Monday, February 28, 2011


OKAY, I MUST CALL IT QUITS for the box of cassette tapes, though I may have to sneak back again at a later date, Dear Listener, and play the one with the Swiss music for might be interested in another one, too--an oral letter. There's also the Irish music...and...ah, dear me, moving along....

Two days ago was Saturday, and on my calendar I had this written: "Landis Valley Workshop--10:00. Take lunch."

So I tossed an apple, a vanilla yogurt, a baggieful of taco chips and a baggieful of grapes into one of those insulated bags that I happened to have, and I set out for Landis Valley Farm Museum.
There was bright sunshine, and it seemed a very good day to learn about plant propagation and how to prune fruit trees.

(At this point, Dear Reader, I scampered off to find the camera media card with all the photos I took--lots and lots, of course, because it was an interesting five hours that I spent at the museum--running into a dear old cousin and his wife, "emphasis on the dear; old just meaning we've both been around a long time). And then attending the workshops with a friend who's got way more fruit trees than I do!
Feeling a bit like a first grader--planting seeds in potting soil [hey, but what fun!] in the sunny greenhouse.

Afternoon of watching two experts give instructions in just which branches to cut, and how to cut them, and why it's important to do so [as my heart sinks; I'm sure my poor little fruit trees are bravely enduring their crowded limbs, but, suffering! And the worst of it is----)

I CAN'T FIND THE MEDIA CARD! (I'm howling, because now I'm suffering!) You see, I made lots of short little video clips of those experts' wisecracks and their detailed tutelage. In part it was to give you a taste (You see, I'm always thinking of you, Reader Dear!) But a good bit was for my own advantage--like when I finally get to the job of attempting to prune my trees and am thinking, hmm, and then, hmmm? and have nothing but question marks dancing in my head.

Well, life is just full of trees that don't get pruned, and photos that get lost, and stars falling from the sky (you know, metaphorically speaking, if not in reality)...yes, it is. But it's also got bright sunshine and goofy wisecracks now and then!


Sunday, February 27, 2011



WHEN I WAS A TEENAGER, MY FATHER HIRED me one summer as a secretary at his construction company office. He also took himself two business partners. One of them was a Frenchman. This Frenchman would take a call from a supplier, get hot under the collar,* slam down the phone while releasing a stream of words with which Madame LaBelle had not acquainted me in my high school French class. He'd then pace the floor, smoking a cigarette to calm his nerves.

The other partner was a man I'll call Marvin M. Marvin had a wife and lots of daughters (younger than myself) and was part of a large Jewish synagogue. My parents were invited to his daughters' Bat Mitzvahs, and occasionally Marvin would ask them to events at the Jewish Community Center.

When I looked at this one cassette tape that came from the box, I saw "Allan Sherman's Nutty Songs" was penned on the side in a hand I did not recognize. Allan Sherman was not anyone I knew of or remembered, and neither did The Yard Man. So I popped the tape into the player as he and I traveled steadily northward through the night.

I didn't recognize the first song that played, but Marvin M. popped immediately into my mind. And I set up this little scenario in my head: Allan Sherman must have been someone who came to perform at the Jewish Community Center back in the sixties. Marvin, knowing my dad would get a big kick out of his nutty songs, made this tape for my dad. This was the story I gave to The Yard Man, and he thought it sounded believable, though he never met Marvin.

Well, so we waited to hear more. After a song about how Pop hates the Beatles, and several more that had a certain kind of humor to them, but were nothing familiar, or anything we cared to listen to again, we pulled into a rest area. That chauffeur of mine was making such terrifically good time--he was reluctant to stop, but I vowed we'd only be there a few minutes and we should stretch a little.

Back in the car, the tape starting playing again...

Hey...wait a minute!
Now this song I knew! (how many times had I heard it pouring forth from a transistor radio all those years ago! [Uh, yes, Dear Listener, go ahead and believe me--it was a hit tune back in the sixties! (Didn't I tell you some of these tapes are old!)])

Hello Muddah...Hello I am at..Camp Granada..Camp is very..entertaining..and they say we'll have some fun if it stops raining!

So it turns out Allan Sherman was somebody famous.
I'm still sticking by my story of Marvin M. and the tape for my dad, however.

*Late shipments of building supplies would hold up entire projects!
It never failed to throw the monsieur into a tailspin!

Saturday, February 26, 2011


DEAR READER, I'M IN A QUANDARY...THINGS ARE HEAPING UP. There's no time like the present to talk about the present, I know (and I learned to prune fruit trees today, and other fine stuff!); but I've still got those old cassette tapes...

