Saturday, July 31, 2010

Power Washer

Early Tuesday morning I was going to spend 15 or 20 minutes washing part of the deck so that I could spend the latter part of the morning painting on the sealer. To do the stoop and 7 boards took two hours [by the way, two hours is not 15 minutes] of scrubbing vigorously, and it resulted in aching knees, sore shoulder muscles, and a weak grip in my hands.

Ah, but look at how beautifully it cleaned up!

Wednesday morning's goal was moving the game shelves to the unfinished portion of the basement, and rearranging other bookshelves down there. But I found water! Everybody else in the metro area is cleaning up from last week's flooding, but my basement stayed dry through the torrential rains. Finding Wednesday's puddles, I gave up on the basement cleaning/sorting/rearranging, and let the fans and the dehumidifiers do their thing. (Later we discovered that the water was due to a broken hose in the water softener. Not too hard to repair. And --woohoo!-- not a serious problem with leaks in the foundation.)

So instead, on Wednesday I went out to the deck to tackle more scrubbing. But I wilted. Too exhausted from the previous day's efforts, I couldn't seem to hold the brush tight enough nor scrub with enough pressure to effectively clean the planks. I gave up. I rented the power washer recommended for decks.

Botched that too. Trying to make the boards look as bright and clean as what I'd accomplished on hands-and-knees, I power-washed too close, too hard. Andrew noticed I was creating sawdust. Oh NO! So I changed my methods, but that didn't seem to actually get the boards clean.

Well, they're as clean as they're going to get before I paint the sealer on. My only hope is that a couple of years of sun and rain will weather the boards into looking like maybe they might kinda sorta match, maybe a little bit. Next time I have to seal, there will be no power-washer on the deck!!!

And then I couldn't find the celery for supper. Whine whine whine. One of these days I'm going to be digging in the freezer for frozen vegetables, and find a frozen stalk of celery in the bottom of a grocery bag.

How many things can a person ruin in one day?? At least the day ended on an improved note: being treated to preaching and the Lord's Supper in the early evening, and being treated to beer, laughs, and stories at a little bier garten in Germantown after church.

Today's Laugh

An 80-yr-old woman, in despair, decided to kill herself. She located a gun to commit the deed. She called her doctor to find out exactly where her heart was. He said, "Just under your left breast."

Three minutes later, 911 received a call: the elderly woman had shot herself in the left knee.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Freedom to Sing

Munchkin has learned his phonics. B is for bear; buh, buh, buh. F is for fox; fph, fph, fph. He looks at the sentence: The dog ran after the cat. He painstakingly sounds out the d and the o and the g. He slowly and carefully smooshes the letters together into something that an adult recognizes as the word "dog." But the kid is focused on the sounds of the letters and struggles to find a recognizable word in the connection of the letter-sounds. Then he figures it out: he said "dog"! Woof woof, four legs and a tail, slobbery kisses, fur -- a DOG. Then he reads "ran" the same, slow way. Then "after." Then "cat."

And now we want him to remember that d-o-g is "dog," after all that mental exercise? We expect him to put the whole sentence together? That's some hard work!

In May, our hymn of the week for Rogate was "A Hymn of Glory Let Us Sing." I blundered through the LSB wording. If I sang at the kitchen sink or in the car, the TLH words kept coming out of my mouth. That is hard for the kids; I mess up what they're learning by heart. I try to keep my old-fashioned words under wraps, hidden, kept just for me, not confusing the kids' minds. But that means I can't sing the hymns as I used to.

However, that week there was one stanza that I could sing. "Oh, grant us thitherward to tend and with unwearied hearts ascend unto Thy kingdom's throne where Thou, as is our faith, art seated now. Alleluia!" And because it's a metrical form of the Ascension collect, I was relishing the words all week.

But Andrew caught me: "Mommmmmmm! Don't sing the old words! Keep working on learning the new words!" I told him that, on this one, I was allowed -- because this stanza isn't in LSB and there are no new words to learn. So there! Ha! I am free to sing this the way I know it.

