Whatever The Day May Bring Us

The other afternoon I was at home writing and listening to a classical music radio station while waiting for Dave, the man from the chimney/roofing repair company, to arrive.  Dave has been to the house before so I knew who to expect and that he’d find a solution to our latest homeowner problem.

He showed up on time and started by looking at our water/mud mess in the basement.  Then he and his camera went up on the roof to figure out what was happening up there to cause the mess.  It didn’t take long for him to determine that the builder had once again skimped on something important.

[Details of problem for those who care about such things.  Chimney cap not installed with proper horizontal support.  Hot water exhaust pipe, which goes up inside of the chimney, not surrounded by proper gasket where it intersects with chimney cap.  Result: water doesn’t roll off top of chimney cap.  Instead, water forms a 2″ deep puddle on top of chimney cap and then slowly drips down leak around the exhaust pipe into inside of chimney.  Along the way to the basement water rots first floor sub-flooring under fireplace and creates a gentle steam down the basement concrete walls into the adjacent floor drain.]  

So Dave got down off the roof and knocked on the door.  He put on his standard issue contractor-inside-your-house paper booties, and stepped into the foyer to show me photos of this year’s month’s week’s problem.  He explained to me how the problem could be repaired.  And then he told me to expect an estimate in the mail in about 2 days.

Very standard.

But what made this visit different– and almost got me to the point of giggles— was that while Dave was talking with me the classical radio station was playing The Blue Danube Waltz.  Just float-y, water-y, swoosh-y music drifting into the foyer from the radio in the next room.

I don’t think that the music registered with Dave at all, but to me it was very fitting and funny.  I ask you, could there be any more perfect background music for a discussion about water running down the inside of your chimney into the basement and then flowing toward the drain?  Me thinks not.

Well played, Universe.  I bow to your sense of the absurd.


~ as a way of including The Blue Danube Waltz in this post, and for your entertainment, I leave you with this video ~


Five Senses Friday

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rather calm considering that:

there are half-finished drapes hanging on the kitchen windows… the house is three-fourths decorated for Christmas… I haven’t begun to figure out what to serve at a party we’re having in two weeks… the handyman guy for the leaky bathroom window is dragging his feet while tightly clutching our money and not doing the repairs… we have a huge muddy mess in our basement where there is a crack in the chimney foundation or a leak in the chimney cap [or both I suppose]… and we have now hired some company to fix our foundation/chimney/cap mess before winter sets in.


the sound of the [new] furnace blower as it keeps our house warm


freshly brewed black coffee


strewn in front of my computer on my desk:

clipboards – white paper printed with info – small yellow legal paper scribbled with ideas – one blue pen – one book – many pink & blue 3×5″ index cards – dust


not much of anything because allergies have my nose stuffed up

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{This wonderful idea is from abby try again.   If you wish, you may play along in the comments below or on your own blog.}

Top 5 Ways In Which I Am Not Like The 112th U.S. Congress

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#5The U.S. government does not pay my salary.  Taken one step further this means that: U.S. taxpayers do not pay me to do nothing.  I do nothing for free.

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#4I choose my friends wisely.  I don’t associate with insincere, deceitful, conniving corporations lobbyists dweebs.  I am able to find friends who are truthful, straightforward and clear about what matters the most in this life.

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#3I do not define myself by group affiliation.  I am a free spirit in suburbia.   This means that I do my own thing in a world known for its ordinariness.  I am not a slave to fitting in with others– and hiding behind any group’s rhetoric.

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#2I think for myself and do not need external validation to motivate me to keep going.  This means that I do not hold a press conference every time I burp, sneeze or fart.  In fact, I do not hold press conferences at all because I know that people do not care about how things are going for me– they care about what I can do for them.

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#1I get things done.  Yep, it’s a fact.  I see a problem…  I understand how the problem came to be… I define the problem… and then [this is crucial] I SOLVE THE PROBLEM.  I finish things before I take a vacation.  I do not whine about how difficult it is to do things.  I just git r done.  Like the grown-up that I am.

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… Can you say the same things, oh ye members of the 112th U.S. Congress?

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.  

And So It Goes

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


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.


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.


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.

Ignored At The Zoo

Yesterday afternoon Z-D and I went to the zoo.  It was hot and humid outside, but there was a light breeze.  I thought that I might be able to get some fun shots of the animals.  I was wrong.

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We were ignored by a little brown wild bird, even though I was standing about 18″ away from him when I took this photo.

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We were ignored by many turtles who ducked under the water the nanosecond before I clicked this photo.

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We were given the cold shoulder by the okapi…  

… who then wandered to the back of her enclosure, just to make sure that we got the message that we weren’t wanted there.

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We were warned off by this less than friendly sign posted by the gorillas.

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And finally we were ignored by this hippopotamus who had better things to do than pose for the camera.

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It’s a good thing that I have a quite a bit of experience with being ignored– and surviving the emotional shock of such indifference.  Heck, I’m a free spirit in suburbia, remember. Still, I have to admit that I thought that at the zoo, at least, something might pay attention to me, and help me achieve my goal.

But no such luck.  *sigh*

And Then He Said…

“I’ve found that with email it takes people longer to get back to you, or ignore you, than you think it will.”

~ Zen-Den

Well.  Okay.  You’re right.  But I don’t have to like it– now do I?

And how am I supposed to know if they’re just pokey little puppies about returning my emails?  Or if they’re really ignoring me?  Hmmm?  Answer me that one, He-who-talks-in-koans.

<sound of me muttering while stomping out of the room>


[The WP spell checker just told me that “humph” isn’t a word, but “Humph” is a word.  And I just reset the spell checker to always accept a lower case “humph” as a word.  Doesn’t WP know that not all situations call for a capital letter “Humph”?  Honestly, who creates these spell check thingies?]