“You’re Taking This Well”

Last Thursday during routine furnace maintenance, the technician found a hole in the 2nd chamber from the left of the heat exchanger & a crack in the inducer transition of our 13-year-old gas furnace.

[You’re thrilled, right?  Scintillating first sentence.]

He immediately turned off the gas & electric on the furnace and put a red tag on the front of it.  The red tag said:

THIS UNIT HAS BEEN DISABLED DUE TO THE FOLLOWING UNSAFE CONDITION Hole in heat exchanger

Then he very politely asked me to go with him downstairs into the basement to talk about our furnace.  I knew that this wasn’t going to be good.

[I didn’t just fall off the new homeowner turnip truck, ‘ya know?]

So, down we went.  The technician explained the problems, told me about my two solutions to the problems, and then stood there waiting for me to explode.

But I didn’t get mad at all.  I just started to laugh.  A crazy, silly laugh.  It was a laugh that a woman steeped in a life of irony would produce when told that her plans were once again being thwarted.

“You’re taking this well,” he said.  “Most woman yell at me when I tell them their furnace is dead– and needs costly repairs or to be replaced entirely.”

Instead, I stood there– laughed & smiled– basking in the self-knowledge that just that very morning I’d allowed myself to dream that we might actually get the new wall-to-wall carpeting installed on the second floor of the house by Thanksgiving.  That this year for the holidays our home might look tidy without 13-year-old skunky, dirty, original wall-to-wall carpet uglifying the place. 

[And let me interject here to say that wall-to-wall carpeting is something that I hate to my core, but I accept as a necessary evil of suburbia. Making this situation doubly ironic.]  

Yep, that’s what I was thinking as the technician started to tell me the price of a new furnace.   I didn’t listen very carefully to the rest of what he said.  It didn’t matter to me.  I knew that we’d be buying a new furnace, regardless of the cost, by the end of the day.

And that I could put my carpet samples back in the drawer where I’ve kept them for a couple of years.   Waiting for just the right time to buy wall-to-wall carpeting… which I’m beginning to believe is never.

Not So Smooth

“Man plans, God laughs.”

~ Yiddish proverb

~ ~ • ~ ~

I don’t make New Year’s resolutions anymore.  I gave up on trying to do that a long time ago.  Instead, I focus on one word for the year– attempting to make my one word happen in all that I do during the year.

[I adopted this idea years ago after reading this blog post by Christine Kane.]

So, this year I chose the word SMOOTH as my one word of the year.   SMOOTH.  As in: calm;  consistent;  without harshness;  having no rough edges.  Lovely word. Wonderful concept.

But here’s my problem, 2011 is three-fourths over and I’m not getting anywhere with my word of the year.  In fact, I think that I’m doing just about the complete opposite.  Things are getting rougher, more problematic, and less consistent as this year drags on.

I thought that in 2011 I’d have the inside of the house finally put back together after our years of remodeling and painting.  Hasn’t happened.

I thought that in 2011 our little backyard project [understatement of the year] would be finished in a timely fashion and that we’d be having fun out there by now.  Hasn’t happened.

I thought that in 2011 I’d get back into blogging and feel more connected to the world at large again.  Hasn’t happened.

Instead, I’ve experienced flux & difficult endings & weird people– lots of ’em.  This would not be my definition of SMOOTH.

Fortunately, I’m good at going with the flow and adapting as needed.  If I was uptight and took myself more seriously, I’d be in a heap of hurt right about now.  But I’m not and I don’t.

I do have to wonder, though.  If I say that for the rest of 2011 my one word is unSMOOTH, will God laugh and make my life SMOOTH?  ‘Cause if that’s the trick to getting what I want this year, I will be a contrarian and do that.  Just watch me.

unSMOOTH.  unSMOOTH.  unSMOOTH.   😉

This Is What Passes For Excitement Around Here

Botanically, a tomato is a fruit. However, in ...
Image via Wikipedia

[Subtitled:  Somewhat Organized Thoughts Upon The Occasion of A Hopefully Random Act of Very Minor Violence]

Our mailbox is a rectangular, black metal one that sits on top of a white wooden post by the street.  It was tomato-ed. This is a first for us.

In the past our mailbox has been: smashed with a baseball bat;  peanutbutter-ed;  egged;  toilet paper-ed;  and robbed.  [One summer I decided to put a small bracket on the back of the white post and hang a basket of geraniums from it.  Very pretty… for the few days that it was there before someone stole it.]  But we’ve never had a tomato thrown at it.

