FINAL GONG SOUNDS ON OUR WELL STORY

It took 9 months to get the job finished, starting from when our well went dry in late August 2014, until mid-May 2015. That was when Dave, the Well Guy, showed up to finish the job. I do not know how many calls I made that went unanswered and not returned. I considered just showing up at his front door. He lives around the corner, after all, but he probably wouldn’t answer the door. I wouldn’t, if I were him.

He had the grace to not bill me until after he had capped the well and completed the sidewalk. From completion of the job, it then took a mere two months before the bill arrived. I had reached a point of giddy expectation in which I thought maybe he was doing the job free. I mentioned this to Owen, who said “Fat chance of that.”

Eventually, the other shoe dropped. The bill arrived, delivered in person by none other than the elusive Dave.

Completed well-head in front of the garden gate

Completed well-head in front of the garden gate

I’d been holding the funds in a separate account the entire time. I needed to be sure it didn’t get used for some other frivolity, like fixing someone’s teeth or buying a hearing aid.

After the bill arrived, last week I transferred the funds to the checking account so I could issue a bank check. I left a week between transferring funds and paying him to be sure the bank didn’t get weird about my moving so much money at one time. They didn’t.

When the calendar flipped into July, I scheduled Dave’s payment.  Minus $100, a small fraction of the total bill.

“Why?” asked Garry.

“How long did it take Dave to finish the well?”

Garry thought a moment. “A little more than nine months.”

“Well,” I said, “In nine months, after he calls me a dozen times asking for the money — and I ignore the calls — then, after a suitable period of time has passed, I’ll make sure he gets that last bit of money. If he has a poetic streak, he’ll get the point.”

My work here is done.

CEE’S ODDBALL PHOTO CHALLENGE – LIGHT AND TEXTURE

CEE’S ODD BALL PHOTO CHALLENGE: 2015 WEEK 25

Usually, I don’t know exactly what it is about oddball photographs that I like. This time, I know. It’s the quality of the light and the texture of the fabric. It rained all day today until about an hour ago when the sun came out. We don’t get much sun in this part of the house.

The trees block the sun through most of the day, but for about half an hour right before dusk, the sun is very low in the sky and comes into the living room. It hits the northeast corner of the house … the fireplace and the far end of the sofa. I grabbed a few shots while the sun was shining in.

SERENDIPITY PHOTO PROMPT 2015-10: A HOUSEWIFE’S LAMENT

SERENDIPITY PHOTO STORY PROMPT

WEDNESDAY – June 17, 2015 #10

Welcome, again, to Frisbee Wednesday. Today the subject is floors. Mine. Clean, shiny, lovely floors, for a moment in time — frozen in the ether, as it were — free of filth, of paw prints and mud.

The picture, hot from the magnetic memory card in the Pentax Q7, is my kitchen. In almost real time.

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Yes, friends, this is my kitchen. This morning. The coffee not yet drunk. The floor still shining happily with its light layer of whatever that stuff is they put in it to make it glow. The glow in “Mop N’ Glow” is a trade secret, but nonetheless a marvel for all that.

You may write about any of these pictures, or any other picture on my site. Or any of your pictures, or someone else’s picture. Write a little, write a lot. At your pleasure.

THE HOUSEWIFE’S LAMENT: A TALE OF CLEANSING

There is no sight so heartwarming, so touching, as shining clean floors.

The dogs are outside being dogs. The weather is fine. After two days of much-needed rain, the sun has returned. The air promises a warm — maybe hot — day to come.

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The coffee is dripping in its electric home and the smell wafts through the house. I have set mine up next to it, ready for that first pouring.

kitchen morning light

I lean on the handle of the mop and gaze over my floors. They shine softly, cleanly. Tears well in my eyes. It’s early, yet I have accomplished something noteworthy. Meaningful, if transitory.

Garry comes out of the bedroom, grabs a cup of coffee, nods a good morning and turns on his computer. Somehow, the bloom fades. I realize he didn’t notice. No one will notice my beautiful floors.

Soon it will be time to bring the dogs back in. They will set about their appointed task of taking the shine off the floors as quickly as 16 paws can do it, which is pretty fast.

It’s another warm summer’s day in the valley.

DOUSING SANDY

A bunch of us gathered at Sandy’s house. She was an excellent cook. Aspiring to be a professional. When she invited us for a meal, it was a treat, always a good feeding and delicious. We were her test subjects, never knowing what great idea she’d come up with. Whatever, we were happy to eat it.

