Archive | April, 2014

Just Like on Television

28 Apr

I went off to a meeting this morning, leaving The Squire industrially shoveling gravel out of the stream bed so he could fill in some potholes in the driveway.

He told me that about a half an hour after I left, he heard an odd noise behind him and looked up just in time to jump out of the way, as the cart drifted down the bank, followed by the tractor.  We are talking about a spot just slightly shorter than The Squire’s shoulders, as he had run the trailer down a bit, so he could shovel without throwing the gravel over his head. And yes, he had put the tractor in Park.

He called a friend from church who has a big, sturdy pickup truck, and Roger had come over to pull the whole she-bang out of the stream.  I don’t think the gravel ever did get put in the drive, as a good bit of it spilled out what with one thing and another, and I can assure you The Squire was not in the mood to go back and get more.

Can’t leave him alone for a minute, that one.

New Glasses – Or, A Fast $400

23 Apr

After last month’s little episode with the multiple traffic lights, I decided to get a new pair of glasses.

I’ve needed some sort of vision correction since I was in school. Most of the time I wear my contacts, but I have always had a pair of prescription sunglasses for backup. Last summer, the screw started to loosen at one temple, and the left lens would fall out.  I’d put it back into place and tighten the screw, and off we’d go. Until the lens landed in the drive way, and I couldn’t find it. I stepped back to see if it had landed under the car. And found it.

Under my foot.

Yesterday I went for an eye exam, and then had to select new frames. (Didn’t have the wits to bring the old ones with me.) The cheapest frames I could find were $139.00. I just about had a fit. And the lenses – which are NOT bifocals! – were $268.00! Fortunately, Medicare will cover the exam itself.

When I was in high school, my mother took me to get new glasses, and handed the optician my old frames. He looked at them, and then measured my face, and told my mom I needed new frames. She pitched a fit – a variation on the “don’t waste my money on X-rays” theme. The man showed her that the frames were already too small; in order to put them on, the ear pieces had to be pulled out so far that the lenses were bending inward, and this would only get worse as I grew in the next year.

My mother grabbed me by the elbow, yanked me out of the chair, and dragged me out onto Charles Street, muttering all the way to the parking lot. As she got into the car, she said, “That man must think I’m a mad woman.”

And I, like the tar baby, didn’t say a word.



19 Apr

One of the blogs I follow is “A Joyful Chaos”

The lady has been doing an A to Z discussion of Amish life, and today she was discussing Amish Quilts.  She showed a picture of one she made right after she and her husband got married, and said it had taken her “almost a month” to finish it. I started a quilt when The Squire and I became engaged, and almost 40 years later, it is still in the cedar chest, unfinished. Of course, Mary Ann says she had no children and no technology to distract her, and even though I’ve never been one to watch TV, we started our marriage with three children between us – and I was working full time.

Back in the mid 60s, a woman with whom I worked found two pieced quilt tops in her mother’s belongings after she died. Sally had offered them to her two daughters-in-law, but they were not interested, so she asked me if I’d like to have them, as she knew I appreciated that sort of thing, and at the time I had two daughters. I was thrilled and deeply honored to have them.

Knowing I did not have the time or space to finish off these quilts, I asked my grandmother if she would take them over to Augsburg Home, the Lutheran Home for the Aged, and have the ladies over there do them for me, and I would pay for them when they were done. I know this is not a job that is done in a weekend, and with two children, a job, and a husband that was neither use nor ornament, I pretty much put them out of my mind. When I finally asked my grandmother about them, she replied, very casually, “Oh, you didn’t say any thing, so I thought you weren’t interested, and I gave one away.”

If I could have reached through the phone, I would have strangled her on the spot.

Sometime later, I was bewailing the fate of my lost quilt to my mother, and she said, “Ah! I wondered where that quilt came from! She gave it to your sister as a wedding gift. When I asked her where she’d gotten it, she just said she ‘fell heir to it’. I should have known.”  To top it off, the old lady actually had the chutzpah to have the quilt embroidered “To Lynn and Earl, from Grandmother” and the date.

Some people.


Life’s Little Mysteries

15 Apr

Eddie1Friday, I took the quilt off our bed and lugged it up to the Laundromat. It took two days to dry it on the line, so we didn’t get the bed stripped and remade until yesterday – Monday.

When I put away sheets, I fold the top and bottom sheets, and one pillow case, then slide the entire business into the other case, so everything is together, and there’s no rooting around looking for things that match. (Although some people I could mention don’t think that’s important.) I tossed both pillow cases onto the cedar chest, and The Squire and I made up the bed. When we were ready to do the pillows, one case had disappeared. I have torn that room apart, looking for it. Under the bed, between the bed and the cedar chest, in dresser drawers in case I had folded it up with a pair of jeans or a turtleneck.  I even went back to see if by some chance it had migrated from our room back into the linen closet.

No dice.

And the cat! Normally, if you put something on the bed, any right-thinking cat will immediately jump up and take a nap on your suit jacket or clean sweater.  In an obviously vain attempt to keep the quilt clean, I folded up an old, much mended sheet, and put it on the bed.

And you see where Eddie is sleeping.

I suppose there are some things in life we are simply not meant to understand.

