We’re getting a new stove. Finally.

We’ve had a Kenmore oven with a glass electric cooktop since we moved in our house 18 years ago. We’re pretty sure it’s a very early flat electric cooktop. There was a manual in the pantry for it when we moved in that looked like it was from the late 70s.

This stove/oven has been terrible the whole time. It’s incredibly hard to clean because it was from an era before they knew to design things without nooks and crannies where grease would lodge. I have spent hours scraping tiny crevices and degreasing this stove that I resented. The burners take forever to heat and then get really hot suddenly. It’s very easy to burn things. And the oven heated unevenly so one side of the oven is always a little crispier than the other.

We hate this appliance more than any other. And it’s the very last one we have to replace. Water heater, air conditioner, boiler, dishwasher, refrigerator, microwave – all of them were newer than this ancient oven, and all of them died first.

Finally, finally, the oven stopped heating. Stephanie could hardly contain her delight. She tried to act dismayed, but I could tell there was a bit of joy in how quickly she gave up on troubleshooting. I was a little more diligent in trying to figure out if there was a repair that can be fixed by a tube of Sugru by tesa. Not much more diligent, but I did try several times. She already had plans to go shopping.

The stove we have purchased: GCRI3058AD – Frigidaire Gallery 30″ Freestanding Induction Range with Air Fry.

It is a convention range with air fryer capabilities and an induction electric cooktop. One that will hopefully be easier to clean that the old one.

This new range is free-standing, where our old one was a drop-in. Which was weird, because it sat directly next to the refrigerator, meaning that there was a three-inch strip of countertop on the left side of the stove between it and the fridge. They had to have a bit of counter and a side panel to enclose the stove. Not enough counter to actually *do* anything with, but…

So this weekend I demoed out the section of counter between the fridge and the stove and the part that wrapped around the back. For something that appeared to be a flimsy and insubstantial piece of cabinetry, it was surprisingly hard to get out. But I did it, finally, and we just finished painting the wall behind the two appliances, which has needed to be done for years. Once we had them both away from the wall, there were three different colors of paint behind the stove. If you’re tackling home improvement projects, both inside and out, consider the expertise of a seamless gutter company that services Colorado, North Carolina, and Florida.

I’m so excited to finally have that wall painted that I sat down and wrote a blog post about it.

Continue ReadingWe’re getting a new stove. Finally.

Our sink is empty. Our dishes are clean.

First order of business – I’ve been laid off from my job. I started working for Pearson when it was Macmillan Publishing on April 25, 1994. I just cross the threshold of 26 years at the same job. In the middle of May, my position was eliminated, along with a number of other co-workers who were also remote workers. I’ve been working from home since June of 2018 when they closed our office, laid off many of my co-workers, and had the rest of us move to working from home. I have a good severance package, so I have time to look for another job. I’m getting set to do that. It’s been a very long time since I’ve written a resume, so it will be an interesting challenge.

The Covid-19 corona virus began racing across the globe in December 2019 and has spread so quickly that we are currently in the middle (beginning?) of a global pandemic. Over 100,000 dead in the United States alone, and 371,166 dead worldwide. It has reached even the most remote corners of the globe – 6,057,853 confirmed cases world wide.

I am in a high-risk group. On February 29, I went to my older brother’s retirement party and talked with my brothers about the virus. It already reached the United States by that time, although most people did’t realize it. After listening to their predictions about what would happen, I went to CostCo the next day and started stocking the house with necessities. Because I’ve been working from home, I mostly stopped going anywhere.

On March 19 I got a haircut, exactly like how I saw at https://scoutsbarbershop.com/shop/. I went grocery shopping the next week. Since then I’ve been home most of the time, except to drop things off at my mom’s front door – gifts, supplies, mask-making materials. In late March our state issued Stay At Home orders, but we were already doing that. We’ve gotten take-out on 4 occasions, and once I went to Lowes, which I would not do again because no one was acting in a safe or healthy manner. We’ve been ordering groceries for delivery.

Stephanie has been working at home since March 24 (?). She has been able to work remotely, visiting the office once a week or so to pick up files.

Because we’re both home all the time and eating most of our meals at home, it’s been a struggle keeping up with dishes. After finally understanding our hotpoint dishwasher setting pictures, running the dishwasher is now a daily occurrence. Sometimes it feels like emptying and loading the dishwasher is the only thing I do all day. Today our dishes are clean and the sink is empty. It’s taken a lot of effort to get to that point.

When the virus became big news in February and stats began to be tracked, I obsessively checked the global and state statistics every day. Now I’ve become numb about that. The numbers of dead are too high to make sense of anymore.

Over the last week there have been several police killings of African-Americans – In Louisville, Breonna Taylor was murdered in her own home by police who invaded the wrong address. In Minnesota, George Floyd was murdered by a police officer who suffocated him by kneeling on his neck while he smirked at cameras filming his violence. In Indianapolis, Dreasjon Reed was killed by police after a police chase, and after they shot him, one of the officers joked ‘That’s gonna be a closed casket homie’ while looking at his dead body.

