Things Are Happening

Just to give you and me a chance to calm and center, here’s this, which is magical.

Shark biologist and freediver Ocean Ramsey swims with whale sharks in the Philippines, wearing not much of a bathing suit, and some serious flippers.

OK. Monday, I lined up some duplexes to go see, and told my mom about them.  Then, Mom called me because she’d found a duplex she want me to go see. She and our friend CK met me there and mom really liked it. It’s about a block off Indiana Avenue.  The landlady didn’t mind me having a cat. My mom knew of her from the Women’s Club and PEO, and she was in our friend CK’s PEO* chapter. The duplex was nice but it had a couple of serious feng shui issues, and was very 1970’s !GREEN! but otherwise I was OK with it. We went from there to look at another one and it was a real dump. Tuesday I had one scheduled to view at 2 p.m.  Mom met me at that one and it was OK, but it was already at the high end of my price range and the added expenses for yard care put it out of my price range, and it was too far away from my mom for her comfort.  Tuesday evening I called the landlady of the one my mom liked and told her I wanted it.  Wednesday I signed a 2-year lease on it. (!) So that’s it.  I’m moving.

I had already gotten some estimates from moving companies, but my new landlady suggested a company I hadn’t called.  Wednesday afternoon, I called them to see what kind of schedule mesh we could work out.  The upshot of that conversation is that the packers are coming the 26th.  I get the keys (and the garage! door! remote!) on the morning of  the 27th, and the movers are coming the 28th.  I’ll probably be spending all day on the 27th at the new place putting down shelf paper, hanging drapes, measuring for furniture placement, etc. I have to be there anyway between noon and 4 p.m. as the gas man cometh to turn on the gas and light the pilot lights for the water heater and heating, and that is his time window for doing so.  I’m going to try to make two trips before noon, bringing drapes, lamps, appliances, etc., and a couple of trips after the gas man goeth.

Bright and early on the 28th, the fat(cat)boy goes to the pet hotel (his reservation is already made), and his stuff (poop box, food, litter, etc.,) gets loaded in my car along with whatever else I can cram in there.  The movers come late that morning.  Then the cable guy and the “Oz” water guy (reverse osmosis) come on the 29th.  I plan to be handing the keys to the apartment to the apartment manager on the morning of the 1st.

I decided it was worth the money to have the professional packers over to pack all my dishes, the stuff in my china cabinet and curio cabinet, and other breakable objets d’art and whatnots.  Sunday I have to load up my car with all the boxes I’ve got stored in my mom’s attic to pack up my books.  The movers will move all these boxes.

So. It’s a brick duplex.  It’s very 1970’s.  The living room has dark wood paneling and a brick fireplace with mantel.  The refrigerator is Harvest Gold, and practically the twin of the one in the other duplex, except it doesn’t have a shelf in the freezer.  I’ve got one I’m going to use.  The kitchen and dining area has striped wallpaper.  The counters are 1970’s “Fresh Green.”  The kitchen cabinets are ash with a yellowish golden stain treatment on the doors.  The kitchen has this incredibly busy orange and avocado green floor covering that is just totally obnoxious.  It’s gouged and old and I would like nothing better than to cover it with adhesive backed tiles.  That will definitely be a future project.  It has a separate laundry room off the dining area with washer and dryer hookups and a door.  The rest of the duplex with the exception of the bathrooms has brown wall-to-wall carpet,

The second bedroom is kind of small and pokey, but has a nice big closet with a wide opening covered by two pairs of bifold doors.  It has a linen closet in the hallway.  The main bathroom has one of those molded all in one piece counter + sink thing with green(!) swirls in it and has a bathtub with no shower.   There’s a big cabinet in the bathroom too.

The master bedroom is nice and big, but has an odd en suite setup.  The sink, counter and mirror are at one end of the bedroom just out in the open, with nothing in between it and the rest of the bedroom.  It has a separate “water closet” that has a toilet and shower behind a pocket door off to the side.  The shower is rather small and a titch claustrophobic.   There is a large, walk-in closet with a tall rod on one side for dresses and long coats and two rods on the other side for hanging separates (blouses, slacks, skirts, etc.).   The back door, which is a sliding glass door, is in the master bedroom also, so in order to take out the garbage, I’ll have to schlep it through the bedroom. It’s going to be problematic to get the bedroom dark enough to sleep in during daylight hours.  I’ve gotten a set of blackout curtains for the sliding door.

I can already envision the fat(cat)boy pushing the drapes open to watch CatTV out the sliding door while I’m trying to sleep in. Maybe he’ll just crawl behind them.  I’ll see how it goes.   I’m not going to move the catflap I’ve got.  He needs a bigger one.  I really need to get a video of him going out the cat flap here.  It’s pretty funny watching him oozing his enbonpoint through it. The only other window where he could watch his favorite CatTV programming is in the living room and he would have to climb for it.  I’m going to set it up for him, and then teach him how to get up to it. The exercise will do him good. The house does have a storm door on the front door, which means I can open the front door without worrying about the cat getting out and will have time to shoo him back before I let people in or out.

Feng shui wise, the new place has many good points going for it.  According to its siting, this is a Li house in the East group, which means it sits south and faces north, the best possible orientation for a person whose Kua number is 9, and who was born in the year of the Ox.  It’s a brick house, which makes it an “earth” house, which again is good for an Earth Ox.  The actual front door is in the north sector, which is my Nien Yen (relationships) sector, but the door actually faces east, which is even better as it is my Sheng Chi (success) direction.  The master bedroom is in the southeast, and this is my Tien Yi (health) sector.  There are closets and toilets in the southwest sector of both the house and the master bedroom, which is my Wu Kwei (five ghosts) sector, and the best sector for storerooms and toilets. The kitchen is on the west side, my Lui Shar (six killings) direction, and again my best direction for a kitchen.  The stove plug is on a south wall, again good.  The garage is in my Chueh Ming (total loss) sector which is, again, a good place for it.

