Saturday, January 14, 2017

Still not hot, yet

I don't fully understand why I allow myself to live like this, over and over.  I still don't have hot water, the breaker for the water heater made a terrible noise so I shut it off and walked away.  So it's been days.  I shower and do laundry at the Holts, I cook water to wash the dishes, I wash my face in cold water (that's what Paul Newman did anyway, even when he had access to hot water, so let's pretend that's a beauty secret).  I'm waiting for...for what?  well, for my money to come, first of all.  I could call someone and set it up but who would I call?  I'm going to talk to Marylou about electricians in the area, maybe she'll have a magic answer for me, someone wonderful and available.  Oh wait, if they're wonderful they're not available.  I have to solve this problem within the next 2 weeks because the Holts are coming at the first of next month and I refuse to shower at their house while they're in residence.  I do have my limits.

It was a pretty quiet week for the most part.  Two trips to Plattsburgh, two dump runs and one day spent in Hawkeye and only Hawkeye.  I had lunch with Julie and lunch with Barb this week, went to a meeting of the cemetery association (where I declined an offer to be trustee).  I've been gently and gradually cleaning the house--book group meets here tomorrow night.  Today was a day off, though, and after going to the dump I went to Keene to meet Julie.  We spent most of the day visiting, first over coffee, then we decided we were hungry so went out for lunch.  We do know how to entertain each other and always laugh a lot.  Even in the face of our trials and tribulations (of which she has plenty and I have a mere few).

The cat is in residence but limits his prowling to the upstairs.  We've made progress--he looked me in the eye yesterday, then walked (not ran) away.  He's made the connection between the Old Woman and food so he's much more tolerant of me.  He wants nothing to do with the dogs but they are fascinated by his presence, and especially his food, which passes by them every day as I take it upstairs.  Oh they want that canned food!  I can't find him in the master bedroom but make him come out into the open to eat, moving the dish closer to the stairs every now & then.

It was -5 this morning and my house just would not warm up.  Well duh I forgot to turn the heat in the kitchen back on.  I'd shut off the heat during our 40-degree days this week.  It rained and rained then froze and froze.  Lots of thick ice in driveways and on lawns now but my plow man has sanded at least twice here so my driveway is good for walking and carrying firewood across.  Whew.

Tomorrow I'll vacuum and clean the bathroom and make some treats for dessert (probably) and finish the book group book.  I think I'm still in denial about what happens to this country on January 20th.  I prefer to ignore the whole thing.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

The Curse of 58OHR

Boy there's always something going on with this house--now it's the hot water.  There isn't any.  I thought it was the hot water heater (that's redundant, unless there's a cold water heater) but then I shut off the breaker for the heater and when I turned it back on it made the most awful crackling noise, so maybe it's the breaker.  There's another breaker that doesn't work in that panel (the 220 panel) so this may be a bigger problem.  But I think that would be a cheaper problem to fix than buying and installing a new heater.  But what do I know?  Anyway I have to ask around to find an electrician.  I've got a plumber now but don't know an electrician to call.  Soon I suppose I'll need a roofer.  And a contractor.  And what?  Someone for everything.  Oh I love being a homeowner, especially in an owner-built home.

Anyway, not having hot water isn't the worst thing--not having WATER is worse and that's not my problem right now.  Whew!

I haven't been doing a lot lately, though I did go to Plattsburgh twice this week.  I went on Tuesday for a haircut, grocery shopping and mostly to have lunch with Barb.  Yesterday I went to have lunch with Julie.  Today I'm not going anywhere, I hope.  It's shower and laundry day at the Holts.  I have a few loads of wash to do and will take a nice hot shower down there.

The big news at 58OHR is the arrival of a cat.  Here kitty kitty.  I went to Julie's on Saturday and picked up Loppy, a huge male black cat.  Poor Loppy, he is not very happy here.  He went from the cat carrier to the kitchen cupboard and sat in a muffin tin for a few hours.  I finally dragged him out of there and carried his rigor-like body upstairs.  Now he lives there.  I feed him there and his liter box is there and he has shown himself twice, briefly, very briefly.  He does not like the dogs, who are fascinated by him (which is why he doesn't like them I'm sure) and he's not very fond of me.  I made a huge mistake by not blocking off the master bedroom, so he has hiding places galore.  I can't find him in that room.  It's no longer a bedroom, has been a storage unit for years now.  Boxes, plastic tubs, suitcases, tools, Christmas stuff, 3 bureaus, books, clothes--lots and lots of stuff.  And many places, apparently, for a huge black cat to hide.  Will he ever come downstairs voluntarily?  Who knows, but he's a very nice and gentle cat.  We'll work something out.

