Posted tagged ‘dump’

“Daffodils are yellow trumpets of spring”

March 9, 2018

If this is a test of my sanity, I am on shaky ground. In Ghana there was a rainy season and a dry season. I knew what to expect and around when to expect it. My friends and I, during the dry season, would look at the sky and wonder if it was going to rain. That was a joke of sorts. We knew the rain wouldn’t come until April. The sun would beat down and dry everything until then. The ground became dust, blown and whirled by the winds from the desert, the harmattan winds. Our lips cracked from the dryness, but it wasn’t unexpected. We were ready for all that heat and no rain.

I haven’t seen the sun in days. The clouds are darker now, a bit more menacing. I need the sun. I want it to be so bright outside I have to squint my eyes. I want to stand on the deck and be warm. My patience is almost gone. I want to scream, “No more! No More!”

Today I have to go to the dump. Gracie would have loved the trip.

My laundry is back to its usual spot, leaning against the cellar door. My plan is to do it today before it grows and takes on a life of its own. That’s what happened the last time. Had I been a character in a Disney movie, my laundry would have been singing and dancing. I’m picturing a conga line of shirts followed by a line of pants doing the can can and singing a catchy tune as they make their way to the washing machine.

My house is nice and clean. Roseana and Lee came yesterday. My contribution was lifting my legs so Lee could vacuum under them. He even put all the trash and recycling bags into the trunk for today’s dump run. I also have a couple of other stops. I have streamlined my to do’s so I waste only a single day.

My garden doesn’t mind the gray days. It still grows. I check it every morning and every morning I notice more and more green shoots have been appearing in my front garden. I see daffodils joining the already blooming crocus or croci if we use Latin’s second declension masculine plural for words ending in us. I had four years of Latin in high school, a feat of no small dimension.

“He shoveled the bacon out on a plate and broke the eggs in the hot grease and they jumped and fluttered their edges to brown lace and made clucking sounds.”

February 11, 2018

Today is a dismal dark day. The rain started last night around eleven, and it’s still raining.  The weather report says rain on and off for most of the day. The only saving grace is the warmth. It is 47˚. I have to go to the dump. I’m thinking it will be quiet. The rain keeps people away.

When I was a kid, I mostly walked to church on Sundays. Sometimes, though, I’d go with my father to an early mass where he was an usher. I always wished I was an usher, but only men were ushers. My father stood in the back of the church waiting until the right time to pass his basket. He never kneeled. The baskets were at the end of a long pole which reached to the halfway point of the pew. My father would pass the basket then move to the other side of the church to get the rest of the pew. I always had a dime for the offering. After church my dad bought his paper from the guy in front of the church who was always there. The guy had a gray cart with a cover so he could protect his papers from the rain. After that my father and I sometimes went to get donuts to bring home. My father only ate plain donuts which he buttered. He’d also buy jelly, lemon and glazed donuts. I loved butternut, but he never remembered. My father kept with the traditional donuts. It made choosing easy.

I love eggs and their versatility. My favorite breakfast is two eggs over easy, crispy bacon and toast, usually rye. Eggs are often dinner for me, and once in a while I make an egg salad, but only if I have celery and lettuce to add as egg salad by itself is a bit bland. I love deviled eggs. My mother made them for all her barbecues, and my friend Clare often does the same. Most people have a favorite recipe for potato salad, but for just about every recipe, eggs are a critical ingredient. Coloring Easter eggs is a family tradition. You not only get to decorate the hard-boiled eggs but you also get to eat them.

St. Patrick’s drill team used to take part in the Halloween parade in Woburn, a town next to my own. We all hated marching in it because during the parade we’d get egged. I remember getting hit in the leg and having the egg slide down into my boot. It was gross marching on shells and uncooked eggs. I was glad when the decision was made not to march.

In Ghana I was close up and personal with eggs. I had chickens, and I also bought eggs in the market and sometimes from some small girls selling door to door. If I wasn’t careful in buying the eggs, I’d sometimes crack an egg the chicken had sat on for a bit. I was never bothered by that. It was just the way it was in Ghana sometimes.

“Part of growing up was learning not to be quite that honest – learning when it was better to lie, rather than to hurt someone with the truth.”

February 10, 2018

I saw the sun this morning. It appeared for about five minutes. It was as bright and beautiful as I remember. The weather calls for 48˚ and clouds, but we do have a bit of a breeze, always chilly this time of year.

The street was wet this morning as was my walkway. It must have rained, but I didn’t hear it. We have those whitish clouds again.