But as I mentioned, the place has some serious feng shui issues.  The actual front door is in the north sector and faces east, but the door I’ll be using most is the one that comes in from the garage, which faces north (not bad) but it’s in the northwest sector of the house which is the very worst sector for me to be coming and going through.  There is a cure for this problem, and I’ve already taken steps.  I have a terracotta sun face plaque (fire destroys the metal influence of this NW sector) to hang in the garage by that door, as well as a unicorn sun-catcher to hang in the window of the door in from the garage to “guard” the entrance.  The sun face plaque will do double duty as my “spotter” to help me line the car up to get it into the single car garage without hitting anything (!). This is the aspect of the house that is the most concerning from the feng shui standpoint.

The house is also missing the northeast sector, as the front door is actually by the wall that ends up being the back wall of the garage.  But that’s not all that bad as the northeast is my Ho Hai (mishaps) sector.  Oddly enough, the house has a “sunken” living room, the floor of which is a step lower than the rest of the house, so it has a built in “mishap” right at the edge of that missing sector.  Such “sunken” or split level designs are bad feng shui. (The movers are not going to be real happy about it either.) However, the dining room is a step up from the living room, which is better than its being a step down.  I’m going to interpret the step down into the living room as “grounding the house in the earth,” and make that a good thing.  I’ll hang my gold drapes on the window on the north wall to mitigate the missing sector.  The brick fireplace helps “earth” the wood paneling (fire destroys wood and produces earth), and I’m going to use red (fire) accents in that room to help mitigate all that wood paneling (wood exhausts earth).

One other thing, the duplex has a nice big flower bed beside the front walkway with nothing in it but two rose bushes, so I can have irises again(!), which I’ve missed.   I’ve already talked with the landlady about it, and she’s up with me planting things in it that bloom.  It also has a back yard and a little square pad of a patio just beyond the sliding glass doors and a large tree that shades most of the yard.  The landlady pays water, but I have to keep the lawn watered, which reminds me, I need to buy hoses and sprinklers.

 

*PEO is a Sekret, No Boyz Allowed Club my mom belongs to. They do Sekret Stuff at their meetings which they are not allowed to talk about to nonmembers.  they network with each other professionally and do Good Stuff for the community.

Enough Is Too Much

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So yesterday at about 11 a.m., after being up all night, I’m cranky, tired, and yawning for bed.  I go into the half bath to brush my teeth and wash my face.  I had turned off the fan and put the extension cord away days ago because the place where the leaky bit was is as dry as it’s going to get … oh, guess again.  As I stand at the sink reaching for my toothbrush, I hear a squirting noise. The maintenance guys promptly appear.  The water gets turned off, and plumbing things start to happen.

While I’ve got the head maintenance guy and short rotund Hispanic helper on the premises, I mention that as long as the water is turned off, now would be a good time to fix the drip in the cold water tap in my bathtub.  (Now both tap knobs have an “H” on them, and the right one is shiny new.  The other one isn’t.)

I also discover that an access panel was, in fact, ordered, but they sent him a mesh panel, which is not what he ordered, so he had to return it and get them to send him what he bought.

The apartment manager came over with them and she said that the lady in the downstairs apartment across the breezeway is moving out in August, she did not have any plumbing problems, and they would let me move in to that apartment when it becomes vacant, because they’re not going to be able to fix the plumbing in this apartment short of jack-hammering out the foundation and replacing the pipes in both my apartment and the apartment above, which can’t be done while someone’s living in it.  But, here’s the thing:  If I’m going to be moving to a new place to get away from plumbing problems, it should be a place that also doesn’t have a Thundering Herd of 4-year-old (or anybody else) living upstairs.  My rent is going to be going up $50 when they put the new windows in this September and I have to move all the furniture and everything within three feet of the window out of the way, as well as take down my drapes, so the window replacement guys can get to the windows — that is, if I’m still living here, because I also asked her what it would cost me to break my lease, and she said my lease is almost up . . . . Hmmmm . . .

They finally got the plumbing sorted at 4 p.m., I was dead on my feet — since by that time, I’d been up since 5 p.m. Tuesday . . .  crashed and burned . . . .

So, today when I went to my mom’s —  and after we played a brief round of *musical chairs — we had a little chat while we were waiting for my cousin from Capitan, NM to arrive and take us to lunch.  The upshot of our discussion is that I am now officially looking for new digs.  Preferably a duplex, if I can find one I can afford and that will take pets, and preferably some place with either a garage or covered parking, but an apartment would be OK, too, if there’s nothing above me but a roof.

Then my cousin came and we went to Red Lobster and pigged out, and had a nice visit with my cousin in the process, and about 3 o’clock, he headed back out to Capitan.  It’s only about a 4-1/2 hour drive.

He liked the concept of the cowl I made for his wife so much that he wants me to make him a man cowl — he never liked to wear a scarf because a horse could grab it and jerk it, or it could get tangled or caught in something, but a cowl is just like a turtle neck sweater but without the sweater.  No danglie bits, and you can pull it up over your nose.  So, when I got home this afternoon, I rummaged about in my yarn stash and found a nice soft yarn in black (to match his cowboy hat) and I’ll make him a cowl.  I think I have just enough.  Now if I can just hunt down my metal size 8 circular needles. . .