Saturday, January 07, 2017

Barely morning

Yesterday I got up at 2:30 or so, was awake and worrying about my mother and the future.  Today I was awake and worrying about Trump and the future.  Which is a bigger waste of my time? 

It's -3 right now but there's no wind so it's not bad at all.  I haven't reached the point where I'm totally tired of stoking the stove and starting fires (or starting fires and stoking the stove)--that will come by March I expect.  I still love my "new" stove, I think this is my 3rd year with it.  It's easy to clean, there's an ash pan.  It's efficient, burns less wood for hotter fires.  And it's beautiful, navy blue enamel with windows in the front.  Ahhhhh.   And they say money can't buy love.

No big plans for today, just a dump run this afternoon.  My dump is only open in the afternoon on Saturdays, which will be a big and unpleasant shock for the summer people.  New dump lady, Bob, our former dumper was transferred.  Not an improvement.  The dump is actually a "convenience station," but people are asking what's convenient about the new hours?  Dump is open on Sat. afternoons and Mondays.  MONDAY??  How much garbage do we generate between Saturday and Monday?  Oh well, I can't really complain if my life is so simple that the hours the dump is open occupies my mind.  Well, that and Donald Trump.  And my mother.

One of these days I'm supposed to be getting a cat from Julie.  We keep scheduling a time when I'll pick him up, but something comes up and it doesn't work out.  MAYBE, just maybe some time today I'll meet the cat.  She has too many cats and I've agreed to help out by taking one.  I liked my other cat, we had a good relationship.  Julie says this cat is affectionate and very nice.  Let's see how affectionate the dogs are...

Thursday, January 05, 2017

Colder but not bad

Temps finally returned to normal, it's 17 right now.  Yesterday wasn't bad but last night we had a cold, cold wind just whipping around.  Man it was nasty.  Today the wind kept up but now it's calm so 17 feels almost balmy.  Very comfortable.

I DID use the spray foam on the 3 holes in the floors of the laundry room and the bathroom.  Wow what a difference that made.  big duh, very very big duh.  The holes where the drain pipes exit the house were bigger than the pipes so air was always seeping in.  Geez, probably more than just air...  Anyway, it's all moot now because boy did I plug those holes.  I didn't know you could use that foam around plumbing pipes so hadn't done it before.  I feel pretty lame, but as Julie & I discussed this week, we don't live in the past, we just live with the consequences of the past.  And now it's the present and things are better.

My only resolution was to do the dishes every night instead of leaving them in the sink.  So far so good but can it really count when it's only the 5th?  Well I'll do my best.

I had a nice lunch with Julie yesterday and got a few groceries for P&J then stopped at their house on the way home to deliver and visit.  We laughed a lot, which is pretty much normal for us.  Today I went BACK to Plattsburgh to the dentist.  I have a lingual bar (like a permanent retainer), which is what you get after you have braces that close gaps between your teeth.  Sometimes the bonding agent that's used comes loose, and that's happened to me twice.  Easy fix and a painless visit to the dentist.  Emphasis on painless.  And not even very expensive.

I started reading a Nancy Thayer book on my Kindle last night when I couldn't sleep.  I used to think she was a good writer.  Not so much any more, but it's not bad at all.  Not fine literature at all.  I got my copy of Hillbillly elegy today and will start reading that after I finish the book group book by Fredrik Backman (or something close to that).  He wrote A man called Ove and this one is something about "My grandmother."  It's got some of the same good qualities that Ove had but isn't as engaging.  I have until the 15th to read it, but by then I have to clean the house, too.  Burning wood makes such a mess.  Having dogs makes such a mess.  Being sloppy makes such a mess.  Being lazy makes such a mess.

I've been to Plattsburgh 4 times this week.  Tomorrow I hope to spend the day at home.  I have more laundry to do at the Holts, sheets to change, a shower waiting for me, and a thank you letter to write.  I wrote to my mother and Mark, mailed those today.  Just one more letter to write.