And I thought about that. Free to sing. Free to pray the words of the hymn.

I am still the 5-yr-old, struggling through the phonics of LSB. I have to pay so much attention to getting each word out of my mouth that I can't grasp what the sentences in the hymn are saying. I know the situation will improve with time and practice, as does the reading ability of the 5-yr-old who is fluent by the time he's 10. But right now, I'm running really short of hymns. The songs are still there, but I'm at an in-between place where I am no longer free to pray the ones where the text has been altered. And I really really miss them.

My New Living Room

My old living room: hand-me-down furniture from our doctor's waiting room combined with a lovely, rich, red wall paint. As beautiful as the red walls were, they were dark. Not good in winter. And seriously not good with the comfy couch I snagged from Salvation Army.

And the new couch with the old walls:

Some friends came yesterday and painted the living room. They advised me earlier in the week as to how to rearrange the furniture in the living room. (We replaced two loveseats with one full-sized couch.) The paint color is "Northern Lights" and is an off-white in the pink family. It's sort of a non-descript color: in the one photo the paint looks pinker than it is, in another photo bluer. And here is the beautiful result of their work:

Andrew was looking through different artwork and icons we have, trying to decide which ones should go on the walls and where we need to put up nails. We can wait a few days on that.

It feels like there's so much more space in the living room! And aesthetically it's so much more comfortable! I'm so thankful!

Today's Laugh

Two Irishmen walk into a pet shop. Right away they go over to the bird section. Gerry says to Paddy, "Dat's dem." The assistant comes over and asks if he can help them.

"Yeah, we'll take four of dem dere birds in dat cage op dere," says Gerry. "Put dem in a "peeper bag." The assistant does and the two guys pay for the birds and leave the shop.

They get into Gerry's van and drive until they are high up in the hills. They stop at the top of a cliff with a 500-foot drop. "Dis looks loike a grand place. Eh?" says Gerry.

He then takes his pair of birds out of the bag, places them on his shoulders, hands the other pair to Gerry, and jumps off the cliff. Paddy holds the 'peeper bag' as he watches as his mate drop off the edge, fall for a few seconds, then 'SPLAT.' As Paddy looks over the edge of the cliff he shakes his head and says, "Dis budgie jumpin' is too dangerous for me."

A minute later, Seamus arrives. He too has been to the pet shop. He too walks up carrying the familiar 'peeper bag.' He pulls a parrot out of the bag. Paddy notices that, in his other hand, Seamus is carrying a gun.

"Hi, Paddy, watch dis," Seamus says. He launches himself over the edge of the cliff. Paddy watches the rapid descent. Halfway down, Seamus takes out the gun, blows the parrot's head off, and continues to plummet until there is a 'SPLAT,' as he joins Gerry's remains at the bottom. Paddy shakes his head and says, "An' oim never troyin' dat parrotshooting nider."

A few minutes after Seamus splats himself, Sean strolls up. He too has been to the pet shop and he walks up carrying the familiar 'peeper bag.' Instead of a parrot he pulls a chicken out of the bag. With a good grip on the chicken's feet, Sean launches himself off the cliff ... with the usual result. Once more Paddy shakes his head. "Oh, Sean, first der was Gerry wit his budgie jumping, den Seamus parrotshooting, and now you with your hengliding".

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Invading Turkey

The lone turkey came a-wandering into our backyard. Athena was enthralled. She sat and watched. And waited. The bird came closer and closer, apparently oblivious to the cat's presence. And then we tried to get a picture. Gary quietly went out the FRONT door, but that was enough to distract Athena, and her movement sent the turkey sauntering in the opposite direction.

I wonder what would have happened if we'd just been perfectly quiet and perfectly still and waited to see what the animals would have done.