When I got ready to go back home, we had a line of thunderstorms moving into the area and I got rained on going home.  I got a “small stone” out of it, though, first one I’ve written in almost a year.  I need to get back in the habit.  Here ’tis:

“July had been doing a slow burn for weeks, when late this afternoon, the sulky, sun-bleached sky prestidigitated clouds from thin air, heaped them up into a line of portly, big-bosomed fin de siecle matrons in long grey skirts and wide-brimmed hats and sent them flouncing across the sky pitching hissy fits of steam-scented rain.  It  came hurtling down in huge drops that splatted when they hit, slapping against the skin hard enough to sting and drumming on the car roof like tennis shoes in a clothes dryer.”

That strange play of light that Edna St. Vincent Millay called “a yellow darkness, sinister of rain” always catches my eye during thunderstorm weather and recalls  sonnet XL to mind (from “The Harp Weaver and Other Poems”).  I’d say it was my favorite of hers, but picking a favorite from her poems is like trying to pick your favorite pearl from a large bowl full.

  • Since time immoral, or at least since the family moved into the house in 1962, my dad’s recliner was on the south side of the den and my mom’s was on the north side.  They had a pair of matching recliners and a pair of matching chairside tables.  (My mom is big on sets of things and things that match.) But  when my dad started having mobility issues, she sold his recliner and replaced it with a lift chair.   After he passed away, she sold the lift chair, mostly because she couldn’t bear to look at the empty chair, and put one of her other little rockers there. (She has a matching pair of them, too.)   About two weeks ago, she decided she wanted to switch her recliner over to my dad’s side so she could watch the birds in the back yard through the sliding glass door, so I came over and we switched her stuff to the other table — the phone, “her” lamp, the doorbell ringer, all her crossword stuff, the TV schedules and the “plongers”(remote controls) that control the TV and the cable box. Today, she decided that the glare through the sliding glass door was too annoying and we switched everything back. c’est tout.

Wednesday, Wednesday . . .

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2016_07_13-02Should have been working, couldn’t get motivated.  I made a pompom and put it on the hat at knitting group yesterday evening.  After I came home from knitting group and was eating my Arby’s Gyro and Curly Fries, I got to thinking that after I had made the owl hat, I had a whole nother ball of that Deborah Norville yarn left, and  I’m thinking,  ‘I have a hat and a scarf in the owl pattern, what I need now is an Owl Cowl.’  So instead of working, I modified the hat pattern and made a pattern for a cowl and knitted one up.  It turned out 2016_07_13-01rather nicely, if I say so myself. The pattern is based on motifs, so it can be very easily modified to make a cowl with as large a diameter as you want.  Some people like them long enough to loop around a couple of times.

It’s still unmercifully hot here.  Today’s predicted high is 105 F (40.5 C).  Only supposed to get up to 103 F (39.4 C) tomorrow, though.  Humidity is now 36%, so if you go outside, you’ll dry up like a raisin in the sun.  And that’s my literary allusion for today.  I’ve been sleeping during the day and staying up all night enjoying the relative coolth and quiet. Like I said, I should have been working but I blew it off and knitted instead.  Tonight, though, and for the rest of the week up until 6 pm Saturday (the end of the pay period) I must type my little fingies to the bone and get in as much work as I can.  My electric bill is going to be higher than the proverbial giraffe’s ears this next time.

Oh, and guess what?  The cold water tap on my bathtub drips now.

Monday, Monday

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2016_07_13-022016_07_11-02 So much for me not starting any more knitting projects until I finished some of the ones I’ve already got going.  Saturday, I got to rooting around in my yarn stash and saw that I had enough left over from making my cousin-in-law a scarf that I decided to make her a hat out of it, too.  The picture doesn’t do it justice.  It’s a cute little cloche hat, if I say so myself.  My cousin-in-law likes owls, and my cousin graduated from Rice University in Houston, Tx, whose ball teams are the Rice Owls so she should get a kick out of it.  Naturally, I had to modify the pattern and work it into a matching scarf — tricky, but I think it came out OK.  The owls would look more like owls if they had buttons sewed on for eyes, but I don’t have enough buttons of a suitable color to do that.  The hat will have a pom-pom on the top.  I’ve got it made, but haven’t attached it yet.

2016_07_11-03My cousin is driving over Thursday to take us out to eat.  I’ll give him the hat for his wife to take back with him.

The hole in the bathroom wall is still not fixed.  This last plumbing episode happened June 20th.  I called again about it this morning, and was informed that they’re “waiting on a part.” Sigh.

Fugitive Dreams

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“…and fugitive dreams
such as the one I had last night,

which, like a fantastic city in pencil,
erased itself
in the bright morning air
just as I was waking up.”

from Lines Lost Among the Trees
by Billy Collins

I have Terri Windling to thank for turning me on to this beautiful little image.  You may follow the link to her blog and read the whole poem there, and feast your eyes on her lovely photographs while you’re about it.

I’ve not been posting much lately. Not much has been happening.

One of the things that hasn’t been happening is my bathroom is still not fixed. The little night stand I had in my bathroom because the poor excuse for a bathroom vanity has no drawers has been in my bedroom since June 20th.  There is still a hole in the wall and a fan sitting right in front of it to keep the cat out of it, and an extension cord going out of the bathroom to a plug in my bedroom because when you turn the bathroom light off, it turns off the only plug in the bathroom as well.  The bath mats are still hanging over the drying rack in the living room from when I washed them.  I suppose I could fold them and put them on top of the washer and get the drying rack out of the middle of the living room, but I’ve just left them there.  The head maintenance guy was going to order an access panel to patch the hole, but that’s the last I’ve heard about it.

