All The Weekend News That You Can Use

I would prefer to write something with depth, research & thought behind it here on my little bloggy today.  I haven’t done anything like that in quite a while– and I have all sorts of ideas bouncing around inside my brain.

However, I don’t have the time today [or this week] to put my thoughts to [virtual] paper, so this fast post is going to have to do.

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Things you need to know now about life here at Chez Bean.

•  Zen-Den’s foot is healed.  He is walking without any trouble and has even mowed our lawn– which I’d say is proof that he is back among the mobile.

•  We had a beautiful weekend.  On Saturday night, for reasons that were never fully explained to me, Zen-Den suggested that we should sleep outside on the floor in our screened-in porch.  So we did.  Doing this reminded me of two things:  1) I am too old to enjoy sleeping outside– it’s noisy and weird out there in the dark;  & 2)  I think that whoever invented mattresses with box springs deserves sainthood.

•  We planted 58 daffodil bulbs & 10 muscari bulbs around our property.  Planting these bulbs was by far the most normal home-owning activity we have done in a couple of years.  It has been nothing but upheaval and expense and mess around here for so long that I’d forgotten about the simpler things involved in keeping house.  Like just planting something for the fun of it.

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Well, look at that!  I’ve written a passable blog post complete with photos taken this morning and pithy insights gleaned from my weekend.  I think that this is good for now.  More later in the week.

The Trouble With Nature

Just a little glimpse into what is going on around here.  A woman-vs-animal sort of post.  Presented for your edification and entertainment.   

•  It’s cricket-palooza in our garage this week.   Noisy little buggers.   After our previous two weeks of unseasonably cold & wet weather, we’re back to normal temps; the nights are in the 50s and the days are in the upper 70s.  I think that the crickets are rather charming, but Zen-Den has a different opinion of them.  For some reason they seem to like to jump on him in the morning as he walks through the garage to his SUV.  [*tee-hee*]

He’s started to mutter words like RAID & SWEEP & WEEKEND as he walks to Bullwinkle, so I’m guessing that by Monday morning our garage will be a cricket-free zone.

•  I sat in our screened-in porch this morning to drink my coffee and contemplate the meaning of life wake-up. As I tried to meditate on the profundity of the human experience remember what I had to do today, a squirrel fight broke out in the trees right behind me. Our screened-in porch is at the back of the house and is elevated. Thus, when sitting on the porch you are right in among the middle branches of the trees which are immediately behind the porch.  It’s cool.  It’s unique.  But, man-oh-man, is it noisy when unhappy squirrels start to argue over whose nest is going to be built where.

I really don’t care where these squirrels build their nests, AS LONG AS IT ISN’T INSIDE THE HOUSE.  Been there. Done that. Paid someone to catch/murder some squirrels. Not a pretty experience. Don’t want to repeat it.

•  It’s official.  The deranged woodpecker who delights in pecking on our guest bathroom window frame has ruined it.  The window now leaks dirty, grody water inside the house into the bathtub.  There’s a whole fricking forest for this bird to use for his dinner, but he prefers our house.  Yum, yum.

So next week, we will meet with HANDYMAN CONTESTANT NUMBER ONE to see if he’ll do this sort of repair & how much it’ll cost us for him to do this kind of repair. This is a new-to-me sort of house problem, so I have no idea what to expect.  I mean, are we talking the price of Thanksgiving dinner for 6?  Or the price of a lovely, romantic weekend in the city for 2?  Big difference there.

And on that chatty note, I’m out of here for a long weekend of play.  Some say:  make hay while the sun shines.  But I say:  dance while the sun shines.  It is such a rare commodity around here, that not taking advantage of it seems like a sin to me.  I’ll catch up with you, my gentle readers, next week.  

“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

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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.