It’s today again. Can you believe it? Four years. July 4th. “Independence Day” That was my thought when I got dressed and went outside to get my phone to call 9-1-1 but on so many levels that is a story for another day at another time and place.
I choose this picture because it is my favorite picture. It was our first Christmas. As strangers we had already been through so much in such a short time. What I like about the photo is you look happy, truly happy. I think it was the first time you felt safe and sheltered with respect to being who you wanted to be.
This was the picture I took to work. When things at work got stressful and complicated, I looked at this picture and reassured. I took the picture home when someone came into my office and asked if the girl in the photo was my daughter.
It is now two thousand and thirteen. It is hard for me to fathom so much done and so much not done in such a timeline. I have written a lot of the transition for better or worse on this subject for whoever wants to read it or care. So what has been happening in this past year?
To start I got the ceiling patched. Well, not really patched, more so replaced. I found a guy who does great work and I don’t mind paying for what I know I cannot do. He replaced the bathroom floor. He even replaced the front steps. I’m thinking of asking him to screen in the front porch but I have to paint it first.
It is funny I had the steps rebuilt after I had all the construction inside done and all those heavy appliances delivered on the old wobbly steps. Not saying they were bad, you did a great job after that guy came out with the jack hammer and got rid of the concrete steps and walkway, but it was a little scary for others to walk on them. No one else understands the adventures we had.
Appliances? Yes, after I got the ceiling redone I focused on the kitchen. I figure if I ever sell this structure, it should have kitchen. It is a selling point. So I took out everything that was in the kitchen including that huge ¾” plywood plank you had cut for a countertop and those rolling around cabinets we purchased at Lowes. In the long run I think Lowes was my savior and my nemesis.
So I constructed a kitchen. I went to my buds at Lowes and selected some cabinets and a countertop and sink. They sent a guy by to double-check my measurements. They delivered the boxes on my newly installed kitchen floor. Yes, some guys came by and tore up that black and white check floor we had installed but had water damage with a new vinyl floor. It is this weird dark gray stone pattern, like the bathroom floor, but it doesn’t show dirt.
As the story goes, the Lowes truck delivered a “laundry center” which is nothing more than a stackable like we had before the dryer burnt a hole in the side. I donated the old washer and dryer to the Salvation Army even though they still worked fine, but took up too much space. Then I had the plumber hook it up because I wanted to make sure it was connected right. The Lowes guys again came through when ordering a stove and refrigerator. The were delivered by two guys who strapped them up like suspenders and just picked them up and walked them in. Pretty weird for me with no dollies but it worked.
Of course I had to call Woodfin, those are my guys who have replaced electrical, plumbing, and a bunch of stuff to get most of my retirement funds, to come over again and hook up a gas stove. I know you didn’t like gas, but I have replaced the furnace with another gas furnace. It is not the same box in the floor that we had. The plus side is it keeps the house warm with little muss and fuss. So these guys turn off the gas and run another pipe under the house and drill a hole in the floor then leave for another city inspection. The city has to inspect everything.
So to make a long story longer, the black stove is working. It even has an anti-tiff catch so the stove won’t tip over. A weird thing I never had before, but it makes sense. Went out and bought a bunch of pots and pans, enough to cover the burners and a few backing pans and a pizza pan. I threw away the electronic super duper toaster oven you bought and I used for three years for pizza. It was a perfect example of 20th century technology but I had no space to put it.
Plugged in the refrigerator yesterday. I know the big black box has been sitting there for months but I don’t move as fast without prompting. There are boxes on the wall holding what I’ve got left as ceramic plates and a few RTD mugs gathering dust. The other side is holding cans of soup, beans, and oatmeal. The drawers are full of scapulas and tongs and stickers and stuff. I still have appliances I haven’t used but are brand new so I can’t get rid of them.
I’ve done several discussions on cooking and I watch all those cooking shows that inspired you and I have all the appliances and utensils to bake, broil and burn whatever I can desire, but I have no appetite. Since it is summer, I went out and bought a bunch of hot dogs and all the fixings, but didn’t cook them on the grill. I made the meal but didn’t enjoy it.
Speaking of the yard, it is doing fine. Haven’t done much trimming so the bamboo, ivy, pines, hollies, and all that other stuff I don’t understand but you did has been soaking up the spring. We’ve had a calm winter. Only one day did I have to wear more than one sweatshirt? We had a few flurries of snow that came by and was pretty and gone by the afternoon. One day, and only one day, was it too cold to ride, so I put on that super-heavy-duty fleece white sweatshirt and just walked up to Libbie and Grove.
