Archive | June, 2013

What I Did on Summer Vacation

29 Jun

Well, where was I?

I went to one doctor on Monday afternoon (June 17th) and another on Friday morning, and it was obvious I NOT well enough to drive to Williamsburg. I really didn’t want to disappoint the boys, and I’d already reserved the time share, which I was quite honestly too cheap to cancel. So, to make a long story short, The Squire cancelled all of his own plans, and went to Williamsburg with us.

When I called the Godson’s mother to tell her “there had been a change of plans” her immediate response was to ask if I had decided not to go. Apparently I have not been “keeping up appearances” as well as I thought. Anyway, she agreed to come over every day and feed the cat and the outside livestock, and we boarded the dog with our vet.

We went to early church on Sunday, collected the Godson and his friend, piled more stuff into the back of the van than I believed possible, and off we went. We stopped for lunch about 1:00, and I had a dickens of a time getting out of the car and across the parking lot. Getting back on my feet after sitting for long periods is sheer agony. However, once I’m on my feet for about ten minutes, I’m good to go.
When we unpacked on Sunday evening I discovered that I had forgotten one of my medicines. We went to the drugstore that evening, but they could not suggest any OTC that I could substitute, so I had a couple of VERY rough nights. Didn’t actually get it all ironed out until Wednesday afternoon. I called my doctor on Tuesday, but he did not get the prescription called in until early Wednesday. We stopped at the store on the way home that afternoon, and the clerk couldn’t find it, and I nearly panicked. Fortunately one of the druggists remembered the call and found that my last name had been misspelled. Whoosh!

We also found that in spite of the prices we pay for our time share, Internet access is an extra $8 a day, which is why I have been incommunicado for a while.

We managed to get the boys on their feet and out the door at a reasonable hour on Monday morning. Got The Squire a pass at the Visitors Center and sallied forth. We went to the DeWitt-Wallace museum first and I wandered around the portrait collection while the fellows did whatever it was they were doing. We met for lunch at the café, and then they agreed to continue doing some male bonding, and I spent some more time in the museum. We had arranged for me to meet them at 2:30 at the Raleigh Tavern for colonial dancing lessons, but I didn’t allow myself enough time, so I missed out. Would have taken me far too long to take the bus, and walking nearly a mile was faster but still not productive. Got myself some root beer, chatted with a couple and admired their two little girls, and waited until the men folk came out. The Squire wore his “We have nothing to fear” T-shirt, and got a zillion compliments on it.

We all got some soft-serve ice cream, and walked toward the bus stop to return to the Visitors Center. Came upon a mother sheep and her itty-bitty new lamb. I took one photo standing up and then stooped down to take another through the fence, so I would have more of a head –on shot. I had to get The Squire and the Godson to help me to my feet.??????????
When we got in, the Godson crashed in an armchair in the living room and that was the end of him for an hour or so. I took my book and sat out on the patio for a while, and a half dozen deer came out of the woods to graze in the field behind the apartment. I walked slowly out to the edge of the tree line so I could get a good picture, but they all scattered. I sat in the grass and waited, but they never came out, and I couldn’t get up. The Squire came out and rescued me – again.

It’s going to take a while to get used to having to stay upright most of time.

Wednesday I went off to see a program on the lives of slaves during the American Revolution, and the irony of people such as Washington, Jefferson, and Patrick Henry owning slaves while fighting for their own freedom from England. The Squire and the boys went to a talk about the use of oxen in farming, which actually sounded pretty interesting. After lunch, we went to a reenactment of a trial, and The Squire got elected to be a Justice of the Peace, and the Godson was asked to play the part of an apprentice who had been served rum at a tavern, which was a no-no. He was under age and apprentices weren’t allowed to frequent taverns at any rate.