I don’t have to go anywhere today. I could go to the dump, but I don’t feel like hauling the trash to the car. It is sitting on the kitchen floor. I walk around the two bags. I can’t put them outside as critters open the bags and trash gets all over the deck which I have to pick up. It’s gross with coffee grounds, cat food and garbage. I could put them in the trunk, but my car begins to smell. I have to go tomorrow as the dump then closes for three days. I do better with deadlines, and I don’t want the trash sitting there until Thursday.

When I was a kid, my mother told us all sorts of lies, for our own good perhaps but still lies. Take the gum lie. I believed that it took seven years in my stomach before the gum dissolved so I didn’t swallow my gum. I didn’t want some giant elastic like wad sitting there for years. I think my mother believed the gum story too, but I know she didn’t believe the lie about ears and potatoes. When I was a little kid, I spent some time at the bathroom mirror contorting myself so I could see if potatoes were growing in my ears. Rather than risk it, I let my mother clean them. I never liked it when she did, but I liked the idea of potatoes growing there even less. There was also the watermelon seed garden growing in my stomach and my going blind from sitting close to the TV or not eating my carrots. I never went out in the cold or to bed with wet hair. The consequences were life threatening. I never crossed my eyes either. I couldn’t imagine living that way the rest of my life. Growing up had its own risks back then.

“Smells are so powerful and evocative, sometimes stronger than visual cues.”

January 28, 2018

This is day 4 of the wash watch!

Earlier this morning I heard the rain and decided to turn over and get back to sleep. I slept for almost two more hours. Now I can face the rain.

Maddie is much better. I suspect the boneless chicken thighs I cooked for her worked miracles. She ate quite a bit yesterday and also ate all the pieces I had left on her plate when I went to bed. She is now meowing at me in her usual indignant voice. I’m even glad for that.

I have to go to the dump as I didn’t yesterday, and it is closed Mondays through Wednesdays. It won’t be busy in the rain .

I often buy flowers in the winter. My senses beg for stimulation. My eyes need colors. I just get so tired of grays and browns. I want vivid yellows and oranges. My nose craves the sweetness of flowers to combat the air in the house which gets stale from closed windows and doors. The Christmas tree helped for a while, and I was so sorry when its time had ended. I also burn candles, but nothing terribly sweet. I prefer aromas like apples, balsam and spices like cloves and cinnamon. I wonder about the candles with strange aromas. Who decided what Sweet Nothings or a Calm and Quiet Place smell like? I’m also curious about Sun-Drenched Apricot Rose. What does sun-drenched smell like especially when added to apricots and roses. I’m thinking maybe sweat.

I am getting forgetful; it’s a matter of aging. My word retrieval skills are blunted. I get distracted and forget what I wanted in the first place. Mnemonics have become my best friends, and I use my mother’s trick of going through the alphabet. Most times that works. My spelling skills often take a vacation. I wonder about the spelling of a word, and the longer I look, the stranger the word looks. I could use spell check but that only makes it worse.

It always amazes me that I am the age I am. I don’t feel old. I don’t think old. At least as far as I can remember.

“I know most people use their phones to tell time, but there’s something very romantic and beautiful about a timepiece.”

January 27, 2018

Today is a disappointment. It was supposed to be a warmish with some sun; instead, it is cloudy with a chilling wind. I do have to go out this afternoon as it is dump day, and I also need a few groceries. Maddie disappeared this morning before I could give her her meds, but she was easy to find. She is upstairs sleeping on a guest room bed. Maddie hasn’t eaten much, but at least she has eaten something.

When I first moved into my house, I had a desk, a TV and a studio couch, all in one room. In the kitchen I had two pots, a frying pan and a toaster oven. I didn’t even have a fridge for the first few days. Though the mortgage was half my month’s salary, I remember sitting in the sun on the small farmer’s deck in a hand-me down blue lawn chair thinking I owned the world.

Last night the house was dark except for the candles in the windows and a few others in the living room. I love my house by candlelight. It feels alive and filled with warmth. I wait a long time before I turn on a light.

I remember learning to tie my shoes though I don’t remember how old I was. My mother taught me how. We sat in the living room, and she tied the shoelaces over and over again as I watched. When it was my turn, I kept tying the laces so loosely the bow wouldn’t hold, but I kept on until I finally mastered the task. My shoes, though, were always loose, and I had to keep retying the laces. It took a while before I figured how to make the bow tight.

I think of kids today with their velcro shoes, never needing to be tied, their digital watches which show the time in 4 digits so kids never learn quarter or half past or any time words and their computers which take away the need to learn cursive writing. I don’t know if those skills are really all that important any more, but I know they were milestones when I was growing up. I remember feeling so proud and accomplished I wanted everyone to know. Hey, world, here I am a kid who can tell time, tie a shoe and write my name.

