Thursday, April 29, 2010

She smiles

Shoeshine sent this picture he got today with Ladyslipper smiling:

I just mentioned this to him yesterday, saying that she should be smiling and laughing soon, so maybe he would be able to see that when he visits next week. And then we get this.
Made me remember back when we had babies and how much the smiles and laughter can make you forget the sleepless nights and dirty diapers.

                 This is cute too, but can't beat that smile.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Not in front of the refrigerator!

 J's check engine light had been on for a few days- well, not J's light, the one in his pickup truck! (Although wouldn't that be handy to have warning lights for people? But where would they be, oh and how would they be reset? Never mind- back on topic) Then on Saturday after he released the parking brake, the "brake on" light was on, as well as the ABS one on the other side. Setting and releasing the emergency brake made no difference, so we called our mechanic on Monday and brought the little fellow in to be checked.

 The good news was that the aging truck apparently had a loose gas cap gasket and a little dirt in a valve. That and we are ignoring the ABS module if it happens again, because the brakes are fine. But...our van apparently was jealous of the attention J's truck was getting, so decided to act up on the way over to the shop. After I paused before pulling out, the engine briefly raced and I glanced down to see the N light up for a second, then it changed back to D. What? Thank goodness J was there to witness it, and he said it had happened to him too, although it was so fast he had doubted his eyes. So we left the van there to be checked out, hoping it did not need a new transmission.  It's a 2000 model with about 160K miles on it and we do not want to have to replace it.

Why, vehicles, why? We feed you and oil you and I just took you to the car wash last week. I even washed the inside windows. We don't speed (excessively) or burn your rubber. Okay, we didn't build a garage for you, but the tools needed a home more than you did.. You are tough Maine autos, you can take the weather! And, if you rebel too much, we do have Ameranth's car here as a backup.
Just sayin'.
(We've even given it cosmetic surgery after a deer attack. Twice.)

When we sighed with relief that the bill for the truck was lower than we feared, even with the oil change, someone decided they needed equal time? (I'm looking at you Ms. Caravan)  I got the call this morning: They think the shift cable may need to be replaced, and it will be a few hours labor and an extra day. We are crossing our fingers that will do it this time.

And we are not discussing this in the kitchen or the laundry room. Just in case.


Sunday, April 25, 2010

The boys are back in town

Well, one boy to be exact.

Another freebie. J saw the "free roosters" sign driving home from grocery shopping this morning, we grabbed a cat carrier and off we went. I made J go to the door and he was greeted by a big dog, a little dog, and a fluffy cat before an old lady came out to tell him he wouldn't be attacked. He told her if they weren't attacking the chickens right there in the yard, he wasn't worried about them attacking him.
The old lady started towards the rooster and I got out because if she was going to chase down that rooster, she was going to need help, being about 80 and having only one arm that seemed to work. She paused and wondered if she should get her daughter, when the door opened on cue and out came a younger woman. Old Lady said she guessed her granddaughter would do and told her we were there for one of the roosters. Did we want the pretty one, the black one or the red one?  Since the only one in sight was the pretty one, I said that he would do. Besides, who wouldn't want the pretty one?  She said he was a nice one, but they had 3 roosters and 7 hens. For anyone who hasn't had chickens- that is not a good ratio. The roosters will fight and the hens are never left alone.

Young lady went to the barn and came back with baling twine in her hand. Old lady confided that perhaps she was going to lasso the bird, which, while improbable, would surely have been something to see. At this point a middle aged lady ("there's my daughter")  popped out and made the last point in the triangle around the rooster inside a trellis and garden. No one wanted to lunge at him, and they decided to herd him into the barn and corner him there. With very little fuss, they did so and young lady appeared in the doorway clutching the rooster by the feet. Delighted to hear that we had a carrier, they stuffed him in and off we went.

5 minutes later he was in the coop, crowing to announce his arrival. 5 minutes after that he was out on the lawn in the middle of his new harem.

Maybe we'll call him Floyd- he certainly is a pretty boy. 

