I love summer. I like the heat, the sun, the sudden wild storms, the bursting gardens. I love looking out my window and spotting a hummingbird at the feeder, or hovering over my flowers.
Just yesterday while I was deadheading roses, one of these little flying jewels hovered a foot away from me, watching—like: What’re you doing there? Then zipped over to the roses, fed on two or three before zipping up to a tree branch to rest a minute. Before doing it all again.
That’s a summer bright spot in so many ways to me.
I love being able to work all day, get my workout in, then pour myself a glass of wine and wander all around the gardens.
Too often on these happy journeys I rescue a plant Parker has inexplicably pulled out of a pot. And yes, I’ve tried everything. Hot sauce, cayenne, chili powder, dog repellent, etc, etc. He will not be deterred from this strange habit.
BW is building me benches so we can put the pots up higher on the back patio. I’ve already either done this, or tried to block off pots on the lower.
The deer got through all our efforts and munched on a good chunk of Black-Eyed Susans, but I can take it as I have multitudes—so many I plan to dig up twice as many next year as the massive amount I dug up and passed on or transferred this spring.
We’re also going to dig up a whole hell of a bunch of my yellow flags which have gone insane in the last couple of years. They’re crowding out one of my spirea, and blocking the water feature. I’ve got another place in mind for some, and am passing the rest to Jason and Kat who also have a place.
These babies like their feet wet, and since when I planted (a few!) of them a zillion years ago where we have an underground spring, they’ve grown to like it too much.
I’m also enjoying my new patio fountain. Several years ago we were given this great big white stone urn. It’s lovely, but we had no clue what to do with it. We’re just not great big white stone urn people. Then I discovered these solar powered disk things you can put in bird baths or other vessels.
So we did just that. Jason and BW hauled the big-ass (heavy!) urn out of the pool house and onto the lower patio. Filled it with water—and after we’d charged the solar thing, put it in.
We had our little gang up Friday night for pizza, and swimming after. It’s so great to be able to get together like this again, just spend an evening with family, watch the kids have fun.
Griffin also likes the gardens, and wandering (usually at warp speed) around. This weekend he discovered the bench under the huge Black Walnut tree, and spend a lot of time rolling the walnuts Kat would hand him off the bench. Then bouncing them off the end of the bench.
He makes his own fun.
I love spending time on Saturdays weeding my beds, talking to the flowers, deadheading faded blooms to encourage more. It’s not a chore for me, but a total Zen activity.
And I’m rewarded on those walks with wine most every evening.
I hope on this holiday weekend you’re able to—safely—gather with family and friends. And have something that offers you the easy joy my garden offers me.
I’m going to close with the ultimate in Random Katness. Those who followed the travelogue know BW found some buffalo fur in our yard (then Kat found more). Kat, in her Kat way devised a make-shift spinning wheel. (She actually has a real one at home.) She washed and dried the fur, spun it into yarn.
And she made this.
It now resides in our library, and will make me smile every time I see it.
I’m going to get on and off this part of the blog pretty quick. Laura’s been dealing with a surprising amount of negativity and–it must be said–rudeness–on the FB pages. A whole bunch of whining, complaining, even accusations. Just a world of negativity which I’ve certainly noticed has become so unfortunately prevalent over the last year or so.
It’s always been there, but now it’s grown and spread.
For some it’s never enough. What I write or don’t, my publication schedule, what Laura posts on the Robb and Roberts pages–and baffling to me–the fact that she does those posts and I don’t.
I’m going to say this, then move on. When Laura, who has more patience and diplomacy in one hand than I have in my entire body reaches her limit, it’s gone way too far.
So to those who want to use those forums to complain, to demand, to accuse and slap at her, or me, time’s up. I suggest you just grab some happy. Enjoy what we’re able to provide–or don’t and go elsewhere where you can find that happy.
And now I’d like to offer some happy–or at least what makes me happy.
Despite a–again RUDE–overnight drop into the low 30s last week, it’s here. Everything’s blooming and greening. And I can, finally, dig in the dirt again.