Of course, to be fair, part of the problem is that there are 17 buildings in this complex each with at least 8 apartments, and there are only 3 maintenance guys, and it has been hotter than a $2 pistol firing uphill lately and they have been busy fixing people’s air conditioners.  When I say hot, I mean hot like today’s high was 105 F (40.5 C).  It’s been as hot as 107 F (41.6 C).  Couple that with 40% humidity, and the heat just sucks the water out of you.  Tonight’s low is predicted to be 78 F (25.5 C).  I’ve been staying indoors out of the heat.  All both of my ceiling fans (one in each bedroom) are on, plus I have a fan going in every room.  I’ve got so many fans on that if I turn on one more, I will have to contact the tower and get takeoff clearance.  I got another pedestal fan like the one I have in the living room that I like so much, and I have it blowing on me now as I type.  I’ve been sleeping days, and being awake at night when it’s cooler.

I’ve been working on a short story from the same universe as here, here, here and here and that’s been taking up a nice chunk of my time.  If I can get it licked into shape, I may try submitting it to various places and see if I can get it published.  I have to qualify that last statement in that I write for my own satisfaction and enjoyment.  Publishing my writing has never been a goal, but I rather like this story, and I may submit it to several places and see what happens.

I’ve been knitting, making some headscarves.  I have a moratorium on new projects until I finish most of the 10-12 projects I’ve got going.  I do want to make a scarf/hat/fingerless glove ensemble for SEL, my little first cousin twice removed who lives in Washington State (not to be confused with RRD, my first cousin twice removed who lives in Galveston who will be a year old in August) — I’ve already gotten the scarf started.  SL is 12 going on 13.  I think it’s something she’d like and use. I’m also going to sincerely try to go “cold sheep”  for a while due to space problems.  I quite literally have no more room in my storage bins for any more yarn.

I’ve also been reading.  As I mentioned, I got 5 ebooks out of my settlement from the Apple anti-trust suit.  I’m about to start an October Daye reread to pick up the two new books in the series that I just got, plus the novelette. I have them all in ebook format so I’ll be Kindling them.

Mostly, I’ve just been laying low, trying to stay out of the sun, and inside from the heat.

Also, found this which is cool as it’s local.

 

Books Read in 2016

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62. Sabriel, Nix, Garth
61. *The Ladies of Grace Adieu and Other Stories, Clarke, Susanna
60. *Against a Brightening Sky, Moyer, Jaime Lee
59. *A Barricade in Hell, Moyer, Jaime Lee
58. *Delia’s Shadow, Moyer, Jaime Lee
57. *The Lady Astronaut of Mars, Kowal, Mary Robinette (novelette)
56. Engine Summer, Crowley, John
55. Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, Clarke, Susanna
54. Flying in Place, Palwick, Susan
53. *Alliance of Equals, Lee, Sharon and Miller, Steve
52. The Book of Life, Harkness, Deborah
51. Shadows of Night, Harkness, Deborah
50. A Discovery of Witches, Harkness, Deborah
49. Visitor, Cherryh, C. J.
48. *Dragon Bones, Briggs, Patricia
47. Chanur’s Legacy, Cherryh, C. J. (reread)
46. Chanur’s Homecoming, Cherryh, C. J. (reread)
45. The Kif Strike Back, Cherryh, C. J. (reread)
44. Chanur’s Venture, Cherryh, C. J. (reread)
43. Pride of Chanur, Cherryh, C. J. (reread)
42. When Falcons Fall, Harris, C. S.
41. A Liaden Univrse Constellation, Vol 3, Lee, Sharon and Miller, Steve (reread)
40. A Liaden Univrse Constellation, Vol 2, Lee, Sharon and Miller, Steve (reread)
39. A Liaden Univrse Constellation, Vol 1, Lee, Sharon and Miller, Steve (reread)
38. Only Forward, Smith, Michael Marshall
37. Tracker, Cherryh, C. J. (reread)
36. Peacemaker, Cherryh, C. J. (reread)
35. Protector, Cherryh, C. J. (reread)
34. Intruder, Cherryh, C. J. (reread)
33. Betrayer, Cherryh, C. J. (reread)
32. Deceiver, Cherryh, C. J. (reread)
31. Conspirator, Cherryh, C. J. (reread)
30. Deliverer, Cherryh, C. J. (reread)
29. Pretender, Cherryh, C. J. (reread)
28. Destroyer, Cherryh, C. J. (reread)
27. Explorer, Cherryh, C. J. (reread)
26. Defender, Cherryh, C. J. (reread)
25. Precursor, Cherryh, C. J. (reread)
24. Inheritor, Cherryh, C. J. (reread)
23. Invader, Cherryh, C. J. (reread)
22. Foreigner, Cherryh, C. J. (reread)
21. *Bone Shop, T. A. Pratt (reread)
20. *Midsummer Night, Warrington, Frieda
19. *Crawling Between Heaven and Earth, Hoyt, Sarah D.
18. The Last Palladin, Bryan, Kathleen
17. The Dark Side of the Earth, Bester, Alfred
16. The Man in the Picture, Hill, Susan
15. Hexwood, Jones, Diana Wynn
14. *Imago, Butler, Octavia E.
13. *Adulthood Rites, Butler, Octavia E.
12. *Dawn, Butler, Octavia E.
11. The Sandman: Overture, Gaiman, Neil (graphic novel)
10. The Golden Rose, Bryan, Kathleen
9. *Tower of Thorns, Marillier, Juliet
8. *Three Men in a Boat, Jerome, Jerome K.
7. The Serpent and the Rose, Bryan, Kathleen
6. Who Buries the Dead, Harris, C.S. (reread)
5. Why Kings Confess, Harris, C.S. (reread)
4. What Darkness Brings, Harris, C.S. (reread)
3. When Maidens Mourn, Harris, C.S. (reread)
2. Where Shadows Dance, Harris, C.S. (reread)
1. What Remains of Heaven, Harris, C.S. (reread)

* Ebook

A Bummer Unbummered, and Rebummered Again

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Went into the full bath Monday night, stepped on the mat in front of the toilet and SQUISHED! — yeah. You’re thinking the same thing I was thinking:  Oh, Ghod, not again. I immediately shifted into triage mode.  No water on the floor and I couldn’t see it seeping from anywhere, but the bathmat was thoroughly soaked and squishy wet.  Grabbed the mop bucket and put the bathmat into it, moved the mat from in front of the sink to in front of the toilet, and headed for the other bathroom.  No wet mats.  Left a phone message on the maintenance “non-emergency” number.