Saturday, April 24, 2010

In the right place

At the right time.
That was us today. We drove into Winthrop to get chicken feed and swung up through town to drop off the phone bill, so went down a road we normally wouldn't. And what did we see but a big sign saying FREE and piles of shutters. We had to leave our garbage cans there while we took them home. We nobly ignored the free windows the guy had put out there in our absence.

Now you have to understand that we have been craving shutters for our house for years. We found one pair in our barn that had been on the house originally, so those we used on our porch. An antique place near us has stacks of them that have been sitting outside for years, but she wants $15.00 each or $25.00 per pair. That's too rich for our blood, especially considering the condition they are in.  Now these need scraping and painting too, but they were free! And they are the exact size we need- at least 7 pairs of them are. We took the smaller 8 pairs as well, because we can use them on a couple of smaller windows, and well, they were free. They have the hinges and hooks on them since they are old shutters that actually worked to close over the windows, but we don't have the part that goes on the house. We'll see what we can do about that when the time comes. 

We then went to Marden's and happened to see the 'Marden's lady' in person, but that was nothing compared to the fact that the 'hotdog lady' was open for business in their parking lot. J was able to get his first red hots of the season.

We decided to build on the great start we had and installed our clothesline in it's new, more convenient position in the front side yard. Normally I would not choose to air our laundry in the neighbor's view, but I had to go through the dog's yard to get to it in back, and that was a very big hassle. 

See that post in the back on the left? That was a huge P.I.T.A. for J to dig the hole for. It is right at the back of where the old barn used to be  and apparently several large rocks were buried when we had the hole filled in. I should have taken a picture of the hole which was about 3 feet across by the time we found a place we could go down deep enough. 
J had to adjust his snow numbers so we get an accurate measurement! I think this might be the 3rd time we have moved this clothesline, which was attached to the house when we moved in. The posts are new, but rope-holding boards are ancient. J keeps saying they should be replaced, but I like them. He humors me. 

He also humored me while I dithered about which way the lines should go, east/west or north/south? East/west was the winner since the wind generally blows from the west, so will go between the lines, instead of winding the sheets over the next line (they had been N/S) plus if I hang our underwear on the back line, it will be hidden from the road. Important considerations, J! Just as important as how your hammers are hung. Not to mention the sockets.
One of the secrets to a happy marriage. Humoring your spouse about things you consider unimportant, but they don't.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Celebrate Earth Day

"I would be most content if my children grew up to be the kind of people who think decorating consists mostly of building enough bookshelves." - Anna Quindlen 

I saw this quote on  Cid's blog today and totally stole it. All of my kids inherited a love of books and reading from me and packrat qualities from both of us. Results are homes filled with books and crowded cases. Sectaurs and Ro (I hereby give his ladyfriend her own blog name) are consolidating households and the biggest "problem" is finding a compromise with book storage in a small house. He likes all of his available to read at any time, hence will double stack his shelves. She alphabetizes by author and is strictly a one layer girl. Plus, who boxes up the duplicate copies they own?

Ms. M and Mr. C. bought a house with lovely built-in bookcases, promptly filled them up and needed more stand alone storage. Ameranth has books stored at Sectaurs and upstairs, and Shoeshine is a sucker for collections. I am content.

On to my original topic planned- Earth Day of course. I was in high school for the first Earth Day-is it really the 40th anniversary?-and my history teacher planned activities for us. My memory is hazy, but I believe it involved picking up trash.  I'm not an activist and don't get involved in big ways or organizations, but I do not litter. We recycle, compost and try not to plant invasive species, at least not on purpose. Our children are also environmentally responsible, to varying degrees, so good for us!  We read and we care about our world, two important character traits in my book. (Ha, no pun intended)

I am off to wander my yard and do some weeding if the mood strikes me. It's a beautiful spring day here, and I hope you get a chance to enjoy some outdoors where you are.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

I'm a bad doggie mama

As I was reading this blog today, in which the author admits he and his wife have gone "soft" on their 3rd child, I was being harassed by Boomer, who kept trying different toys to see if I would throw one.

