Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Laura Ingalls Wilder has nothing on us

Remember that chapter in On The Banks of Plum Creek?  
"A cloud was over the sun. It was not like any cloud they had ever seen before. It was a cloud of something like snowflakes, but they were larger than snowflakes, and thin and glittering. Light shone through each flickering particle."  

Well. . .

          As I may have mentioned, we’re downsizing, and downsizing with a purpose other than obeying Thoreau’s recommendation to “simplify, simplify.”
          We’re off to a condo – we hope. We’re currently twirling in the limbo that exists between acceptance of the offer and actually plunking down our money and grabbing the keys. Inspectors, underwriters, lawyers and everyone else who controls our fate are beavering away doing whatever it is they do while I sit here trying to remember if the new linen closet will hold more than 4 towels and one set of sheets.
          All I can say is, this had better happen because the universe has been telling us in no uncertain terms that it’s time to drop any sentimentality about our house and move.
          Yes, three days after returning here from Florida I found myself in Urgent Care with a tick bite from cleaning up the yard, followed by poison ivy up my arm a week later.  But that can happen to anyone.
          And when the entire frigid, rainy month of May was followed by 4 days of searing heat it did serve to remind me why I’ve always wished we had the type of heating system that could accommodate central air.
          And sure, when the town promised to patch our road but then doled out the asphalt in one tablespoon increments, leaving our (admittedly, private) road no better than before, the concept of living on a recognized  and frost heave-free street was even more appealing. 
          Then Mamie became unenthusiastic about going on the grass, and if we sat outside we’d be picking the occasional caterpillar off of us.
It wasn’t Plum Creek, and I wasn’t dealing with grasshoppers, but it's still pretty shudder-inducing.
I should have recognized what was going on when I stepped out in the driveway and heard the faint sound of rain. Except it wasn’t raining – unless you counted the partial leaves that were drifting down from our massive and really beautiful oak tree in front of the house.
          When we had three days of steady rain, I realized that what I had heard was not the leaves drifting down. It was poop. Caterpillar poop. And the rain had turned it into sludge – on the driveway, the sidewalk, the grass. No matter where we walked, we acquired a thick coating of poop and shredded leaves on the soles of our shoes, which we had to leave on the porch. 
          Since our garage was full of crap items to be donated or thrown away, I couldn’t put my car away, so it sat under the oak tree and took on a coating of indelible polka dots of poop. When the rain finally blew away, I headed off to the car wash. Nine dollars later, it looked exactly the same. Two hours out in the street with a boatload of baking soda and a scrub brush and I finally got it clean.
          Now if we can just get the pencil pushers to hurry up so we find a buyer before the gypsy moths kill the oak tree and it keels over onto the house.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Extra! Extra!

“A good newspaper is a nation talking to itself.”
Arthur Miller

Nowadays, it’s a busy time to be a reporter.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017


I’m developing a routine here in the land of downsizing. I spent this morning sifting through our 47 years of detritus and boxing up the items for donations.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

They're Baaaack!

I remember in 1978 at our last house coming home at night after my 3 – 11 shift as a secretary in pediatrics at the hospital. With two young kids, these hours worked out well. I only went in two days a week, either Friday and Monday or Saturday and Sunday, which meant I only needed one of the teens in the neighborhood to sit a few hours until my husband got home from work.

          I was a little short on sleep those years, but that wasn’t the hard part about getting home late. Our trees and our house were under attack that year. To reach the front door I had to first travel under the giant maples in the front yard and then under our portico. Both were festooned like a steamer covered in bon voyage streamers, except these were sticky and ended in a creepy caterpillar and they were impossible to see in the dark so I ended up a bit festooned myself.

          The gypsy moths had arrived and they were on everything.

          Our weapon of choice was masking tape and Vaseline, the plan being that the creepers wouldn’t get past the barrier to nest and eat the leaves up.

It worked pretty well except the trees didn’t appreciate the tape either and we lost a few anyway.


 So it was not good news when I looked out the window and saw this.



 And when I looked above the clematis and saw this.



 And even when I looked down on the bedroom floor and  - you guessed it.


Monday, June 5, 2017

A Walk and Random Thoughts

          The weather here being distinctly un-June like, I put on my fleece and took Mamie for her afternoon walk.

Friday, June 2, 2017

I Know All the Best Places

We are on the verge of a major life change here, and before it even happens my day-to-day life is filled with new experiences. I’m now not only spending an inordinate amount of time at liquor stores (source of all the best free boxes), but I can now speak knowledgeably on thrift stores in our area.