BW and I–vaxxed and masked–hit our favorite nursery. We not only filled the bed of the truck (okay, that’s really on me!) with plants, but needed to wedge a couple flats into the cab.
Then we spent an entire Saturday–and I mean eight straight hours–planting.
I love setting plants out, stepping back, considering, moving them. It’s a lot like writing for me. I see it this way, but . . . hmm, maybe change that little thing there, see how that works.
Then it’s dig, dig, dig.
And it all makes me happy.
I’m trying a canna lily this year (need to get a photo of that). My grandmother had a flood of them, and I’ve always loved them. But in my zone, I’ll need to lift the rhizome in the fall, store it properly, then divide it properly and replant every spring. I always hesitated, afraid, I’d fail.
Well, you can’t succeed if you don’t at least try. So this is the year I try.
The beds are so pretty with all their new inhabitants–and I planted the nasturtium seeds the wonderful Laura picked up for me.
BW left to spend a little time with guy pals at the beach (everyone’s vaxxed!) so I did the pots solo on Sunday. Many satisfying hours last Sunday.
And the result makes me happy.
Now begins the Deer War. I’m heading out to spray repellent when I finish the blog. We have more repellent hanging all over, and my trusty air horn.
In addition, Parker has already pulled three plants out of pots–I got there in time to save them. We’re solving most of this baffling problem by putting most of the pots up, and I add cayenne pepper, red pepper flakes to the pots he can reach. But in those he can easily reach he’s actually eaten off the top blooms of all the lantana. JUST the lantana. (This is a new deal with him.)
It just be tasty, but this will not stand!!
More happy came this weekend when Logan–who gets his first shot this week now that he’s eligible–brought up his new puppy. He turned 17 (!!!!) yesterday, and this was his much-desired birthday gift from his mom.
Alaska is a Malamute-Husky mix, a girl, a very, very pretty girl with one brown eye, one blue. She’s fun and sweet and VERY energetic. I only managed one picture when she wasn’t moving.
I walked her out to show her where good dogs go to do their business around here, and she discovered the water feature. It was like she discovered Disneyland.
She jumped, splashed, spun–face-planted in the mulch, and made me really happy.
She also made Parker and Atticus happy. And before the day was done, she ruled them both.
More happy when Jason, Kat and Griffin came up. Kat’s fully vaxxed, and Jason gets his second shot tomorrow. What a relief!
Griffin also loves the water feature. And loves walking all over the property. He stopped several times at my pots and had conversations with the flowers. Long, cheerful ones.
The boy also loves bubbles! One of the words he’ll regularly say is Bubbles! He has plenty of words, but picks and chooses when to use them. He latest is two words, delivered with the tone and look of a teenager to his mom. I KNOW!
Makes me laugh!
Bubbles make him incredibly happy. So they make me happy, too.
Logan’s mom–fully vaxxed!–came up, and she and Logan gave Alaska a bath (much needed) in my laundry room sink. It’s so sweet to see how Alaska and her human have bonded
We were able to do what we couldn’t last year, and have a little celebration–pizza and a cookie cake–Logan’s fave. It made me beyond happy to have two of my grandchilden, my son, my daughter-in-law, and my friend and former daughter-in-law safely together in my home again.
Kayla–also fully vaxxed–comes home from her first year in college in a couple weeks. I can’t wait to see her!
Get that shot in the arm if you haven’t yet. Protect yourself, your family, your friends, your neighbors, your community, your country and your planet.
Make yourself happy.
If flowers and gardening, if puppies and bubbles, if handsome teenage boys and adorable toddlers don’t make you happy, find what does and grab it.
There’s enough sad and sorry in the world. Instead of pushing that out there, push out that happy.
Quick note from Laura: For a little more happy, I thought I’d share a little little secret…there’s rumor (to yet be confirmed) that a Stupid Scoreboard may be in my future. Aaargh — you don’t see a pal for nearly a year and she think THAT’S a good way to reconnect? [insert eye roll here.] Stay tuned.
Which is the reason I haven’t done many blogs over the last few months.
I write, workout, cook. On the weekends, I clean and do more involved cooking, and often some baking.