On this day, Sandy was dressed — as always — in a floaty Indian blouse and long skirt. The blouse had angel-wing sleeves. Very pretty, if a bit inconvenient in the kitchen. All of us had been smoking a little appetizer, building up hearty appetites.

cropped-96-firepithp-011.jpg

“Hey,” I said. “Sandy! You are on fire.” Sure enough, the wings of her blouse passed smoldering — I’d missed that — and were now in flames.

“Oh,” said Sandy, flustered.

All the friends stood there frozen, staring at the pretty fire. So, I put out the fire. Sandy thanked me profusely for something I’d have done for anyone. What was more interesting was how the rest of the gang just stood there with their mouths open. Not good in a crisis, I surmised.

“No one else tried to put out the fire,” said Sandy.

“Not a big deal,” I said, and it wasn’t. I still don’t understand why I was the only one who realized that “Sandy is on fire” should be followed by putting out the fire.

Sandy stopped wearing loose clothing in the kitchen and stopped inviting those friends for dinner. Shortly thereafter, she moved to San Francisco and opened a chain of take-out restaurants. I visited her there. She’s doing better than fine. All’s well that ends well.

TOO MUCH STUFF, REDUX

A couple of days ago, my new 60 mm Olympus macro lens arrived. I didn’t expect it so quickly. I’ve been lusting after this lens for years. Olympus finally dropped the price by $100. I bought it.

I unpacked it, attached it to the new Olympus PEN PL-6. I moved the 20 mm lens to a different camera and put the 40-150 zoom into a pouch because that’s the lens I never use.

I decided to put together a “grab and go” bag of Olympus equipment, but the bag was too small.

Camera bags

After a lot of pulling things out and repacking, I knew a full equipment reorganization was the answer. The big bag I’d been using for “spare parts” moved up to lead camera bag. Previous number one became the grab and go bag.

By the time I finished reorganizing the equipment, I was too tired to take pictures. But I took some yesterday morning — the camera bags and the fuchsia were taken with the new lens.

Today, Garry and I are on a photo shoot in Boston. 
Just to let you know, I'm off-line all day.

The good news? I found a place for everything, sort of. I’m careful with equipment. Every camera, lens, widget, and gadget has a clean, padded place to live. But it’s an incoherent solution. Too much stuff in too many containers. I need one large box with a lid to put cables, cords, wires, connectors, lens backs, flash attachments, filters in a place where I might find them should I actually need something.

empty equipment boxes

The empty box situation is out of control. In recognition that I need to deal with it, I piled the empty boxes on my desk chair. Each time I go in there, it will remind me to reconsider the box situation.

Alternatively, I could avoid the room. Just close the door. It would bother me only when I have to put something away or retrieve something. Which would probably be every day.

Or I could deal with the boxes.

I have the original box from every camera, lens, cell phone, and accessory I’ve bought since 2000, when we moved into this house. The theory is that original boxes make equipment more valuable on resale. Except, I’m not going to sell anything. I already know that. So what’s the point? Why am I keeping the boxes? For that matter, why do I have software and manuals from the 1990s?

Maybe I can re-purpose one of my sweater boxes for spare stuff. Even though I don’t need and won’t use any of it. Anyway, if I re-purpose a sweater box, what will I do with the sweaters?

I’ll think about that later.

My first macro shot. Not too bad.

My first macro shot. Not too bad.

Among the many things I don’t want to think about are trunks filled with doll parts and clothing for antique and collectible dolls. For that matter, one of the closets in my office holds a couple of dozen (small) Madame Alexander dolls from the 1950s and 1960s. In original boxes with tags. Properly stored, face down, so their eyes won’t stick or fall back into their heads. But the poor girls have no place to go.

Another macros hot of fuchsia buds

Another macro shot of fuchsia buds

I would happily give them away, but kids don’t want dolls like that these days. These are relatively common dolls, as old plastic dolls go. They aren’t worth huge money. Antiques and collectibles are the ultimate goodfer. I don’t suppose anyone out there collects dolls and would like a lot of dolls and related stuff? You pay the shipping and it’s yours. Free.

Then, there’s the crate containing books I wrote, the evidence I worked for a living. The books have no value — other than sentimental — because I’m never going on another job interview. Ever. I’m retired.

My office has become a closet. Not disorderly or dirty. Just full.

It comes round to the same point at which I started. I do NOT need another bag. I need to get rid of stuff. I can’t seem to do it. It’s a disease, a disability.

Is there a 12-step program?

