Tuesday, August 30, 2011

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RED BELL PEPPERS are to green ones as a day like today compares to one with pounding rain.
Or a dish of vanilla ice cream compares to a great big ole' ice cream sundae with three scoops of peanut-butter-chocolate-ripple-cookies-n'-cream, hot fudge and caramel sauce running down its sides.


Whipped cream and a cherry on top.
.
That's why I begged of my yard man (yes, he of the horse-farmed veggies), "Bring me all you've got!"

That's how I ended up with quite a boxful. I reckon all these little beauties have so much sunshine stored up in their rosy-red bodies that it should carry me and the yard man through many bleak days of winter. (Oh, my, there's even a chance we'll have to put on our sun-specs!)

I think it wise to keep them out of sight of the green bell peppers in my kitchen; I doubt these flashy, drop-dead gorgeous scarlet veggies could be humble if they tried!

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Monday, August 29, 2011

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GOODNIGHT, IRENE; GOODNIGHT, IRENE, I'll see you in my dreams. (Um, no! I won't!) I have just this to say about Irene, and then not another word, because, to tell the truth, Dear Reader, I am quite tired of hearing about her, talking about her, dealing with the mess she left behind. She has had her day!





I know the poor folks who are even now throwing out food from the fridge, taking cold showers and pining for just a wee bit of battery back-up for laptops and phones may have to go on mentioning her name, but not me!





Problems at the covered bridge have receded. Big trucks and the men who drive them spent part of today at the cockeyed telephone pole, fixing that disorder, as well.


















Just as soon as I've dealt with one more downed tree (and the leafy debris strewn from stem to stern) at the property where all my tenants live, I can relegate Irene to history. For good.


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Sunday, August 28, 2011

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IRENE STORMED AWAY! But not before making a real scene!



In fact, she kept me awake most of the night with her shrieking and throwing things around!













She was breaking things, too! A limb on the neighbors' tree cracked and fell into our driveway (They're new neighbors; the poor things, getting such an initiation into home-ownership!) And then, good grief, Irene grabbed a piece of that limb and tossed it right over the top of our house and onto the kitchen porch.












Not satisfied with just huffing and puffing, she felt the need to overfill the creek that flows under our covered bridge. (The very one, Dear Reader, with the sign on an inner wall--fully two-thirds up the side- "High water mark for Hurricane Agnes, June, 1972")*






























Irene didn't attain the heights of Agnes, but it wasn't for not trying!
Needless to say, I wasn't sorry to see Irene taking her departure today.

Irene, Irene, she made a scene,
and what is more--she stole one!
(I was all set to tell you the tale of the all-day auction of family heirlooms that occupied my Saturday from start to very nearly finish, and then there came Irene, flouncing along, stealing that scene right out from under!!)**

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*It's ours, I say! Every single day of the past thirty-odd years, with very few exceptions, my yard man and I (together or separately) have pulled out of our driveway onto the road, traveled the quarter-mile downhill and traversed it.

**That's okay, Reader Dear, there's a slightly better than average chance I'll give you a blow-by-blow account of the auction-action later.

...

Saturday, August 27, 2011


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IRENE CAME STORMING INTO THE AREA!

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It was nearing midnight. She had already been getting more and more vocal, and then I saw that the living room curtains were trembling at her fury! I started investigating and found that she was sneaking right into the house, via a crack in the frame of a window!! One edge of the curtains was soggy, and water droplets were bespattering the sofa. Since I couldn't get Irene to calm down, my only option was to remove the curtains and mop up; employ the use of a folded bathroom rug and a bucket propped on the window sill. I hoped that she would soon be appeased in some way.

Then I went to bed and listened to her expressing her ever-more massive conniption!


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Friday, August 26, 2011

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IT JUST SO HAPPENED, DEAR READER, my day began and ended with FRIDGES (both of them new!)

MORNING:*
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*I crawled out of bed for delivery of a brand-new appliance to a brand-new tenant of mine. The timing was tricky, but she got the old fridge unloaded in double-quick time. A brand-new set of deliverymen (well, it wasn't their first day on the job--they were only new to me!) not only hoisted this new appliance up the stairs, rolled away the old, positioned the new...but when it was discovered that the door needed hinges on its opposite side, these men made the switch! Without a hitch! How cool!



NOON:**
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Though no fridge was in sight when I lunched
with a friend, there was friendship and food!
How fine!



NIGHT:***
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***The Fridge, that's its name! By virtue of the fact that my yard man is growing the veggies for use at this new little beer and pizza place in the city, we got the "Special Invitation Only" to opening night--sampled the yard man's zucchini and tomatoes, squash and potatoes. How sweet!