There was this one song we couldn't get enough of--kept backing up the tape and playing it again and again, until that chauffeuring yard man of mine was lustily singing along. And soon after that--whaddaya know--we did cross over the river! But don't get excited, Reader Dear; on the other side there were no angels flying with glorious ease.


Turns out it was just the Potomac we'd crossed, and we were on the Maryland side--still plenty of misery and temptation to be had in Maryland, for sure.

I'm tempted to keep on giving you music from the tapes.
If it makes you miserable, try resting in the shade of a tree.


Friday, February 25, 2011


WE SAID GOODBYE, GOODBYE to our son and his wife, the baby nursery, the two cats, The Fan, and Richmond, Virginia, and set out for home, my chauffeur and I. And no sooner had we left the city limits than my chauffeur (you know, Dear Reader, it's that Yard Man of mine) pulled the car abruptly off the road. He's a fabulous chauffeur, but he tends to do things like this without any word of warning. "WHAT? What's wrong?!" I'm on Instant Alert Mode.

"It's the windshield," he said, as he exited the car. "I just noticed that strip of rubber is loose."

He seemed a little concerned, which concerned me more than a little. But then he gave it a pounding and a promise and assured me we had nothing to fear (in the way of escaping windshields) at least for the time being. And as soon as we were on our way again, that Yard Man pulled out a box of items that diverted my mind immediately from windshields sailing off into the great blue yonder and instead sent it sailing off to the great blue past.

The mere fact that this small box my yard man plopped on the seat beside me was filled with cassette tapes proves that it was from a distant past; does it not, Dear Reader? "These are from your dad's old office," he said. "You know he had a whole stack of them, and none of your siblings wanted any. I picked out a few."

Oh, my goodness! None of these tapes was less than ten years old
and some were recorded when cassettes were a modern marvel!

Heading steadily northward, we were speeding
backwards in time!

Both of my parents enjoyed music immensely,
but neither was what you'd call a real musician.
However, Mama could sing pretty well, and Daddy could play the harmonica.
And they had friends who could sing and play. So they got together an informal group
and called themselves the Harmonica Club.

Suddenly I was listening to the voices of my father and mother,
talking to folks who had come to listen to Harmonica
Club have a practice session. I cried!

"We're here to practice, and you're here to listen.
But it could well be you'll get through before we do...." says my dad.
And Mama makes introductions.

Dear Listener, the box held many more treasures!
The tapes entertained us for two hundred miles.
And I'm afraid I will have to play more.
If you get finished listening
before they're done playing...
I trust you will know what
to do!


Thursday, February 24, 2011



IN THE FAN, where St. Valentine is prompting the masses to prepare for tomorrow, and sidewalk performers are enhancing the mood as they go along.

my yard man, our son and I--go right along, ourselves, until we come to a greener part of the city. It's an historical mansion, actually...with its acres of lawn and its magnolia trees and southern pines and...ahhh...its budding trees!

We saw one ancient evergreen that was likely here before your great-great-great-grandparents walked the earth, Dear Reader (all thirty-two of them [who little knew they'd have you in common!]

Nor did they dream
how few solutions there
would ever be to That Vexed Question
[the sixteen of them who may have given it a thought]!)

As for me, Dear Reader, what I'm pondering right now is how many more posts I will need in order to put up the signs that read: "BACKLOG UNLOAD COMPLETE!" "NOW PRESENT TENSE!" I'm certain it will take at least two more just to get me home from Richmond, Virginia--the yard man playing chauffeur, auto repairman, and disc jockey, too. Stay tuned!



Wednesday, February 23, 2011


HERE, DEAR READER, is the whole backlog...log, branches, twigs. I can't seem to move ahead until I've unloaded it, and I certainly don't want a logjam.
As you can see, the Little Actor has made great tottery strides.
This director is getting excited about the advances he's made in dialoguing, as well!


And then, there's the upcoming arrival of another performer!

The weekend prior to this one just past (during the era of Technical Malfunction), the yard man and I took ourselves to the not-so-deep South, where we checked out all the accommodations being prepared for this new little celebrity! His father had prepped the nursery walls, his mother had brought home a stash of gifts and balloons from her co-workers.

His expectant grandpapa and grandmama were like groupies, just hanging around the stage in anticipation before the star himself shows up.