Bright and early Tuesday morning — even before I was up! — here come the short, round, older Hispanic and taller skinny young Anglo maintenance guys.  They search and poke and prod — and tighten down the toilet, which rocked — but could find no source.  They did discover that when you pressed down on the floor in a certain place, water squirted up from between the slats of laminate.  Then Larry the head maintenance guy shows up.  Nobody can find a leak except that when you push in that one spot, water squishes up.  They think maybe it’s left over water from the time the pipe broke at the end of April that has pooled beneath the floor and found a place to come up into the bathmat.  They set a fan on it.  So now I have soggy bathmats, because overnight water soaked half the mat I put down the night before, a bare floor and a fan in my full bath.  Ever try to take a shower with a fan blowing straight on the shower curtain?  Grumble, grumble.  Bummer.

Now that I’m awake, I go boot up the computer and see that I’ve got an email from Amazon with a gift card.  Turns out they’ve settled the antitrust suit with Apple and because I bought ebooks from Amazon, they sent me a gift card to the tune of $48.67 (£32.67, €42.80) as my share of the settlement!  So I bought the last two October Daye  books and the novelette by Seanan McGuire (the last one and the novelette are preorders); the newest book in D. B. Jackson’s Thieftaker Chronicles; a SciFi classic, City by Clifford Simak; and book #2 of Jaime Lee Moyer’s Delia Ryan trilogy. —  I essentially got five books and a novelette for free, which unbummered the day very nicely, thank you.  I had $8 and some change left, but there wasn’t anything I wanted that was less than $13.

2016_06_23-01So Tuesday night after knitting group, I go in to the full bath and press on the spot to see if water still oozes out, and yep, it still does.  Then I notice a slightly darker place on the little “litter catcher” mat in front of the cat box which is in the hall closet.  I flip the mat over and there’s a wet spot on the underside.  I mutter a few words of Anglo-Saxon origin, go pelting into the half bath, flip back the toilet mat, and there’s another damp spot.  These are the same three areas where water leaked before when the pipe in the wall behind the toilet got a hole in it.

2016_06_23-03I leave a message for the maintenance people on the non-emergency line, and start pulling up the bathmats in the other bathroom, moving out the little night stand, and taking the picture* off the wall that covers up the access panel (see above).  Then I go move the poop box and the fat(cat)boy’s food into the office, take out the box it sits on and the vacuum cleaner, and everything else in that closet (at right) and haul that into the living room.

Wednesday morning, I get up and wait for the maintenance guys to come.  About 10 o’clock, I decide to call the office and ask if they got my message.  No, they didn’t.  I told the manager what the message was, and within about 10 minutes, here they come.  I have left the little mat that goes in front of the toilet in the half bath in place so they can see where the wet place is, and I show them the mat from in front of the poop box, and remind them that these were the same three areas that had water when the pipe in the wall got a hole in it.  Off goes skinny Anglo to get the rotary saw.  So, now I’ve got two men in my half bath watching a third one sawing through the patch in the dry wall where the pipe broke last time, and Larry the head maintenance guy discovers the clamp is loose.  He tightens the clamp and they move the fan from the full bath to the half bath. I suggested that they get an access panel and put it where the hole in the wall is, which they think is a great idea.  They’re going to see if they can order one that small.  Even if they can’t, I think they should still put one in, even if they have to make a pretty large hole to do it.

Just as a side note, these apartments were built in 1970, when they were using metal pipes instead of CPVC like they do now, and our water here is hard as a rock, and tends to corrode the metal pipes, which is what caused the pipe to leak in the first place.  In order to truly fix the pipes, they would have to replace them.  In order to do that, they would have to jackhammer a hole down through the concrete foundation and run new pipes not just from my apartment to the water main but from the apartment upstairs, too — not something you want to have to do while there are people living in the apartments, especially the downstairs one, especially since neither of the bathrooms in either apartment would be usable for the duration.

Now, the plug in the half bath (there’s only one) is controlled by the light switch, which means when you turn the light off, it turns the plug off, too.  This gives me the choice of  turning the light (and the fan) off when it’s time to go to bed, or leave the light (and the fan) on and trying to sleep with light bleeding around the bathroom door, or option #3, running an extension cord from a plug in my bedroom under the bathroom door so the fan can continue to run even with the bathroom light off.  I go with option #3

2016_06_23-02So, this morning, after I put all my bath mats back in the washer (I must have the cleanest bath mats in the complex), I got out some of my Lily’s Sugar and Cream cotton yarn, like I was using to make baby bibs, and decided to make a Cobblestone Pie headscarf out of some of it.  I’ve got three balls of hot pink and three balls of purple and white variegated, which ought to be enough to make a headscarf out of each color.

I have some long straight size US10 (6.0 mm) metal knitting needles, but the ends of the needles tend to hit against the arms of the chair when I knit with them, which is annoying.  I’ve got some size US10 metal circular knitting needles but only in the 16-inch and 36-inch lengths.  Alas, the scarf ends up being 21 inches wide, which makes the 16-inch length too short.  I went with the 36-inch circular needles, but they’re at least 20 years old (I had had them for at least 10 years and probably longer when I moved 2016_06_23-04to the duplex in 2001).  The plastic connecting bit is stiff and sproingy from being curled up inside the package, it’s way too much needle for the project, and the sproingy bit keeps getting in the way, which is annoying.

