Posted tagged ‘cold’

“The world is quiet here.”

July 24, 2017

Today is rainy and cold. It is sweatshirt weather, closer to early spring than late summer.  My papers were soaked from the middle to the bottom. I have a large front parking space, but the carrier managed to throw them in the only puddle. The plastic cover was useless. Like in the old days, my fingertips had printer’s ink on them.

Gracie had a tough morning. She woke me when she was throwing up. Her head tilt was extreme which caused her dizziness. I grabbed her as she was having trouble walking and put her on the couch. In a few minutes, she had her small tilt back so we went out in the rain while she did her morning business. I got cold waiting.

I find the whole idea daunting, but I have to go out today. From experience I know rainy day roads will be the stuff of nightmares. There will be lines of bumper to bumper cars filled with tourists looking for something to do. They’ll gawk, and their heads will swirl from one side of the road to the other, a mimic of the Regan head moves in The Exorcist. Today will be shop for souvenirs day, maybe a Cape Cod t-shirt or more appropriately for the weather, a sweatshirt. How about some salt water taffy? It is most decidedly not a day to go the movies. That’s for sunny days, for beach days.

I like the quiet of today. I like the dark house. It seems to surround me, to hold me close. I remember being on vacation in Maine one summer when I was young. I remember a rainy day. I wanted quiet from the noise in the house so I took my book and went to the car where I stretched out on my stomach on the back seat. I read all day. The rain on the roof and the windows was soothing. I fell asleep in the car on a rainy day in Maine.

“Always be smarter than the people who hire you.”

July 14, 2017

The windows and doors are all closed. The day is dark, damp and chilly. When I took Gracie out earlier and waited until she was done, I got cold. I was thinking sweatshirt weather. It may rain.

The first summer I ever worked was just after high school. With college in the fall, I had no choice but to get a job. I worked at Woolworth’s in Hyannis, a huge store on Main Street. I had no specific job title but moved from the cash register to counter after counter except for the lunch counter. I spent the most time in the corner where the small animals were housed. My job was to clean the hamster and mouse cages, feed the fish and refill the inventory. It sounds like a gross job, but I was by myself and seldom bothered by the manager which made it ideal. I learned to separate the mother and the babies from other hamsters because if the mother got nervous she’d eat her babies. They were ugly babies. Most of them lived but I never took credit for raising the inventory. Once I worked the souvenir counter which was filled with the tackiest souvenirs, most made in China. A guy once came and bought something then tried to scam me with dollar bills. He kept a running commentary of the amount of money between us hoping I’d get distracted or confused so he could trade a few dollars for a 20. It didn’t happen. He took off quickly when I called for the manager. My favorite part of that job was the lunch counter where I ate most days. The hot dogs in the grilled rolls were my favorites.

Every other summer I worked in the Hyannis post office. It was good money in those days. My job was to sort piles of mail into smaller piles of mail for specific destinations. I started working the primary board where all the mail started. I had a rubber thumb to help me sort the mail. The stool was angled toward the board. The slots in the board were open in the back but had some rope across so the mail wouldn’t fall on the floor. Sorters would come and take the mail back to their boards for further sorting. The mail for sorting came in two foot trays. The worst was a tray of postcards. I swear there were thousands of them on a single tray. I did have some fun as any postcard which had a message but wasn’t addressed I’d sent to a friend or a neighbor. Postcards with postage due also got sent. The worst thing about those post cards was when they were cancelled. Because they were so thin, a pile would go through the machine at the same time and only the first postcard would be cancelled. I was a quick sorter so the foreman would bring me the postcards. I told him they’d better be cancelled. Many weren’t so I just tossed them on the floor. They piled around my stool. The foreman would come, say nothing, pick up the postcards and put them through the cancelling machine again. The last summer I worked there, going into my senior year in college, I was offered a full time job. I didn’t take it.

I spent the next summer in Ghana.

“I love California; I practically grew up in Phoenix.”

May 23, 2017

The lateness of the hour is due to a visit to the vets for Miss Gracie. She is still having night problems, but the main reason was blood on the puppy pad. The good news was also the bad news. Gracie had blood tests and a urine test. The vet said she hadn’t ever seen an old boxer this healthy. There was no infection, no kidney issues, no diabetes and no to everything else. The vet said we might assume a urine infection because Gracie drinks so much water that finding an infection is difficult. Gracie now has more pills to take.

