Tag Archives: The Late and Unlamented

Getting Back to Normal

19 Jul

Mary Ann, over at A Joyful Chaos, remarked that her life had been out of kilter for a while, and she hoped it soon got back to normal.

Sometimes you have to face the fact that, like it or not, whatever it is you have, it’s “normal”.

Back in September of 2015 I wrote about the day the pump froze solid. The house where we lived with the Late and Unlamented was built around 1850. When indoor plumbing was installed, the pump was placed in the old root cellar, where the temp was generally around 55°F. However, January 16, 1969 was the coldest day Baltimore had ever experienced since the Weather Bureau started keeping records. Something below 0°, and a wind-chill to freeze your gizzard. I was always the first one up, making coffee, getting half dressed, and then waking the girls and the L&U.

When I turned on the kitchen faucet, what came out was as dark as coffee. I ran the water until it was clear, and then filled the coffee pot. When I started to wash my dishes, there was no more water. I was able to drain enough from the water heater to fill a sauce pan, brought it to a boil, and managed to prime the pump outside the back door, and pumped enough water to get us through the morning.

The L&U got dressed, put on his house slippers and came down to fix his own breakfast. He opened the fridge and grabbed an egg, which he cracked on the side of the frying pan. Nothing came out. He looked and discovered he had a hard-boiled egg. He picked up another egg and the same thing happened. Muttering and cursing .

“Those are hard-boiled. Didn’t you notice the faces on them?”

“Yeah. I saw them. I figured you didn’t have anything to do and decorated the whole damned dozen.”

Cracks such as that can get a person killed, y’know, especially first thing in the morning. And after I’d been out in the cold pumping water at 7:00 AM.

When I went out to take the girls to the sitter and head to the office, my car wouldn’t go backwards. I figured it was stuck in the snow, and came back in to ask him to give it a shove. He went into the other room to change from house slippers to shoes – and when he bent over the back seam ripped out of his trousers.

More muttering. “I’ll be glad when things get back to normal around here.”

I didn’t bother to tell him this was an normal as it was going to get. We’d been married seven years at that point, so if he wasn’t used to it now, he’d never would be.



15 May

In addition to the work the utility company is doing over here, they have the main road from here to Joppatowne closed off, turning a quick one and half mile zip to the shopping center into a four mile slog.

I went over this morning to run some errands and when I got back there was a message on the answering machine from the alarm company saying the church alarm had ben tripped. Another trip around Robin Hood’s barn to take care of that little problem. The police turned up a few moments after I arrived and they waited until I had checked all the doors before driving away.

The Late and Unlamented never believed in detour signs. He would insist that the road ahead was clear, but that the workers had forgotten to remove the signs. As a result, we often traveled miles out of our way, only to discover the construction people had not gone home and left their equipment behind.  We once traveled five miles to discovered that bridge really was out. No point in my suggesting we do as we were told.

When I was still working downtown, he frequently took me to work. One morning we met a state trooper standing in front of his car, blocking our way down Bel Air Road. He waved us off to the right, down a road which would have taken us where we needed to go.  The L&U drove a half a block and then zipped back unto Bel Air Road by cutting through a church parking lot. “See, the road is clear, and we have it all to ourselves.” Chortle, snicker. Two blocks down, we were met by another trooper, who shunted us off onto another road, this time heading away from our destination.

It turned out there was a gas main break, and the entire area had been evacuated. One of his cigarettes flipped out the car window and we’d have been blown to kingdom come – and taken half the neighbourhood with us.

This morning, there was a dreadful accident on I-95, about fifteen miles north of us. A chartered bus taking a class of students to DC for the day had turned over, sending one child and one chaperone to the hospital – via medivac – in critical condition.   Twenty-some other people were taken by ambulance to various local hospitals with broken bones and other “minor” injuries. Both north and south bound traffic was tied up for hours and detour signs were posted to keep people from taking the on-ramps.

I could just imagine L&U scooting around the blockades and getting himself right in the middle of the whole business, sitting there, steaming and muttering that he had “a lot of luck, and it’s all bad.”

O Tannenbaum

29 Dec

As I drive around our neighbourhood there are still signs out announcing that this place or that is selling Christmas Trees.

I think they cater to the Late and Unlamented.

The easiest way to get that man to refuse to do anything was to tell him you thought it was a good idea. I swear, he’d have quit breathing if I had just told him to keep going. He was the personification of the old joke:”I’ll do it. You don’t have to keep reminding me every six months.”

One year he decided he was going to cut a tree rather than purchase one, and walked away from the house carrying an axe. If you stood in our yard and looked in every direction there was nothing but deciduous trees – not an evergreen in sight. I don’t know who he thought he was kidding.

When I left for church with the girls on Christmas Eve we still did not have a tree, but there was one in the living room when we returned.

He’d gone out after we left and stolen one from a lot someplace!