The attack of this not-so-rotten tomato occurred between 6:30 a.m. and 8:00 a.m. while I drove Z-D to work.  Our mailbox, which is large, shiny and very noticeable when pulling out of our driveway, was just fine when we left home.  But when I got back home, the door to it was hanging open and there was a small dent in the side of it.  This I saw from the driveway as I pulled in.

It wasn’t until I walked down our driveway to see up-close what had happened that I realized that we had been tomato-ed with a large, firm, red tomato that left its seedy drool all over one side of our mailbox– and its gushy guts in the grass around the bottom of the wooden post.

As I didn’t grow up in suburbia I can only guess at the motivations for tomato-ing someone’s mailbox.  Questions plague me.

  • Which came first: the tomato or the mailbox?
  • Was this planned?  And if so, where did the perp get his or her tomato?  Stolen from someone’s garden?  Purloined from Mom’s frig?  Purchased at Kroger?
  • Is it possible that our mailbox wasn’t the intended target? 

Considering there are high school kids in the two house across the street from us & in one house next door to us, I have to wonder if this is a case of mistaken tomato-ing.

Answers to these questions elude me, leaving me to suspect that the real reason our mailbox was tomato-ed has nothing to do with logic.  I imagine, that like many things in life, the real reason that our mailbox was tomato-ed is that it was in the right place at the wrong time.

And So It Goes

 Kind of a bittersweet week for me.  Endings: small, medium & large.

I.

Our tomato and pepper plants are at the end of their growth cycles.  I doubt that we’ll get more than a handful of tomatoes– or a couple of peppers– before the fall chill kills the plants.  It happens every year this way;  I’m always surprised.  This year the difference is that the other day I noticed two chickadees goofing around in the tomato plants.  At first I thought that they were after the tomatoes, but as I kept watching I realized that what the birds wanted is the cotton string that we use, with the wooden stakes, to hold up the plants.  They were pulling on the cotton string with their beaks, but unable to get it lose.  So I decided that  when I dismantle the tomato plants later this month I’ll cut the used cotton string into lengths and leave it out on the deck railing.  Maybe the chickadees will use the cotton string to make their nests.  We’ll see.

II.

Zen-Den and I have very few traditions.  We don’t do the same thing for any holiday.  There are no “but we always do this” restrictions on us.  It comes from being on our own for so long– and from not having kids, I suspect.  That being said, every September we look forward to our first drive into the countryside to go to a small, locally owned apple orchard that has the best apples ever.  So this last weekend we got into the car and went out there, all excited about our first apple foray of the year.  But when we got to the orchard, it was closed;  a sign out front said: “Semi-Retired.  Closed for Season.  Be back Summer of 2012.”  And with that, our one tradition went *poof* and we found ourselves apple-less in the countryside.  Humph.

III.

As you probably know, All My Children ends this week.  I still can’t quite wrap my head around this.  I grew up around AMC– first at a friend’s house, where her mother was addicted to it;  and then at my house, once my mother retired from teaching.  The fact that my Mom, the happy hermit, watched a soap opera never made much sense to me;  but she said that it gave her day structure and that Erica reminded her so much of her freshman year college roommate that she couldn’t not watch it.  In fact, she watched it every day until her death fifteen years ago.

So here’s the odd thing: even though I never became a fan of the show, I realize that I’m going to miss it.  Knowing that AMC was always on TV gave me a feeling of immediate connection with my mother.  Rational?  Not in the least.  But it’s what I’ve kept tucked away in the back of my mind all these years.  Of course, now with the end of All My Kids, that last connection will be gone.  Forever.

Life’s busy now. More chit-chat next week, gentle readers.  Talk at ‘ya then.

Macaroni

Busy week.

  Now that the rain has stopped and the sun is out, the work on the backyard continues.  Noisy, messy work involving lots of rocks, stones, dirt– and mulch. Heaps and heaps of mulch.  This project has dragged on for too long.  “Just get it done,” she screams inside her head.

 I’m spending about 3 hours per day in the car driving Z-D to work and back.  It’s all interstate highway or downtown driving at rush hour.  I’m a suburban babe, so this sort of driving is a bit stressful for me.

 We’re social butterflies this week.