Seeing as how it was the day before that most amorous, romantic, chocolate-eating day of St. Valentine, we did a little shopping in The Fan. (Eyebrows up? Do you have a little question, Reader Dear? I won't leave you wondering--The Fan is a section of the city where 'hip' meets 'class' in Richmond, Virginia. Uh-huh.)

And there's just no way for me not to give you the full result of my camera-snapping, glee-tapping, adulation-yapping tour through this one particular store in The Fan:
(I'd venture to say that in this one particular store, 'hip' might also meet 'expansion'!)

The place was stockpiled with so many potential expressions of love and crowded with so many people hoping to express love that the check-out line stretched the length of the store.


Of course, there were lots of other shops with merchants who hoped to be blessed by St. Valentine,

and on the sidewalks, performers just hoping to be blessed by a little cash.

(Whew. I'm still at it...
a lot more branches and twigs
here than I remembered!)


Back soon.


Tuesday, February 22, 2011


OVERNIGHT, WINTER CREPT stealthily back into the area and left its stuff everywhere.

It wasn't much; I shouldn't be complaining, as the sun commenced to shining brightly and there was soon a lot of dripping going on. But last week, when I wasn't able to rhapsodize (alas), we had other seasons competing for winter's spot...and it was fine!

Seventy-three degrees fine!

That tee-shirt-wearing yard man was in
clean-up-branch-burning heaven!

(No logs to burn, though this is a bit of the backlog)

Monday, February 21, 2011


BACKWARDS IN TIME: It was a fruitful Saturday, this past one.
I spent time in the procuring of fruit, followed by washing, peeling, cutting up, packing, transporting and piling onto a platter...

at the home of a woman who will soon share something quite wonderful in common with me. Whether to call it a title, a state of being--it's a bit of a quandary . It's actually someONE we will have in common--a tiny, new someone.

Go right ahead, Dear Reader, use that magnifying glass and the clue-sniffing dog!

The trail should lead you right into a room full of chattering women and a great pile of gifts, all of which will be worn or otherwise put to good use by the baby who'll be the son of my son and his wife!

Yep! The yard man and I (both grinning ear-to-ear) are about to be grandparents to a second grandson!

Whew. I'm glad that trail was an easy one to follow,
Reader Dear. It sure was an exciting path thus far for
the yard man and me. And you can know, of course, I won't leave you out of earshot and looking the other way as we reach big milestones ahead!


Sunday, February 20, 2011


UNPACKED THE NEW ROUTER, read the instructions carefully, plugged in the yellow cord, plugged in the blue cord, tapped my fingers and tapped my toes, muttered a few soul-stirring words, waited. Unplugged everything. Started over.

I cautiously suggest, Dear Reader, that I'm back in the business of blogging. Look out for the backlog coming your way!


Monday, February 14, 2011


AH, DEAR READER, I GOT LOST in the hinterlands of the internet, just wandered right on off into a setting that set me back. But I'll be back. Back soon to set you straight on the details. Ah, yes.


Thursday, February 10, 2011


I KEEP SNIFFING THE AIR. Even though the yard man tossed that hot little television into the snow, the smell of electrical hazard still lingers.

And the yard man and I are accumulating a tidy pile of electric shock casualties, including the heroic Surge Protector, which gave its life for the flat-screen TV (I hummed a few bars of Taps as I unplugged it).

"I discovered my calculator took a hit--it's dead," said the yard man at dinner tonight. "I've been using it for twenty-nine years!"

Earlier I made a special trip to the hardware store to get an appliance light bulb for the fridge, as we're having a hard time adjusting to jars and bottles hiding in its inky interior. But when I went to screw in the bulb, lo and behold, there was already one there. Hmm, that yard man said nothing about replacing the bulb he'd unscrewed and laid on the counter (the very bulb I took with me so as to ensure I'd get the proper size [it was during the Ford administration that I last had to buy one (and yes, there really was such a president)and yes, I found out--there's only one size]). At home, when I went to install it, I groped around and made another discovery--there had been two bulbs in that refrigerator! Wow. (I hummed a few bars of Dear Fridge, I Hardly Knew Ye).

I wished to have bought two bulbs while at the hardware store; but it sure wasn't any calamity. There wasn't one single thing today that even approached that degree of tribulation! In fact, there's good luck to report: While speeding toward home after dark (simply hurrying along, Dear Reader) the headlights of my car flashed on a black and white creature with tail held high, walking directly into my path. I jerked the steering wheel and sharply swerved. Holding my breath as I drew my breath, my good fortune was quickly realized--I'd missed hitting that malodorous critter!