We’d eaten lunch twice at Chowning’s Tavern and once at the DeWitt Café, and we were all pretty tired of the same old, same old, but The King’s Arms Tavern was about $30 a plate and even the kids knew that we weren’t eating there. We were headed to the Market Square(modern stuff) when we passed the William & Mary bookstore, which had a café, so we went up there and ate instead. Something different, and slightly less expensive, which didn’t hurt, either. Godson heard a brownie calling his name, so he had dessert. It was nearly a religious experience.??????????

Back at the apartment, we were fixing sandwiches and I managed to cut my finger while slicing a bagel. The Squire finished slicing mine for me, and offered to slice bagels for the boys. Godson said he could do it himself, and The Squire came him a bit of a growl about not cutting off his thumb, too.

“Oh, I’m young. It’ll grow back.”

So, that’s half the story. I’ll fill you in on the rest tomorrow.

Advertisements

Now We’re Cooking With – Electric?

16 Jun

OvenHip, hip, hooray! I finally have an oven! A real, honest to goodness oven! Not only that, but it is a much nicer one than I expected.

When we began to remodel the kitchen, I told The Squire that I would be perfectly content to keep the oven we had, but I would really like to have a self-cleaning model if at all possible.

Well.

For reasons beyond my understanding, a wall oven alone can cost as much as, or more than, an entire free standing stove. A full gas stove wouldn’t have been bad, but the newer models have a “safety” feature which causes the gas to stop flowing when the electricity goes out. The cooktop I currently have is an older model and I can light it with a match if necessary. Sitting around in the dark is one thing. Going hungry is another. I am perfectly capable of cooking over an open fire, but to be honest, I wouldn’t call it safer than using the stove.

A friend told us about a warehouse in Baltimore that sells appliances and suggested we check there. The woman in charge said they get them at auctions or overstock. Some are new, some are refurbished, but all come with a 30 day “house call” repair or replacement, if necessary.  This model is somewhat larger than the one we had – 30 inches rather than 24 – which means The Squire had to completely refigure the pantry, but we are now the proud owners of a bouncing baby Jenn-Air oven – both self cleaning and convection, thank you very much, with a built-in microwave.

Which set us back the grand sum of $150, plus tax.

So – the space under the oven will hold a large drawer for the wok and other unwieldy items, and The Squire is going to put a hinged door above the microwave for big platters and trays that only get used at Christmas and such. The tall open space on the side will have pantry shelves from about the bottom of the microwave up for canned goods, and the bottom will be lined with pegboard for my pots and pans. New wallpaper, and we’re ready to roll.

Thanks be to God!

That and a Buck-Fifty

13 Jun

If you had a chance to see my original blog  (www.endoftheswap.blogspot.com) then you know that my grandmother always told me I was a “princess”, a direct descendant of one of Maria Theresa’s many offspring, on my grandfather’s side of the family, and needed to act like a lady, which generally meant to stop whatever fun thing I was involved in at the moment. I, of course, fell for this nonsense hook, line, and sinker, although I realize now that my friends figured out it was a load of the finest long before I did.

Not too long before she went into a nursing home, my mother gave me a ring which she said had been in the family for generations.  According to her,  one of our ancestors had a pair of earrings, but no daughters, so she had the earrings made into tie pins for each of her two sons. The sons, in turn, had the tie pins converted into rings for their wives.  I had taken the ring to a jeweler to have it appraised, simply because I figured it was probably something that had been picked up in Target and passed off as The Real McCoy. The jeweler said it was a “very fine item” and offered to buy it from me on the spot.

Since there had originally been two rings, I contacted my cousin – my grandfather’s brother’s grandson – and asked him if he knew anything about the second ring. He did not know its whereabouts but did know the story, and forwarded me a picture of the Kaiserin herself, wearing a pair of earrings that looked mighty familiar.  He says  the other ring stayed in Europe, with the descendants of the second brother. The dates and names he gave me all add up, so there may be something to it after all.

So, this and a dollar and a half will get me a cup of coffee.