That’s pretty much how it goes.
I was able to see Kayla over her spring break as she came home. And as she lives in a dorm and NC includes dorm living in their eligibility, she’s had her first vaccine shot, and will get her second this month.
We get to see Griffin every couple weeks. One of his favorite things is to prance his way all the way down (1/4 mile!) the lane, check out the creek.
Happily BW and I both have our shots. It’s a major relief, and I’m grateful to everyone who made them possible, and the scores of people giving countless hours getting those shots into arms.
So we we were able, at last, to have Logan and Colt up for dinner with their Mom.
Still, the numbers are going the wrong way here in MD, so we continue to be very cautious.
However, in a couple weeks, I’ll be hitting my favorite nursery for plants—and there I can’t wait! Meanwhile, we battle the deer. I don’t see herds of a dozen the way I did before we tried a new repellent—and bought an air horn! But some still come around and have to be chased off.
Parker tore an ankle tendon last November, so had surgery early December, and after many checkups, pampering and PT which he enjoyed entirely too much, is fully recovered.
My tulip magnolia got in a hurry and decided to bud up right before we had a serious cold snap. I’m waiting to see if we’ll get a show from it this year. But we do have other, hopeful signs off spring cropping up.
Today I’m making chicken en cocotte—took a pic before I put it in the oven. The house smells glorious—like a farmhouse in Provence!
And with that doing its thing, I’m going to curl up with a book for awhile.
The last little package arrived. I’ll gift bag that sucker and be done with the wrapping, ribboning, bowing and tagging.
Gifts to pals I won’t see this year, shipped weeks ago, and most landed where they’re meant to be.
Tree up, mantels dressed, candles lit.
Thanks to Kayla and a marathon baking day, we have tons of cookies. I stood as baker’s assistant while she did the real work–and a lot of work it was. Also delicious.
I’ll sneak in a Nana brag as our college girl got her grades. Straight As.
We had a really fun, laborious day together. I miss seeing my grandboys, and having the gang baking in the kitchen. Next year–I hold onto next year.
I miss holiday celebrations and time with my friends. Next year.
Obviously, we won’t have our big bash of a New Year’s Day Open House this year. But next year.
And I admit, sometimes it gets me down. It’s hard not to hang out with friends and family, hard to cut out long-held traditions, hard to give up all those personal contacts, the hugs, the laughs, the simple, basic pleasure of being together.
But next year.
I’ve got plenty of work to keep me busy. Writing, for me, has always been a blessing, but maybe never as much as in 2020. It gets me going in the morning, helps keep me from dwelling–too much–on everything else.
Then there’s the weekend cleaning/cooking/baking routine. It helps, too.
But boy, will I happily pass my toilet brush to someone else next year.I’ll buy them new ones! Gold-plated toilet brushes if they want. And shiny silver buckets, jewel-encrusted scrub brushes! Whatever it takes.
Meanwhile, it all keeps me busy, and somewhat sane.
Also keeping us busy around here is Parker who had surgery last week for a torn ankle tendon. He’s recovering well, but JESUS! he now requires pretty much constant care. No opening the door so the dogs can stroll out and do what they do. Bag that cast, use a leash, walk him out, try to avoid having the Cone Of Shame bash you in the calves and shins.
He and Atticus both have the sads over the situation. But this, too, will pass. Next year.
Meanwhile meanwhile, the house is festive, and that perks me up.
Best, Jason, Kat and Griffin will come for Christmas as we’ve continued our careful bubble. I’m incredibly lucky there. We’ll have a late brunch once they get here, then tear into the presents. And won’t it be fun to watch a two-year old discover new toys under the tree?
Since Kat can’t eat mammals (reaction to a tick bite) we’ll have lasagna for dinner–with a salad bar to start, garlic bread from the Italian bread I baked last weekend, and an ice cream bar for dessert.
Then we’ll watch the new Wonder Woman. Yay!!
Not our usual Christmas, but we’ll make it happy. Then there’s next year. Next year, Kayla won’t have to haul all the gifts from here to her family because we’ll all be together. We’ll be together–family and friends–because we’re apart now keeping each other safe. And that’s the most loving thing we can do.