Circular knitting needles aren’t that expensive, and yesterday was payday, so I went on Amazon to order a 24-inch long set of US10’s, which I don’t have.  I found a pair for $10 (£6.71, €8.79) and I could get Amazon Prime shipping on them. When I went to check out, they ended up costing me $1.83 — I thought I could only use the gift card for ebooks.  Apparently, I could have used it on anything, but what I most likely would have bought with it was books.  Ah, well.

About the middle of July, I’ll have to start rereading the October Daye books, as the latest one comes out in September, and the novella comes out August 2.

 

*This is a poster I got while I was stationed in (West) Berlin in the 1970’s.  It’s the famous bust of Queen Nefertiti, which is in the museum there.

Rendez Vous

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Oh, did I have a dream earlier this morning.  It was a rather long and involved dream that happened at night and there were burglars and some man whose house I lived in, and a bunch more stuff that I don’t remember, but then …

I was in a room that was like the bedroom in the duplex where I had my office, only it wasn’t.  This room was cluttered and piled with things and all disorganized like I was either cleaning it or rearranging it.  This young man (not the one whose house I lived in, but he had been in the earlier part of the dream) and I were doing something that involved computer printers.  He was trying to convince me that we should get married because we liked so many of the same things and I was like, “whatever…” and not really paying any attention to him.  Then this cat walked out onto the floor and it was a black and grey stripped mackerel tabby.  I suddenly recognized it, and I said, “That’s Jett!” (who has been gone since 2009).  He heard his name and came up to me.  I reached down to pet him, and he was as real as real.  I said, “I’ve got to find my camera and get a picture of him.” But it was so good to see poor Jett again.  He was like he was when he was young and healthy and not all skinny and dull-coated from diabetes any more.  I picked him up and held him in my arms and loved on him.  I was holding him and loving on him and looking for my camera but couldn’t find it.  And then Gobi (who has been gone since April of 2015) walked out from under some furniture.  He was right at the age when his beautiful long coat had just finished growing out, and he was all white and splendid with that great brush of a tail. I put Jett down and started petting Gobi.  And then there was Stormie (who has been gone since May of 2015).  I wanted so bad to get my camera to take a photograph of them to prove they had come back, but I just couldn’t find it.  I picked up my baby girl and was loving on her.  I was carrying her around loving her the way she liked best, looking for my camera, but then I looked down and she was a different cat, a little male with longer fur that was black with white under its chin and down its belly, but still small and delicate like Stormie always was, but that was OK.  I was loving him and went into the room in the duplex that I used for a bedroom, and into that bathroom, both of which were dark and the bathroom was knee deep in water because part of the the floor was missing.  Still couldn’t find my camera.  I wanted so desperately to photograph them and prove they had returned. It was so miraculous to hold them again and be able to pet them. I was still holding this one black cat, who periodically kept changing back to Stormie, and now I was in this building that was like the entry foyer of a school, and over in the hallway, there were two all-white half-grown kittens scampering and chasing each other off up the hall.  I thought, “Those are the next ones.”

Then the dream morphed as dreams do, and I was driving over this really narrow road under this gothic tracery design of black and peach-orange that swirled and twisted, which was what I had to navigate by to keep the car on the road, but it kept twisting and turning in a very psychedlic way, and then the alarm went off.

It was such a magical dream.  All my babies came back to me (except, oddly, Sister, who was the first one I lost and who has been gone since 2004).  I’m sobbing as I type this.  And, of course, it’s Father’s day, and he has been gone since September of 2014.

But the fat(cat)boy has discovered that his bowl is empty and he is convinced that he will starve to death any second now, and life goes on.

Apropos of Appliances

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My mom’s washing machine has been acting up for the better part of two weeks now.  It won’t let go of the lid unless you unplug it from the wall and plug it back in.  Unfortunately, in order to reach the plug, you have to move the dryer.   This Wednesday was the last straw.  She had to move the dryer three times to “reboot” the washer so she could finish doing laundry from my cousins’ visit (sheets, towels and pillowcases), and then right before the final spin of the final load it quit on her and she had to wring out a load of bath towels by hand and then hang them out on clothes hangers on the patio until they dripped dry enough to be put into the dryer.

My mom is rough on washers.  This is the third one she’s had to buy since we moved into that house in 1961.  They just don’t make things like they used to.  (She’s only on her second dryer, though, which she had to buy in 1981.  It’s still working fine, however.)

This washer is only 18 years old and you’d think she would have called a washer repair guy to come out and take a look at it when it started acting up two weeks ago, but the washer is a Kenmore (read “durn, new-fangled contraption”), and she’s never liked it.   Apparently, having to move the dryer and un-/re-plug the washer every time you want to wash a load of clothes is one thing, but having to wring out a whole load of towels by hand is outside of enough.  Wednesday, she went out and bought a new Amana washer and dryer.  (She wanted them to match.)  They were not in stock but will be delivered.  She got a good deal on them.

My two first cousins and my first cousin once removed (the older one’s daughter) had come for a visit last week.  They drove over from Dallas Wednesday week ago to visit my mom.  That Thursday, they (and my mom) drove over to visit another cousin and his wife and her mother in Capitan, New Mexico, gambled at the Inn of the Mountain Gods (owned and operated by the Mescalero Apaches), and came back last Saturday via White Sands. Then last Monday they went to Palo Duro Canyon on a day trip.  They left Tuesday bright and early to drive back to the younger cousin’s house in Dallas, from whence the other two will fly back to Pearland so that my 1st cousin removed x1 can get ready to go on a trip two days later. (For those keeping score, my 1st cousin removed x1 is the sister of the daddy of Miss Raelyn Rose, of knitted baby clothes fame)

Of course each cousin and my 1st cousin removed x1 has a smart phone, which they played with constantly.   When I saw this Arlo and Janis comic strip this past week, I sent it to my mom.