Saturday I may (at last) get my cat.  Julie and I are trying to work out a time that works for both of us.  This cat thing has dragged on for months and I've been assigned 3 different cats.  I think we've settled on one now, a large male (neutered, of course) that Julie says is a very, very nice kitty.  He'll have to be to fit into my life.  I'm sure he'll fit in just fine.  The dogs and I had a cat before so this should work out OK.  Should.  OK.  Work out.

Tuesday, January 03, 2017

Still HAPPY!

Sometimes I wonder if I'm all right, really all right, because so many times I say "I LOVE THIS LIFE."  When you're bipolar you want to make sure your highs aren't too high and your lows aren't too low, so I wonder a lot.  But no, I'm fine (no, really)(really, I am), I'm just happy.  I feel so fortunate to have this life.  People always tell me I worked hard for it so I "deserve" it.  I don't feel that way, but I seldom feel deserving of anything.  That's not a concept I embrace, deserving something.

Anyway, today was a good day.  The weather was goofy, very warm (currently 34) but that was OK because it melted most of the ice and snow off of my deck stairs.  My deck gets covered with heavy snow--I shovel a path from the door to the top stair, and it often will develop into a deep rut in a big snow cover.  So right now it's not really raining but it's predicted to be a nasty weather night with freezing rain and icing.  Icing makes me nervous (it makes anyone nervous who went through the ice storm in 1998) but I'm sure this will be fine.

I went to the movies this afternoon, stopping at the dump and hardware store on my way.  I saw Manchester By The Sea and loved it, just loved it.  The geography is very familiar to me (southern New England), the death of a brother is just a little too familiar to me, but the acting was sooooo good and the story is fine.  Some people didn't like the ending but I thought it was appropriate.

Tomorrow I'll return to Plattsburgh for lunch with Julie.  I haven't seen her since before Christmas so we'll do some catching up.  She's supposedly giving me a cat but I have no update on that.  Will find out tomorrow.

Yesterday I went to Plattsburgh (too many trips this week) and had my eyeball lasered.  That was easy and painless and has helped with my vision.  There was some clouding, which happens, according to the doctor to 1 in 5 cataract patients.  So I'm special but not extraordinary.

It's supposed to be warm tomorrow, then maybe it will snow and it will definitely get colder.  Probably below zero for the weekend.  I bought more spray insulation foam and will use it to fill the holes in the floor in the laundry room and bathroom.  Yes, oh yes I will.  Any day now.

Sunday, January 01, 2017

New Year that is HAPPY

I'm sitting in my living room with my great dogs, watching the birds at the feeder, looking at the oil painting that Mark gave me for Christmas (an ocean scene that looks like the scene we love to see on our beach walks) and listening to THE BEATLES.  This all makes me outrageously happy.  On New Year's Day one of the local radio stations plays The Beatles from A to Z and I absolutely adore it.  Right now we're in the I's.  I Hate to Spoil the Party.  Because it's alphabetical rather than chronological it is a wonderful way to hear the variety in their music, old and older.  They were amazing, truly amazing. 

I had a very satisfactory New Year's Eve.  I spent the day doing nothing in particular--drove to AuSable to the bank (to DEPOSIT money) then tried unsuccessfully to get to the dump (closed because of the holiday--could a girl know this BEFORE driving to Redford?).  I stopped at P&J's and had a drink and lots of laughter with them.  That was fun.  I went to an actual party last night, the neighborhood holiday party.  Mostly people from the south shore of the lake, and not as big a crowd as we sometimes have but I had a very nice time.  I met a new friends, a woman and her husband who live not far from here.  They're delightful and the woman and I really hit it off.  How great to find a new friend at this point in my life.  She works in Lake Placid, of course knows the Jameses.  That's all right, she apparently doesn't hold my ex-husband in high regard (totally unsolicited, no, really).  He works in Albany so is gone during the week.  I'll have her come over soon for an evening visit.  That will be nice.

I should be doing something domestically constructive today but no, I'm listening to the radio and playing with the Internet.  I should move the radio into the bedroom and be constructive in there.  I still haven't unpacked my clothes from my RI trip and I uncovered a bunch of summer clothes when I cleaned the laundry room the other day.  Rats.