There are currently protests across the United States and the globe about the police brutality. Some have turned those protests into riots; white supremacists have invaded the protests and started violence. Here in Indianapolis, protests have remained peaceful on Friday, Saturday and Sunday until white people smashed windows and destroyed property. Police responded by firing tear gas, pepper spray and rubber bullets at peaceful protesters. Last night, Sunday evening, Indianapolis Metropolitan Police started firing and gassing peaceful protesters at 6:30 p.m., including a church choir.

We got our seeds planted and our garden ready in a timely manner this year. I made rhubarb pie from our rhubarb plant, and yesterday we just harvested our first crop of radishes. Strawberries are just getting ripe. I’ve been able to keep up with weeding our flower beds this year, and perennials are coming in nicely. Our peonies are in bloom. Primroses are also, and a poppy has cropped up. I’m finishing cleaning up the maple tree seed pods, which were prolific this year and took a lot of yard care time. I had to put in one of the downstairs air conditioners already.

I’ve been working on writing fiction. I have ideas but haven’t made much headway.


2020 Garden

Continue ReadingOur sink is empty. Our dishes are clean.

The New Ride – a Honda CR-V

The New Vehicle - Honda CRV

After a great deal of research involving spreadsheets, auto shows, test drives and quite a few anxious phone calls with Stephanie’s dad (who had lots of opinions about what we were buying) I bought a new Honda CR-V on March 27th. It is “Dark Olive Metallic.” It is nicknamed Godzilla.You can also enjoy Honda rides by availing Honda dealership Salina KS.

I finally gave up on VW ever coming out with my new Microbus. Now they will, just watch.

But so far, the verdict is – I absolutely love Godzilla. He is awesome. I’m loving power windows, power locks, cruise control, and the sunroof. I love Apple car play, and maps on the screen.

I sold the truck to our friend Douglas who needed a vehicle. So it’s still right around the corner if I need to borrow it. She is now named “Betty Ford.” I wish I’d thought of that.

Betty Ford

Continue ReadingThe New Ride – a Honda CR-V

The Naming of Cats

by T. S. Eliot

The Naming of Cats is a difficult matter,
It isn’t just one of your holiday games;
You may think at first I’m as mad as a hatter
When I tell you, a cat must have THREE DIFFERENT NAMES.
First of all, there’s the name that the family use daily,
Such as Peter, Augustus, Alonzo or James,
Such as Victor or Jonathan, George or Bill Bailey–
All of them sensible everyday names.
There are fancier names if you think they sound sweeter,
Some for the gentlemen, some for the dames:
Such as Plato, Admetus, Electra, Demeter–
But all of them sensible everyday names.
But I tell you, a cat needs a name that’s particular,
A name that’s peculiar, and more dignified,
Else how can he keep up his tail perpendicular,
Or spread out his whiskers, or cherish his pride?
Of names of this kind, I can give you a quorum,
Such as Munkustrap, Quaxo, or Coricopat,
Such as Bombalurina, or else Jellylorum-
Names that never belong to more than one cat.
But above and beyond there’s still one name left over,
And that is the name that you never will guess;
The name that no human research can discover–
But THE CAT HIMSELF KNOWS, and will never confess.
When you notice a cat in profound meditation,
The reason, I tell you, is always the same:
His mind is engaged in a rapt contemplation
Of the thought, of the thought, of the thought of his name:
His ineffable effable
Deep and inscrutable singular Name.

from Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats

Smudge Kitten

Noro, Truesdale, and Purl

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We totally put this flag on the mailbox

We totally put this flag on the mailbox

We did a bunch of cleaning and repair work at the rental house over the weekend. We had thought we were done, but the property manager came back with a big fat list of stuff they wanted done before they would agree to list the house. So back over there we went to knock out a bunch of them. One of them was putting a new flag on the mail box because the last renters ripped it off. Who does that, really? How odd.

Continue ReadingWe totally put this flag on the mailbox

swimming across the current

You know how you have those stories that affect you but they aren’t exactly yours to tell, so you hesitate to bring them up? I’ve been going back and forth with that lately. I wrote at the beginning of March about dealing with our rental house and the clean-up efforts post-tenant occupation.

Stephanie’s dad came down to help us with some of the cleanup and repair, and on March 22nd, he was on a ladder cleaning out the gutters and he fell and broke his heel bone. If you don’t want to do, then you can hire different types of maids for different jobs. We’re fortunate that it wasn’t a worse injury, of course, but it turns out that breaking your heel bone is not exactly a walk in the park. Injuries are inevitable when it happens out of accident. Grand Rapids personal injury law firm attorneys can help you to claim compensation for the accidental injuries.It’s a bone you put all of your weight on, and it’s not really cushioned by muscle or other tissue, so it takes a lot of the body’s stress, and a break takes a long time to heal before you can put weight on it again. He was in the hospital for over a week and had surgery the Monday after he broke the bone to put in a steel plate like a cup that holds his bone together. After a few days of recovery, he moved to a rehab hospital where they’re teaching him how to do everything including getting around with a walker. Given that he’s a fit and active guy, this is quite a change for him to be sitting around, and he’s not used to it at all. I sympathize with him a lot.