So now, my super fantastic, fabulous Fortune du Jour: Thank goodness it's only faint electrical smells to complain of when sniffing the air!!


Wednesday, February 9, 2011


WHEN IT RAINS IT POURS! is what I thought. But I'll just tell you the story, Dear Reader, and let you come up with some other old cliched expression if you want:

Last night, as we were eating dinner, the yard man and I began to notice some strange antics performed by the light bulbs inside their fixtures in our kitchen. If the refrigerator got busy cooling, the lights would dim. Same thing happened if the little electrical heater that I often use to warm myself (or the whole room) kicked on. Turning on a stove burner, or the oven, produced the same dramatic effect. Sometimes the lights would dim and then burst forth with eye-popping energy--like the sun at high noon. "I haven't seen the kitchen this bright for a long time. This is sort of freaking me out!" I said to the yard man. And when he said, "Me, too," I had the sneaking suspicion that this was going to be Calamity du Jour at some point.

By the time we had finished dinner, all of our appliances seemed to be joining in the shenanigans. When I turned on the dishwasher, the little heater began to buzz. As I wiped the kitchen counters, a weird sound came from some other region of the house. Following the noise to the living room, I found the TV whining and quickly pulled the plug to shut it up.

When the yard man and I retired for the night, I glanced more than a little nervously at the smoke detector missing its battery, and hoped that we wouldn't wake up with wings before the night was over (effectively promoting our 'Calamity of the Day' to a calamity ending all our days!)

With simple reasoning, Dear Reader, you've no doubt deduced we didn't die in our sleep. And it's true--we woke as usual this morning. But that doesn't mean electrical hijinks were over. In fact, things had gotten even more out of hand! The yard man discovered the computer in his office had folded its arms and refused to work; I plugged in the iron and lights popped and buzzed; everything, everything was attempting to give us a message, and it wasn't a funny one: Help, help! Save Our Souls! The yard man went to the basement, turned off the main electrical breaker, and came back upstairs to report, "How strange! When I threw the switch, the little TV in the basement suddenly came on. And then smoke started pouring from it!"

I said (uh, yes, a bit adamantly) "Call an electrician!" I ran around the house yanking on cords, unplugging every electric-sucking device in sight, no matter they'd already been rendered impotent by the "off" switch. Meanwhile, the yard man got on the phone, exacted a promise from the power company. Sure, they said, they'd mosey on over, see if the problem was ours or theirs.

"Meanwhile," I huffed, "what do we do? What if the problem is OURS?!"

But that's where I drop the story for a while--as I dash away to take care of three particular rental-unit appliances--a washer and two dryers--all feeding calmly at the power source, yet sick in some way. The tricky question here was: surgery or euthanasia?


Late afternoon I'm back at the house, and it's cold in here! The thermostat says 51 degrees and the furnace won't start. But the yard man shows up and tells me the fabulous news--the power company came around a few hours ago and confessed that the problem was THEIRS! They might even dig into their very own pockets to fix whatever they broke with their frayed wire and their big power surges and all of that weird misbehavior.

So we're making a list, and we're checking it twice. We're going to find out if they're naughty or nice--will they really shell out for a busted computer, TV and routing device?*

*You'll have to believe me, Dear Reader, the rhyming was a total surprise. With that said, here's one more line: Happily for us, the freezer still makes ice!
(And we got the furnace going, too!)

Sunday, February 6, 2011


HERE IS A TIDBIT I HEARD TODAY: Superbowl Sunday, high holy day in the world of sports, is second only to Thanksgiving in the amount of food consumed by my fellow citizens of the United States of America on any particular day.

From the slight bollix during the singing of the national anthem, to the
explosion of celebratory glee by the Green Bay Packers, my yard man contributed to this eating phenomenon by making his super delicious hoagies available to twelve gathered family members.


Saturday, February 5, 2011


"LET'S GO TO FIRST FRIDAY," I suggested to my yard man yesterday evening. But...ahhh, he didn't think he felt so inclined. Outside it was already getting dark. Cold banks of snow covered the landscape. Earlier in the day the weather had been so cranky it had called off recycling!

"Well," I said, by way of enticement, "We could go to Rice and Noodles for supper... (tiny pause)...and Rachel said on facebook her husband will have some of his work hanging in a gallery...and she baked the most wonderful cookies for the gallery owners to serve." (Do you suppose, Reader Dear, that I didn't know the perfect worm to string on that hook?)

