Monday, October 28, 2013

Still Blooming

I watched Game 5 of the World Series tonight.  I was home alone cheering on the Red Sox, who won 3-1 over the Cardinals, which puts us up three games to two.  The next game is Wednesday in Boston.  The Red Sox have had a very good year.

The flowers in the barrels at the edge of my driveway have had a good year, too.  They apparently have not received the memo that autumn has arrived and colder temperatures are on the way.  I can see the flowers from the treadmill.  I took more photos today because I can't believe there's still so much color ~
I just realized that the same green, orange, pink, and yellow are the colors in the napkins and tablecloths I am making, pinning up the hems while I watch baseball.  It became obvious during the last round of company that I need more table linens.  Once these flowers are finished I will enjoy the color scheme inside.

There's progress to report on the Harmony Quilt.  The back is together, pieces coming together better than I expected they would.  I have a general idea of the fabric I want to use when I start a quilt, and the size and shape of the pieces, but beyond that I arrange and rearrange the pieces as I go to produce the final creation.  I need to see how the colors and shapes fit together before I can see the big picture.  I will have photos to share soon.

With my daughter's help I have managed to transfer my bookmarks from iGoogle, which will be no more November 1, to the desktop computer.  Tonight I started researching how to move those bookmarks from one computer to another.  I don't think it will be hard once I know what to do.  I don't have a lot of confidence when it comes to technology.  With each success, I feel emboldened.

Maybe that's the secret to confidence ~ try more, have more success, feel more confident. 

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Timber Frame: Wood Siding And Metal Roof

This past weekend Ken finished the metal roof on the timber frame.  I asked him if he was going to take down the scaffolding so I could take pictures.  He said yes.  Sunday night the scaffolding was still in place.  I asked why, and he said he didn't know I meant I wanted it down right away.  He went out in the dark and took it down.  It's a good thing good communication isn't always a prerequisite for a good marriage.  Here's the progress to date on the timber frame ~
Ken built extensions to the rafters so there could be eaves
He attached planks with clamps so he could safely climb the roof
Here Ken is almost finished with lumber on the roof
The tarp tied over the roof made it hard to get photos for awhile
Windows went in after the siding went on
There's even a window in the back
The metal roof was finished October 19
Four windows provide plenty of natural light
The next job is to build doors, and Ken has plans for those.  Then we will build a garden bench and start moving in gardening supplies and outdoor tools.  Work is on schedule to be finished before winter arrives, which means there will be room for me to park my car in the garage before the snow flies, and that's a good thing.

Sunday, October 20, 2013


Ken and I had a mini-vacation last week.  His brother and sister-in-law came for a visit.  They drove from Florida to Rhode Island to see their daughter's family.  I was delighted when they called weeks ago to say they wanted to come to Maine to see us.  We aren't really on the way to anywhere so it means a lot when people make the effort to visit.  Melvin gets around in a wheelchair so anything more than a short visit at our house, with its stairs and narrow doorways, was not going to work.  Ken and I made reservations at the same hotel in Bath so we could thoroughly enjoy their stay.  Ken is the youngest of nine and Melvin is his next oldest brother.  He and Ann were married and had started a family when I met Ken; we spent a lot of time at their house and especially enjoyed late nights playing pinochle.  While we didn't play cards this trip, we had a good visit.

The lovely new Hampton Inn is right on the Kennebec River ~
There is a new Frosty's in town so of course Ken and I walked over to get donuts ~
We stayed in the Mid-Coast area and had lunch at Moody's Diner in Waldoboro, where "pie fixes everything" ~
That was also where we saw the first pumpkin of the Pumpkin Festival which is based in nearby Damariscotta ~
That evening we drove to Baily Island, reachable by the Cribstone Bridge ~
It is the only bridge of its kind in the world, made solely of granite blocks without cement or mortar ~
It was a wonderful visit.  Now it's our turn to make our way to Florida ~

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Back Online

Tuesday morning I realized there was a problem with the phone and DSL.  I drove into town to find reliable cell service and call the phone company.  The woman in customer service who answered the phone did her job but wasn't particularly helpful.  She told me to look for a box in my house marked with a telephone symbol where I could plug in a phone to see if we had service at that point where the phone line comes in.  She would put the report on hold until I called back. 

I have painted practically every square inch inside this house and have never seen such a box, not in the house, not in the garage, and not in the utility room which I just painted this summer.  But I looked anyway.  No luck.  I know there is a small box mounted on a corner of the house where the phone line comes out of the ground...but there is no place there to plug in a phone.

I felt silly to not know what to do but this has not been a problem in the more than six years we've lived here.  I was stuck.  If I called back to file the report and they sent a repair person, it would cost us if the problem was inside the house.  Ken was on his way home so I decided to wait.