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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

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BECAUSE YOU SHOULD ALREADY KNOW, Reader Dear, that
I've got a twin, I'm not going to yammer on and on about this handsome guy who can question me like no one else, "Remember the taste of that tar we used to scoop from the road and chew?!"

I'll just mention that he came to see me yesterday (arriving post-earthquake, after a four-hour drive), and today we were privileged to spend the whole entire day together!


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Among other jaunts and excursions, we made a visit to the Wilbur Chocolate Company, where the sight of chocolate, and the aroma of chocolate, and the touch and taste of chocolate (not to mention the informative film we sat and watched) made us ponder its many attributes.


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(Would it not have been a super-lovely thing had the roads of our childhood been patched with THIS dark, malleable stuff instead of tar?!)

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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

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HERE I SAT, DEAR READER, quietly reading my email, when the good solid earth started pantomiming the ocean! Yes, at first the floor of the house just shook, but then it rapidly progressed to riding the waves (not white-capped ones, but some pretty impressive action when one considers how long the earth's been sitting so prim and properly still!) "Hmm," I thought, and I looked up at the ceiling, "Perhaps I should take myself outside!" and I promptly did. (Oh, my goodness, it was a fabulous day to be outside!)

Well, then the ground stood still again. And the house relaxed back into its bump-on-a-log, sedate, not-blinking-an-eye mode. I went back inside and waited for the local radio station to stop playing its classical music and thoroughly explain the earth's misbehavior.

While I was still waiting, my telephone rang. "Hey, Mom," said my son, who was calling from two-hundred and thirty miles away to the south, "Would you do me a favor?"

"Of course," I replied.

"Well," he asked me, "would you get online and look to see if we had an earthquake in this area?"

"But, wait...but....what?!! We had an earthquake HERE!!" I exclaimed in disbelief.
That, Dear Reader--is when the earth's hijinks really rattled my bones, got me all shook up!




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(O, Nostradamus! Tsk, tsk)

Monday, August 22, 2011

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TODAY'S WEATHER WAS QUITE lovely! A bit warm in the afternoon, perhaps, but nothing like the day that I wrote the following post. This post was composed several weeks ago when the weather was intense; but it was never presented for your reading...uh...pleasure, Reader Dear. (And since I've already been scrounging around in the past for the past few days), I might as well toss it your way:

It was hot outside today (Oh, my goodness, what news! I'm sure you're quite astounded, Dear Reader) . I pulled down all the shades, put my favorite CD's on the player, and spent a good chunk of the day cleaning out drawers (mostly just drawers, but there was one cupboard, as well, that I unloaded of its stash of items; sorted and sifted). I ended up with quite a nice little everest of things I must now dispose of in some manner or another.

The hodgepodgey drawers in the kitchen were the easy ones. I didn't look longingly at the box of paper clips and the one full of safety pins after I'd taken away their drawer-dwelling privileges. Nor was it difficult for me to throw out expired coupons and toss extemporaneous pairs of scissors into the thrift store donation box. But I came across two items that will definitely gain re-admittance!




They are my little mood-boosters, my trinket-tonics. And they're amazing!
In a matter of seconds, I can pick up the jar of bubbles or the kaleidoscope and go cavorting into a carefree eden* where chaotic drawers and dirty floors don't bother me at all .

(*I only wish, Dear Reader, I could pack my bags and stay in this idyllic spot a little longer!**)



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**Though my stay was quite lengthy when once I
got started making video clips....you wouldn't
believe, Viewer Dear, how many I have to show you!***



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Sunday, August 21, 2011

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IT'S SUNDAY NIGHT. And just in case, Reader Dear, you're hanging around, kickin' the dirt, waiting to hear some concert-in-the-park, well...aw, shucks, I've got bad news: It rained like a spigot was open all evening!

But, aha, listen up! I'm still loitering around in last week's happenings, and...just home from that weekend reunion, the yard man and I are off to the park. We only thought it might rain that week-ago evening. But nope, not a drop. Therefore, whaddaya know, here ya go:

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Pretty impressive, no?


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I'd say so!

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Saturday, August 20, 2011

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A WEEK! IT'S BEEN A WHOLE entire week since I went with The Yard Man to a family reunion of about sixty of his aunts, uncles and cousins, even a few uh...cousins removed once, and some removed twice. (Surely there is a better term, Reader Dear, for the children and grandchildren of one's first cousins, but I don't know it. At any rate, there was nothing removed about those little twice-removed ones last weekend; they were very much there, and very much the epitome of cuteness!)

