As Summer *Unofficially* Ends, It’s A Party In The Parsley

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This hasn’t been a good summer for our flower beds and shrubs and the flowers in the outside pots of floral prettiness that I insist on scattering around the grounds… until I feel at home.

[Gold star to anyone who gets that reference.]

But on the other hand in the end it’s been a great summer for parsley.  After a slow start the darned stuff has thrived in this hot humid weather.

Each spring I start parsley from seed inside the house, then either add it to my outside pots of floral prettiness as a filler or just put some parsley by itself in a pot to grow.

[It doesn’t spill, it doesn’t thrill, but oh my goodness it does fill.  My parsley-centric adaptation of the classic how-to create an outside pot of floral prettiness.]

I do this because black swallowtail caterpillars, who turn into beautiful butterflies, like to munch on parsley. Oh yes they do.

They have a voracious appetite for it and I’m more than happy to feed them what they need.  ‘Cuz I like to see butterflies flitting around our yard.

Happy Labor Day to everyone who will be celebrating it this weekend. Catch y’all on the flip side, kids.

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The HOA Is Asking Us To Decide Something Morally Murky

Seeing clearly? Antique lenses used by eye doctor to determine the prescription for your spectacles.

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When I saw the lawyer’s return address on the letter in our mailbox I knew something was up with the Home Owners Association [HOA].

I opened the envelope and began to read the letter + the attachments, written in legalese, describing what the HOA wants us, the homeowners, to decide about changing our by-laws.

I like our HOA.  The people on it do a good job of informing us in a timely manner about break-ins and coyotes and streets under repair and pool closures. Things like that, plus they do a great job of keeping the entrances looking spiffy.

They earn their keep;  however I find this proposed addition to the by-laws to be a dicey issue.

We are being asked as a group to decide if a registered sex offender [in any state] can buy or rent a house in this large subdivision.

I don’t know if there’s a right or wrong answer to this proposed addition to the by-laws because while it may be legal, this is a morally murky area.

I mean, if someone has done their time for their crime do we have the right to not let him or her live here? Or is this a high-handed way to snoop inside the lives of other people?

And further, what about domestic violence perpetrators with a police record? Or drunk drivers with multiple arrests?  Do we refuse to allow them to live here?  They worry me as much as, if not more than, registered sex offenders.

Like I said, no clear answer here– but a great topic of conversation. What say you to this? Comments are open below.

Bibbidi, Bobbidi, Boo: Home Maintenance Happens, For A Price

I’m back, waving hello. 

My late spring blogging hiatus is over.  Because of the almost constant rain I [we?] didn’t accomplish everything I [we?] wanted to do, but I’ve researched that which has not been done and made plans about how to do it.

For me, a solutions girl, that’s a big deal.

So here’s what did happen: we got a new roof put on the house. And kids, that’s a noisy and messy thing to have happen.  This is the third time in my life that I’ve had the pleasure of living in a house as a new roof is installed.

*bang, bang, bang*

Next time, should there be one, I’m going to a hotel for the duration.  The 30 hours of noise involved in tearing off an old roof and then putting on a new roof made me anxious.

[Consider that the understatement of all time.]

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But wait, there’s more.

Try to contain your excitement has I tell you about a few other homeowner things we did whilst I was not here.

  • Z-D and I rebuilt a stone wall around the base of a huge tree that is terrace-adjacent;
  • he painted the inside of the screened-in porch and got the screens replaced;  and
  • we chatted with various sales wonks, then ordered new windows for the front of the house because the current wooden ones are rotting.

In other words, not to put too fine a point on it, we spent a boatload of money on necessary home maintenance projects that will improve our lives, but said projects do not immediately bring joy to my heart.  

Like a long vacay in Hawaii would. Or a first class excursion to London. Or a train trip across Canada.

[All expensive, potentially joyful, adventures that I long to do.]

But that’s what happens when you have a house you consider your home– and you are responsible adults who lack a fairy godmother to magically, in an instant, transform and repair your house with the flick of her wand.

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Question of the Day

So what’s new in your life? Anything magical? Tell me about it in the comments below. I feel so out of touch with everyone.

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The Sound Of NOT Silence Thanks To A Water Drip In The Chimney, Again

Photo of light reflected through paperweight then filtered to look snazzy so that I have an image to include on this post. Think of it as water dripping or my mind frazzling. The choice is yours.

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I LOVE OWNING a house in this suburb.  I’m not being facetious here.  Really, I do.

We are extremely lucky to live in a home built for us by a builder who was a pain in the ass to work with, but in the end he built a good solid house.

Comfortable and inviting. Most of the time.

However, last week after a huge spring thunderstorm our chimney started leaking water… again.

It’s been twenty years since we had this house built and this is not the first time this has happened. Nor is the first time I’ve been DISPLEASED about the drip… drip… drip… sound coming from rainwater as it runs down the inside of the chimney and drops onto the top of the metal chimney insert in the fireplace in the family room.

Drip… drip… drip…

MOST IRRITATING.

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WE HAD THE chimney cap replaced about ten years ago and that took care of the drippy sounds back then.  But there was large hail during this recent thunderstorm and I’m guessing that it damaged the chimney cap in such a way as to allow the water to drip… drip… drip… as water is wont to do.

In two weeks we’ll be meeting with a representative from the company that made the chimney cap and he’ll take a look at it.  And also he’s going to give us an estimate about how much it’ll cost to have the roof replaced on the house because it’s getting close to the time to do that, too.

