Moving… to the State of Panic

Don’t think that the grandkids left behind a string of broken items and a wrecked house to put me in this state.  I’m the one that created the situation in which I now find myself:  the deep doodoo place.

Normal grandmothers would, by now, have the guest rooms all fresh and clean and cookies baked for the next visit.  Instead, this grandmother is spending my days searching for things I put away for “safekeeping”  during the grandkids’ recent Thanksgiving visit.

Although I vaguely remember putting my laptop cord someplace out of sight, I assumed it would surface before I needed it.  When the power level on my laptop dropped to 7%,  I put Plan B into operation:  I got really serious about trying to remember where I’d stuck it to keep it out of little Granddaughter’s reach.

Stupid of me to hide it in the first place.  What could she do to a power cord as long as she didn’t flush it?

I began an intensive search of all the possible places I might have stashed it.  At this point I can safely say that it isn’t in a closet or a drawer.  It isn’t hidden behind the toilet paper stash in the bathrooms or the sheets in the linen closet.  It isn’t under the bed, the sofas, or anything else with a skirt.

I’m beginning to wonder if I flushed it myself.

While I was looking for the cord, I was also hoping to come upon  a couple of Christmas presents I’d hidden before the family arrived.  Those gifts are not in any of the above places either.  One of them is a gift for our Atlanta daughter who was here.  This is the first time I can remember that she didn’t “happen to come upon” her obscurely hidden gift.   When it comes to discovering presents, the girl has some bloodhound in her.

The first of the week,  I dejectedly trudged into the Apple Store to buy a new power adapter for my laptop.  That sucker was $80!!!  The person who assisted me said that if I found mine within two weeks, I could return this one (even used) and get a full refund.  I’m down to 11 days now and I still don’t have a clue. I’m thinking of asking my daughter to come back for a quick visit.  If I dropped a hint that her Christmas gift might be very near something that smells like a power cord, who knows?

It used to be that my super-organized spouse would shake his head at my disorganization, but now, he is completely sympathetic.   Having hit the age when  chronic CRS screws around with our brains and our attention span, he understands.  Bob Dylan is right: the times, they are a-changing.

Just yesterday, my Dearly Beloved consoled me by confessing that he poured himself a cup of coffee and almost put the coffee pot in the refrigerator.  The only thing that stopped him, he said, was that the fridge was so full of leftovers, he couldn’t find room for it.


I’d better check there for the cord.





The Battery Isn’t The Only Thing Chirping

A couple of weeks ago, one of the batteries in our wireless alarm system chirped its death song in the early morning hours.  Don’t they always. . . ?  

Dearly Beloved yanked the battery from the offending device and went back to bed.  The next morning  he began opening drawers for batteries in a size I knew we didn’t have,  I reminded him that we have a service contract, which includes changing batteries.   He consented to call them, but added, “Okay, but I’m having them do that one only.”

So, Venus asked Mars what the heck was the reasoning behind that crazy statement.  He said, “Because I don’t want them roaming around my house.”

Sometimes it’s like living with Earl in the Pickles comic strip.  Just call me Opal.

When the repairman did come, DB met him at the door and ushered him to the chirping station.  The guy changed the battery and said, “Now, there are some more that I should go ahead and replace while I’m here.”  

“No, that’s the only one,” DB informed him.

The repairman held out a piece of equipment he was carrying and said, “This sensor says there is another weak one here in the hall. . . .”

Once again, DB jumped in with, “No, THIS is the only one in the hall.”

I couldn’t stand it any longer.  I hollered from the sunroom, “There’s one at the far end of the hall.” 

DB shook his head.  “That’s just a motion detector.”  

The service guy shrugged, “Well, it has a battery that needs replacing.”

DB turned to me and asked, “Where is it back there, anyhow?”

I explained that it was at the top of the built-in bookcase, behind the gnomes.

That, of course, gave Himself a chance to interject a smart crack about the gnomes, which he knows darned well I didn’t buy. They were part of a collection that my mother assembled over the years.  She liked them, large and small, and kept them displayed on a long table in her living room.  After she tired of dusting them over the years, she simply covered the entire table with a sheet.  It looked like a gnome morgue.

My gnome inheritance is high on a bookshelf so that I can’t see the dust.