I’m wishing all our health care workers, our first responders, teachers, front line workers, delivery workers, USPS workers, grocery workers, and all those who’ve done so much, worked so hard to keep us all safe, to care for us, to keep it all going the best holiday possible. And a better, brighter new year.
I wish the same for all of you.
When I light my candles tonight, I’ll light them with that wish for all.
Next year will be better, and it will be brighter. But for now, we’ll make the now as solid and safe and shiny as we can.
That’s where I am today as I finished a book yesterday and will start another in a couple days. So today is In Between, and I’ll use it to do a few little chores, give more thought to that next book and . . . something. I’m sure I’ll find the something. [Note from Laura — title to come later.]
I have nothing special or really interesting to report, so I’m sending Laura a crap-ton of photos. She can choose which are blog-worthy and how many to post.
We battle the deer. We’ve done it all, but they persist. Looks like the got most of my lilies again this year, and even nibbled on a couple deer-resistant plants. I hope Bambi got a belly ache.
When side-dressing with compost this past weekend–and as always when gardening, scanning the area well first–I spotted the last few inches of a slithering copperhead. Fortunately, BW was just around the side of the house, and rushed to the rescue as I managed my distress call.
Snake! Snake! Copperhead! SHIT!!!!
He dispatched said invader while I waited in the house. He said it was a 30″-er. (We’re going to need a bigger shovel!) I thereafter assigned BW to compost duty. I can handle spiders, I hope to find worms when I dig, I tell the bees just to back off as what I’m doing is good for them, too, but I have a visceral fear of snakes.
Parker continues to nose and poke into my pots–even with a variety of dog-away tricks I’ve put in with the flowers. He is the guilty party. Atticus has proven himself innocent. I had to completely redo a bed he destroyed early in the spring, but I like to think it looks like I meant it to look just the way it does now.
We cleaned the sunroom area of our pool house awhile back, repotted plants desperate for it. And my should also be re-potted bromiliad threw out three gorgeous blooms.
A bird decided the potting bench BW made me for mother’s day would be a fine place for her nest. She gets very cranky if we get too close, so I guess I won’t be using it any time soon.
Weekends continue to focus on serious house cleaning, cooking and gardening. I’m learning different vegetarian dishes to make for Kayla. This past weekend, Spanish beans and rice–which BW also enjoyed.
The writing, the domestic work, the flowers, help keep me relatively sane during this long period of global In Between. Even for a hermit like me, this wears. And I know just how lucky I am to have this place where I can work outside, or just walk outside, where we’re safe. And I know my family is staying safe.
I hope all of you are staying relatively sane, and very safe. I hope you’re finding ways to connect with family and friends during this long In Between.
Eventually we’ll come out the other side. So mask up, wash your hands, and find something in your In Between that brings you joy.
Came back in to add a photo since there have been a couple of comments on the dragon. I take shots in Nora’s garden most years — just not 2020. Took the dragon photo last July after the summer signing.
For those of us who aren’t essential workers, we’ve been doing a lot of at home this spring. Normally, that’s my favorite thing, but even for me this has become pretty surreal.
I know a lot of areas and businesses are opening. I hope everyone who does venture out is staying smart, staying safe, and doing everything possible to protect themselves, their families, and everyone else.
We really are all in this together.
I have my work, and am so lucky to be able to do work I love safely in my own house. I have lots of outdoor space–a huge boon–and the gardening.
Though I’m incredibly tired of all the rain!
But even with those blessings, I need distractions, activities, occupations outside the keyboard.
So I cook, and I bake, and BW and I clean like maniacs every Saturday. Having the house clean and ordered helps keep my stress level low.
I do some more serious cooking on weekends, too.
Soups–the latest, tortilla soup for me and BW, a veggie bean and pasta for Kayla. I made my pal Ruth’s Party Potatoes as Kayla and BW both especially love. So half went down the lane.
I made my mother’s pound cake, made cream puffs, because sweet and fun is a good antidote to worry.
I tried my hand at tomato/basil risotto for Kayla. It worked! Yesterday, it was lasagna.
