertop in place. This involved gluing together two mitered pieces – one nine feet long and the other six feet. The pieces had to be glued and bolted while upside down on the kitchen floor (braced with pieces of 2×4 because of the backsplash) and then flipped over and positioned on top of the cabinets. There is a ‘steenth of an inch bump where the two pieces meet, but it is in the corner, and since we saved $500 by doing this ourselves instead of having the store pre-make it, the bump is NOT at all noticeable, thank you very much.

The fellow from BGE Home came in yesterday (Wednesday) morning and found that both the cooktop and the dishwasher needed some changes because Building Code had changed since the originals were installed. He came back this morning at 8:00 and set to work.  Everything looked ready to roll until we turned the pump back on and water started flooding from under the wall beside the dishwasher. A momentary panic, but “relatively” easy to fix. By relatively, I mean we (The Squire and the service man) had to unbolt the end cabinet from the wall, remove the paneling and part of the sheet rock, and then reconnect a joint which had come loose when the man had pulled on it to hook up one connection or another.

And then we had to put it all back again.

I am now trying to find all of my “stuff” to put away. I’m still stymied by the lack of the pantry, but The Squire has worked his fingers to the bone for the last few weeks, and while it is obvious the work has to be done, I’m not pushing him.

I discovered I have eighteen dishcloths,  twenty tea towels, and the same number of hand towels. Considering that I seldom do dishes by hand, this is a bit excessive. I do like to put out a clean dishcloth and towel every day, but I think ten each would be more than enough. There is no “five second rule” when a wet dishcloth hits the floor, so I do need a few extras. Some of my dishcloths look as if The Squire has been borrowing them when he changes the oil in the car.  How can something you use for one day and then wash with bleach get so incredibly yucky?

Ah, dear old Don showed up late Tuesday. Personally, I don’t consider 7:30 to be “afternoon”.


Lock Up!

22 May

In between two funerals in the last week and preparing for her daughter’s wedding within the next two weeks, Eldest Daughter and her husband are rehabbing a townhouse to rent out.

When they went over last night, the door frame and door were all kicked and broken, and new locks had been installed.

They immediately called the police, who helped them get into the house – using a credit card. With all sorts of equipment sitting around – power saws, paint, ladders, and all the stuff that goes with it, nothing appeared to have been stolen, except my son-in-law’s framing hammer, which seems to have been used to “repair” the damage done to the exterior frame, and then pocketed on the way out.

Who ever broke in had managed to thwart the door knob, but not the dead bolt, which is why they had the knock down the door. They installed a new lock and deadbolt, but they were so busy pocketing the hammer they forgot to lock their own deadbolt, so it was easy to get back into the house.

Son-in-law went off and bought a new, new door set, which he installed, and also put up a “No Trespassing” sign, on which he wrote “New Owners” and his office phone number.

They had bought the house as a short sale so there was no mortgage, but sometimes banks send people out on foreclosure details who get the wrong number, going to 316 instead of 326, or get the wrong street and scare the daylights out of somebody who lives in the next block. The next door neighbor is home all the time, and has promised to call both Eldest Daughter and the police at once if he sees anybody strange hanging around.

Never a dull…


20 May

I am posting this early because if I don’t get it done before 7 PM, it shows up with the tomorrow’s date on it.

Yesterday was Pentecost, which is always fun at our church. The service booklet is printed out in two columns, one English and the other whatever. The first lesson was read in Swahili, and the second in Hindi. The Epistle was done in Japanese (we don’t have two people who speak the same language, so we just skip the psalm), then I sang the first verse of the gradual hymn in Cherokee. Fr. Matthew read the Gospel in Italian (He says good news always sounds better in Italian – but then, so does bad news.) and I did the second verse of the gradual hymn. The sermon was in English – aha! – and then the Prayers were done in Spanish. The anthem was a Zulu hymn, and the Lord’s Prayer was read in Danish, German, and English.

Anyway, you don’t often get Episcopalians speaking in tongues, and I don’t think any other parish in the diocese does this.

Good old Don called Saturday to say he would be down yesterday morning. The Squire told him we go to church on Sundays, and please come after 1 PM. I don’t suppose it would surprise anybody if I told you he never showed up at all. Lowe’s called us not too long after we got home to say the new dishwasher is in. We could come get it, or they would call back to arrange delivery today – for free. They called about 9 PM, and the dishwasher arrived at 1:00 today. The delivery man carried the dishwasher all the way down the driveway on his back all! Our drive is the better part of a tenth of a mile! And then he carried off the old machine the same way. The Squire will start that tomorrow.