I’ve digressed here.  Back to the repairman, who’d replaced the second battery and headed for the main panel to see what else might need his attention.  The monitor indicated the playroom battery.  Of course, DB was there at once to “enlighten” him that it was a mistake–that wasn’t labeled properly.  I yelled out, “The playroom is down the basement stairs.”

That battery now replaced, the service rep came back into the sunroom to ask me about the location of others.  DB  hurried in to tell the guy that he surely didn’t want to ask me because I’d be sending him all over the place, up the chimney, under the house, etc.  He was saying all of this with a big smile and laughter in his voice.  Nevertheless. . . .

I shook my head and told the repairman not to feel bad, that DB followed the cable people. the HVAC guy, and any other service personnel around so that he could tell them how to do their jobs, too.

The man looked at DB and said, “Oh, I remembered you as soon as I drove up. The last time I came to this house, I was sitting out in my truck getting my work order ready when you came to the front door and yelled, ‘What are you doing out there?  You can’t get anything fixed sitting in your truck!'”

He smiled at DB and said, “I got out of my truck thinking to myself, ‘What have I got here?  Is this guy for real?  I was pretty cautious even coming in until I saw you grinning.”  

They began talking about sports and DB, mouth still running, followed the guy out to his truck now that all weak batteries had been replaced.

Over the weekend he was complaining about his aging cellphone and how he needed a new one.

“You were just in the mall, buying Good Egg Son a birthday present.  Why in the world didn’t you go in the Apple Store and pick one up while you were there?”

He shuddered.  “Because it’s a mall.”

Sheesh!  I surrender.

What is it we need here?  A butler?

Does Apple make house calls?

A Tool and a Man’s Opportune Parting

Two packages were delivered to our house last week.  Take a guess as to which one is mine:OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Yes, of course mine is the box which contained sensible sandals.  The big orange BOX clearly belonged to Dearly Beloved.

When he first decided he wanted to take over care of the lawn, DB had to buy a new mower, rotary tiller and a couple of other tools.  Then there was the archeological dig in the garage to unearth some other equipment he’d saved–older than any of our grandsons.  He found two old trimmers and combined parts to come up with one working trimmer.  Who knows how many times they’ve moved with us?!   There’s a special bond between a man, his lawn, and his power tools.

Our lawn, to be honest, looks great. The unofficial committee of the nonexistent Yard of the Month award has told him that he is the unofficial recipient.  He enjoys working on it.

Some of his equipment, however, just wasn’t cutting it.  Literally.  The trimmer kept breaking.  The electric leaf blower that I had talked him into wasn’t strong enough to do its job either..

In fairness to myself, back when he bought that blower, there was no plan for him to be waltzing around on the roof with a duct-taped leaf blower, the cord and extension cord dragging behind him.  It’s a retirement skill.  Our horrified neighbors have protested.  Heck, I’d protest, too, but he waits until I leave the house to climb up there.  I have come home and found small groups of neighbors standing in the front yard, watching.  You’d think he was a Wallenda.

When his other disappointment– that old, cobbled-together string trimmer that he’s repaired again and again with parts from one even older, broke this time, instead of putting them back in the garage, he gave last rites to both and passed them onto Earl, the dump truck driver.  Earl says he’ll rebuild them into something powerful enough to cut down trees.

DB hates going shopping,  a fact so well-known that Little Mary Sunshine is grouchy after a shopping excursion with him. BUT, since he has discovered Amazon Prime, internet shopping has opened new worlds for him.  He began a search for the perfect POWER trimmer.

When we returned from an outing last week,  the BOX was leaning against the side of the house.  Even DB was surprised by its size.  He had to carry it battering-ram style through the front door.

This new trimmer/brush cutter can slice and dice as well as amputate and mutilate. I don’t know how he can even carry it around.  The box alone weighs more than the old trimmers.

Our son-in-law had a similarly dinky model electric weed trimmer for years.  Electric, at our daughter’s insistence.   Son-in-law found it too embarrassing to use it during daylight hours.  He called it his “weed bender,” since it wasn’t powerful enough to cut anything..

DB couldn’t wait to tell him about this new one.

A pair of goggles came in the BOX as part of the equipment.  DB thought that might be overkill until he used it for about five minutes.  He had to come inside and change from shorts and t-shirt into jeans and a long-sleeved sweatshirt because the trimmings were flying with such force that his legs and face were getting cut. Now he believes that a helmet and knee pads would be appropriate as standard equipment, too.