The Birds and The Bugs

11 Apr

We saw our first goldfinch yesterday, so I stopped while I was off to the doctor and bought a finch feeder. I had originally planned on hanging a “sock” inside the globe and buying a new feeder for the big birds, but none of the stores carried anything even remotely like what I wanted, so I just got a finch tube and hung it from the same tower as the other feeder.  So far, only the goldfinches have eaten the Niger seed.  The purple finches seem content to eat “regular” birdseed, and oddly enough the squirrels are not the least bit interested, which suits me down to the ground. We have also had a redheaded woodpecker eating at our feeder the last two days. I will probably get some mealworms and toss them into the pot.

I swear, we spend more on animal food around here than we do on people food!

Speaking of “down to the ground”, this morning a squirrel was sitting on the tower, pushing the globe feeder back and forth, spewing seeds everywhere. Three of his buddies were sitting in the grass, scurrying around to eat what he had tossed to them.  Little stinkers.

Now, I am looking for a place to hang the hummingbird feeder. Last year the ants cleaned me out, but I have purchased a funny little up-side down cup sort of thing that goes between the feeder and the hanger. The inside of the cup is well laced with ant poison (Terro). In theory, the ants crawl down the outside of the cup and then up the inside, and before they can get to the feeder they are trapped.

I hope.

Ants! This morning, The Squire went into the bathroom and found the inside and the outside of the bathtub crawling with ants. We always get more in the bathroom than any other place, and while I’m glad I don’t have them swimming in my tea kettle, it just mystifies me. What’s in Bon Ami that they find so appealing?

And of course, there are stink bugs to contend with. We pull down the shades to go to bed at night, and out tumble two or three. I was sitting in the living room reading and one crawled up my leg. Every window sill has its own collection. They are not dirty, like roaches, and they don’t sting or make a mess, and Heaven knows I’d rather have them than ants, and even though everybody has them, it is disconcerting when you have company for dinner and one flies across the table. I even plucked one off the rector’s alb during communion one Sunday. What’s the etiquette on that?

Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Directions

11 Apr

My girlfriend Kay and I are putting together a dollhouse kit – a country cottage.  She bought the kit, and I am “helping” her put it together, since I have built quite a few kits in the past.   (

I think she is a bit nonplussed by my attitude that the directions are just there to give you a rough idea, as I have hardly done anything the way it’s supposed to be done.  (I sew the same way.)  We did get the base made according to the instructions, but then we realized the doors are only 5-1/2 inches high, and the ceiling is 6-1/2, which is simply impossible. Who do you know who can walk through a door that short?  This meant I had to bring the walls and doors back here, and use the scroll saw to cut pieces 1-1/2 inches wide to put under all of the walls, and completely remake the doors.  Since gluing edge to edge is difficult under any circumstances, never mind the plywood here is only 3/16  inch thick, we had to groove and stain 1/8 inch balsa to make wainscoting to hold the two pieces together. Then I decided I didn’t like the fireplace, and redid that without so much as a by-your-leave. inside fireplace I have NO idea why it was so important to me that the fireplace not be flat against the wall. OCD, and all that. It only sticks out a quarter of an inch, but it’s the principle of the thing.

So far, we have gotten the base and two walls up, and it actually is beginning to come together. Kay muttered something about there “being a lot more to this than she realized”. She did, however, agree completely with “raising the roof”, so to speak.  We are also considering putting in another wall on the ground floor, to create a second room. At least, when I explained it to her, she nodded. She may have simply given up all hope of regaining control of this project.

adding space

This shows how we added the extra height at the bottom. This is the outside back of the fireplace, and I had to do the same to the sides. We wrapped it all in brick paper to keep it together.

The next thing is to decide how to handle the lights.  I think we’ll need to involve The Squire that part of the project.  We shall see.




5 Apr

We had a pre-Easter work day at church this morning and members of the various scout troops which use our building were out in force to lend a hand, along with their parents. One tiny girl, barely tall enough to hold a rake, had gathered up a pile of leaves in the middle of the yard. A little boy – maybe her brother? – was scooping up the leaves with a garden trowel and walking them the fifty feet or so to the wheel barrow, trailing leaves behind him as he went. From time to time, the little girl would lean on the rake, look at him, and heave a big sigh.


The Squire said it reminded him of my painting story.

The Squire complimented her on her fine raking job, telling her she was one of the “best rakers they had”. A little later, he spotted her on the other side of the church building, where some mulch had spilled out of a flower bed. Her mother was trying to help her, and the child turned around, spotted The Squire and said  “He told me I was the best raker here. I can do this.”

When I was about three or four, a can of white paint was somehow left open in my grandparents basement. I decided I would take this opportunity to paint the seat of my swing. I’d scoop my index finger in to the paint can, and carefully holding the other hand under it, dash across the floor and up the steps, to smear the paint on the swing seat. Back down the basement stairs, wiping my hair out of my face and taking a swipe at my perpetually runny nose – and repeat as necessary.

Believe me, it was a lot messier than trailing leaves across the yard! Trying to remove oil-based paint from my skin left some very painful memories, and the easiest way to handle my gunky hair was to cut it all off. Oh, heck. It probably had lead in it, to boot!

I had foot surgery two weeks ago. My toes are still sore, and I think one of them is infected. I stopped at the store this morning to pick up some Epsom Salts to soak my poor foot.

My grandmother would often remark that everything Uncle Heinrich said “needed to be taken with a dose of salts”.  Since my mother’s people were from The Old Country, and we spoke German at home until I was about five, I just put this down to mixing up a “grain of salt” with “a dose of salts”.  It wasn’t until just today that I understood what an exceedingly low opinion she had of my uncle! The doggoned stuff is also a laxative!