When the fellows from Sears dismantled the stove base, the pipe to the cook top was damaged. The Squire got the cook top back in place, but we can’t use it because gas is leaking; could be the pipe is indeed damaged, or just that a connection is loose. At any rate, it’s a job for a professional. The Squire called the Gas and Electric company this morning, and the soonest they can get here is Wednesday.

This all might make a lot more sense if I explained that we have a gas stove top, and an electric wall oven, which belongs in the currently disassembled pantry. Heaven only knows when THAT will get put back together. We wanted to replace the oven with a self-cleaning model, but I could have gotten an entire new stove for less than they want just for the oven. Don’t ask me to explain it.  At the moment, I’d be content to have running water and my gas stove.

We are leaving here very shortly to go to the viewing for our grandson’s father-in-law.  Eldest daughter recommended we go between 3 and 5, because the later viewing (I keep wanting to say “late service”) will be crowded; they are having a Coast Guard ceremony, and chances are they will do Eternal Father. We followed my dad’s coffin into the cemetery to that hymn, and fourteen years later I still come unglued every time I hear it.

We have discovered that the sound of nails being pulled out of the wall makes the lady who lives in the alarm system say “Kitchen glass break alert”. Between hearing that a thousand times, and her constantly telling us the kitchen door is open, I’m even farther along the road to insanity than I was before. I think she’s the sister of the lady who lives inside the GPS and keeps saying “recalculating, recalculating”.

Because I bake a lot, I buy my flour ten to fifteen pounds at a time. I keep it in a well-scrubbed kitty litter bucket under the cook top, and stack my frying pans on top, out of sight. When we dragged everything out of the kitchen, the bucket ended up on top of a pile of stuff – I think maybe the old base to the cook top. Because the top wasn’t pushed down tight, the raccoon decided last night to see if the flour was edible, so I woke up this morning to find flour all over the carport, and the bucket knocked over. Apparently, the silly thing fell in head first, and then shook himself and sent flour flying.Allium

Some days, all you can do is laugh.

The Squire went out to get the mail while I was taking my nap, and asked me if tulips ever had anomalies. He showed me this picture; the foliage certainly does resemble tulips leaves, but I had to tell him it wasn’t an anomaly, it was an allium.

I really do love that man!

A Snail’s Pace

19 May
This is not a scene from Hoarders!
This is not a scene from Hoarders!

Sears has come and gone, for the most part, leaving a trail of dust and debris in their wake.  The dining room table has pretty much disappeared under everything in the base cabinets and the pantry.  We still don’t have a stove or running water in the kitchen, but The Squire put a piece of counter top over the stove base, so I can plug in the electric fry pan and my small tea pot. The microwave works, but I really do need to get the toaster oven off the cardboard box and onto something a bit more suitable. It’s hard to see, but there is a wire draped over the corner cupboard door to keep the alarm system connected.


Sir Edmund is not going out this late at night!
Sir Edmund is not going out this late at night!

The floor is down and it is wonderful!  We are also slowly getting the cabinets in, although some needed items from Sears have yet at materialize. They are supposed to bring the molding to go around the cabinets, but so far all we have gotten is promises. The salesman, and the two fellows who did the installation were all terrific, but Don is on my list. He calls to say he will be down “in the afternoon”, we leave a message that we must leave the house at 6:00, and he sticks a paper in the door that he was here at 6:45.

Anyway, the stove will go next to the fridge, the new dishwasher will be between the two cabinets on the far wall, and then everything needs to be stained to match the original wood. And of course, the rest of the countertops installed. The Squire is in his glory, as he enjoys making BIG kitchens as much as I enjoy making small ones.

And it will all be worth the wait!

Not a Good Week

15 May

In between living in a house that resembles an episode of The Hoarders we have been hit with another spate of deaths and illnesses.

On May 9th, one of Eldest Granddaughter’s childhood friends slipped in the shower at college and died, apparently of a concussion. She was twenty. Horrible.

mike weissEldest Grandson’s father-in-law never smoked, but had developed lung cancer, and had part of one lung removed, which the doctors hoped would take care of the problem. He was admitted to the hospital late last week, suddenly got much, much worse, and died early this morning. He was only 52. Too young to die, and his daughter is 23, far too young to have lost her father. The kids have only been married since October, so this is so very difficult, to grow up and have to face life – and death – so quickly and so harshly.