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From the beginning--driving in the long, tree-lined driveway to the retreat center, which sits in a beautiful valley in a place aptly know as Belleville--to the very end of the weekend and the reunion, I had a most enjoyable time with this family. Because here's the thing--they like to laugh! Oh, what could be more delicious than laughter?! (Well, there's chocolate. But there was plenty of that, too!)

Another feature, fascinating enough to put me into movie-making mode, was the hummingbird buffet that must be well known to every fast-winged creature in a three-county area! It hung in a corner of the expansive deck where the family sat to relax and chat and play a game (it really wasn't a game in the competitive sense, but was made up of instructions such as "Tell about your most embarrassing experience" and "Tell us something funny about your childhood"....[see, Reader Dear, how we might have been holding our sides with laughter?])

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Who's to know? Perhaps the big attraction for the hummingbirds was not so much the sugar-water as the sweet tales on which they got to eavesdrop!

As The Yard Man and I drove back out the long driveway on Sunday afternoon, I was reluctant to be leaving. I had no way of knowing how quickly we'd be back!

Ten miles down the road, I glanced into the back seat of the car. "Do you have that pair of hanging pants you brought along?!" I asked The Yard Man.

"Son-of-a-gun!" he said. And turned the car around. Back we drove through the beautiful valley and back in the long tree-lined driveway to the retreat center. A small group of cousins and an aunt were gathered outside, preparing to leave. One of them was holding the hangered pair of pants. "These must be yours," she said. "And are these yours?" She held up a pair of women's underwear, size XXL-Jumbo. There was rousing laughter. The underwear had mysteriously shown up in someone's bed the night before. (We all knew it was a prank. No one knew exactly who to blame). It was a final bit of humor as we drove away for the final time.

...

It wasn't until we were all the way home that The Yard Man opened the trunk and asked, "Where is my bag?!"*

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*Didn't I say it's a great family? It was no prank; he'd forgotten his bag! The very next day one of The Yard Man's cousins UPS'd us a box. Inside was The Yard Man's overnight bag.

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Monday, August 15, 2011

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AND IT FOLLOWS...that when I drift off to sleep tonight, I'll be ruing the fact that (due to various and multi-faceted concerns, commitments and calls of duty*) you, Reader Dear, alas, will find nothing but this small blurb as a promised post.

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*My car has been mischievously (or perhaps maliciously) misbehaving.
When the yard man and I set out this past weekend for a reunion with his aunts, uncles and cousins a two-hour drive away, he threw his jumper cables in the trunk, just in case.
*My malingering cell phone is useless.
*My hair is in dire need of truncation.
*My ex-tenants are eagerly, by now perhaps desperately, awaiting return of security deposits.
*My cherry-tomato plant is stooped to the ground, awaiting relief of its burden of fruit.
*My list goes on and on...
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Sunday, August 14, 2011

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INDEED, YES; when I drift off to sleep tonight I will be back to my Normal Schedule (if one can give such an ill-defined order of daily routines that title). Blog posts to follow.

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Friday, August 12, 2011

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I'M NOT THE ONLY ONE who thinks so, Reader Dear--Asheville, North Carolina, is a beautiful part of the country. Not only that, but the food they serve here is quite wonderful to a biscuit-eater like myself. And the folks are friendly.


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What with their vibrant farmers' markets;




their abundance of interesting shops stocked with books, antiques, slightly-used items, shoes (uh, yes, Reader Dear, they have wonderful discount shoes!);









their cafes and parks and clean air;
















what's to hamper one from having a great three-day vacation here?



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Oh, that? Ha! It was only a brief shower--and a refreshing one, at that!
(The time that my yard man and I spent here with our daughter flew much too swiftly!)

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Sunday, August 7, 2011

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IT WAS AN AMISH BARN-RAISING!!
I mean, it was a family barn-raising!!

Uh...it was a family shed-raising,
to be absolutely honest.






Like an Amish barn-raising,
however, it involved many
hours of cooperation
and sweaty labor.



























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Unlike an Amish barn-raising, though, it involved the deciphering of a thirty -page instruction manual.





























And unlike the Amish shindig, kisses and hugs all around when the cooperating construction workers parted ways.
(Although it's true, Dear Reader, I'm only assuming Amish barn-raisers do not express such affection when the barn is raised.)
