I won’t be touching it.  Even leaned against the garage wall, it looks more menacing than anything in Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

Just tell me . . .  does this thing need to be registered as an assault weapon?


My mom said the only reason men are alive is for lawn care and vehicle maintenance.
Tim Allen

… mow the lawn perfectly, but neglect to make the bed? It’s pure, unadulterated logic.Everyone can see the yard – nobody can see the bed. The lawn is the canvas uponwhich guys judge each other. It’s the great redeemer. If we aren’t great lawn men, we’re nothing.   – Kevin Kerwin, 47 Husband Mysteries


How’s It Hanging?

Our chandelier is too large for our dining room.   I found it in an antiques store back when we had a 12-foot ceiling and a dining room table that could seat 12.  I loved it because the candles are full-size.

We never got around to hanging it then.   Now it dominates our present dining room–a small area with an eight-foot ceiling and a round dining table with a heavy glass top which seats six.

We’ve had it up for 12 years and all that time I’ve felt it was hanging too low.  If I made a centerpiece of any significance, there was only a small window of space between the chandelier and the centerpiece for us to see each other.  Once I mentioned to my Dearly Beloved that I’d like the chain to be shorter, never dreaming that he’d attempt it.   It seemed like a job for an electrician to me.  Nevertheless, weeks–maybe months–later, he  brought in the ladder one morning, pushed the table aside, and started working on the chain.

The fixture is very heavy, so he enlisted my help in balancing it on the ladder while he took out a few of the links.  Success!   He pulled the table back in place so that it was centered under the light..  Much better.  That gave us a few more inches of visual clearance for conversations at all the dinner parties we never have.


I was folding laundry when I heard a great CRASH, followed instantly by sounds of breaking glass and pieces of metal rolling on the hardwood floor.  Then there was  dead quiet.

I rushed to the dining room and found DB standing by the table in utter shock, looking up at the dangling wires in the space where chandelier had been hanging.  The fixture was lying mostly on the rug, after its bounce off the table.  (You know, the one with the glass top. . . . )

Db shook his head sorrowfully.  “I was one second from getting it fixed.”

I’d thought it WAS fixed, but no, he hadn’t liked the angle of one of the links.  He’d  decided to fix it to his satisfaction which meant undoing it–just for a second.  Now he has proven, without any doubt, that a chandelier will not levitate–not even for one second.

The serviceman who was here working on our heating system came in at that moment to tell us he was finished.  His wide eyes took in the ladder and the shattered fixture, then each of us.    “I’ll just let myself out,” he said, backing out of the room.

Dearly Beloved called after him, “I’ll have this thing fixed in no time!”

Amazingly, he did exactly that.  He straightened the bent arms, rewired it, reassembled the candles, replaced the shattered bulbs.   He called upon my muscles again to help hold it in place on the ladder while he hung it again, minus a few more links.

He immediately disassociated himself from that crashy/hangy part.  He blamed it on The Jackass, that character who shows up for any chores that DB dislikes, then does a sloppy job of them.  (You may remember that it’s The Jackass who empties the dishwasher, but doesn’t puts things away properly.)

Anyhow, that sucker has been holding steady since before Thanksgiving.  We haven’t eaten under it, however.  One day we may ask for volunteers brave enough to have dinner with us in our dining room.

I’m pretty sure that the heating guy won’t be raising his hand.


As The Woolly Worm Turns

Monday night my Dearly Beloved asked had I ever slept with a 71-year-old man.

Umm, that would be a definite NO.

Well, starting tomorrow night, you’re going to.

Turns out he was wrong about that.  WHY is a convoluted story:

One of the good things about living in Charlotte is that one can think “beach” or “mountains” and reach either in two to four hours.   For years, we always headed to the coast since we had a house there, but the mountains have been calling us lately and we went twice in one week.

The first time we went to Waynesville, a sweet town just beyond Asheville.  We stayed at an inn on a golf course.  One sunny day, one cloudy day, and both were lovely.

At the end of a sunny day, the clouds began rolling in...
At the end of a sunny day, the clouds began rolling in…
The next morning, the mountains had disappeared.
By morning, the mountains had disappeared.