An hour later we were crunching across the crusty patches of snow on the city's sidewalks. There were stars in the night sky and the frosty air was exhilarating. It was a fine evening to eat Asian food and look at art.

All of it coming about via Rachel's delectable delights!


Friday, February 4, 2011


hanging around!

The sun is not doing it's usual vigilant job of escorting these people back to wherever they came from. To tell you the truth, most of them appear to be wearying of their sojourn here.

And so am I.
I'm tired of their prolonged stay.

It's not at all uplifting to
see them slumping,
shoulders drooped,
heads bowed

How pitiful to watch
them become
noses falling off,
eyes falling

Even those still standing upright
and optimistic
are often sightless,
unable to see
their own shadow
(Hip hip hooray, neither did the
groundhog the other day!)

So, yes, as friendly and happy as these folks were upon arrival, I'd say it's most definitely time for them to go back to the motherland now.

Thursday, February 3, 2011


IT'S THURSDAY, AND HERE'S YESTERDAY'S CALAMITY DU JOUR: Yes, they seem to be arriving daily. It's disconcerting. It's discouraging. It's downright dismaying. It's daunting, depressing, disheartening and dispiriting. Dinner... on the table. The food is hot and ready to eat. But the yard man knows a sneeze is imminent. He goes into the bathroom and opens the cupboard door, rummages around for a box of tissues. I hear a crashing, shattering sound and hear him exclaim, "Oh,...." (Never mind what he said. I can assure you it wasn't joyful, Reader Dear).

"What happened?! What broke?" I ask from the kitchen, just as he comes into the room and tosses something into the trash can.

"I broke one of those bulbs," he says.

"What?! A compact fluorescent bulb?!" I rush to the bathroom to view the damages. Sure enough, there's a curly disaster--pieces of glass strewn across the floor.

"Just let it go!" I say, and pull the bathroom door shut. "I'll take care of it later. You know, those bulbs have mercury in them!"

We sit down and eat our dinner. Then I try not to think about cleaning up that broken bulb. I don't know what to do with it, but whatever it is, I surely don't feel like doing it now. Because my yard man is so completely unconcerned, however, I am concerned--he's liable to tromp through the mercury and think nothing of it.

I get tape and use it liberally on the bathroom door, ensuring it will be a quicker proposition to go to a bathroom on another floor than to hack one's way into this one. Next I go and relax in the living room, letting the job niggle away at me for a few hours. Finally I go to the computer and google "clean-up of broken fluorescent bulb."

There are a few moments of horrified silence as I'm reading down through the instructions and then I say to the yard man, heart pounding, "Oh, good heavens! You've already polluted the whole place! That bulb broke right at your feet--you've got to take off all your clothes, they're contaminated. Especially your shoes--we have to throw them away! And... and... we're to turn off the heating system and open the bathroom window for a few hours (it was about 20 degrees outside at the time). I'm supposed to put the glass pieces in a glass jar with a lid...wearing gloves and a mask..."

"Oh, good grief, just sweep the stuff up," he harrumphed and trotted off upstairs.


Dear Reader, I tried very diligently not to obsess. I told myself that surely at least ninety-three-point-five percent of the population would NOT meticulously scrape the broken glass together with two pieces of cardboard and discard everything in double-bagged plastic bags in lieu of a glass jar with lid, per instructions! And ninety-five-point-three percent would very probably NOT repeatedly pat wide strips of tape over the scene of the breakage (how many would just happen to have these large rolls of clear packaging tape, perfect for the job, anyway?!) And the half-roll of paper towels, dampened one at a time to clean every crack and crevice where mercury might yet be lurking--how many of those thousands of other bulb-breakers out there would be Doing As Told, like me?

Today, however, found me at the handy, drive-through, drop-off building provided by the local hazardous waste facility. In the trunk of the car were two large double-bagged bags of POLLUTED materials. "What do you have here?" the two men with the bright yellow vests wished to know. From the car ahead of me, they'd unloaded a computer and several big batteries.

"Uhm, it's a broken compact fluorescent bulb," I told them.

"What?! Where's the bulb? What's all this?" the one guy asked, and his tone of voice gave no indication that I'd be receiving an award for my conscientious care of the environment.

"Well, my husband dropped part of the bulb into a bag of trash--so part of it's in this bag here...and then, I used a lot of paper towels..."

With a small snort, he tossed the bags back into my trunk. "Just throw 'em out with your garbage!" he said. "We don't do trash collection here!"

