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One Week in Solitary

22 Aug

Well, not quite, but it seems that way. Not only are we pretty much still in lockdown, but our Internet and power have been sporadic all week.

Monday, a couple of fellows in a Comcast truck came by and said they needed to work on the pole in the middle of the yard. No problem. They were out there for a while, and shortly after they left we discovered we had no Internet – which means we had no TV, phone, or computers. I called Comcast on Tuesday and after being on hold for fifteen minutes (Do you have any idea how annoying it is to be told – repeatedly – that I could always file a trouble report online when I am calling from a cellphone?) I finally got a young man who insisted I had to give him our Comcast account number. I looked in the file cabinet, but no joy there. I did ask why he couldn’t just find it via our phone number or address, but he said he’d lose his job, so I didn’t push. He offered to call back in an hour, by which time I hoped The Squire would be home to find the paperwork.

By the time The Squire got home it was past the hour, so he called Comcast himself. Sure enough, when the person who answered verified the account – by the bloody phone number! – she said she’d send somebody out right away. Within a half an hour, we had somebody here who checked the line and told us he would call for a crew. As it turned out, this was the same crew who had been out here in mid-July when somebody had slammed into the pole. They had to call the Flagger Force to set out cones and direct traffic, plus bringing out the cherry-pickers. As one of the crew said, “This road is as bad as the Interstate.”

Soooo – today I saw a man walking down the drive and sent The Squire out to intercept him. Neither of us were dressed to entertain guests, but he could pull on a pair of pants more quickly than I could get dressed. Back in July, the crew had bolted a piece on the side of the broken pole, but this had been a temporary measure. The pole needed to be removed and replaced, and once more, we were without power! More Flagger Force and traffic cones. (At this rate, we’ll be able to claim them as dependents on our taxes. ) Frankly, I wonder what the neighbors think, with the utility company out here three times in less than a month.

This time it was about three hours. To be honest, being without lights isn’t bad, and I can still use the gas stove, but not having the A/C was murder. I had a discussion with some friends about doing without indoor plumbing or air conditioning, and having done without both, I’d rather have the A/C. Although, to to honest, there’s only so much Poo-Pourri can do when flushing means a trip to the pond for a bucket of water!

By the way, the Comcast folder was on the shelf; The Squire had pulled it out to look at something one day last week and hadn’t put it back.


21 Aug

I had a rather exotic upbringing, and among my other “interesting quirks” we always use linen napkins in our house. Part of this is habit, but we think paper products are wasteful; if costs nothing to throw a napkin into the wash along with the tea towels and dish clothes, so we try to limit our use of paper napkins and towels. Over the years I’ve fallen heir to several sets of napkins that folks figured I could use, even if nobody else would have them.

As part of my “Let’s Pretend We’re Moving” games I cleaned out the bottom the the Leaning Tower of Bradshaw (see July 9th’s post) yesterday, sorting, tossing, and saving. I do NOT understand how I can manage to misplace napkins! At one point somebody gave me two sets of polyester napkins – one four piece, and the other six. I have never used them; polyester is a form of plastic and plastic is not very absorbent. I now have three napkins in one set and five in the other. These blessed things have never been out of the corner cupboard! Where can they have gone? I bought a dozen lovely linen napkins, all hand embroidered, and for a while I only had eleven of them. Now I can’t find any. Recently a lady donated a dozen lovely napkins to our church for a White Elephant sale and they were handed to me. We’ve used them, but they were fringed, rather than hemmed, and fraying mightily. As we’ve used them, I’ve run zig-zag stitching around all seven? of them. Where the dickens are the rest?

And, no, they are not buried on my ironing board. I checked. Aaargh!

Mutant Alert!

19 Aug

You know it was bound to happen. With all of the radiation and gene splicing the lot we were bound to have all sorts of off animals – and people – pop up.

Exhibit A

The Ten Foot Chicken!


16 Aug

And I don’t mean the movie!

The Squire and I had some errands to run, so we headed out right after church. He dropped me off at Lowe’s while he went to Best Buy for some sort of computer cable. I went looking for new tiles for the kitchen ceiling – no joy there, as they now longer make the type we want – and then picked up a quart of white, oil-based enamel paint.

And immediately dropped it. It exploded and went everywhere!

It hit my shoes and stockings, but it really looked lovely all over the front of my good blue dress. When I got into the car, I rubbed the spots with hand sanitizer, which worked fairly well on the spots near the hem, but didn’t budge the largest spot, which is right in the middle. The skirt is long enough I can turn it up a bit and hide the spots, but didn’t make much difference on the biggest blotch. I may have to go to Michael’s and see if I can find a permanent marker in royal blue.

I discovered that when you spill paint, the best thing to clean it up is kitty litter; the clerk just dumped a bunch of it on the mess I’d made. She said it “happens a lot”, and considering they keep a huge bag of the stuff behind the counter, I believe her. Didn’t make it less embarrassing, though.