Oh joy.

THAT BEING SAID FACETIOUSLY.

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NOW YOU ARE in the loop about what’s going on here in Chez Bean.  As a loyal and true personal blogger I had to tell you, my gentle readers, because like they say, write about what you know.

And I know that you’re EITHER thinking to yourself thank goodness we don’t own a house OR you’re thinking to yourself about that sad time in your life when you had to shell out the big bucks for roofing repair &/or replacement.

Thus I shall end this post in which I’ve talked about the realities of life by telling you that when it is raining outside and I’m at home, I’m hiding in the rooms farthest away from the family room wherein the drip… drip… drip… is the loudest.

Because woman on the edge here.

NOT ALTOGETHER HAPPY.

Ms. Bean Is Cold Today And Would Like To Tell You Why

Snoopy, my spirit animal, sitting with a room thermometer on top of a bookcase in the only sort of warm room in the house.

IT SNOWED LAST NIGHT, not much, but a definite covering of the white stuff.  That however is not exactly why I’m cold today.  Nope, the reason, to put it succinctly, is that it’s 54ºF… INSIDE the house.

Thus I am huddled in our home office with the French doors tightly shut, sporting a ruana over my flannel + fleece jammies, sitting in front of my desktop computer with the little electric heater swaying to and fro behind me.

What has happened? WELL I’M GLAD YOU ASKED.

You see, yesterday was the last day of February, a short month of days that are soul-crushingly long.  A month that should never be trusted.

However, in the morning while waiting for the furnace service tech to get here for our annual check-up, I indulged in a moment of unbridled positivity.  Yes, I forgot myself and sighed a happy sigh of joy about making it to the beginning of March unscathed by February’s negativity.

I mean all that was left on my calendar for February was for the furnace to be serviced and then I had March, the action verb month, calling to me.

I like March.

• • •

WELP, I WAS WRONG to let down my guard regarding February, and by 3:00 p.m. our furnace had gone clunk.  Come to find out there is a breach in the heat exchanger at the 3rd and 4th cell of the primary, meaning that the whole system as been red-tagged and shut down… by law.

Also, the tech guy accidentally broke a switch which turns the gas on and off.

So, you know, WE GOT TROUBLE.

The cutest little electric room heater that ever was.

Hence I am sitting here this morning, the first day of March, waiting for a phone call from the furnace repair company to tell me IF they have the parts we need & WHEN they might be able to get here again to fix the furnace.

If there is a moral to this story it would be something like never count your chickens before they hatch, but my moral would involve swearing, muttering, and not just a little bit of self-pity because honestly, February is the SUCKIEST of all months.

In Which Ms. Bean Attempts To Buy Outdoor Holiday Lights During A Bleak Week

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A photo of the view out a bedroom window. Bleak.

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THIS WEEK I’VE BEEN TRYING to get it into gear to start putting up outside holiday decorations.

You’d think at this point in my life that’d be a simple task.

You would be wrong.

Last year, in a fit of tidy, I got rid of all our outside lights and wreaths.  The lights worked in sections and the decade-old wreaths were looking downright ratty.  They were more wire than fake pine needles and the dingy red bows on them added to the pathos.

So, knowing that we needed some new decorative stuff, I hauled myself up off the sofa and wandered meself through many a store looking at all the newfangled, complicated, high-priced lights– and wreaths.

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A photo of ground cover covered in snow. Bleaker.

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FROM MY FORAY INTO ACTUAL brick and mortar stores I learned that I haven’t a clue about how much to spend, what to buy [net or string? LED or incandescent? solid color or multi?] and where we might put that which I buy once I get it home.

I also looked at some pretty sparkly wreaths– that all seemed to be covered in glitter.  Me not happy. Me not want glitter traipsed into house.

Me fussy like that.

And so on that note of shopping defeat, underscored by one of the bleakest weeks I’ve ever seen in November, I’ll end this post.  Figuring that there’s a weekend a’coming and a husband to be cajoled into helping me find the perfect outdoor lights and wreaths.

To add much-needed color to our world. Hallelujah!

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A photo of trees in backyard. Bleakest.

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The One About The Broken Bowls & The Price You Have To Pay

I broke 3 dessert bowls last week. It’s a personal best.

One bowl I placed in the dishwasher wrong and it got chipped.

Mea culpa.

The second bowl I dropped while taking it down from the cabinet shelf.  The bowl slipped out of my hand, falling to the floor where, with a sense of drama that reminded me of a 3 y.o. having a meltdown over the way his PB&J sammie was cut, the bowl circled around the floor eventually crashing into the bottom of a cabinet where it broke.

The third bowl, like the other ones, was bone china, a notoriously sturdy substance when not around me.  It was part of the now discontinued Lenox Poppies on Blue that was our china when we got hitched.  I liked fussier things back then.

This third bowl cracked, then melted/broke, while in the microwave.  I don’t know if there was a slight crack in it before I put it in there, but while it was twirling around in the microwave I heard a loud pop.

When I went to take the damaged bowl out of the microwave, unaware that the bowl was damaged, I grabbed it with my right hand and the ceramic was so hot that it burned the fingerprint off my index finger.

Only sort of kidding.

*ouch*

So here’s where I find myself today: I’m a wise, slightly klutzy, woman who realizes, and accepts, that I will probably live the rest of my life a few dessert bowls short of 8 formal dinner place settings, as one does when one is too cheap to replace the broken bowls.

$19.99 a piece? I don’t think so.

Ain’t gonna happen.