I’ve baked bread, and learned Jason has taken up bread baking. BWscanned him my recipe for Italian bread–another for his new repertoire. I may do a focaccia later today.
The gardens give me incredible pleasure. However, a few days ago, I’m at my keyboard, BW is working outside. I hear him yelling. I assume one of the dogs has–despite our deterrents (soak coffee filters in vinegar or ammonia, let dry thoroughly, cut into strips, lay in the pots) dug in one of the planters.
He yells again, and a third time, which makes me think: Is he calling for help? Jeez! So out I go, hoping I don’t have to call 911.
BW’s fine, but furious. Parker hadn’t dug in a planter, he’d jumped up in one of the raised beds and gone mad. Just wild and crazy digging. Not just the plants, but dug so far down so fast he broke the underground sprinkler pipe, ripped out wires for the wall lights, and made a horrible mess of things.
So . . . He’s lucky we didn’t find a brick to bash him with!
Sprinkler guy was able to fix the pipe, BW was able to fix the light and is currently fixing the wires. We’ve piled in more dirt, and may save some of the plants. I’ll do what I can to transfer others.
And have googled home made dog repellent spray, and will make that up.
We can call Parker’s digging a very big distraction!
And no, it wasn’t moles. He wasn’t after some critter. He just decided to go for it. Such is the life of a gardener with dogs.
Other than that spot, everything looks amazing. It’s soothing and satisfying to walk around after a day of work. And we’ll fix what our canine ditch digger wrought.
Then there’s books to read, movies to watch, shows to binge. Good distractions all.
I’ve now colored my hair myself a second time. It’s ratty and shaggy and long enough to pull back in a tail. Coloring’s one thing–attempting to snip at it, a bit other thing. A line I won’t cross. *
I very much miss Harold!
I watch the videos or smile at the photos Jason and Kat send me of Griffin. I can’t find the words to express how I miss my kids, my grandchildren.
But I know they’re all safe and well, and that means everything right now.
I hope you’re all finding distractions, pleasures, maybe exploring a new interest or hobby as we go through this together/apart. I hope all of you, and all of yours, are safe and well and find blessings to count.
On behalf of me and mine, we send all our thanks on this Memorial Day to those who served, who have served, to their families for all they do, all they sacrifice so we’re safe at home.
November blurred by, and now December’s decided to blow in with wicked winds, chilly rain and gloom. I’m hoping that improves.
For all its speed, November was pretty packed around here–which may be why it seemed to whiz.
BW and I had our November week at the spa–joined for a couple days this year by Jason, Kat and the ultra-adorableness of Griffin. Kat was invited to participate in Nemocolin’s Nov-Feb art show! She brought up the paintings she chose for it–it’s an animal theme–and they’ll hang until February.
We’re so proud of her! And her talent gave us more Griffin time.
This is always a working trip for me so that’s early workout, then butt in the chair until mid afternoon. A reward of a lovely treatment, then a meal someone else cooked.
Always a good deal.
Home again, and a lovely Sunday at a sweet baby shower for me.
And boom, it’s Girls’ Night Out in Boonsboro. Always a fun time–and a little extra special as Kayla joined us. Serious fun to hit some of the Main Street shops with my girl.
Blink, and it’s time to prep for Thanksgiving.
Pies! Pretzel rolls! All baked on Wednesday. Apple sauce, cranberry sauce–also on Wednesday’s list.
And Thursday’s the cooking extravaganza. A little different this year as my girl’s now a vegetarian. So in addition to my traditional sausage stuffing I did an apple and raisin stuffing (dressing) with veggie broth in a casserole. And a lot of roasted veggies I hadn’t tried before.
Kayla wasn’t coming around until Friday, for leftover and pie (especially pie) but I wanted her to have plenty of choices. And Kat and Jason made a vat of mac and cheese as it’s one of her favorites.
I made roasted beets! And am very glad I looked up how to peel those suckers so learned to use gloves and a plastic cutting board. It’s CSI time with beets. But Jason–very fond of them–gave the finished product a thumb’s up.
