Posted tagged ‘deck’

“Coffee first. Save the world later.”

August 20, 2017

The morning is just so beautiful with a bright, bright sun, the bluest of skies and a slight breeze, deck weather for sure. It is already getting hot, an August heat, but the deck has branches hanging over it and an umbrella to keep the sun at bay. Tonight is movie night.

My next door neighbors barbecue every Sunday. He cooks, and it is always chicken wings, just plain chicken wings, no sauce, no sides. I can usually smell the wings cooking so I go outside to yell hello from my deck to theirs. They always invite me over.

As soon as I wake up, I look forward to my first sip of coffee. I can hear it dripping into the carafe, and the house fills with the aroma of that coffee brewing. My sense of smell works overtime. I impatiently wait and sometimes even stand in the kitchen to watch. I could take it mid-brew, but I choose to wait, to heighten the expectation.

Recently I’ve been drinking African blend which is a bit funny as I never had real coffee in Ghana, only instant. I got used to it but was never a fan. On my last trip, my friends brought coffee bags, and they tasted far better than the instant, but we had had real coffee at Zania Lodge which spoiled me a bit; however, I adjusted to the instant though my taste buds were severely disappointed.

My house is a full cape which means it has two front windows on each side of the door. In the back, there is a dormer which gives my house three floors in the back but only one floor in the front. My deck is off the second floor in the back. I like being suspended above the ground.

I have to go out to get the fixings for tonight’s movie food. We’re having a jalapeño dip with blue corn chips and maybe a Stromboli. I have the ingredients for that on my shopping list, but oftentimes my trip to the store means seeing something already made which looks delicious so I change the menu right then and there. I’m nothing if not flexible.

“Interesting fact: a shark will only attack you if you’re wet.”

August 1, 2017

The day is beautiful but warm and getting warmer. Gracie and I spent the earlier morning on the deck. I read the papers and watched the birds. Sometimes, though, I was so taken I put the paper aside and just watched. The chickadees are the most numerous. I saw two chasing each other. I don’t know if they were amorous or angry. A few nuthatches and tufted titmice also flew in for a few seeds. They waited patiently on branches for the chickadees to leave. I could hear a woodpecker at a pine tree. The fountain, filled with water, splashed and burbled. Gracie thinks it’s a bubbler, a water fountain, so I have to keep filling it. The loud sound of a mower from next door broke the magic of the deck so Gracie and I came inside.

I have to leave the house today to do three errands. I’m hoping they won’t take too long. I have mapped the route, a summer necessity to avoid traffic though today is too nice a beach day to expect tourists on the road.

It will be hot today. It is already 82˚ but won’t get much higher. Tonight will be in the 60’s.  If I controlled the weather, I would make today just the way it is and the way it will be tonight.

I brought my camera with me to the deck and took pictures of the deck and the birds. The flowers in the clay pots are blooming. They are mostly on the long rail, but a few big ones are the deck where it ends. I love the look of the clay pots and the wooden flower boxes planted with herbs which are on one smaller rail. When I sit at the table, I can smell basil.

I’m still watching shark movies on Syfy. With most television programs being reruns, I watch baseball or sharks. The Sox won last night and so did the sharks until the end of the movie. We get to watch them devour people before the sharks are blown up which seems to be the only way to kill dinoshark, atomic shark, ghost shark, ice shark, roboshark and so many others, all man eaters. That five headed shark, Sunday’s movie, shared the victims. One head ate a half while another head ate the other half. The front end of the shark had four heads so I felt gypped until they showed the fifth head on the tail. It never seemed to eat but its jaw kept opening and closing.

Jaws was made in Cape waters, and when the first great whites showed up off the coast, there was a sort of Jaws frenzy. Last year 68 various kinds of sharks were spotted off Cape Cod. If they ever start feasting on tourists I may do nothing, but that could prickle my conscience so I’ll explain from my Syfy experience that blowing them up is the only solution.

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“I’m the nap champion.”

July 28, 2017

The deck is now perfect for summer. The rug is down. The umbrella lights up. The fountain gurgles. The grill is clean, its metal shiny. New white and multicolored lights along the rails brighten the night, but I wonder for how long. When will the spawns of Satan notice and chew off bulbs? I did buy a backup set.

My outdoor shower is all set. The rotten wood plank has been replaced and the inside is clean again. Nothing is better than an outside shower on a warm, star lit summer’s night.

The drip pan under the grill top held a surprise, a squirrel’s nest. It was filled with the fluff I had put out for the birds building nests and fir branches from I have no idea where. It’s gone now, but the fluff is available.