TEXTURE: BASKETS AND FEATHERS

CEE’S ODDBALL PHOTO CHALLENGE

Indonesian basket closeup

The baskets are antique Indonesian baskets. I love them, but have for some reason never taken a picture of either of them.

Indonesian basket

The feathers are a couple of medicine wheels that hang on the door of our bedroom, and a peace pipe I made myself. It used to live in my teepee.

multi lens feathers medicine wheel

feather peace pipe

These days, it hangs on the door to my office. They are all getting a bit old, but so am I.

Indonesian striped basket

WRATH OF THE HAG

I used to do stuff, but my son grew up and decided I was incompetent. He stole all my tools (which he called “borrowing”). Since he never intended to return any of them, I feel he and I need to reassess our language interface. I have managed to save a lightweight Dremel. I keep it hidden in the linen closet. I’m pretty sure it’s safe there. I have a hammer stowed in the silver chest where no one but me goes.

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I don’t have a screwdriver, staple gun, tape, glue, or nails. Nor thumb tacks. The son who took my tools is too busy to do the little jobs I could do and Garry is a 10-thumbs kind of guy. I knew that when we got married. I never expected him to be Mr. Fixit.

In our house, what gets broken, stays broken. Forever and ever, world without end. Limited as I am by age, infirmity, and a paucity of tools, when I heard for the umpteenth time another feeble non-promise, I blew at least three gaskets simultaneously. I had reached my limit for empty promises.

For all these years, I believed. Someone said “I’ll take care of it.” I assumed it meant he/she/they would take care of it.

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I have finally worked it out. Husbands, children, grandchildren, brothers-in-law — and paid contractors — make promises. More accurately, they say stuff I think are promises. They would be promises if I said them, but the words have an entirely different meaning when used by them. What they mean and what I hear are unrelated.

They are not breaking their word. They were merely making soothing noises. They never had any intention of doing whatever. Genuine intentions — real promises — come with a schedule. A plan.

“I’ll plant those seeds tomorrow,” is a promise. “I’ll plant those seeds … ” is not a promise. Tomorrow is the key word. Tomorrow afternoon is even better. Today, after lunch is golden. The narrower the time-frame, the more likely “it” is to occur. Otherwise, the words are meant to shut me up without saying “shut up.”

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It has taken a lifetime for me to figure out when words sound like promises, resemble promises, but are not promises.

After making this revelation, realizing I’ve been waiting for nothing, my Hag popped up. That’s the me who isn’t nice or forgiving. She doesn’t care about your other plans. Do it or face Her Wrath. There is nothing quite as pissed off as a granny who realizes she’s been duped.

computer gargoyle

Suddenly, the air conditioner is installed. Well, at least one of them. The other one is supposedly getting done today (still waiting). A new shower installation graces the bathroom. The front yard is clean and the walk is usable at long last.

Dave, the Well Guy, finally capped the well!

I’m on a roll. I don’t expect it to last, but in the meantime, it’s satisfying.


Flip Flop – I used to believe everyone. Now, not so much.

NINETY DEGREES

Eleven months ago, I bought a Waring Pro Digital Convection Oven. Basically, it’s a high-end toaster oven with an added convection baking function. I picked it because it has the features I wanted, it got good reviews … and it would fit in the space I had available.

These days, I cook pretty much entirely for Garry and I. We rarely have company, much less dinner guests. I figured I could bring our electric consumption down considerably by not using the huge oven in my electric, glass-top range.

waring mini oven

Since I bought it last June, I’ve used my full-size oven only once. I love this little oven … except that the design of the rack can make it very difficult to get the baking sheet out.

art waring oven multi lens

It gets stuck under the claws of the oven, which I believe it is designed to do. It has been the source of significant frustration for me, especially since I use it nearly every day for everything from baking chicken to frozen pizza.

Our electric bill dropped by 50% between last year and now, so I figured it was worth the hassle.

Today, I solved the puzzle. I figured out how to prevent the baking tray from getting stuck on the rack. What was the solution? I changed its orientation from east-west to north-south. In other words, I rotated it 90 degrees on the rack and the problem vanished.

waring mini oven trayFor eleven months, I struggled with the oven pan, trying to get it out of the oven without burning my hand. I have hundreds of little burns on my hands because the pan got caught every time I used it. Which, I remind you, has been almost every day.

In all these months, it never occurred to me I could turn it.

What point is there in having a high IQ if it takes 11 months of getting burned on an oven rack before you consider turning the pan in the other direction?

Garry said he was glad it was me, not him.

I guess I will never be too old to be really stupid.