Tomorrow I'm scheduled to have my eye lasered.  Do I need a driver?  I don't know but I don't have one.  I'll call in the morning to find out if I can drive myself home.  Poor planning on my part but I tried to reschedule the appointment--when I called on Friday the office was closed.  What is up with these people who don't know that Monday is the holiday?  Oh how confusing.

Boyohboy I do love The Beatles.  That is some grade-A music.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

happy holidays

 This is what they spend a lot of time doing at my mother's house.  It's very dull compared to life here at 58OHR, where they can run free.  Their "running" is limited to a small pen.  Sometimes Mark and I take them for walks on the beach or at the park, but that didn't happen this time.  Awww, too bad Ladies.
Mark decorating the tree.  As always, he put at least a thousand white lights on the tree.  It's pretty and bright.  I didn't help decorate it, I do my tree and that's it.

I had a good Christmas, my trip there was easy and uneventful.  My days there were quiet and very nice.  I spent time with my mother, who is 90 and seems old, older than at Thanksgiving.  We ran errands before Christmas, did some Christmas shopping and got groceries.  All very nice.

The weather was grand, warm with some slight rain.  Christmas Day was lovely, we opened presents then had our traditional bagels and lox breakfast (courtesy of Mark).  Yum that was tasty, as always.  Oh, and did I mention that Christmas Eve we had lobsters, clams and mussels?  Yes, Liza and I went to Champlin's for delicious fare.  I cooked the dinner, that's easy, and we had a nice dinner.  Christmas dinner was a delicious roast of beef that Mark cooked, so very tender and flavorful.

Was there more to Christmas than the food?  Yes of course.  Big excitement was at the bird feeder in the back yard: there was a falcon there who snatched first a blue jay, which it pounded into the ground before I scared it away (then it flew into the woods with the blue jay in its talons), then it snatched a cardinal the next day.  Yikes, very dramatic.  Liza wasn't pleased and doesn't want that bird at her feeder, eating the songbirds she likes to watch.  She has a ton of titmice, chickadees, nuthatches, with a smattering of cardinals and towhees and an occasional woodpecker.  Very nice collection.

I came home yesterday, leaving RI in the morning and making a stop in Hanover, NH to see a favorite cousin.  I only visited with them for a couple of hours, but it was enough to make my ride home a long and dark one.  Dark when I got home as well, because there was no power in my house.  HORRORS!   The house was cold, 33, my house plants had frozen and there was ice in the dogs' water bowl.  Holy crap.  I called the power company and that worked out well but it took the poor man hours to find my house (you can't very well say "look for the light in the woods").  We discovered the problem, a meter that was separated from it's housing because it had been hit by falling ice and snow from the roof.  Rats!  He fixed it quickly and easily, but that was only step 1.

The floor behind the washing machine was wet, which means the pipes there burst.   I always (ALWAYS) turn off the pump and water heater when I go away, so at least there was no massive water leakage.  I have yet to uncover the splits in the pipes, I'm saving that for the plumber who will hopefully arrive tomorrow morning to mend the several-times-mended pipes.  I wrapped the pipes in insulation but there was no heat for 4 days, as near as I can figure, so the whole house got cold, very cold.

I got water from the Holts today (Annie called from Costa Rica in response to my email to her--they wanted me to move into their house.  No, that might make too much sense for me), and the house is now too warm.  It's not cold out, temp is 29, and we're not having the tons of snowfall that was predicted.  We only got a couple of inches here though I suppose we may get more overnight.  This huge storm has left us pretty much unaffected.  That's a relief.  I always used to say I preferred cold to snow, snow was so complicated to deal with.  Now however, I say PLEASE, no cold, no sub-zero, just give us snow to insulate the well and the septic system.  We have neither right now, just a few inches of snow on the ground.  There was about a foot of snow when I left last week but it rained here, then got cold so there's very slippery ice under the snow.  Slicker than snot, as they say (they?  who says that?).

Tomorrow I'll go to Plattsburgh in the afternoon, time to get some supplies.  I think I have to throw out most of what is in my fridge and some of what is in my freezer.  Oh life is never simple here, is it.


There were 5 of these at the feeder last week, before I left for Rhode Island.  They drove the dogs nuts, while the dogs watched from the living room.  I wouldn't let the dogs out to chase the turkeys, making Treasure sing songs I never realized she knew.  Wow did she make some amazing noises.