"Oh, you don't like the rubber bone, wait, wait, I have this ball that I can bounce over and over at your feet! No? How about this squeaky thing that I can wedge between your hip and the chair, and then make it squeak? Okay, then I will drop it and lie down, growling continuously and menacingly until you look down. No problem. I can do this all day."

Boomer was supposed to be a companion dog for Rosie, after Ameranth and Anna moved out. Instead, he craves human interaction, which is normal you might say. We didn't realize how good we had it with Rosie. She is a husky mix, independent, sneaky and an escape artist, but that is all offset by the fact that she can chill out on the couch and doesn't fetch balls. At one time I thought a dog who fetched was the epitome of doggy/human fun, but not anymore, thanks to Boomer the Manic Fetcher. To say he is hyper is putting it mildly. He gets sooo excited at the idea of fetching that he has trouble giving it back to you, compounded by his irrational fear that Rosie will steal it from him. Actually, he is a stereotypical sitcom younger sibling who wants all the attention, all of the time, and frantically bounces on top of any other dog around.

The upshot of this mix is that we treat them like dogs, that is, we feed them premium food, clean water, treats when they come and go as directed, and put them out in a large fenced in yard. They don't sleep with us, in fact don't come in our bedroom, but I admit that they now have more furniture in our living room than we do, thanks to Ameranth's stuff.  Plus she left Anna's toy bucket here, and our two have been in doggy heaven with the novelty of new things to chew. This is our living room this morning.

Anna's chair, covered with the ubiquitous sheet:

Rosie enjoys having a chair there again, as she can see out the windows to cover both roads. Boomer was hopping anywhere I pointed the camera.

They now have the dog chair, two doggie beds and the couch. J and I each have a chair. We are officially doggy-whipped. And, what you ask, was Rosie doing while Boomer posed for me?

Monday, April 19, 2010

Slow Going

I'm still putting stuff away after last week, and finally think we've caught up. Sunday J and I drove down to Portland to meet two of his sisters for lunch, one with her husband and one with two of her children. My nephew goes to the College of Art there, and the others had been in NH to watch another nephew and his wife compete in the Tuckerman Inferno Pentathalon which consists of 5 legs: 8.3 mile Run, 6 mile Kayak, 18 mile Bike, 3 mile Hike, 1 mile Ski.  They are part of a 5 person team, and they did the bike and kayak pieces.  Due to our miserable weather on Saturday, the race was postponed until Sunday, so the spectators of the family came over afterward. It was nice to see them and Matt showed us some of the pieces he has been working on in the school. We had a good time, but the huge sandwiches we had made us disinclined to do any work when we got home. On the plus side, we didn't need dinner either.

Ameranth has been checking in each day and her trip is going....okay. The walking is fine, but the trail has been less than expected, and she has had to walk along busy roads more than she'd like. Plus, no more places to stay in the near future, and due to construction detours, etc she has not ended up near any campgrounds.  Still working out the kinks, and she has called to have me check out some stuff for her online. One of the downsides of being poor and having a phone that is only a phone and has no GPS or Internet capabilities.  Anyone out there know someone west of Schenectady who would let a nice girl camp on their lawn? 

Saturday, April 17, 2010

I've done what I could

Whew!  Busy week that flew by.  Ameranth came home bearing gifts on Sunday (not really gifts, more like boxes of crap belongings that we are once again storing for her) and we shopped busily for two days. Wednesday we drove down to RI so she could visit her grandparents for "what might be the last time". What? When did my mother get so melodramatic? I'm not sure if she thinks she might not be around or if Ameranth will get lost somewhere in the desert. (She was really joking, folks. I think)

We were able to check out the aftermath of the flooding from the record rainfall two weeks ago.  Here's a picture of my parent's basement, everything except the Cliquot box and the rocker are now in a dumpster out back.

And the water flowing out the walkout basement door.