"But I got my instructions online," I protested. "At least won't you take this bag? It's got most of the bulb, and the bathroom rug." Hell's bells, I wanted to yell--Don't make me take this pollution back home!

The worker grabbed the bag. He tossed it to the other yellow-vester, who set off with it toward the piles of waste. "They're gettin' everybody all worked up!" he said, his voice full of disgust. "Ya get more mercury from a hoagie wrapper!"

Say it again?! Now I wanted to give him an award! Whether factual or not, those were just the kind of words I wished to hear!


Wednesday, February 2, 2011


OH, GOOD GRIEF! I WAKE UP this morning to find the trees have thrown off their white garb and put on something absolutely see-through! It's sheer and sparkling and, actually, it's downright stunning! There is an eensy-teensy problem, however. Because some of them can't quite carry it off--one of them near my house, in particular--I also wake up to find that the house is cold. When I glance at the bedside clock, it has died. I discover the lights, too, have died in their sleep. I rush around the house--it's downright funereal in here, so many things have died! Aha, I see that the cell phone is still alive. I snatch it up and call the power company to inquire about resuscitation.

For the next few minutes I'm pressing one or saying "yes" and pressing two or saying "no" or pressing three and swearing (no, no, of course I'm not). I never once talk to a real human being, but by the time I hang up, that great electrical breast from which we've been feeding has been informed that the milk's not there! Overnight we have starved!

The disembodied voice has predicted that by eight o'clock in the evening things should be humming--and playing and working and running--come back to life. But as I peer down the hallway of time, geez, I nearly have to squint to see eight p.m. And the house is getting colder by the minute. So are my toes.

So first things first--I get myself a match.

And from the front porch, logs. Following that, the little shoes of Fire step in and try to fill the great big clodhoppers of Furnace. (I've stepped into shoes, too, but they're my own.)

My yard man comes inside the house. His office in the barn is a death parlor, as well. His cell phone is gasping it's last bit of life before the battery dies. And now--the astounding occurrence: it's the middle of the week, going toward the middle of the day, and we are just sitting! It is quiet, more peaceful than a Sunday afternoon. In the small sunny meadow of BTUs that Fire has spread out for us, we each read. After while the yard man, his legs stretched out, feet on the hassock, leans back in his chair and snores softly. I wonder if I'm in some kind of double time know, like the year might be 1880 and I'm 80 years old. I daydream about this for a while (well, only the part about the year being 1880).

But then the yard man wakes up with a start. "Let's go get something to eat!" he says. Just like that, we leave all the deceased items behind, including the dying embers in the fireplace, and rush out into the modern world!

We climb into our car that is so much more comfortable and so much faster than a horse-drawn vehicle, and we go have a very late lunch where there's heat and light and even internet access! Our car is such a marvel of modern technology that we can also browse in a bookstore for a while, go visit our dear Little Actor, and still get home before dark.

And even the dark doesn't have to be all that dark anymore because it's 2011, and when we get home--hallelujah--the milky power is flowing!


Tuesday, February 1, 2011


IT HAPPENS TO BE AN INTENSELY gray day. Dusk is falling. It's going to fall right down there where the blackness of my spirits are puddling. Aaaarrgh. I'm not sure I've even got enough "look on the sunny side" to detail the events of the visit to the magistrate's office this afternoon, Dear Reader, where my less-than-ideal tenant arrived and swore to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, and then commenced to fling falsehoods far and wide.

Not content with that, she was pretty skilled at condemnation, as well. "You," she maintained quite loudly and repeatedly, "are a liar! " Followed by, "And you know it!" By her book, I KNEW that I turned off her water on Christmas Day in order to force her to leave. I KNEW that her boyfriend was not living with her. I KNEW that I'd cooked up all kinds of crazy schemes to give her the boot. Most of all I KNEW that I was lying! The litany was long and creative and spoken emphatically. But, between you and me, Dear Reader, what I knew was this:

Without any other witness to testify for the prosecution (alas, me) it mattered not what I knew or didn't know, what I said or didn't say. It was all merely chatter. This whole hearing was a futile case of she said-she said. When the judge had finished listening to the landlord and the tenant, she knew who was telling the truth. She castigated the landlord for not bringing another tenant to verify her story.

To the tenant she said, You may stay if you pay the rent.

Leaving the building, my tenant looked back with a very wide smirk on her face,"Come on and get yer rent," she told me. "I won't answer the door."

I said nothing and she added: "Come get it tomorrow!"

We all have our skills. My tenant is experienced at this;
until a few hours ago, I was not.