Arlo and Janis

My mom informed me that the younger of my two cousins wrote on her Facebook page that she wanted to be just like my mom when she grew up.  Sez my mom, “At 70, I hope she does it soon.  Ha.*”  My cousin is the one who’s 70, not my mom.  My mom is 91.

* “Ha.” is momspeak for “LOL”

Early May in Charleston, South Carolina.

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2016-05-06-01 Francis Marion Hotel CharlestonThis will be a picture heavy post, and I apologize in advance for the slowness of its loading.

This spring, from April 29th to May 6th, my mom and I took a trip, spending 4 nights in Savannah, Georgia, and three nights in Charleston.  We flew home from Charleston on the afternoon of May 6, but that morning, I took a little jaunt on my own from where we stayed at the Francis Marion Hotel (at left) to visit the Edmonston-Alston House, which overlooks Charleston Harbor and Fort Sumter.

Screenshot_2I had my route all planned.  It was a gorgeous day, I had my running shoes/trainers on, my map in hand, a good breakfast under my belt and fresh batteries in my camera.

We were staying in the oldest part of Charleston which is located out on the point of the peninsula between where the Ashley River flowing south of the city joins the Cooper River which flows north of the city.  Their confluence forms Charleston Harbor.  Of course, on one of the several islands in Charleston Harbor is located historic Fort Sumter.

I took King Street south, which was mostly high-end shopping — clothing, antiques, and what have you.  I found nothing photo-worthy until I hung a left onto Broad Street where I found much of historic interest.

2016-05-06-02 Dr. John Lining House (c 1715)

109 Broad Street, Dr. John Lining House (c 1715)

2016-05-06-03 Barber Shop on Broad Street

102 Broad Street, Dr. Henry Frost’s house built in 1844 now also houses a barber shop

A note on the architecture here.  This style of house (above) is called a “Charleston single house.” It is quite common in Charleston, and dates from the 19th century.  The house sits perpendicular to the street, and the door you see on the street does not actually go into the house, but into the porch under the balcony (which Charlestonians call a “piazza”) where the true front door into the house is located.  Typically, the side facing the street is only a single room wide, hence the name.  The house would be built along one edge of the lot leaving room for a carriage way to the stables and outbuildings behind the house.  Most of these houses no longer have outbuildings and have converted the carriage way to a little garden area or patio and replaced the carriage gate with a wall along the street to shield the garden and house from street noise.

Charleston was founded in 1670, and you can see the stages of adaptation of the 18th century “head-on” Georgian style imported from the cooler, temperate climate of England (see below) to the “side on” style of architecture (above) as a response to the very much warmer, downright swampy climate of South Carolina.  The day I took my little hike, May 6th, it was 90F(32+C) by noon and the humidity was in the 90% range. Fortunately, there was a light breeze.

Palmetto trees (Sabal palmetto) like the excellent specimens seen above and below are an indigenous species to the state.  In fact, South Carolina is known as “The Palmetto State” and features the image of one on its State Flag.

2016-05-06-04 Meyer Peace House c 1783

96 Broad Street, Meyer Peace House c 1783

2016-05-06-05 Dr. David Ramsey house built between 1750-1775

90 Broad Street, Dr. David Ramsey house built between 1750-1775

2016-05-06-06 Charleston Federal Courthouse

85 Broad Street, U.S. District Courthouse, a “double building” built in 1795 by merchant Josiah Smith

You can find more information on the preceding five buildings here.

2016-05-06-07 St. Michael's Church

74 Broad Street, St. Michael’s Episcopal Church, built between 1751 and 1761.  George Washington sat here in 1791.

2016-05-06-08 Blake Tenements built between 1760 and 1772

2-4 Courthouse Square (between 82 and 84 Broad Street) Blake Tenements built between 1760 and 1772.

2016-05-06-10 Confederate home for mothers, widows and daughters of confederate soldiers

60 Broad Street, Confederate home for mothers, widows and daughters of Confederate soldiers, founded in 1867.

2016-05-06-10a Confederate Home damaged in earthquate of 1886The Confederate home was “Ruined by the earthquake of 1886, and restored by the people of the Union, 1887.”  The “great earthquake” was estimated at 7.0 on the moment magnitude scale and occurred at 9:50 p.m. on 31 August, 1886.

Many historic homes dating to that period and before have “earthquake bolts” — iron shafts run through the masonry to tie opposing walls together.  These earthquake bolts provided enough structural support and reinforcement to enable many to be spared demolition due to earthquake damage.

2016-05-06-11 Daniel Ravenel House built between 1796 and 1800

68 Broad Street, Daniel Ravenel House built between 1796 and 1800.

You will note that this “Charleston single house” still has the carriage way that leads to the still extant out buildings behind the house, although there is no longer a gate.  If you enlarge the picture by clicking on it, you can see that a hedge separates the carriage way from the front porch of the house.  Again, the street door does not go into the house proper, but onto the porch.  This property has been owned by the same family since 1710.  The original house on the property burned and was replaced by this house in 1796.  More than ten generations of this family, including the current resident, have lived on this property, most of them in this house.

2016-05-06-12 The old Exchange and Provost dungeon

122 East Bay Street, The old Exchange and Provost dungeon, built 1767-1771

Now we come to the intersection where Broad Street “T’s” into East Bay Street, and a right turn is called for.