DB went to a junior college the first two years of his college education.  He’s mentioned driving up to see it several times, so when his class announced their 50th reunion, he decided it would be a good time to attend.  Two of the girls he went to high school with were also going.  We made reservations for the four of us at an old farmhouse B&B.


The football practice field was now the soccer practice field, but the mountains beyond were the same.  It was easy to see why he’d loved this place.

All three of them were horrified to see that the nearby diner was now a service station.  I was horrified to see that we were too early for the wooly worms, since there wasn’t much else to do around there.


There was a women’s clothing store with lovely things in the windows and a huge SALE sign, but it was closed.  Turned out that the SALE was the store, not the merchandise.

So we walked around the campus until time for their reunion party that night–which is getting around to explaining why I’m not sleeping with a 71-year-old man.

I have mentioned before that DB considers himself to have been a very good shag dancer  in high school.  Do watch a bit of this video link to see how popular it The Shag was back then.

Now picture it still being a favorite of the 50th year reunion attendees.


(There are plenty of Learn to Shag videos on the internet now.  DB says to plan to spend time practicing with the closet doorknob or the bedpost if you try it.)

For the first time, we had a chance to slow dance together in his college environs.  Then, at my urging,  he did a couple of shag dances with his old schoolmates.   When he felt some early creaks and pains, he thought it was because he was just getting warmed up.  It was his Double-back Suzy move in the second dance that wiped him out completely.  They laughed while they were dancing, but by the time we arrived home the next day, his back and knee were assuring him that it was the pain that had been doing the warmup.

Since he must lie in careful corpse position, he’s sleeping alone until it gets better.  His birthday has come and gone with only the dog by his side. . . and she’s on her own bed.  So no, I’ve never slept with a 71-year-old man, but I’m willing.

DB now considers himself a “recovering, former shagger.”   That’s okay with me.

The slow dances are still all mine.

His favorite dance quote:

“If a man doesn’t know how to dance he doesn’t know how to make love, there I said it!  

–Craig Ferguson

My favorite:

“When you do dance, I wish you

A wave o’ the sea, that you might ever do

Nothing but that.”

– William Shakespeare

No Guts, No Glory

When our kids were in their teens, a hole in a bag of chocolate chips was a good thing.  It  meant that although someone had a chocolate craving, my secret Snickers stash remained undiscovered.

But when I found a hole in a bag of chocolate chips in our pantry a couple of weeks ago,  it was high drama around here.

“Probably a mouse,” Dearly Beloved said casually when I raced past on my way to the garbage with the tainted chips.

“Mouse?  MOUSE?  Look at the size of that hole! ”  

Rat?  Chipmunk? (shudder!) SQUIRREL???  I headed to the supermarket with my grocery list–Mousetrap underlined twice.

The one I bought for about ten bucks promised to do a mercy kill, close the lid on the coffin, and have a little tombstone flag pop up on one end.  Flowers optional.  No blood, no viewing.

No mouse, either.  The Cadillac trap remained empty for more than a week.

In the meantime, I cleaned out the pantry, tossing anything that might have been breathed on by the varmint.  Everything that wasn’t in cans or bottles went into plastic canisters or ziplock bags.

Our food supply remained unmolested long enough to lull me into a false sense of security until yesterday when I found mouse droppings on one of the canisters and a none-too-small hole in one of the freezer-strength plastic bags.

“THAT’S IT!  Call the exterminator!”  

DB and I do not share the same sense of urgency.  When he said he’d look online to investigate the best kind of trap and buy one the next time he went out, his wild-eyed wife yelled, “Hardware store.  Now!”

The fancy hardware store near us has an expert for everything, so DB wasn’t surprised to learn that why yes, they do have a mouse expert.  He was surprised when it turned out to be a woman, but that makes sense when you think about it.  The urgency thing.

She steered him past the sticky pads and the no-blood-and-guts models to the wooden traps right out of the old Tom & Jerry cartoons.  “The best,” she told him.

As Braveheart set the traps last night (two, just to make sure) I heard,  SNAAAP!!!  then “OUCH!”  along with some mumblings about hair triggers at least half a dozen times before he was able to declare success, close the door, and go to bed.

I’d planned to stay up late and work on my current useless project:  reorganizing decades of clipped recipes I’ll never prepare into notebooks to clutter my bookshelf.  I know it’s silly, but they’re a history of our family, not so much from our salad days as from the BC days.  (Butter and cream)  I’d just managed to spread the mess on every available surface and open the glue bottle when I heard a noise.

