According to the weatherman, this is supposed to be a particularly bad winter, so I decided to donate all of the canned goods I bought last fall and replace them with fresh. I don’t really like canned food, other than tomatoes, but if the power goes out, we can still heat it on the gas stove, without worrying about opening and closing the freezer.
Apparently, we had managed to consume most of what has been purchased last year – or maybe I didn’t get as much as I thought. Anyway, the entire adventure was akin to cleaning out under the kitchen sink. Other than a few cans of tuna fish, almost everything in the pantry and the back room was wildly outdated. I mean, none of the cans were bulging, and I don’t mind trying (but would not donate) something that is, say, six months past its “use by” date, but I found things that had expired in 2009! Do you know how long ago that was?
And what on earth had I intended to fix with this assortment of goodies? Odd stuff – garbanzo beans, cheddar cheese soup, beef bullion? (we’re vegetarians, for Pete’s sake!), several cans of coconut milk (The Squire was on an Indian food kick there for a while.) and Heaven knows what all else.
We opened all the cans and dumped the stuff into the blancher, which The Squire carried out to the compost heap. He reported this evening that almost all of the food had been eaten by the critters, so at least it didn’t go completely to waste.
Well, anybody who knows me can attest to that, but now it’s official.
Over the last eight work days I have been to five different doctors, and it is getting wearisome. Most of these visits can pass unmentioned for the moment, but among my many complaints is the fact that my neck hurts, from the base of my skull down as far as my shoulder blades. A cervical MRI showed a narrowing between C-5 and C-6 that is obvious to any layperson who even glances at the films. The neurologist recommended surgery, sooner rather than later, so I will put my head on the chopping block on September 28th. A plastic replacement for the disc itself and a titanium plate to hold the entire business together. All of which is MRI compatible, he assures me.
Recovery time? “Oh, you should be able to drive in about four weeks.” And I’ll bet that includes no strenuous activity, too. Great.
According to my family history, I should live another fifteen or twenty years or so, and I can’t honestly say I’m really thrilled about the prospect.
On Saturday, The Squire had The Godson come over to help him rebuild the lawn cart, so it would be ready to haul leaves, come fall. This morning, he began searching under the workbench for a can of exterior paint he was positive he had stashed away.
He ended up dragging out enough stuff to fill the back of the van, and ran it to the dump, rather than put it out for the trash men. Most of it was paint or other unidentifiable “stuff”. I think he went with the approach that if it sloshed it was still good, and if it clunked it needed to be tossed out.
So, he finally found his bucket of white paint. He assures me he gave it a fair amount of shaking before he started to paint his wagon, but the left hand panels illustrate he didn’t shake it as well as he thought. The paint is hanging in globs. Put the lid back on and do the Hokey-Pokey. I came outside while he was dancing madly around on the patio, and just about fell on the ground laughing. Actually, he thought it was pretty funny, too.
At any rate, the second part of the job went much more smoothly, as you can see. I just wish I could have gotten a shot of the brush he was using, as the bristles were about as long as his moustache. He was practically painting with the ferrule!
As I was taking my shower last night, and enjoying the feeling of the hot water on my back, I thought of my mother and her aversion to water.
My grandmother said that even as a child, my mom would have a fit if the bathwater was too deep. She never liked swimming, and seemed to consider showers almost sinful. After she broke her hip, she had to use a bath chair and a hand-held shower head. “I never feel clean. I really need to soak.”
It would never have occurred to my sister or me to use the shower at home, and the house where I lived with the Late & Unlamented didn’t even have one. The first shower I ever had (not counting those horrible mad dashes after gym class in high school) was when I was 30, living on my own after parting ways with the L & U.
Growing up, my sister and I were only allowed three baths a week – one on Saturday night so we’d be clean for church, one on Tuesday and another on Thursday. My mom claimed we didn’t sweat in the winter and in the summer there wasn’t anybody around to smell us. I’m sure that if she could have figured a way to cut it back to twice a week, she would have.
And a once a week shampoo in the stationary tub in the basement. Who needed greasy kid stuff? By Friday, our hair stuck to our heads as if it had been plastered on.
Yesterday, we attended a funeral for an old and very dear friend. The Squire had known Herb from his early days at Equitable Trust, and was pleasantly surprised to see him when he started coming to church with me. Herb’s wife died in January, and he had just given up. He’d had several strokes, and his sons had decided that enough was enough. He was 86.
Herb had served in the Army during the Korean War, and one of his grandsons – and his wife – are also in the Army, so the funeral was what I’d call semi-military. The coffin was brought into the church covered with the American flag, Taps was played, and the grandchildren and another officer folded the flag and handed it to the two sons. The coffin was then covered with a pall and the service went on from there.
When my dad died, I didn’t know all this good stuff was available from the VFW or wherever, and we had some poor soul from the local high school playing Anchors Aweigh on a clarinet – in the rain.
Herb was to be cremated, so there was no internment; Fr. Matthew played Amazing Grace on the bagpipes as the coffin was carried back to the hearse, and then we all went into the hall for a meal.
I have mentioned before that it is worth your life to grab me from behind, and also that my best friend’s husband has been after me for years to leave The Squire and marry him. I have promised that I would do so when he stopped smoking and when I grow up. He’s done his part, but there’s no hope of the latter. Obviously a red-hot romance.
During the dinner, The Boyfriend stumbled and instinctively reached for the closest available solid object, which just happened to be me. I screamed, and we both ended up on the floor. Several people came dashing over to help us – there was absolutely no harm done to either of us – but BFF just raised her eyebrows and suggested if we were going to carry on that way we ought to at least get a room.
I overheard two young ladies – mid-20s, perhaps – discussing the purchase of bananas.
One girl said she always bought two ripe one and two green ones.
“Oooh! Why would you buy green bananas?”
“So they won’t all get ripe at the same time.”
“Oh.” A beat or two of silence. “I just thought they were moldy.”