Got an email this afternoon that a long-time member of our congregation had a stroke last Thursday or Friday, and is not doing well. She had one stroke about ten years ago, and always looked as if a good puff of wind would knock her over, but her husband took such good care of her. He died of a heart attack just six months ago (a total shock as we all expected her to go first) and apparently this stroke occurred on the six month anniversary of his death. This couple lost their only child at Lockerbie, and tomorrow would have been his birthday. The son’s best friend has always stayed close to the family, calling them Aunt and Uncle, and sort of being a surrogate son; he flew in from California, and he says he thinks she has just given up.

I think I will go wipe the sawdust off my furniture and count my blessings, starting with The Squire, and going though each child, grandchild, and dear friend I can think of.

I am blessed.

This Should be Interesting

13 May

The men from Sears showed up at 9 AM to begin to install the new kitchen floor. The Squire and I had already moved almost everything out of the kitchen, but they wanted to move the stove cabinet, too. We’d have been content to leave it, but they don’t want to have to cut around it.

Everything in the kitchen – dishwasher, sink, cabinets – is either on the dining room table or the carport. In spite of what you may have heard, I do NOT handle clutter very well.

And – one of the men is afraid of dogs! How do you confine a 70 pound dog in a house with lots of doorways but very few doors? Blazer’s normal run is an 80 foot wire between two trees in the backyard, and a thirty foot tie, which means he can reach the kitchen door. The fellows are constantly running back and forth between the house and the truck, so that won’t do. The Squire moved the tie to a hook by the pond in the front yard, but the ground out there is very wet, and little sun for Blazer to catch a few rays.

The ideal thing – right now – would be a walk in the park, but I am too weak for that, so the poor puppy is confined to the living room and the front porch with a barricade of chairs from the dining room table.

Oh, and one of the men smokes. Even though he stays outside, with the kitchen door removed it comes straight into the house.

I think I’m going to go take a nap.

Chaos Ensues

10 May

Sears called here on Wednesday morning to say the flooring we ordered would be ready this coming Monday.

The base cabinet under the breakfast bar had already been cleared, but we still have to get under the sink, and what we call the mixing center. We keep all of our cereal, cooking wine, pasta, and so forth under there, are well as the blancher and the big electric tea kettle. It’s probably a good idea to empty kitchen cupboards from time to time, anyway, so you don’t end up with duplicates of red cooking wine, cider vinegar, and muscatel. Muscatel? Where did that come from?Discovered we had two cartons of Italian bread crumbs and three open containers of split peas, which neither of us like. Very mysterious. A can of whole oysters? I’ve been allergic to iodine all my life!

Now, there are moving boxes all over the dining room table and no place to eat. Not that it matters anyway; this morning I couldn’t find the carton that has the cereal. Cooked oatmeal instead. At least I could find a pot to cook it in.

And then, in the spirit of “while we at it”, The Squire decided to rebuild the pantry. This is a closet he designed and built when we were young, dumb, and wildly in love. (Now, we are old, still not too bright, and very much in love. Two out of three ain’t bad.) The pantry is three and a half feet wide, two feet deep, and six feet tall. The front – the widest side – has a two by two foot closet on the bottom, also known as the Black Hole of Calcutta, for the bread machine, the wok, and odd pans I don’t use very often. Above that is the electric oven, and then all the way across the top are shelves for canned goods, hidden behind a pair of doors. The side has one large floor-to-ceiling door, which opens to reveal deep “slots” at the top for my wedding cake pans, shorter, narrower slots for cake and pie pans, and then a huge space, completely lined with peg board, to hold the cooking pots I use most often. It really is a marvel of making the best possible use of the space you have. So – more packing boxes and more culinary surprises.

And, of course, all of the things we piled on the counters will also have to be stowed so the counters and cupboards can be moved during the Grand Laying of the Floor.

Wish me luck.

Ah! In addition to the snakes, mice, stink bugs and flies, the ants are back. And this is the year of the cicada. Pharaoh himself didn’t have it so good.

Lord of the Flies

6 May

For the last few days we have been besieged with the biggest house flies I have seen in years. Some of these babies are large enough to saddle up and ride – and they are everywhere. It’s far too cool here to have windows and doors open – 60F/15C – so they are obviously coming from someplace inside the house.

We put out De-Con about a week ago, and I have the feeling  something is rotten in Denmark – or the attic.

Lovely. Just lovely.