We had so much food we set it up buffet style rather than on the table.
Griffin and the dogs continue their love affair. In fact when he woke up in the middle of the night on Thursday, they raced up to make sure his parents weren’t torturing him. And that, at 1:30 a.m. was that. I come out when I hear the whole gang troop down the stairs.
The dogs in heaven with some middle of the night play. Griffin–toddling now–drunkenly walking across the room to them. Daddy keeping the dogs relatively calm, Mama patiently reading the boy his Baby Shark book until he finally gives it up.
I make sure to shut the dogs in our bedroom.
Twice before the little family gets up on Friday morning I have to stop Atticus from heading up. I literally hear him sigh when I catch him and say: Nope.
More Griffin time for me on Friday. Jason and BW haul all the Christmas stuff up from the storage shed. It’s early decorating for me as this is my only free weekend.
And here’s Kayla for those leftovers. More thumb’s up (not the beets, but everything else.)
When Jason and his fam pack up to head home, Kayla stays awhile and helps me decorate. She’s off to NY for a cross-country run. (Brr!)
I finish it up, and enjoy having my house look so festive.
Yesterday a four-hour wrapping marathon with wonderfully silly Christmas movies.
Today, workout done, I’m sneaking in time to write this. If Kayla has any energy left after her whirlwind trip to The Bronx and her run, she’ll come up and wrap for me. Otherwise, I’m back at it.
Then I pack for our annual girl holiday trip. Two days of shopping, champagne and girl pals. A lovely way to kick off the season.
December’s packed, too. Our Holiday Signing’s next Saturday, an annual party next Sunday. I have my tooth implant replacement on Monday–ugh. This is the dark spot in a bright month, but it’ll be–hopefully–over and done as there are two more events that week.
I expect Christmas to come rushing at me, but I’m ready for it.
That’s what June feels like so far, and that’s the best in my world.
A solid work week for me is a treat, so the weekend really is the carrot at the end of another carrot. Right now, I’m back in Eve and Roarke world, and that’s always fun. So I spent the week catching up with old pals and murdering people.
For Saturday, I have an agenda, and it works! Get my workout in. Check that off. BW and I apparently had a mind meld as on Friday I thought: Wouldn’t it be nice to have bbq ribs over the weekend–and he comes home with a pack of ribs thinking same.
So I wrap those babies in foil on Saturday, stick them in the oven awhile. During the awhile I plug a few plants into the pots where Parker–before we added red pepper flakes to the soil–decided to dig them out.
Check ribs, have time to weed and deadhead the beds. This is kind of a zen activity for me. It’s quiet, relaxing, pleasant.
Ribs out, make up sauce/marinade, cover the ribs with it, and into the fridge.
Back outside to see about using this old trellis on a big–BIG–rose bush. One of BW’s cousins gave us the bush for a wedding present, so it’s 34 years old, taller than me, and blooms like crazy.
Turns out this isn’t a one-person job, so BW gets his sledge, makes holes for the trellis, and we get it up. It’ll do better next year when it’s not so full, and I can more easily thread it through–but those long arching branches are now off the ground.
He’s put this wonderful old gate–tall and really heavy–in our shady hosta area. I love it so much I ordered a smaller Tree Of Life Gate to go in another deep shade area where I can get nothing to thrive.
We haul the new gate–to be used as decor–down the lane to the stubborn spot. I hold, he and his sledge do the work, and there we have it. Nice.
I decide, when I’m done outside and back in the house, I’ll look for some lawn art on line. We can make that space prettier.
Since I’m out, I throw the ball for the dogs. The dogs watch me throw the ball, obviously think: YOU fetch. It makes me realize that in the last year or two of Pancho’s life we stopped throwing balls. He loved chasing and fetching more than anything in the world, so we had to stop when he really couldn’t run.
I’m going to work on this with these guys as the vet tells us Parker’s gained 9 pounds. Dog needs to work out!
Meanwhile, the pavers are coming along. It’s not going to be quick, but it’ll be worth it.
Today, after the workout, a few inside chores–maybe some ball-throwing–I get to pack for our girl overnight/Kat birthday spree. The best kind of interrupted work week!