SNAAAAP!!!!   then quiet.

Did we catch it or had the hair-trigger misfired?  Was I going to look?  No way!!!

Not willing to take a chance on hearing any pitiful squeaks and before a mouse choir could assemble to squeak  Amazing Grace,  I went to bed and made sure I stayed there until DB and Scout had time to hold funeral services this morning.   Nevertheless, DB insisted on telling me that it had been a cute little fellow who died with a smile and a quizzical  “WTF?!?!” expression on his face.

What I’d rather know is how the hell it got in here and does it have siblings on the premises.

Over 100 years and 4400 patents later and we still don’t have a better mousetrap.

Then again, perhaps we don’t need one.

“A mouse trap placed on top of your alarm clock will prevent you from rolling over and going back to sleep.”

The best laid plans of mice and men are usually about equal.”

Duly Noted

If all men had the aversion to grocery shopping that my husband does, my own shopping experience would take much less time, as there would be fewer carts stopped in the middle of the aisle.

Maybe not.  Perhaps I have too much faith in my own kind.

The thing about Dearly Beloved is that he thinks that because I don’t leave the house kicking and screaming I must ENJOY grocery shopping.  Hardly.   During our discussions about this subject (yes, we’ve had some) he says, “You don’t hate it as much as I do.”

When I shop for groceries, I buy multiples of items we use often– diced tomatoes, beans, etc.–when they’re on sale.  Plus, I buy items that I know that are about to need restocking–milk, bagels, and such.  Both of these ideas are completely foreign to him.  It rarely occurs to him that we need more coffee until he shakes the last few beans out of the bag.  As long as there are heels in the bread bag,  “we’re good on bread.”

My point here is not to criticize my Dearly Beloved’s shopping aversion–he has too many good traits to nitpick about that– but to explain why, when I needed a few grocery items after we’d been to a movie matinée recently, he drove to the strip shopping mall and parked in front of the supermarket, then said, “I’m not going in.”  

Who am I to question his preference to sit in the car on a 90-degree day?  I was fine with that.

What did surprise me was when he said, “You keep the keys.  I’m going to run down to the music store while you’re shopping.  I’ll just wait by the car if I get back first.”  

After making my purchase, I returned to the car and stashed my grocery sacks on the back seat.  I switched on the ignition for air conditioning and began reading the book I had picked up at the library.  I became quickly engrossed, but by the time I started Chapter 3, it occurred to me that my Talenti Sea Salt Caramel Gelato (a major score: half-price!) was probably melting, even with air conditioning.

I was just about to dash back and buy a box of plastic spoons to put it to waist instead of waste when DB opened the car door.  He was grinning proudly and holding a very large black bag… containing a very large guitar.

As he said when he laid it across the back seat, “This will last me the rest of my life.”  I should hope so.

He plans to learn to play it while he’s learning to play the banjo he bought two months ago.

Hey, I’m not complaining.  The man enjoys it and it’s cheaper than a red sports car.  I think it’s great to take up something completely new after retirement.

He practices in what was formerly a guest bedroom, now referred to as “Scout’s room” because that is where we set up her kennel when we brought her home.  I can’t even hear his practice in the den or sunroom… and I’m not complaining about that, either.

Scout recognizes the banjo by sight or sound and she doesn’t like either.  A  plunk or two  and she’s out of there.  She leaves the room whenever DB even reaches for it, but if he selects the guitar, she’ll lie at his feet while he practices.  She seems quite pleased with the new purchase.

DB laments that he has not progressed as rapidly as he’d hoped, but his enthusiasm has not waned.  He has decided that he must actually learn notes, something he had not anticipated.  Although he has not admitted it, I think he believed that his notable shag dancing abilities would translate to his fingertips.  That has not been the case.

Where does one store a guitar and a banjo?  Our house was built before the walk-in closet era.  So far,  he hasn’t found a good spot.  He puts one atop the dresser and the other on the chest-of-drawers. That makes dusting a pain, so I prefer this arrangement:


The little scenario gives me the giggles (except for the poorly made bed.)   I wouldn’t be surprised to look in one day and find a baby ukulele lying nearby.