Last night it poured. I could hear the rain pounding the roof as I fell asleep. It had rained on and off all day, but it wasn’t such a heavy rain as I didn’t get all that wet walking Gracie to the backyard. Today the sun was out for about a half hour before the day got cloudy, damp and cold. The sun is supposed to return, but I am a doubter.

I’m thinking today is a nap day. I slept fitfully last night so I’m tired. Besides, the cold and damp make it an afghan day, a day to get cozy, warm and comfy. Gracie already is.

A grilled cheese sandwich is on tonight’s menu. If I had tomato soup, that would be too. I’m trying out a new kitchen helper, a sleeve of sorts which cooks grilled cheese in the toaster. I’m a bit skeptical.

I find myself addicted to MSNBC and Netflix. I just finished the documentary series of The Keepers and a remake of Anne of Green Gables called Anne with an E on Netflix. The Keepers was a one day binge. Yesterday on MSNBC, I was surprised to learn from Mr. Trump that Israel is not in the Middle East. All this time I was thinking it was. Mr. Trump also taught me to curtsy if given a large gold chain by Saudi royalty. Now it is on to Rome and my next lesson whatever it might be.

“I should say: the house shelters day-dreaming, the house protects the dreamer, the house allows one to dream in peace.”

May 15, 2017

The house was cold when I woke up this morning. I had turned off the heat so it was only 63˚. Outside is damp and cold and filled with clouds. It will rain again. Right now it is 49˚. Such is spring near the ocean.

Mother’s Day was wonderful. My friend Tony feted his wife Clare and me. The table was lovely. Beside our place settings were cards and wrapped chocolates. My candy was wintergreen patties, one of my favorite. We started with shrimp cocktail and salad followed by dinner: chicken and mashed potatoes and hot rolls. I do love my mashed potatoes. Dessert was a light, creamy lime tart. Everything was perfect except I didn’t win our game of Phase 10. Clare exalted in her victory.

I have despaired of ever seeing the sun again. I have memories which are beginning to fade over time. Gracie and I have to go out today. Three stops are on my list. She will like two of them: Agway and the dump. I’ll like the third: Ring Brothers. There I can get the few items on my shopping list and maybe lunch. I’m thinking a thin crust pizza or maybe the soup of the day.

Gracie and I have to go out today. Three stops are on my list. She will like two of them: Agway and the dump. I’ll like the third: Ring Brothers. There I can get the few things on my shopping list and maybe lunch. I’m thinking a thin crust pizza or maybe the soup of the day.

 

 

I bought my house when I was 29. It came with nightmares. The mortgage was half my monthly salary. Out of the rest of my salary, I had to pay everything else including groceries. I was penurious. Buying the house meant no more traveling every summer, no more eating out and a moratorium on new clothes. It was make-do. I had little furniture. The phone guy came in and remarked I seemed to be living primitively. My desk was also my dining room table. My couch was my bed. All the furniture was in the downstairs bedroom renamed the den. Gradually I filled every room with furniture and doo-dads. My pay went up while my mortgage remained the same. It took five years, but I was finally able to travel again. I went to Europe. I was fulfilling my childhood dream to see the world, and, for the first time, I had a house and home waiting for me. I’m thinking life doesn’t get much better than that.

“I care not for a man’s religion whose dog and cat are not the better for it.”

May 13, 2017

This has been one of those mornings. Gracie has wanted out five times. She comes inside, jumps on the couch then wants down and out again. Maddie meows in a demanding way over and over. I finally reached the end of my patience and told both of them to leave me alone in a not too quiet voice. I felt silly afterward.

A nor’easter will be here tomorrow. Meanwhile we’re living with forever clouds and cold, so cold I was surprised by it on my first outside trip with Grace. I was also surprised to see the guys working on my lawn and gardens. They were spreading mulch in the gardens and reseeding Gracie’s dots. The air smells of the mulch.

The other day I watched a YouTube video about Ghana. I think I smiled all the way through it. I love the country and its amazing people. That seems to grow over time. I have been back three times and would love to go one more, an anniversary trip in 2019, fifty years since I started training, or a trip in 2021, fifty years since my Peace Corps service ended. To get there, I’ll have to scrimp. Each trip was about 6 or 7 thousand or somewhere in between the two. After last fall’s amazing trip, I’m starting with almost nothing, but that’s okay. I like a challenge.

I could go to the dump today, but I’m thinking a sloth day. I watered the plants yesterday and that was it, but I still felt a sense of accomplishment. It doesn’t take much.