Ken knew that the telephone box for our house is mounted on the telephone pole on our property at the edge of the road.  He took a phone down and plugged it in.  Sure enough, the problem was somewhere in the main line.  So I called back to file the report.  Apparently neighbors had also called to report trouble and a repair truck was already in the area.

Twenty-four hours later we had phone and internet service restored.  When the repairman called to tell me I asked him what the problem was.  He thought it might be hard to explain but it really wasn't:  two years ago during a hurricane a tree fell across the lines; we lost electricity, not phone, but there was damage done to the telephone line; high winds Monday night must have been the last straw.  Once the problem was found they had to splice the line to restore service.

Two days without phone and internet was inconvenient.  I had phone calls to make and bills to pay online.  Wednesday morning I parked in the town hall parking lot to take advantage of the free wifi they offer the community.  You know what was most important to me?  First, reading your comments [for which I thank you] and second, visiting your blogs.   It has taken me days to catch up, and I have enjoyed every minute.

I tried to explain to in-person friends how much I miss my connections online.  The four women I spoke to over the course of the week did not understand what I was saying.  Most don't use Facebook and none write or read blogs.  I was stymied at how to find the words.  I couldn't do it.  They have no point of reference.

In my mind, they don't know what they're missing ~  

Monday, October 7, 2013

It's The Simple Things

The laundry is started.  It's good to have the washing machine back in working order.  My younger son was home from Boston this weekend, and he was glad it was working, too.  We do appreciate the simple things.

My son and daughter-in-law were here from California for a few days.  The happiest times in my life?  Family dinners.  I made favorite meals and the season's first apple pie.  Claudia baked cookies.  Peter helped Ken with the siding and the roof on the timber frame.  There will soon be more photos to share.  We did ordinary things, and those times together are always the best.

There was a solemn event, too.  Saturday evening we attended a celebration of the life of Daryl Dumont, who was the father of three children and the husband of my friend.  He lived his whole life in Augusta, completely involved in the community and loved by all who knew him.  The evening was planned weeks in advance to be a 60th birthday party for Daryl, who was fighting his fourth bout with cancer in 37 years.  Sadly, Daryl died from a stroke last Tuesday.  His life was a testament to his determination ~ he told his wife in 1987, while recovering from his first bone marrow transplant, that he would be there to walk each of his daughters down the aisle at their wedding.  His second daughter was married this summer, and Daryl was there to keep his promise.

Daryl and Susie's kids are in the same age range as mine.  While it was a sad time, it was a unique occasion for people to come together who don't usually get together any more, now that the kids are all grown up and come to show their respects with their own families.  I had a chance to hug Susie and her children, two of whom I had when I taught 8th grade English.  The older daughter shared a memory ~ she remembers when I brought meals to their house.  She was just five years old in 1987.  It was never anything fancy, a casserole or meat loaf.  There wasn't much I could do to help, but I could make dinner.  It meant a lot to me that she remembered.

I wonder what I can do now to help Susie.  Another friend said maybe it was time for a reunion of our "mothers' support group."  Dinner together might make all of us feel a little bit better.

This weekend was a reminder that even the simplest things can make a difference ~

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Empty Your Pockets

There are a dozen or so photos of my trip to Martha's Vineyard in my last post  It gives a glimpse of the towns we visited, Oak Bluffs and Edgartown and Menemsha, in addition to the town of Vineyard Haven where we stayed.  My new profile picture was taken by my daughter on the beach in Oak Bluffs.

The weekend before I left on vacation my front loading washing machine started making a horrible noise so loud that I heard it upstairs, like shrapnel shooting off somewhere in the drum.  I stopped the machine but couldn't see anything inside.  It was then okay to spin and drain, and it was quiet for the next load.  The third load of laundry set it off again, a noise that sounded like metallic fireworks going off.  We unplugged the machine, turned off the water, and I called a repairman. 

The guy just left.  I have called the service department to commend Jeff for his work; he found a problem that someone else might have missed.  When he didn't hear faulty bearings and couldn't see anything amiss within the back of the machine, Jeff removed the front bottom panel to check the water pump.  He figured out how to remove the trap and this is what he found:
two dozen coins, a battery, nails, a fuse, a razor blade, a pencil, and various other bits of metal.  I can tell from the gunk present and the accumulated corrosion, things have been collecting for a long time.  I will take credit for the piece of fabric [note to self: hand wash any tiny pieces of material] but the credit for the rest of the mess belongs to Ken.  He has been washing his own work clothes for almost thirty years.  I stress to him how important it is to empty his pockets.  Obviously it's time for another lesson.  We lucked out.  The washing machine still works and it cost a fraction of what a new machine would cost to find the problem.

I looked closely to see how these things worked their way through the system.  There is a slit in the metal under the rubber gasket, which I do clean periodically, where things must go when they work themselves free.  Who knew?  Now we know it's really important to empty your pockets!