  • “Nothing says ‘dropping out of society’ like learning the banjo.” – Daniel Roth
  • “Will play Banjo for food, will stop playing banjo for money.” – Unknown
  • “A gentleman is a man who can play the banjo, but doesn’t.” – Mark Twain
  • “I pick, therefore I grin.” – Unknown
  • “You can pick your banjo and you can pick your nose but you can’t wipe your banjo on your pants.” – Unknown
  • “I hear banjos. Paddle faster.” – Anonymous

Cutting Corners

Finding a new dermatologist here (having left a perfectly good one behind when we moved) has been so aggravating it’s surprising I haven’t developed pimples.

My first round dermatologist pick in June was a dud.  Dearly Beloved suggested that for my annual checkup, I try the one he’s seen.  He thought the doctor was excellent and his nurse was very nice.  BUT, after I made the appointment, he began offering advice that made me wonder why he’d thought I should go there.

Comments like, “He doesn’t like small talk… Don’t tell him any jokes.  He won’t like your jokes.”  

When I showed up for my appointment–early, per my worrywart husband’s instructions– I was surprised to find the reception desk manned by. . . two men.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

The one that assisted me reminded me of an unpudgy William Shatner with Steve Martin’s hair.  Curiously, he was wearing flip-flops.  Ever seen a female receptionist in flip-flops?

I’d planned to don their gown and be serious as a judge, but I couldn’t, since they didn’t supply gowns.  Instead, I attempted to burrito myself inside the crackly paper ‘blanket.’

When I asked was there something that would make my eyebrows grow, but ix-nay any chin hairs, the doctor looked at his nurse and named a drug.   She said, “No, no.  I tried it and it makes hair grow anywhere.”

She turned to me and said, “I’d turn over at night and wake up, very uncomfortable.”

She looked at me meaningfully,  as if I should know what she meant.  I hadn’t a clue.  Where could she have been growing hair that would wake her at night?  Would asking be considered “small talk” or worse, a joke?  I didn’t risk it.

Once he’d completed the exam, the doctor told me that the nurse would go over my prescriptions with me, then left the room.  I asked her was there an OCT cream that would help the bags tender skin beneath my eyes.

Instead of answering right away, she opened a wall cabinet and pulled out a bulging  accordion folder.  “There’s not a cream that will help that,” she said, handing me a brochure about some treatment she said would help that problem and last for 12-18 months.  $750.   She dug back into the folder and came up with another brochure, this one for a treatment that would help the lines around my mouth.  She said.  “This will make the corners of your mouth turn up in a smile instead of down.” 

I hadn’t asked.

While the treatment might help, hearing the $750 estimate for that one only deepened my “down” corners.

A treatment to even out my skin tones was currently on special for half price, she said, then added that it would “probably take two treatments.”   Rack up another $750.

There were more brochures, more Before and After photos.  I asked had she had any of the procedures and she said, “Oh yes.”  

She looked 70-ish.  I would never have told her that, of course, and I was very relieved that she didn’t ask.

Once back home, I told DB that I didn’t have any suspicious moles, but did have eye bags, mottled skin, and a droopy mouth, in case he hadn’t noticed.  He wanted to know what I thought of the doctor, besides the implications that I was wrinkled, splotchy, and sagging.

“He was okay, I guess, but  I’m not sure that’s the place for me.”  I couldn’t help asking,   “How old do you think his nurse is?”

He surprised me by saying “She told me:  she’s 74.”  AHA!  Small talk!

But seriously?  Bless her heart, she’s barely treading water with those treatments.

I tossed the brochures.  I’d rather buy a new sewing machine.  The thought gave my drooping mouth corners an uplift;  I smiled.


The banjo practices continue.  Dearly Beloved feels that he is improving, but adds that the purest notes that come out of that banjo are the sounds when he accidentally bumps the instrument neck against the chair arm when he’s sitting down.

Part of the problem is that it hasn’t been tuned in a month and there has been much “a-pickin’ and a-grinnin'” since then.

Yesterday he practiced in the bedroom.  Granddog Goldendoodle Ivy lay at his feet the entire time.  Our girl Scout, as usual, fled the scene after the first few notes.

Dearly Beloved is starting to take this behavior personally.  He says he’s learning a lot about his so-called “friends.”  He calls them “True” and “Fair-Weather.”