2016-05-06-13 Courtyard of Deas-Tunno House built about 1770 89 East Bay Street

89 East Bay Street, Courtyard of Deas-Tunno House built about 1770.

This charming house had a wrought iron gate (below) and window insets with window boxes full of colorful flowers.  I had a peek (and photo) through the gate at the courtyard within (above). This house has no piazzas, so in this case you can see where the actual front door of the house is located

2016-05-06-13b Deas Tunno House Front Gate 2016-05-06-13a Deas-Tunno House window boxesAt Water Street, East Bay Street becomes East Battery Street, and I have nearly reached my destination.  East Battery Street overlooks Charleston Harbor and, ultimately, the Atlantic Ocean.

2016-05-06-30 Carriage Tour on East Bay StreetOne can hire a carriage for a guided tour of Old Charles Town, but I preferred to travel by shanks mare.

2016-05-06-14 Porcher-Simonds housebuilt in 1856 selling for 4,150,000

29 East Battery Street, Porcher-Simonds house built in 1856, remodeled in the 1890’s when a second portico was added.  It has a wrought iron gate and a black and white tiled entry portico.

2016-05-06-15 Gate Procher-Simonds HouseThe Porcher-Simonds house was remodeled in the 1980s into three condominiums.  This delightful property in full view of the bay is for sale and can be yours for a mere $4,150,000.

At last! Here I am. 2016-05-06-18 Edmundston-Alston House Constructed 1825Edmondston-Alston House, Charleston, South Carolina, June 12, 2012.jpg

Photo CC Wikipedia Creative Commons

The Edmondston-Alston House.  It was constructed by Edmondston in 1825, in the typical Charleston single house style.   Edmondston was forced to sell the house due to bankrupcy owing to the Panic of 1837.  Below is the original front door located in the typical location in the middle of the porch under the piazza.  If this door looks somewhat the worse for wear, that is because it is original to the house, although it almost blew away in a hurricane!

2016-05-06-23 Original Front door Edmundston-Alston HouseThe house was bought by Alston in 1838.  He remodeled it and added a new front door facing the street (see below), as this wealthy rice planter used the ground floor as his business premises while his family lived on the top two floors.  The house has remained in the Alston family line ever since.

2016-05-06-19 Front Door Added in 1838 Edmondston-Alston HouseAlston added a “piazza” along the street front side of the house which is not connected to the side piazza, and which is reached through the triple sash windows.  The sills of these windows are at floor level.  One raises the two lower sashes to the top and steps through.

2016-05-06-20 Edmonston-Alston house gardensThe house is beautifully landscaped and has a lovely little garden.  The house was set back from the street with the wall placed at the property limit, which curves to follow the street.

2016-05-06-24 Bench for rocking baby Edmundston Allston HouseThis bench on the front porch is fitted out so that a woman could sit out doors to sew, read or do some other housewifely chore in the cool breezy shade and rock her baby or young child at the same time.   2016-05-06-28 former slave quarters and blacksmithy Edmundston alston house now apartment of present ownerThis is a view toward the back of the house.  The outbuildings and slave quarters have been remodeled into an apartment for the current owner of the house.  Behind the tree is the old black smithy.  This area was part of the private portion of the house and is not accessible to the public.

2016-05-06-27 Door Second Floor Piazza where General Beauregard watched the shelling of Fort SumterThis is the door out onto the second floor piazza.  On April 12, 1861, General P. T. Beauregard gave the order to commence the shelling of the garrison at Fort Sumter, and it was from this piazza that he watched the bombardment.

2016-05-06-25 R to Left James Island, Container ship, Fort Sumpter, Fort Moultrie

Click on the picture for an enlarged view.  Along the horizon are (right to left) James Island, a container ship, Fort Sumter, and Fort Moultrie.  Confederate batteries were situated on James Island at Fort Johnson.

The above photograph was taken from Gen. Beauregard’s vantage point on the piazza of the Edmondston-Alston house.

Alas, photography was not permitted inside the house (What a surprise!).

It was now time for me to retrace my steps and hie me back to the Francis Marion Hotel where the tour bus was to take us to the Charleston Airport.

2016-05-06-32 George Chisholm House built in 1810 flying the US and SC flags

39 East Battery, George Chisholm House built in 1810, flying the US and SC flags.

I call your attention to the sidewalk which is made of flagstones.  A lot of the sidewalks in this section of Charleston are made like this, rather than of concrete like I’m used to.  Over the (literally) centuries, they have settled unevenly and needless to say, one has to mind one’s footing to avoid the frequent trip hazards. Shortly after I passed this point, I made a friend . . .

2016-05-06-33 a furry friendOn the way back up East Bay Street, I met a family out having a local tour guided by — a buccaneer!  This little glimpse up East Bay Street shows why this portion of it is called “Rainbow Row.”

2016-05-06-34 a buccaneer leading a tour group down East Bay Street2016-05-06-35 People's Office Building erected 1910-11 Charleston's first skyscraperOn the way back up Broad Street, I took another photo op — a stone leopard.  One of a pair outside the People’s Office Building, built in 1910-1911 at a cost of $300,000.  At 8 stories, it was Charleston’s first skyscraper.

Checkout time was 12:00 at the Francis Marion.  Although I was a minute or two late, we had brought our luggage down after breakfast and checked it at the desk.  I reunited with my mom in the spacious, beautifully appointed (and airconditioned!) lobby of the hotel to await the arrival of the bus to take us to the airport.  After hiking approximately 3 miles at a fairly steady clip, I was ready to sit down!2016-05-06-01b Interior Francis Marion Hotel LobbyI’ll leave you with a parting shot of some furniture porn from the hotel lobby, complete with antique transferware.

2016-05-06-01a Interior Francis Marion Hotel Lobby

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