The morning glories are in bloom. They are in a huge blue pot at the end of the deck. Their tendrils are woven around the slats and the top of the rail. One plant is pink and the other blue. In the front garden the hollyhocks are filled with buds. Other flowers, their names unknown to me, have bloomed. Some look like baby Black-eyed Susans. They have spread all over the garden. When I get the papers, I always check the front garden.

I couldn’t get to sleep last night. I turned off the light around 12:30 then turned it back on at 1:30. I decided to watch Star Trek back in time episodes so I went hunting to find when, in each series, they were broadcast. The first, one of my all time favorites, is from Deep Space Nine. It is Trials and Tribble-ations when the DS9 bridge crew goes back to the original Star Trek and interact with Kirk and his crew and save the ship from a bomb hidden in a tribble. I next watched The City on The Edge of Forever from the original Star Trek. McCoy, temporarily insane fro hypospray, goes back in time and changes time. Kirk and Spock follow to restore history. Kirk has to let a woman he has come to love be killed. The last one was The Little Green Men from DS9. Quark, his brother Rom and nephew Nog on their way to Earth go through a temporal anomaly and end up in 1947 near Roswell, New Mexico. Odo, the shapeshifter, had hidden away on their ship. Quark wants to stay and sell technology, but Odo insists, and they escape through an atomic blast which propels them back to the future.

By the time, Quark, Rom and Nog get back to their to-ime, it was almost 4:30, my time, and was beginning to get light. I took Gracie outside so she wouldn’t have to wake me in a few hours so she could go out. I woke up at 9:30. I’m tired. It’s nap time.

“I’ve buried a lot of my laundry in the back yard.”

July 27, 2017

My quiet mornings ended this morning. I heard a dog barking, a little girl yelling from down the street, two mowers from different directions and voices from the next door deck. Gracie even barked out the front door. I didn’t bother to get up to see why. I was hoping to fall back to sleep, but then it got quiet and the silence was as loud as the noise.

Today I have people. Skip, my factotum, is completing the deck decorating. He has connected the umbrella light, gotten the fountain working and put down the deck rug. The barbecue has been cleaned, and the squirrel nest on the tray underneath the burners has been cleared. My shower has a new board replacing the mushy one. New lights are on the rails just waiting for the spawns to eat. Lee and Rosanna, my cleaning couple, are due here in the afternoon. Peapod is coming Saturday morning with all my groceries. My job is to write checks, worthwhile checks, as a recent study has shown that if you hire people to do household jobs you are far happier. That would be me sitting here with a grin on my face.

It was sunny when I woke up, but clouds have taken over the sky, and the breeze makes the air feel a bit chilly. Last night I woke up cold and added a light blanket. How silly this weather is for late July.

My menu is set, my movie chosen and the deck is ready for movie night. The only issue is the weather. It may rain on Saturday night at the movies so we’ll have Sunday night at the movies.

I’m getting the urge to cook again. I used to love making new recipes and inviting people to dinner. I’ve been mulling an international dinner with dishes from a variety of countries, each identified by a tiny flag. It would be fun.

When I worked, I had a schedule for weekdays and another for weekends. I got everything done: the cleaning, grocery shopping, laundry and garden and lawn work. Now I have people. The only thing left for me is the laundry, and I admit I procrastinate. The laundry bag sits in front of the cellar door for a few days and sometimes even a week. I don’t even care. If I could hire a laundress I would. I have no pride!

“All creatures must learn to coexist. That’s why the brown bear and the field mouse can share their lives in harmony. Or course, they can’t mate or the mice would explode.”

June 26, 2017

When I woke this morning, I had to take a minute to figure out what day it was. Yesterday’s newspaper was what came to mind so today, small paper day, is Monday.

Though the morning has been leisurely, my dance card for today has things to do and places to go. The deck needs attention, its plants need watering and the rail lights have to be replaced. I also have an outside plant to pot. Inside the house is a litter box needing changing and houseplants dying for water. The places to go include the dump and two different vets to pick up refills for Gracie’s meds. I have those listed for afternoon. Some place on that list, I need to sandwich in some nap time.

The day is sunny and is already 75˚, but there is no humidity and a slight breeze makes the air feel cooler. I’ll be happy to clean my deck later so I can get out there and enjoy the fresh air, the birds and the breeze.