(By the time goodbyes were said in Richmond,
Virginia, the caretakers of the Small Actor
had a mostly-constructed storage shed, and the
whole family had a satisfied feeling [very nearly, I think,
as if we were Amish and had raised a barn!])
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Saturday, August 6, 2011

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AH, WHAT GOOD FORTUNE--BOTH OF MY DIMINUTIVE ACTORS are readily available for movie-making during my weekend here in Richmond, Virginia. The Little Actor was my delightful traveling companion on the way to this southern city, yesterday. And now while I'm here, the Small Actor charms me with his new vocalizations and new ear-to-ear smile and new way of maneuvering his thumb into his mouth and new...well, not-so-new, but age-old and still as marvelous as ever--baby smell!


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It's true my actors spend a great deal of time eating and sleeping;
otherwise, outside of any schedule whatsoever, they are being pampered and fussed over--
at varying times for each, making it difficult to feature
both in the same production.

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Hence this movie-making nearly has me running
in circles.

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Friday, August 5, 2011

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SMALL ACTOR STARS in my latest film!




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Here I am in Richmond, Virginia. Do you suppose, Dear Reader, I would not be leaping at every chance to produce new movies?!




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I tried to keep the scripts uncomplicated,
depending on the charm of the actor to carry the pictures!



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Tuesday, August 2, 2011

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HERE WE ARE, back on the sidewalk at the apartments in the shimmering heat. There are Carl and Chris, saying, "You could refuse delivery." And there I am, scampering around inside my head, trying to make a decision to solve my quirky irky quandary!

That's when I hit on the solution: I made dear Chris and Carl an offer they couldn't refuse!
"How about if you two moonlight for me?!" I asked in a wheedling kind of way. That's when I offered them each a sizable wad of cash to set aside their regular delivery job, and set at least one air conditioner in place.

They jumped to attention! It seemed to solve their predicament as well as mine. (They really didn't want to leave me with my big old appliances that might not fit, sitting on the sidewalk in the stifling heat!) Chris looked at Carl. Carl said, "Well, we've already notified the next delivery we'll be there in thirty minutes, but...." (hmm, it was an offer they couldn't refuse, didn't I say, Reader Dear?)..."I guess we could do it."

To the tune of my profuse expressions of thanks and gratitude, and my explanation that I'd have to take their picture, they immediately cut open the first big box, hoisted the appliance up the flight of stairs; out came the old air conditioner from its eighteen-year, half-in-half-out spot on the wall. (I'd snatched up my large piece of black plastic to spread on the floor, well aware that old air conditioners can have wet bottoms).

As I held my breath, Carl and Chris then lifted the new air conditioner up and into the opening, and...glory be to fate and fortune, it FIT! They plugged it in. It roused to life! Then they placed the defunct air conditioner, still wrapped in the black plastic, into the empty box--and away they all went down the stairs!

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It was ten minutes later.
And that, Reader Dear, was the end of that*

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(Of course, I still had to make a decision about the
remaining two air conditioners still tightly ensconced in their boxes.
To refuse, or not to refuse, that was the question.
I now knew they would fit; I kept them. Chris and Carl put them into my storage garage for me and drove away with big smiles on their faces. I was smiling pretty broadly myself as I waved them off.)

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*My quirky quandary, (though I've
definitely tired of saying
those words!)

Monday, August 1, 2011

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WHAT ABOUT THAT QUIRKY QUANDARY , Dear Reader? It's about time I tell you the story,
or you'll plumb forget all about the problem of the dying air conditioner and tenants of mine about to move in, and the hot, hot weather and the...well, I'll start from the beginning:

I'll do my best, Reader Dear, to be brief:

The air conditioner quit working in an apartment that I was cleaning, preparing for tenants who planned to move in two days later. I rushed home to research online, and heaved a great sigh when I saw I could order--through Home Depot--a model that looked to be the right size (based on my tape-measured findings) to fit in the wall opening where the now-defunct air conditioner resided.

I rushed to Home Depot and ordered the thing. Simple as that may sound, it took almost a full hour. Christine, the young woman assisting me had never done an online order, but she was sweet, and attempted to answer all of my questions (though many consultations or phone calls ensued before she could give me a response).