And I’m not sure I want to rub my hands with paint remover, even if they DO call it sanitizer.

The Long Way Home

7 Aug

My GPS always wants to take me everyplace via the beltway or I-95, neither of which routes thrill me, so I seldom plug it in when I am traveling between home and my two main places of work. I really prefer to take the back roads, so my trips back and forth are pretty much Do It Yourself.

Today was my last day at this particular place, and I got off early, so I decided to follow the GPS from a point about half way home, just to see where the Lady Who Lives in the Machine would take me. It wasn’t bad at all. I’m not sure I could manage to find my way over via this route, but coming home was very pleasant. I drove through Dulaney Valley – rolling hills and winding roads, and I think I only saw two cars coming my way. And I got home about five minutes sooner than usual. I’ll have to use that way more often.

The Storm That Almost Wasn’t

5 Aug

Honestly, we’re not complaining! I’ve just about finished reading The Great Deluge by Douglas Brinkley, detailing how totally, willfully, unprepared New Orleans was for Katrina. I’d rather be over-prepared than not.

Anyway – after getting all of our hatches battened down last night, we had some tremendous rain – Monday – and into this morning. By noon, the rain had stopped and the sun was out, although it did rain some on my way home from work. The rain came down hard enough to lift the drain pipe that runs under the upper end of the driveway, which directs the water down across the back yard and into the stream. Getting out tomorrow morning should be interesting. We also had our “traditional” leak in the kitchen ceiling. The Squire has tried every trick in the book to stop that one: cleaning the gutters and putting up guards, replacing some of the shingles on the carport roof, sealing everywhere he can think of, and it still leaks.

At any rate, other than the business with the drain pipe, we had no damage at all – no trees down, and the creek didn’t rise.

Thanks be to God.

The Calm Before the Storm

4 Aug

Hurricane Isaias is heading up the East Coast, and folks are digging in.
It started rain as I left work at 5:00, and rained sporadically – but heavily, at times – all the way home. Right now, it is very still, but nobody is foolish enough to think that will last.

We have made sure we have plenty of water and lamp oil in case the power goes off, and there’s plenty of food in the house. Thank goodness we have a gas cooktop; I don’t mind sitting around in the dark, but I draw the line at going hungry. I went out a bit ago, took down the flag and placed those hanging baskets on the ground. Fed the foxes, fish, and turtles, and I am heading up to bed in a few moments. It is 8:30 on Monday evening, and I’ll check in tomorrow. (Yeah, the computer thinks it’s Tuesday already, but don’t believe it.)

Stay safe and stay dry.

Slow Down!

2 Aug

You talk too fast!

Our rector, Fr. B., is a dear, dear man. Knowledgeable, witty, and generous. But he talks too dang fast. He speaks faster than I can listen. As a result, he often stumbles over words in the service, which drives me nuts.

“If you talk slower, you won’t make as many mistakes.”

“I am going slower!”

There are those of us who try to read at a normal pace, letting him race ahead, and saying our last few words well after he has ended, but it doesn’t always work. We feel as if we are shouting into the wind.

It’s a good thing we’re not Jewish. If a mistake is made during the service, whether by the rabbi, the cantor, or the reader, the service stops, and they have to start anew from the beginning. We’d be in church for a week at a time at that rate!

Well, Blow Me Down

31 Jul

A tremendous storm blew up while we were out last night. All of a sudden, the wind was so strong it grabbed the car doors and threatened to make them close the other way. Normally, when we know a bad storm is coming, one of us will take the hanging baskets off the shepherd’s crooks in the front yard, because I’ve been worried the pots would go flying.

When I went out to feed the critters this morning, I discovered the wind and the weight of the pots had actually bent the steel posts!

Sticky Morning

29 Jul

We saw something floating in the pond when we opened the shades this morning. At first I thought it was a duck, but there was absolutely no movement, so that was out, and the binoculars didn’t help to answer the question. I threw on my robe and The Squire got himself dressed and we went out to take a closer look.

A very dead snapping turtle. Yuck. I got the “Pond Rake” which has an extra six foot PVC pipe on the handle, handy to remove leaves, algae – and turtles from the middle of the water. Once I’d maneuvered the bloated carcass close to the bank, The Squire got the pitchfork and tossed the critter into the woods across the stream.

I discovered yesterday that my driver’s license had expired on my birthday, so I went online to renew it. No such luck; the notice informed me that because it was expired I had to go in person the the DMV. Lovely. I talked it over with my boss, and headed up to Bel Air this morning, to be there when the doors opened at 8:30. The photo on my current license is absolutely hideous, so I carefully set my hair and made up my face. I learned two things. One was that I needed an appointment, and then, just before I turned into that customer, the lady told me that all licenses are good until 30 days after Governor Hogan lifts the shutdown orders.


The rest of the day went quite smoothly, thank goodness! I had enough excitement before 10 AM to last me for a while.