With all the rain we’re having, letting the dogs outside for anything except a potty break results in mud-wrestling, but they’re managing to keep themselves entertained inside.  Their games are a bit hard on the wood floors, but they’re fun to watch.

DB also refers to them as The Princess (Ivy) and The Street Dog (Scout.)   It’s easy to see why, even in the way they eat.  Ivy carefully chews each individual little kibble, while Scout sucks hers down with turbo power.

Our favorite game to watch is the tug of war, played with a remnant of rope left from an “indestructible” toy.   Scout puts one end of the rope in her mouth, flips over, and waits behind the sofa for Ivy.

Prissy Ivy grabs the other end of the rope and pulls, dragging Scout around the room.  Neither dog will let go of the rope.

I have some photos, but I must tell you first that the sofas in the photos are a combination of our flowery beach-house-not-on-the-beach couch which I love and our bad upholstery choice den sofa and love seat.  All will be made right when I find slipcovers for the “hotel lobby” sofa and love seat.  So, no whispering about these sofas.  We know we’re a decorating nightmare right now.  (Feel free to report us to HGTV.  We could use the inspiration.)

The wait.
The wait.
The grab.
The grab.
The tug.
The tug.
The spin.
The spin.

If The Princess wants to win this duel, all she has to do is drag Fair-Weather toward the practice in the bedroom.

“A banjo is like an artillery shell — by the time you hear it, it’s too late.”
— A Prairie Home Companion Pretty Good Joke Book

Splendor in the Grass

Have you ever watched The Pioneer Woman on the Food Channel?

At the beginning of every show, Ree Drummond tells us, “Here’s what’s happening on the ranch today” and it always proves to be something that necessitates the preparation of several fabulous beefy, buttery, or sugary dishes wherein calories or fat content are not a consideration.

Shortly after our youngest daughter got me hooked on the show, I read an article in The NYT about the editor of one of the glossy women’s magazines being so inspired by The Pioneer Woman that she quit her job and moved her family from New York to an English farm in her husband’s family.  I’ve never hankered to live someplace that it’s best not to name the farm critters and I’m perfectly content to answer, “Not much” when anyone asks me what is going on at the Lee house.   But perhaps I should bring out the butter because much has been happening around here in the past two weeks or so.

Dearly Beloved decided, after more than a dozen years of having someone else handle our lawn maintenance, that he wanted to do it himself.   He broke the news to the lawn guy and then the fun was on.  While Ree refers to her husband as “the Marlboro man,” mine is the anti-shopping man, so he planned to do it all without setting foot inside a store.

First he ordered a tiller/edger/whatever.  He was ecstatic when it arrived, and assembled  it that same day so that he could till and over-seed all the thin spots in the lawn.  He wanted to be ready for his next internet purchase, a lawn mower.

We don’t have a large yard, so nothing fancy was needed, but still, I would have thought he’d have looked for something in the key-starter, self-propelled direction.  Oh no, he wanted one that would be “manly exercise.”  Not that I’m opposed to that, but it does mean that if he breaks an ankle or gets the flu or something, the grass will have to wait  because The Little Woman won’t be stepping up to the rope starter pull.

A few days after he ordered it, I said, “There’s a UPS truck.  Maybe it’s your lawnmower.”  

He scoffed.  “That baby won’t be coming in a dinky UPS truck.  It’ll be arriving in a SEMI!

While waiting, he contented himself with buying a chainsaw and, of course, watching the grass grow.  His manly mower finally arrived, not in an 18-wheeler, but still something larger than a UPS truck.  Oh, the joy…!

Manly machine delivery.
Manly machine delivery.

Said joy was short-lived when he began assembling it and found that one of the wheels had been damaged in transit.  He called the factory and they promised to send out a replacement wheel that same day.

That wasn’t fast enough. . .  he got out the duct tape.


The new one arrived Wednesday, but so did the rain.  He hasn’t been able to try it out yet with all four wheels, but he’s handling it well.  All this rain is sure to give him more to mow.

When he started looking into chainsaws, he mentioned that he’d better get a gas-powered mower because sometimes it was unsafe to be climbing trees with an electric one.

I called the tree-triming folks yesterday.  They wanted to know was it an emergency.

Could be.

The sky is blue so we know where to stop mowing.” – Harold Stone