We are all old here, Gracie, Maddie and I. Maddie, who is 17, mostly sleeps during the day alternating between my bed and the den chair. She has knotted fur on her stomach. I try to cut it, and she whacks me or pretends to bite me as a warning. Maddie, like most cats, roams at night. Sometimes she sits on the couch arm and purrs in my face. Last night she licked my arm a couple of times. I pat her then fall right to sleep. Maddie doesn’t always use the litter box, but she does use the puppy pads. Gracie, at nearly 12, has morning and afternoon naps. I take her into the backyard several times a day where she does her business and then sometimes just wanders the yard. Rabbits and squirrels still get her attention though she doesn’t chase them anymore.  I, at nearly 70, take a nap in the afternoon some days. On the days I have motivation and energy, I’ll clean or do laundry. I don’t go out much during the day, and that’s fine with me.

I know there is another mouse in the kitchen. I found fresh poop. So far there has been 1 dead mouse on the floor and two live ones in the trap. The two live ones are since the exterminator came. Either they are mouse zombies or the exterminator’s traps didn’t work. This morning I reset my trap with peanut butter. All I need now is one hungry mouse.

 

“To be overcome by the fragrance of flowers is a delectable form of defeat.”

June 1, 2017

The rain yesterday was torrential at times. We even had thunder and lightning. Not once did the sun make an appearance. It was too busy shining in Boston. Gracie and I left for the dump when the rain was misty, but by the time we got there, it was pouring. I figured I was there anyway and might as well get rid of the trash. My sweatshirt got soaked. I decided right then and there I deserved one more stop, the chocolate store, the best decision of the day.

My eye is clear, but I still have to take eye drops four times a day. My other eye will be done June 6th.

The early morning was lovely. The air had a crispness almost more fall than summer, and it had the best after the rain smell, both fresh and clean and smelling of flowers and mulch. I stood on the deck watching Gracie and taking in the morning. Finally, we both went inside: me to coffee and the papers and Gracie to her morning snack. It will be warm today, a welcome change in the weather. I’ve already opened a window.

I’ve got to empty the water in the outdoor furniture covers so they can dry and then be put away. My deck still looks like it’s winter. A lot needs to be done. Plant shelves need to be sanded then repainted. The clay pots need cleaning before they can be filled with flowers, the same with the deck boxes. Placing the candle hooks in the pine trees will take a bit of ingenuity as some of the branches were lopped off during the fall clean-up. Lights on a few backyard trees have to be replaced. They died over the winter. I’m hoping for lots of warmth today, enough to dry everything so I can be outside on the deck reading and enjoying the air. I’ve had enough of the house.

“An optimist is a fellow who believes a housefly is looking for a way to get out.”

May 27, 2017

We have some blue sky and a sun which can’t quite make up its mind about coming or going. It is also chilly, not a morning chill: it’s just cold.

My dance card is empty today. I do have some Gracie stuff to wash but nothing else. Yesterday’s amazing spurt of industry has left me with nothing needing doing except to put my banners and flags on the fence.

The lawns are green and lush from the rain. Even the leaves seem to glint in the sun which seems to have made up its mind and is staying for the duration. I’ll go on the deck later and empty the water from the furniture covers hoping they’ll dry so they can be put away for the season. Next week is buy my flowers and open the deck week.

My neighborhood is eerily quiet for a Saturday. Once in a while the dogs across the street bark but usually at Grace and me walking to my backyard. I don’t know where all the kids are, but I’m glad they’re missing. I’m happy for the peaceful morning.

My around the house cozy pants have permanent creases from sitting down when I wear them. One crease has given way. I didn’t figure sewing it would work as it wasn’t torn so I did the next best thing. I duct taped the worn area.

Some of the best things I learned in Ghana were to make-do, throw nothing away and repurpose. Tires became soles of shoes and sandals. Beer bottles were filled with palm oil or groundnut oil for sale in the market. Cones made from newspapers held rice for sale. In the butcher’s market, newspapers were used to wrap meat being sold. That mightn’t sound all that healthy, but the butcher’s market was filthy anyway. Newspapers might have been a step up. I always think it’s amazing what I learned to ignore or tolerate during my time in Ghana. Water with floaties (our word for whatever was in the water sold in beer bottles ), food from the street vendors or from the tables of aunties (older women) who were selling along the sides of the roads and, my favorite, eating in a chop bar ( usually a hole in the wall with a few wobbly tables and mismatched chairs serving local food) never gave me pause after my first few months of Peace Corps training. I even shooed flies off my food before I ate it and sifted my flour for as many weevils (small worms) as I could get. The rest just became protein. All of that became a part of life in Ghana and didn’t merit second thoughts.

The tolerance and forbearance I learned are forever a part of me. I admit my standards are definitely higher now, but I’m not squeamish about most things. I still flick flies.