Then BW will throw those ribs on the grill, and we’ll feast.
I know, it could be snow. If what’s been coming down the last few days happened to be snow, we’d be buried in it. Still, I actually think, since it’s February, I’d prefer a good, solid snow over days of gray and rain. Wet dogs, muddy paws. At least, from inside, snow’s pretty.
So on this soggy weekend I made ham and potato soup, wiped muddy paws, (mopped the kitchen floor due to muddy paws) got workouts in early. Since the sun refuses to come out and play, I culled out faded flowers, rearranged, and made some new brights spots.
Sometimes it’s the little things.
Flowers here and there help, but, boy, on weekends like this, I miss my garden.
Even the dogs, after habitual bouts of insanity, are lazy.
The week focused on work, just the way I like it. And when that’s the case, I often don’t think about what’s outside my window, but what’s outside the windows of the story. Except when it’s, again, time to wipe those muddy paws.
This afternoon, since we have bread and soup for the rainy evening, I think I’ll park myself in front of the fire in the library, and read. Nothing quite like a fire, a book and a few hours where nothing has to be done.
If you’re looking for a book to hunker down with when March blows in, you might try The Coincidence Makers. Yoav Blum’s an Israeli author, and my editor bought his book–and gave me an early chance to read it. It’s fun, thought-provoking, fanciful, and out March 6 from St. Martin’s Press.
Today, I’m settling in with a Jesse Stone novel. I hope Jesse’s weather’s better than mine, but either way, I’ll have some fun.
Note from Laura:
I was lucky enough to get an advance copy of The Coincidence Makers. I found it a fascinating, fun book which prompted me to consider all those small moments that make up a life from a different perspective.
In the category of coincidences (but was it really?) I bought these for myself on Friday — not knowing what Nora had in her house.
Which is exactly what I don’t want when BW goes on his winter break. What I want is a quiet house, little to no cooking, and hibernation routine.
The first disruption in this planned bliss happened when I had to go back to the dentist because they found a stupid cavity on my regular check up. Still quick and home, get to work and all’s well.
It worked that way for several days. Just me and the dogs. Get up, feed and water dogs. Go to work. Let dogs in because it’s freaking cold, but dogs behave so continue work. Put dogs out at workout time–except for a single digit day where I didn’t have the heart leave them outside for 90 minutes. But they embraced their good fortune and behaved.
Sign books if it’s signing day, and have the wonderful Janeen bring me a salad from Vesta. Feed dogs. Feed self.
And since I have galleys, do galleys in the evening in the quiet.
Put dogs out, let dogs in. Rinse and repeat until bedtime.
This is great!!!
Great for me, and great for BW who’s enjoying the balmy breezes of Hawaii.
Then Tuesday happened. My lane is already an ice rink–which Logan reports on his after-school visit is pretty awful. And he’s pleased because all his teachers said there probably wouldn’t be any school Wednesday. I’m out of the loop–why not? Ice storm coming.
So I check, oh yes indeed. Snow, sleet, freezing rain, starting any minute, and through the morning. With forecasted accumulations of an inch on the ice.
That’s very bad.
I call my weekly housekeeper who comes Wednesday, tell her don’t even try it. It’s already bad, and it’ll be worse. Stay home.
I plan to call my amazing landscaper guy after the storm to have him spread salt or whatever works. No point doing that until after.
We get a little snow, but mostly it’s that freezing rain, and everything’s covered with ice in the morning. And it’s still spitting down. What do I care? I’m going to work right upstairs.
Morning routine–with a little nervous in taking out recyclables, but I’m careful. Dogs in, dogs out, work, work. Stop work to call landscaper. Go work out. Cold, gloomy, icy, but I don’t care.
I’m a little amazed to hear my guy out there while I’m sweating in the gym. That was fast.
Fast enough Janeen’s able to bring up books. Sign books. Bye, bye.
Feed dogs, consider feeding self.
And the lights flicker, everything beeps, then goes out.