My father's getting the hang of digital photography, resizing and such. They were lucky to 'only' have 2 or 3 inches- my sister lives next door (just to the left in the picture above) and she had 26 inches in her basement! She still has a pond out back, which of course seeps back into her cellar as she pumps the water out. 

Anyway, my mother had drawers full of material, which she was going to throw out. Of course, I had to rescue it, so I ended up bringing more crap bags of goodies home. As long as they had the dumpster there, Ma decided to go through other closets and I now possess a box of assorted wrapping paper, bows and labels, some antique tin boxes filled with buttons, and games that were in the cabinet that I had originally planned on taking. J doesn't know yet that I didn't have room for the antique Bissell carpet sweeper. Maybe next trip, dear.

Friday I dropped Ameranth in Maynard MA and Sectaurs and his ladyfriend are driving her to Albany today to start her hike. It's snowing today in Maine, I hope the storm has ended in NY already.  Today's walk is just 5 miles (ha, 'just') and she does have a place to stay tonight. Anna is not happy about wearing her pack, in fact, whenever it was picked up she tucked her ears back and ran to hide. Poor dog, you're in for a shock.
                                  Relaxing at Grandma's house.

We spent this morning unloading the crap stuff Ameranth hadn't been able to fit in her car and finding room to store all of the boxes. Just undid all of the clearing out we've done lately. I do get to use her printer/scanner which will make life easier. The one we have networked through J's computer doesn't always like me and usually gets hung up on last page of a printing job. Plus, to scan photos I had to walk over, place the picture, use J's computer to scan and save, then transfer it to mine. A pain in the neck.

So, now we wait to get updates, hopefully daily and pretend that she is not out hiking 225+ miles across NY.  Good luck. We love you and hope you have a great time. 

***Just in- update from Sectaurs with picture of the departure.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

It started out fine

Ameranth and I had a jam-packed day Monday and it started out great. We found unexpected great buys, and were quickly marking things off her to-do list. Home for lunch and found out that her sleeping bag does not fit into the pocket of her new woman's pack.  Off to more stores for electronic gear and found a wonderful bargain on a slim camera.

We did have to wait while the poor clerk searched for the box since the display model was the only one left. As she looked under the counter, she told us of her chest pains she had all afternoon, and how she was worrying about whether to go the ER, even though her Dr. thought it was indigestion. We commiserated and I started having sympathy pains(it was wicked stuffy in the store) and wondered guiltily if it was terrible to want her to get us the camera before we encouraged her to see a Dr? (She did have coworkers come to check on her, and I believe she was leaving)

Back home for dinner, and Ameranth started looking through her mass of paperwork for Anna's rabies certificate, since she is going in for shots today, and wanted to prove she had a 3-year shot last year.  No paperwork- apparently Anna randomly chews paperwork, and it seems to be just her papers she goes for. We assume she ate them, so Ameranth went off worrying that the vet will yell at her for not having that documentation.

Okay, then on to taxes, but she cannot find her W2, which she was sure was in that stack of papers she grabbed off the kitchen table. We are now awaiting word from Sectaurs as to whether he can find it, and hoping that it wasn't thrown away. She's counting on that refund money!  Did I mention before that we are scheduled to go to RI tomorrow, and then she is leaving Saturday on her walky walk?

Ameranth goes up to bed, disgruntled and distracted, and I am wide awake until 3 am. Did I mention that she's an adult and can do what she wants, even if that's walking across NY state, and on to CA if it works out?  Yeah. Although she did point out to her father that Ms M went to the developmentally-challenged former Soviet Union (Wiki told me 'third-world country' is a disparaged term now- who knew?) state of Moldova with the Peace Corps and at least she (Ameranth) is traveling where people speak her language.  "Touche" her father replied. (I wonder how you make the little accent marks so touche doesn't look wrong?)

Anyhoo, she's back from the vet now and they did not take her word for it that it was a 3 year shot, but they were nice and Anna is healthy and good to go.  Her equipment: harness, pack and collapsible bowls are all ready of course- She's that kind of dog.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Still crazy

I was trying calm Boomer down this morning, and complained to J as he walked into the room: "I can't give him the least bit of attention without him getting way too excited and wanting to jump all over me!'