I watched The Lone Ranger this morning, one from 1950. I recognized one of the actresses. She also played Penny from Sky King. I think the Lone Ranger is the second best dressed TV hero in black and white, following Paladin, quite the sharp dresser.

I remember Paladin’s business card with the knight chess piece in the middle and Have Gun Will Travel across that middle of the card and the knight. Underneath it said Wire Paladin, San Francisco. When I was young, I thought Wire was his first name. When I was older, I found out that a paladin is a knight.

The Lone Ranger and the Indian chief just ended their conversation each with one open hand raised. The chief said go in peace. Immediately Spock came to mind. The Indian’s gesture was like a live long and prosper from Spock.

Gracie and Maddie are awake. My peace has ended.

“Venture out at dawn, when the world is bathed in golden-ruby light and is quiet and forgiving.”

May 12, 2017

Today is a damp, chilly day. It must have rained a bit overnight as the streets were wet. The Globe reported this morning that all parts of the state are no longer in drought -condition, not a surprise given the amount of rain we’ve had. A nor’easter is due on Sunday which will bring a deluge. The sun is only a periodic visitor.

In my memory drawers, May is always a warm month. I remember riding my bike to school. I remember wearing only a light jacket. I rode under trees filled with blossoms and on petals fallen to the sidewalk. My bike flew. Spring and a bike ride brought such joy.

I have been getting up far earlier than usual, earlier than my paper delivery. I bring Gracie to the backyard and wait for her on the deck. I take in the morning while I wait. The air smells fresh, sweet. The only sounds are birds’ songs. I am glad for my sweatshirt in the early morning chill.

Gracie gets a treat when we come inside. I get coffee. I watch the news and listen for the drop of the newspapers. First is the thud from my neighbor’s paper hitting the driveway and a few seconds later my papers are delivered. They never sit long outside. My morning always starts with the papers and coffee.

I toasted an English muffin this morning and shared it with Gracie. What she didn’t know was I had hidden two of her pills in the nooks and crannies of the muffin. She scarfed the pieces down in record time. Gracie loves anything with butter and so do I.

I saw a cardinal through my window. Its red feathers stood out against the bare branches of the oak tree right by the deck making him easy to see. I need to fill the feeders. I hate that the cardinal was disappointed.

I turned off my heat, but the house got so cold last night I turned the heat back on this morning. It is still cranking hot air. I’m comfortable and warm.

 

“There is divinity in the clouds.”

May 9, 2017

Gracie woke me up around six this morning. She was panting, a sign she needed out. I put on my sweatshirt and took her out to the back yard. It was so cold I could see my own breath. My heat has gone on a few times. When I went to my early morning library board meeting, I saw people dressed in layers and wearing hats and gloves. Today is spring gone awry.

The sun was shining earlier, but now the clouds have taken over. The sky is a range of grays from dark to light. The prettiest clouds are the darkest of grays so dark as to be almost blue. No rain is predicted, just a cloudy day.

When I go back to my hometown, I pass houses where my childhood friends used to live. I remember them all. I used to envy Kathleen whose house was two houses away from school. She used to go home for lunch every day. My friend Eddie lived right across the street from the church. He also went home every day. Paula and Dennis lived close to each other about a fifteen-minute walk to school. Everyone walked. There were no busses, and very few parents drove kids to school as most families had only one car driven by dads and gone to work early, too early for school. I never gave walking to school a thought except when it rained.

My favorite lunchbox sandwich was bologna with mustard, the yellow kind of mustard. It was always a white bread sandwich. I didn’t even know bread came in a variety of tastes and colors. Friday was tuna fish sandwich day as we couldn’t eat meat. I can’t even remember the number of tuna sandwiches I ate all through elementary school, but I ate my fill. I don’t eat tuna fish anymore. I still eat bologna.

I used to love milk. It was perfect for washing down dinner and even better for dunking Oreos. I stopped drinking milk when I was in the Peace Corps as Ghana had no milk except evaporated in the can. I have milk now but only with my cereal. The best part of that is the flavor of the milk left on the bottom of the bowl after the cereal has been eaten.

Nothing much going on here. Today is a perfect day to stay home, to do nothing. My laundry finally made it upstairs, and I even put it away. That was my yesterday’s accomplishment. I’ll take what I can get and be content, maybe even a bit proud of finally getting that chore done.