I’m not initially worried. I have a full-house generator. I wait for few seconds to hear that muffled roar. Instead, I hear a roolf–roolf sort of grinding, and no power.
This is not good.
As this has never happened before, I’m baffled. Am forced to call BW to ask who to call. It’s single digits, and we have no heat, no light, no water, no nothing.
Somehow he finds the number for the people who installed the generator years ago. They’ll send someone within the hour.
Meanwhile Logan and I are texting as their power’s out, too. Normally, I’d have them all come up here in the light and warm, but I have no light and warm.
I stick a mini flashlight in my pocket, get out full-sized ones, light candles, light the gas fireplace.
Talk to generator guys. Service guy is finishing up another emergency call and will head out.
That grinding worries me a lot. I’m no mechanic but it sounds like something going to burn up or just can’t get going. What to do if we can’t get it fixed and the power doesn’t come back?
Possibly call the inn, see if there are rooms. But that would mean I leave my dogs out in single digits all night. And I’m not entirely sure now that it’s dark, temps dropping, I can get down the lane.
Pace, mull, worry. I can only use my cell, which I’m busy charging with a portable charger, and cell service is iffy here. But the service guy gets though, is on his way.
Maybe we’ll get lucky. I keep Logan and the gang updated. I could send them to the inn if necessary. Just not sure about leaving the dogs out all night so I may need to tough it out.
Meanwhile the smoke alarm and house alarm are beeping constantly as there’s no AC. I have a raging headache by the time the very nice Robert arrives.
The dogs are thrilled! Another human.
He goes down, gets to work. He works quite some time.
Comes back up after this some time, tells me they’re going to try to get me a portable generator as mine’s going to need more work. Apparently it hasn’t been serviced in a decade, was low on oil, etc, etc.
I feel my head explode. This is BW’s job. He has his jobs, I have mine. Why do we have no maintenance contract on an essential tool? I say to Robert, when my husband gets home from Maui, I’m going to beat him with a hammer.
Robert laughs. He doesn’t know I have a hammer and I know how to use it.
He goes out because it’s easier to get cell service outside. I hear him go down, work some again. Then he comes up. They haven’t been able to find a portable for me. He’d tried another fix, but no luck.
They’ll come back in the morning, he’s so sorry.
Not his fault, and he’s been out there in the cold and dark for over two hours.
As we’re talking, the lights come on, everything stops the stupid beeping. I’m afraid the universe is messing with me. I ask Robert. Is the power really back on?
He grins. Oh yeah, you got power.
Such is my state that I say out loud and with extreme joy: Oh, fucking A.
He laughs again.
Text Logan, and yes, they’re back in business. We exchange virtual high fives.
Somewhere around eight-thirty, I finally feed myself.
And when BW calls we have a very unhappy conversation. He’s genuinely and sincerely sorry — but sorry don’t cut it, pal. LOL.
I probably won’t beat him with a hammer–but I’ve already arranged for semi-annual maintenance. This will never happen again.
I have to say through those four stressful hours I thought about the people in Puerto Rico who’ve been without power for months. It makes me sick and sad. I could’ve camped out in here for a night–did it for longer than that before the generator (which is why we have one). I had places I could go if the outage lasted more than a few hours.
For me, this was an inconvenience–fairly serious as it’s cold and there are grandkids and animals to think of. But basically an inconvenience.
And an adventure I could’ve done without.
But things are back to normal. My lane got a second hit of salt–because it’s bad out there. I scrubbed a couple of floors because my housekeeper couldn’t make it here. I found a bucket of ash to throw over the worst of the ice on the way to the trash and the bird feeder–though it’s still pretty dicey.
I’m getting my work done, my workouts in, and my house is nice and quiet.
It’s another gray and gloomy day, but due to that second hit of salt, the flower delivery guy made it up the lane. And I have such pretty, cheerful flowers sent by my editor. Dark In Death hit number one! Yay!
I also have my monthly flowers–when it’s gloomy, flowers bring the light.
I have the fireplace going, candles lit, happy dogs, and I believe I’ll pour myself a glass of wine when I finish this, maybe settle into the quiet with a book.
And hope my only adventures are inside those pages.