 Mr Crazy immediately said "Of course not, he's a male!"

Then, just now he sniffed the air and said the baking cake smelled good. I was in the next room and asked him what the timer said, but got no answer. He came in and asked if I had asked him something?

"Yes, what does the timer say?"
"Ha, the timer can't talk!"

Hardy har har.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Late to the Party

Ultimate Blog Party 2010

I've seen this banner here and there in the last day or so, and decided I would join the fun.  A little late to the party, since it started yesterday, but that's okay, I'd rather sneak in quietly when everyone is busy and sit out of the way quietly observing. Usually I would snag a seat by the food, but in this case the smorgasbord is dozens of new blogs to check out. I am looking forward to the sampling and hope some others like what I've brought!

 I am definitely a mom, but my four kids are all adults and out of the house now (except for Ameranth who is coming back for just 3 days to drop off her stuff before she goes off on her adventure ). I am a new Grammy to Ladyslipper and wish she lived closer to Maine. I've been married going on 33 years to J, who often shows up here in tales of Mr. Crazy.

Now, I have to step outside to see if I can handle the McLinky thingamabob. Wish me luck.

Oh, and the prizes I would like if I won anything would include the Ultimate Blog party grand prize laptop of course. My husband and I would both enjoy the shopping spree at pedal cars and retro collectibles and the Kay Jeweler's gift certificate from Unpink life as well as #s US24, US31, US32, US39, US52, US73, US74, US75, US87,  and US112.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Forgotten bits

I forgot to include two more tidbits from our long weekend. First, the dresser we brought back for Ameranth was one of a bedroom set we had inherited from J's Aunt Molly, many years ago. She bought it new in the '60s and 30 + years later, we put it to immediate use upstairs, without any refurbishment. Most of our furniture was hand-me-downs and the kids often redecorated it and their walls (without our prior permission or knowledge) with stickers, glow-in-the-dark stars, lip balm on wallpaper (yes, really) and designs picked out with pushpins on sheetrock. Their rooms are the only ones upstairs, so at least nothing was in public view. But I digress.

I'm not sure what the style is called- I think of it as French Provincial.

We used my free paint that we got from a Glidden promotion last year and J had some hammered metal effect spray paint for the hardware.  The color is Softest Juniper" and it is perilously close to a pale mint green- yikes! I expected a grayer tint, but it looks much better than before. It's in a hallway, so I didn't have much room to maneuver for a better shot.

Then the other pictures I have are for a kid's playhouse shaped like a pirate ship. Well, it doesn't have to be a pirate ship, but in our family that's where we go first.
These are displayed at Hill View Mini Barns, the place where we bought our shed last fall. J saw them when we drove past on Saturday, so we had to stop and get a closer look. They come with a mast which holds two swings and/or a canopy.

Peeking inside the back, I saw a slide and a walk-the-plank type ramp.  I guess the side rails might be around 6 feet tall.  Very cool.  About $2500.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Days off

J had to use up his vacation days this month, so took Friday, Monday and today off. Yesterday we drove around a lot, going to Freeport in the morning, and to Augusta later to scrap some metal- a first for us.  Having read in the paper about Rt. 9 being widened in Lisbon, we checked out the carnage work done so far.  Dozens of huge trees have been cut and front yards cut in half.  What had been a tree-lined road is now stump-lined and bare dirt back 50 feet in places.
In some areas there are new stone walls obviously bulldozed into place. 
By the way, it was one lane at this point, J really wasn't just wandering over into the left lane. I felt so bad for the homeowners in this next picture, looks like a big lilac clump was cut down, as well as their trees. 

Happier news concerning the scrapping. We got rid of a snowblower attachment for our old tractor, a push mower, a grill and old lamp and made $24. But the big score was the 24 pounds of woven copper wire from our old lightning rod system- $61 for that. Well worth the trip.