“Today, watching television often means fighting, violence and foul language – and that’s just deciding who gets to hold the remote control.”

January 19, 2018

Everyday I make a list and every day I do nothing. I’ve read a bit, and that’s about it.  Losing Gracie is still so close. I keep looking for her, and I call poor Maddie Gracie. The house is quiet. Today, though, I have no choice but to go out. I’ve made a list with three stops, maybe four if I add the dump.

Today is a pretty day with a bright sun and a soft blue sky. The air is chilly but hints at being warmer. It is a good day to be out and about.

I watch television. It has been with me all of my life. When I was a kid, we had a cabinet  for the TV. It had doors which hid the screen. It was in one corner of the living room. A chair faced it, another chair was beside it, and you could get a great view from the couch.  My brother and I sat on the floor in front of it. My mother made us move back from the screen so we wouldn’t go blind. We had an antenna, rabbit ears, for fine tuning the stations. It sat on top of the cabinet. Most of the time it had aluminum foil around the ears. My father thought the foil brought in a clearer picture. I remember how often the TV screen was filled with snow. It made a static sound. The screen sometimes had lines and the picture kept jumping. If the TV didn’t work, my father would take some tubes from the back and bring them to the TV store to be tested. He’d do that until the offending tube was found. TV tubes were like Christmas bulbs. If one burnt out, none of them worked. It was hit or miss. When my father removed the back cover of the TV, I remember the tubes looked a little like Frankenstein’s lab with the lit filaments and their lights bouncing up and down the wires.

When my father couldn’t put the bulbs back in their original spots, it was time to call the repairman. We’d watch. My father would stand beside him and chat about the TV as if he knew something about it. The repairman wore a belt with all his tools and brought in a bag with bulbs. He always found the offending bulb.

TV’s now don’t get fixed. They get replaced and usually upgraded at the same time. The set I have now was one of the first HD sets on the street. I remember my neighbors coming to dinner and wanting to watch TV. They were amazed. This TV is 13 or 14 years old, and it still works fine. My next set will be a 4K UHD. I watched one at my friend’s house and I was drop jaw amazed.

Well, it’s time to get myself in gear, a fine metaphor, a suitable ending.

“The perfect antidote to dark, cold and creepy is light, warm and cozy.”

December 29, 2017

I had a bit of a shock when I opened the door to take Gracie out and to get my papers.  Snow covered the ground. It was probably an inch or less of fluffy white stuff, but it was still a surprise. My mother used to tell us it was too cold to snow, but yesterday was brutally cold, and it still snowed.

The dump was almost empty. I think there might have been only two other cars. The smart people stayed home, but I went. I froze the minute I got out of the car but then the man who works there told me to get back into the car. He emptied everything: bags of newspapers, boxes galore and several bags of trash. The poor guy was dressed for a polar expedition. His face was so covered only his eyes could be seen. It was about 12˚.

Today will be cold but a bit warmer than yesterday though I don’t think warmer really works here. Maybe I should say not as brutally cold as yesterday. It is 17˚ right now and could get up as far as 21˚. Deck weather?

My car gets serviced today, an oil change and a quick look over of everything else. I really want to stay home, but I need to get this done. I also have a couple of other stops so I’m doomed to face Old Man Winter.

Nothing much is happening. It is a quiet week. When I was a kid, weather like this meant a day of reading or playing in the cellar or playing board games. We’d set the games up on the living room rug and get ourselves comfortable. We’d play Sorry, Monopoly, Clue or cards. Our favorite card games were crazy eights and steal the old man’s pack. We all had the competitive gene from my dad so game times often got loud. My mother would yell from the kitchen about playing nicely or not at all, a typical mother comment. We mostly ignored it.

The sky is cloudy, the sort of color which looks cold, even steely. Though the house is warm a metal table here in the den is cold to the touch. Blasts of hot air from the furnace  seem to come one after another trying to keep the house warm. I’m wearing flannel around the house pants, a sweatshirt and slippers. Only my hands get cold.

The news last night showed pictures of sea smoke or steam fog which happens when very cold air moves over warmer water. It was a bit strange, even eerie, to see the smoke hovering over the white caps. I don’t remember seeing that before.

It is already colder than it was this morning, down to 12˚. I’m watching the news and the outside reporters look a bit like Randy in A Christmas Story. The weather lady is predicting polar like winds and maybe more snow. I am definitely going to layer my clothes and hunt for my hats and mittens. This is not the time to be fashionable.