Happily Ever After

9 Jun

AmandaSteveOur eldest granddaughter, the beautiful Miss ANV got married on Saturday evening to the handsome Mr. GSH.  The bride was radiant,  the groom was beaming, the weather cooperated, and all was well.  It rained stair rods on Friday and today was not a lot better, so they really were fortunate to have a mild, sunny day.

They chose to be married at a refurbished dairy barn way the heck out in the country, which was really a lovely setting. The “kids” did a lot of the work themselves. Granddaughter haunted thrift shops for vintage china, so each guest had a different plate, and they sprayed votive cups with gold paint to hold tea lights. The guest book was a globe she’d found someplace; The Squire turned it upside down and my brother-in-law and I signed it across Australia.  The holder for the wedding cards was a huge old birdcage; you poked the cards in between the wires. It would be a great idea for couples who get married in hotels and such, where thieves walk in and then saunter out with the “mail box”. A four foot birdcage is hard to slip under your coat.

The DJ was very, very good. Eldest Daughter (mother of the bride) had put us in the far corner, so we wouldn’t be blasted by loud music, but most of the songs were played at a reasonable level, and I even got The Squire up to do the Old Folks Shuffle once or twice.

We were back home by 9 PM, and tucked into bed by 10. No telling what the music was like after the fogies left, but a good time was had by all.

If it Ain’t Broke…

7 Jun

…fix it until it is.

We got a recall letter from Kia, saying that there was a problem with some of the cars. The brake lights would go on and not go off, which could be a bit confusing to the person behind you. We hadn’t noticed any problems (we both check our lights and such if we park in front of a building with large windows) but I took The Squire up to the dealer yesterday morning so he could drop off the car, and then took him back up when the dealer called to say the car was ready.

I had a stop to make on the way home, so I pulled into the drive well after he had gotten in. The brake lights were on. He went out and turned the ignition on and the off again, and the lights went out.

Yesterday evening we had to make two trips – one over to the local grocery, and then later down to White Marsh. When we came back from the grocery I told him to let me out at the top of the drive so I could watch the car. Brake lights on, nothing happened when he stepped on the pedal, and still on when he turned off the engine.

Cute.

When we went to White Marsh, the brake lights immediately went on and as far as we know, stayed on the entire time. I had to run into Target and he sat in the car and waited for me. I could spot him a half block away. We had another stop to make in the same shopping center, and The Squire asked me to pump the brakes while he watched. The lights did go out, but when we got home, they were on again. I figured I’d end up hanging from the roof rack with a red flag, letting folks know when we were really going to stop.

AND, there was a warning light on the dash saying the Electronic Stability Control was in use. This is only supposed to be working when the road is slick and to go back off automatically. We’ve only seen it once in the year or so we’ve had the car, and it wasn’t there before the dealer “fixed” it. And it wasn’t raining last night.

So, the morning has started with The Squire in Bel Air getting the dealer to “unfix” the car.

I love technology.

The Lost Art of Doing the Laundry

1 Jun

ironingboardsEldest Daughter sent me this posting from Craig’s List. If you can’t read it, the caption says “Not sure what these are, they are too heavy to float, but they look like surf boards. They have legs under them like a very tall table. I think they are some sort of surf training tool. If you would like one or both of them, please let me know.”

Y’know, that’s just pathetic.

One of life’s simplest pleasures is hanging out the laundry. It’s just a very “Zen” thing to do. I like to make sure things are hung together – towels in a line, by color, thank you, The Squire’s T-shirts and briefs together (Was my grandmother the only person  to call underwear “dribs”?), socks matched up, and so forth. When I take them down, there’s no rush to get stuff folded as soon as it comes out of the drier. Just slow and easy, bend and stretch. Sheets on the bottom of the basket, The Squire’s things, my stuff, bath towels, and the kitchen items on top, so I can put them away as I walk through the house.

And everything smells so good! “Fresh Linen” Febreeze may be nice, but it’s no match for the real thing!