More cleaning up today and this afternoon we take the dogs in for their shots. I picked a day when J could help and I could take one in at a time. I am ashamed to say that we have not clipped Boomer's nails since we got him. He's hyper and the nails are tiny and black. There is no way that wouldn't end badly. I am hoping the vet will do it for me today. 

 We've had a good time the last few days, puttering and visiting and driving. I have even been able to move my bedtime up and get up earlier. Boy, the days are sure longer when you get up before 10!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Mr Crazy goes to bed

J went in to bed as I was brushing my teeth, and when I walked in, he asked:
"You didn't hear me yelling?"
"No, what did you want?"
"I said 'COME IN HERE, WENCH, AND GET ME WARM!' because I'm a Viking and that's a woman's job"
"And that is why there are no Vikings left"
"Their wives killed them all?"
"Well, the bed is warm now, so I don't need you."

A minute later he starts roaring with laughter, and says "I was imagining you putting that in your blog- 'J the Hun'"
"J, the dancing Hun"

We had tried a new Wii game earlier, Just Dance, and it was hilarious. We sucked big time, but boy, was it funny! You are supposed to mimic your mirror-image dancer on screen, and get points for combos and such. I couldn't get the mirror part down, and kept trying to use my right hand to match the dancer's right hand. I did get more points than J once, but that was because he had to sit down to laugh in the middle. I think I've mentioned that I have no sense of rhythm and cannot dance, but it was a workout! 'Eye of the Tiger' went pretty well for me, I thought, but J won with 'Girls just want to have fun'.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Worthy Deeds Done Dirt Cheap

Saturday was an excellent adventure- we left home at 8:50 and got back a little after 7:30 that evening. The dogs were just about to freak, since it was getting dark and they were aloooooone.

We brought birthday presents( Happy Easter Birthday, Mr. C), two shovels, a rake and a hoe for him, and assorted gardening hand tools, a tote and a seat for her. Then they fed us lunch before we started work.

The first project was the replacement of these:
with these:
Better, huh?  We were very pleased with how they turned out, plus it took a minimum of adjustment to make them level. J moved onto installing a motion sensor light for them.
Then, J directed Ms M in the doggie door insertion. She learned how to put a blade in their new jigsaw and she cut the wood out to make room for the door.

Mabel used it after some coaxing and having the flap held up for her. We all thought it would be better if the flap were clear, so the dog could see through it, but, it wasn't. I'm sure she'll pick that up in no time. 

Their new fence is very nice and makes their yard look bigger, rather than smaller as I expected. Mabel loves being outside and her parents love being able to send her out without them accompanying her. 
We swung by Sectaur's house, about a half hour north of Ms. M's, where we picked up a twin bed and dresser that we took back home, since Ameranth is leaving soon. J is out sanding the dresser as I write, to prep for a paint job. And since he keeps coming in to ask me about doing this or that, I better wrap this up now.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

What do you do with a talking husband?

What do you do with a speaking spouse?
What do you do with a prattling partner?
Early in the morning!

We are driving down to MA this morning to install steps and a light for Ms. M and Mr. C. It's about a 3 hour drive so I need to get up earlier than usual. (J gets to sleep a couple hours later than his usual).

I can take conversations like me asking J "Did you take a longer shower than average because I totally ran out of hot water? Or,  "I really wish you had either let the dogs out or shut the bedroom door when you got up, so I could have slept 20 minutes more".

But when I am getting ready to eat breakfast and read the paper, I am not Chatty Cathy.  This conversational gambit annoys me: "So, what's the weather supposed to be today?" as he heads to the computer to check it out. He's already read the paper and the news for two days has been about how warm and nice the weather will be this weekend. It's a little foggy right now, as it often is in Maine and he should know that because he is always awake at this time and I am not!

Although I do, of course, politely answer him "You know what the weather is going to be. Nice! Warm!", he seems to sense I am out of talky and it is blissfully quiet.

Until he bustles through just now saying "It seems a little chilly out" as though it's my fault he needs to add a flannel shirt.