  • Drinks and dinner with friends from long ago who we bumped into while walking into Lowe’s.  Go figure.  Decided on the spot that we needed to get together for dinner to catch up, so on Sunday night we did.  It was great fun.
  • Dinner with one of Z-D’s former co-workers who is in town.  Always good to hear what this guy is doing.  He’s smart, interesting– definitely not one of the sheeple. Hallelujah!
  • Ballgame as business guests.  I like suites.  I like tasty food.  I like free beer.  This event aims to be the trifecta of good times for me.

 Got my curly hair cut shorter yesterday.  It’s more like the Keri Russell hairstyle that everyone hated years ago– which I always thought looked good on her.  I’ve got lots of layers with more curl and wave going on now.  Kind of kicky.  Less predictable… if that is even possible!

Later.

Revisiting A Tribute To The Victims Of The 9-11 Attacks

On September 11, 2006, 2,996 volunteer bloggers joined together for a tribute to the victims of 9-11.  Each person paid tribute to a single victim.  The intent of this project was to honor the victims by remembering their lives, and not by remembering their murderers.  

I first posted this tribute on 09.08.06.  I’ve adapted it for this blog using different photos, the one link that still works, and one new link.  The essence of what I wrote remains the same.   

   

Tribute To Maria Rose Abad

 ~ ~ :: • :: ~ ~

~ ~ :: • :: ~ ~

Maria Rose Abad was born in Brooklyn, N.Y., in 1952.  She studied sociology at Queens College and hoped to be a teacher.  However, a different career path opened up to her and she went to work in business.  At the time of her death she was living in Syosset, N.Y., and working as Senior Vice President with Keefe, Bruyette & Woods, investment bankers.

Maria Rose married Rudy Abad, her best friend, in 1976.  The two of them liked to travel the world.  She liked to read books– lots and lots of them– according to Rudy.

On Tuesday September 11, 2001, Maria Rose was at work in her office located in the south tower of the WTC.  When United Airlines Flight 175 hit her building, she phoned Rudy to talk about what had happened and to tell him that they were waiting for the fire marshal to take them down to safety.  That was the last time he heard from her.

She is among the confirmed dead.

~ ~ :: • :: ~ ~

As a surviving spouse of a 9-11 victim, Rudy was eligible to receive monetary compensation for her death.  He couldn’t decide whether or not to take the money, but eventually he did decide to take it.  And then he did something incredible with it.  He shared it with the world.

As a tribute to his late wife’s memory, Rudy created The Maria Rose Abad Village in a poverty-stricken area of the Philippines.  He used his part of the compensation to have 46 houses and a preschool built in Tondo, a suburb of Manila.  And today, thanks to his generosity of spirit, a few more people on this earth have a better quality of life.

He is among the confirmed angels on earth.

~ ~ :: • :: ~ ~

~ ~ :: • :: ~ ~

[Added 09.13.11 -Yesterday while reading some blogs I found the current link to Project 2996.  Click here to be connected to it.]

Driving Mr. Bean

Zen-Den has fractured his foot.  His right foot, to be exact.

He doesn’t know how he did this.  Sometimes weird stuff happens.  All he knows for sure is that: 1) it hurts A LOT when he puts any weight on it;  & 2) the X-rays taken yesterday at the ER confirm that it should hurt a lot when he puts any weight on it.

The words “stress fracture” have been bandied about.

He is not to put any weight on it AT ALL.  So, for the moment, Z-D has a temporary soft cast on his foot.  He’s walking/ hobbling/ hopping with crutches. This is not a smooth or quiet process.  However, he is getting to his destinations unaided, so I won’t complain.

This afternoon we go to the orthopedic surgeon who will either: 1) schedule him for surgery [BOO!];  or 2) put a walking cast on his foot [YEA!].

In either case, I will be driving Zen-Den everywhere he needs to go in the next 6-8 weeks [maybe longer!!!]. To doctors’ appointments.  To work.  To wherever.  Because, as I previously mentioned, it’s his RIGHT foot that he has hurt.  The foot which pushes the pedals that start and stop the car.

Oy vey!  This is going to be a long fall.

Late afternoon update:  We’ve been to the doc and it’s good news all around.

The fracture is so slight that there’s no need for surgery– or even a cast.  Instead, Z-D is to take one month of anti-inflammatory meds + he is to slowly, deliberately keep walking– first with the crutches, and then without them.

Meaning that in about 30 days he should be as good as new– walking, driving, and jumping for joy when ‘ere he wishes to do so.

I’m smiling.  A really, really big smile. 🙂