How soon can I get it? (Two days)
How much is the cost? (Six-hundred and eighty-nine dollars, plus tax. No wait, it's a special price. The sale ends today. Six-hundred and twenty-nine dollars, plus tax!)
What is the delivery charge? (It's free delivery!)
Excellent, and do you install? (Yes, it's a major appliance. Free delivery and free installation. We take away the old one, too.)
Wow. Wonderful! You install?!! (Yes, we deliver and install. And we take away the old one!)
What if it's not the right size? (Don't worry, you don't sign off on it until it's installed, and the old one is taken away).
And what if I have to return it? (You can't return it, because it's ordered online)
HO-O-LD EVERYTHING! I CAN'T RETURN IT?! ([lengthy consultation] You can return it to us, but we charge a ten percent re-stocking fee.)
So I can have this by Friday, delivered and installed? (Yes, you will get a call with the four-hour window of time when it will arrive. Then you'll get another call thirty minutes before the truck gets to you.)

When all was said and done, I had ordered three of the cooling machines! Why not? I asked myself. I've got fourteen other ancient air conditioners, chugging out cold air to beat the band. They're getting so old, they're working so hard in this heat! Surely they'll be dropping like flies. Now, while the price is reduced and with free installation (!), I'll order some extra units.

....

Skipping right ahead (though the weather was much too warm for that kind of activity), it's Friday morning. I'm not going to say one more time how hard I'd been working! But I was feeling good--both the empty apartments were getting close to completion; both would be getting new air conditioners; the truck bearing the lovely appliances would arrive between nine o'clock and one o'clock. It was eleven o'clock when my cell phone rang. Ah, perfect, thirty minutes to go! I kept on cleaning the oven, with an eye toward the parking lot.

When the truck pulled in, I rushed down to meet the deliverymen. "Hi, I'm Carl, and my helper is Chris," said the first man out of the truck.

"Nice to meet you," I said. "And I'm Qathy. Sounds like we could be triplets--Carl and Chris and Qathy." (Heh. He laughed at the ludicrousness of such an idea--we being so different in age, race, and gender.)

These two were friendly and efficient. "We've been working together a long time," they said. They quickly trundled the three air conditioners onto a dolly and wheeled them around the building to the door where I directed. "Is this where you want us to put them?" Carl asked.

"Yes," I responded. "The first one will go here where the air condition quit. The opening is window height. In the other two apartments, the opening is high on the wall."

"Well, you know we don't install," said Carl.
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Calamity, Dear Reader, can fall from the sky without warning, like hailstones on a hot summer day!
......

"YOU DON'T INSTALL?" I didn't shout the question, but I asked it with distinctly heightened intensity. "But, you have to! The woman at Home Depot ASSURED me that you would! She said you would install and take the old ones away. She told me I don't sign off on the units until they're installed!"

"Sorry," said Carl. "We only install free-standing appliances. Even if it's a microwave that fits into a cabinet, we don't install it. Only free-standing stuff. We never install air conditioners!"

"But....what am I supposed to do?!" I wailed. (Well, I didn't actually wail out loud, but I sure was keening inside.) "I've got tenants moving in in a few short hours. They're the daughters of a U.S. senator! We're in the middle of a heat wave!"

"Don't you have a handyman?" Chris asked.

"No," I answered. "And I can't get anyone on a Friday afternoon with such short notice. Are you SURE you can't do it? The woman at Home Depot TOLD me you'd install."

"We can't install," Carl said for about the third time. "Why don't you call Home Depot?"

I took his suggestion and made the call. I asked for Christine. "Do you remember me?" I asked the girl who came on the line. "I was in on Wednesday and ordered three air conditioners. We spent a long time together." I was sure she'd remember!

"No," she said. "I don't think I do."

"Are you Christine?" I asked.

"No," she said. "I'm Christa. We have a Christa and a Christy and a Christine who work here."

"Ha! We could be quintuplets!" I said....(Wait, wait, Dear Reader; I fear I'm veering into fiction!)
"I'll bet that's fun." (Those are my actual words) "Could I PLEASE speak with CHRISTINE?"

"Oh, she's not in today," Christa said cheerfully. "She'll be in tomorrow."
I hung up.

"What can I DO?!" I moaned.

"You can refuse delivery," said Carl for about the third time. "We can take them back. You could order another day."

"No, no," I said. "I need at least one of them today! It's much too hot to be without one." (I said for about the fourth time.)

"I don't know," said Carl. "What do you want us to do? We're on a schedule. We can put them somewhere. You could get someone to install them later."

"But they might not FIT!" I protested. "I'd have to return them, and pay the restocking fee. And I'd STILL be without an air conditioner for my brand-new tenants!"

The sun was shining hotly on our heads. These two men were waiting patiently for my decision.
Time was ticking by. What to do? What to do?! I was in a stew! *

(*Better known to you, Dear Reader, as my quirky quandary.
Alas, also well know to you by now--my old trick of keeping you waiting!)
To be continued....

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