There was a bit of a blow when a hurricane blew through but Puppywoods held their own. A few branches fall but on a whole you build a strong yard.
Everyday I sit out in the “Mansland” peering through the window at the yard you built in wonder. In the summer the fan keeps me cool and in the winter the little heater we used to keep the house warm is sufficient enough to keep the frost away.
Oh did I tell you I put ceiling fans in every room of the house. I found that circulating the air was as good and cheaper than air conditioning. I haven’t even brought out a fan yet. The one in the kitchen is like an airplane and I’m still going to get a hood for the stove.
I’m going to replace some windows on the west side. Remember when you took out the bathroom window? Well it is the same as you left it.
Those critters you temped through the years in the yard have expanded into a herd of mayhem. They know when I leave for the store and they know when I come back. They know I bring them grub and do not wait to scurry about to welcome me.
The beau-beau’s are as vast as ever. I have to watch where I step to keep from overcoming one of their paths. The petites also keep a close eye on me. They know when I put out blueberries out for grey jay and bunny that they will be showered with peanuts. I throw up the peanuts into the air and they have learned to look up. They don’t understand why and when it rains peanuts on them, but they appreciate it.
I wander out on the little porch before putting the bike away and rain some more peanuts. These critters have learned that my presence is not threatened so they come up to me to beg. If I drop a peanut the beau-beau critters will scurry away with the reward but the smart ones will chew through the shell and sit there at my foot for another. I think I’m going to buy some Long Ranger mask for the petites because not only will they descend to gather up whatever they can find when they hear the shells crashing rain.
I figure I put a ton of seed out every year and a vast array of seed and berries for these critters. They have even learned that my bike bags hold the grub so they will just climb in a have their fill. If I leave the door open, the little bandits will come inside and pick through the pack that they have been accustomed to being fed. I think I will get some Lone Ranger mask for them so they can look like those Raccoon bandits.
The grey jays came back as usual with the other feathered friends. They wake me up every morning with their songs and warn me when there is danger. The hawks have been avoiding the place for a while and that is good. Matter of fact, I haven’t seen many in the area for a while.
I told you there was a bunny in there yard. Well, guess what? There are lots of bunnies in the yard. I knew there was one hiding in the tall grass but then one afternoon I saw something that was the size of a chipmunk but with bigger ears running about.
So yes, the bun-buns have taken over the yard. I’ve seen three adults and a mess over little ones scurrying about the yard. The best part is they seem very comfortable resting and even sleeping under the ivy and when I startled them, they recognize my voice and do not run away. They seem to wander between the front and back yard with ease and enjoy the grub. And I enjoy the vision. There was some moment and it turned out to be bigger than a beau-beau and smaller than a petite with bigger ears. It seems there is another family growing in the yard. They might scurry when I approach, but when I call out “bun-bun” they stop with ears up but with an understanding that there is no danger.
Me? Well I’ve hit the wall of inspiration. I’ve done a bunch of stuff that other people have fixed or repaired or constructed but when it comes to my to-do list I seem to fail. I’m eating all right, trying to watch the diet you had, you know blueberries and yogurt and stuff like that, but I still like all that meaty stuff. I’ve tried all those fast food places but I’ve lost my appetite.
Well I have ventured out into the world to seek whatever is available. I bought a banjo. Who would figure, but I saw it in a shop and thought about the Kingston Trio that I learned folk music through and when I saw it on the wall I couldn’t resist. Went on the Internet and found some tuning and chords. Think that is weird, I also bought a drum kit. I thought about replacing the travel guitar that was broken but you saved and when I went back to the guitar store they had a drum set sitting in the corner. After asking Brian, he said it was his sons. I left the shop and walked about half a block then returned to ask if he could have it delivered? They were more than acceptable to the purchase so I bought two amps that I have not plugged in yet. Also bought a Fender Stratocaster that sits in the corner but is really pretty.
Don’t know what the next year will bring. Got lots of trimming to do when it gets cool and still can’t figure out what to do with the pond. Haven’t even put out all the mulch I bought.
Oh and by the way, I’m trying to stop drinking. Little Artie has had a major incursion on his body and I’m trying to appreciate it with the lack of consuming alcohol. In the past few years, I’ve used the beverage to excess so I think I can stop, just like tobacco.
Another year goes by and I don’t know if I’m better off with it or not, but it happens. I try to keep the yard comfortable and in some kind of effort keep myself the same. The critters seem to continue to come back so I guess it works.
Tomorrow will be July 5th and the holiday season with all the celebrations and fireworks will be over but this will always be a special day for me.