Today's Laugh

I didn't fight my way to the top of the food chain to be a vegetarian.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

That Necessary Mirror

So, depending on our age, we've probably brushed our teeth 10,000 to 75,000 times. Really now, WHY do we need the mirror?

Today's Laugh

Once I came upon this pretty new temp standing in front of the paper shredder with a confused look on her face. I asked if she needed any help. She said, "Yeah, how does this thing work?" I took the papers from her hand and demonstrated how to work the shredder. She stood there a moment with yet another confused expression. When I asked if she had any more questions, she said, "Exactly where do the copies come out?"

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Expansion Pack

Our family is expanding. Nope, no one is engaged and no one is pregnant. In a couple of weeks, my daughter and her family will be moving in with us for a while. So we are in the midst of trying to clear out as much unnecessary stuff as possible, rearranging some rooms/spaces to allow for three more people in the house, and wondering how much baby-proofing we need to bother with (or will Alia just circumvent our attempts?).

Laundry's Finished

The problem with winning the laundry game is that there aren't enough hangers when everything is clean!

Today's Laugh

The shopkeeper was dismayed when a brand new business much like his own opened up next door and erected a huge sign which read BEST DEALS.

He was horrified when another competitor opened up on his right, and announced its arrival with an even larger sign, reading LOWEST PRICES.

The shopkeeper was panicked, until he got an idea. He put the biggest sign of all over his own shop. It read ... MAIN ENTRANCE.

Monday, July 26, 2010


Today we
- picked, washed, and snapped beans
- picked tomatoes
- made awesome salsa
- dug one hill of potatoes
- did the banking
- managed to submit health insurance receipts online
- bought milk
- made oxtail broth
- washed sheets
- washed towels
- did all the rest of the laundry
- deadheaded daisies
- sent Andrew to the orthodontist
- made granola
- bottled kombucha
- read a chapter of Betsy together
- listened to great ideas from friends who "consulted" about rearranging the house
- rearranged the living room splendidly

What we also needed to do, but didn't get to:
- giving Maggie another buttonhole on her blouse
- mending two tanktops
- prepping for a workshop next week
- another attempt at that fudge we messed up last week
- raking the hay from Saturday's post-storm mowing
- staining/sealing the deck
- continuing work on patching the driveway and sealing it
- cleaning out Andrew's closets and spare dressers
- sorting books to take with me to Ft Wayne next week, in hopes of selling them
- housecleaning
- moving bookshelves
- taking Maggie for an adjustment on her glasses
- making bread
- flushing the water heater
- making soap

Well, I certainly won't be bored tomorrow when the kids are off swimming with friends!

Today's Laugh

It was the day of the big sale. Rumors of the sale (and some advertising in the local paper) were the main reason for the long line that had formed by 8:30, the store's opening time, in front of the store.

At 8:29 a small man pushed his way to the front of the line, only to be pushed back, amid loud and colorful curses. On the man's second attempt, he was punched square in the jaw, and knocked around a bit, and then thrown to the end of the line again. As he got up the second time, he said to the person at the end of the line ...

"That does it! If they hit me one more time, I won't open the store!"

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Today's Laugh

Walking through Chinatown, a tourist is fascinated with all the Chinese restaurants, shops, signs, and banners. He turns a corner and sees a building with the sign, "Hans Olaffsen's Laundry."

"Hans Olaffsen?" he muses. "How does that fit in here?" So he walks into the shop and sees an old Chinese gentleman behind the counter.

The tourist asks, "How did this place get a name like 'Hans Olaffsen's Laundry'?"

The old man answers, "Is name of owner."

The tourist asks, "Well, who and where is the owner?"

"Me ... is right here," replies the old man.

"You? How did you ever get a name like Hans Olaffsen?"

"Is simple," says the old man. "Many, many year ago when come to this country, was stand in line at Documentation Center. Man in front was big blonde Swede. Lady look at him and ask, 'What your name?' He say, 'Hans Olaffsen.' Then she look at me and say, 'What your name?'"

"I say Sem Ting."