Stephanie’s an only kid and her dad’s only living relative, practically. And he lives 3 hours away, but is stuck here in Indy, so she’s had to do a lot of care-taking while also managing the work on the the rental and working herself. So – the stress level has been rather high around our house for the past couple of weeks.

And given that I’m not keen on cleaning or painting and tend to be a whiny little bitch about doing either – well, I haven’t exactly reduced the stress much. I’m trying, I really am. I’ve been pitching in, but the real work is going through and figuring out what needs to be done, what we can ditch until later, what needs to be done by an electrician, when to call the water heater repair people, etc. She’s got a lot of that in her head and some on paper, and I can’t quite put together what she can hand off to me.

I’m also struggling with it because we’ve done at least 3 times more painting at the rental house since we bought and moved into our house than the amount of painting we’ve done in ours. Our kitchen and upstairs hall have been half-painted for 3 years now, and we keep doing more and more painting at the rental, including repainting rooms we painted in-between tenants previously. It’s hard not to resent that the rental house gets more attention (and often looks better) than ours. And I’m aware of the amount of time that Stephanie and her dad spent cleaning up the house the last time – it sat vacant from August to March while they worked on stuff, earning no money while the mortgage needed to be paid – and I’m very worried we’re in a similar place.

I would not be winning any landlord prizes anytime soon, clearly. And probably not any marital prizes either. I’m not being the best wife lately, and I know Stephanie and I are both down in the dumps.

Here’s hoping we get this stuff worked out – the house done, Stephanie’s dad up and around and a happier, sunnier spring so we can bounce back.

Continue Readingswimming across the current

The Flood

As you may already know, Stephanie and I have a rental property on the east side of Indy – we’ve had tenants there for the last two years and they’ve just now moved out, so we went over on Sunday to take a look at the house. The property manager had already done an inspection during the week and said there was some serious cleaning and painting and other stuff to be done, so we went over to assess what we wanted to do ourselves and what we should have them repair.

We walked all over the house lamenting how poorly the rental family had done taking care of the place and what we needed to do – we thought we’d let them clean, but attempt the painting ourselves. We’re still deciding on that; last time we did the painting, it took quite a while, and we want the house ready and back up for rent ASAP.

Then we went down in the basement. And we discovered 8 inches of water in the partially finished basement. It was bad. The water was high enough to cover the outlets. We went home and got our rain boots, and we called Stephanie’s dad, who drove down from Valpo with 2 pumps that we set up and started pumping water outside. Once we got the water level down we were able to wade over and see why the sump pump wasn’t working – it had been unplugged by the tenants. Not good. This was the result:

We managed to get the pump turned back on and between all 3 pumps, Stephanie and her dad got all the water out of the basement. (I had to go to bed so I could get up to pick up my rental car in the morning.) There is some work to be done on the water heater potentially, but the furnace is up and running.

We need to have some additional inspection I think, and we need to go over and truly clean stuff up. Lots of stuff in the basement that needs to get thrown out, and we need to get some de-humidifiers & fans going. Also, I’m making some instructional signs for the sump pump and for the washtubs that the washer and dryer drain into, which always seems to get clogged up.

We’ve had some crappy weather-related problems so far this year – I’m hoping that the rest of the year goes more smoothly.

I’m really concerned with how this will affect the next few weeks – I was looking forward to it getting warmer so I could spend time outside. I’ve been getting caught up on photo editing, so I’m ready to get back out to take photos. I have a bunch of work in our own yard to accomplish, and a bunch of writing to do, now that I finally feel like I have some sort of momentum going on the writing. And frankly, I’m worried about this chewing up all the money I got back from my tax refund and from my company bonus. I had some big plans for that money, and I hate to see it sucked into the rental house.

Continue ReadingThe Flood

I’m Free to do what I want any old time

Finally out of the house after the crappy ice storm. Sadly, I’m thrilled to be at work. My life, she is so exciting, yes? We made it through three days being stuck at home, although not without casualties. Eddie (that would be Stephanie’s Rabbit, for those who may be joining us late) suffered a flat while we tried to get him out of the ice and had to be towed to the shop to get his snow tires put on. He’ll need a replacement tire for is summer tires, I’m sure.

And I’m official over this effing winter. And since I’m sure I’m that boring ass blogger who talks about the weather and lunch and blah blah, let’s move on.

I discovered this blog over the last couple days. Effing Dykes. Proceed at your own risk, NSFW. But some of the funniest damn writing I’ve read in a long time. Let me repeat the warning – NSFW. But I will be ashamed to call you my friend if you don’t read some of it. Don’t be a tool. There will be quiz later. I will know of your truancy, mark my words.

Continue ReadingI’m Free to do what I want any old time