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What started out as a simple Come to Jesus meeting with our kitchen designer about communication – see: the ongoing issues (like: where the fuck is the butcher block top for the island?) and the fact our Mikasa plates do not fit into the upper cabinets – turned into a big blowout, or a blowup. She refused to acknowledge any culpability or responsibility that as the designer with decades of experience – the expert – she should have brought the potential issue with inset doors to our attention. I have never seen my husband so angry with another person, echoing Khrushchev at the UN.
A day of cleaning and chores. Laundry, preparations for the upcoming trip, but no knitting today whatsoever! The kitchen floors are still not done, some trim has to be done, and let’s not forget the painting (13 weeks and counting on this reno!), so we are not really unpacking the pod yet, but we started to move stuff out of the knitting room. I am realizing how deep several of the drawers are, and trying to figure out how to really use the space. I am a bit puzzled on what to put where because of the odd drawer depths.
Planting, planting, planting. So much that my forearms hurt. I finally got all the plants I bought this spring in the ground, including a flat of violas planted along the front edge of the driveway. Some of them looked all but dead, but I planted them anyway on the off chance that some ember of life is still buried in the roots. The garden is coming in lush and thick, even through the full flush of spring is over – the iris blooms are spent and the peonies nearly gone. Damage from the deer continue – not sure what to do there.
It was too good to be true. The incubator space is not being renewed. I will not be able to sit in quiet concentration in a space just ten minutes from home after July. I am seriously bummed, particularly after the earlier discussion that suggested TPTB would renew the lease. It was an experiment, a way to keep talent by offering an alternate workspace closer to home. Now that I am the only talent using it, it is not worth the price. I am trying not to take it personally, but after this year’s review, that is a little difficult.
Godawful early in the morning, I was speeding across the Island, playing hide and seek from the backseat with the sun through areas of real fog. There’s no way I’m driving to or from JFK with these departure / arrival times. A short (relatively) while later, sitting in first class seat, comfortable with a small pillow tucked in the small of my back and with an almost-respectable cup of coffee, I bring out my knitting and listen to The Sixteen’s Music of the Kingdom for taxi and takeoff. This is how travel should be, for business or pleasure - civilized.
After an exceedingly unfriendly arrival at the airport – no rental car available, despite a reservation – no car from ANY vendor, I am still uncertain how I feel about Huntsville. The staff at the Holiday Inn (which has seen better days) are very warm, helpful and welcoming - who needs a rental car when you have a hotel shuttle? But after our delayed spring, Huntsville seems way too hot, and very… parochial is the best word. And more bad news: the conference doesn’t seem to be living up to the hype. Of course, doing it by myself was not the plan.
I hurt all over from a bad bed, bad chairs, walking on cement floors and hauling odd size luggage (which is really exhibit booth paraphernalia) through the convention center. I am so very thankful for my first class seat on both flights, and the ability to check nearly everything. Without hauling the carryon luggage, it was easy to make the connection in Hartsfield. But of course, the luggage took forever to show up at the carousel at JFK, so it was not a quick transfer to the car. I arrive home late even later than planned, but not quite broken.
I'm still thinking about the little town with a long history. Clearly boring boring boring to live there and way too hot for me. I know it would be difficult for me to retire this year as I’d secretly hoped. And my current job - I really don't want to travel anymore unless it is on my terms, but to do this job means to travel regularly. In many ways, the people at that conference are my professional tribe – at least, as close as I can get to it in the private sector, without turning into an ivory tower academic.
The floors did not get done yesterday. I would say I can't believe it but it everything has been going south on this project so I can absolutely believe it. On this Saturday morning bright and early -- OK not so bright or early -- Anthony and his helper showed up to do the floors. They were in and out pretty quick, and the smell from the polyurethane wasn’t too bad – it was warm but we had every window open. Even though we could have opened up the space and walked on it tonight, we decided to wait for morning.
The kitchen floor is done - and really looks good. Makes the living room floor look rather shabby by comparison. The painter should be here Tuesday to finish up and then the only thing left is the island, which I am referring to as Doom Island – will the butcher block top ever arrive? Yesterday ended up being a quiet day of doing not much at all; I think the last two months finally caught up with me. Today is a day to get stuff done, or at least start figuring out what needs to get done and in what priority.
Eeeww! When he removed the Telefunken from the back of The Beast, DH discovered . . .two dead mice under the radio. And a nest in the back of the radio. That explains the shredded Kleenex and such on the towel around the radio in dad’s shop. Were they dead when I put the radio in the car, or did they die there in transit or the week since? I am glad he told me, but it is not something I really want to think about. I’m not looking forward to telling mom about this, but she needs to know.
The painter didn’t show up today – not the first time this has happened. And G didn’t call him to find out what the plan is. After a small argument about this, I am done. There is nothing wrong with calling workmen to inquire about their schedule, or to ask them to call us in advance when they want to come. We do not have to be entirely at their mercy in this age of cell phones. Call or text to see if they are coming and if not, don’t sit at home waiting - out and get your things done.
The invitations to the wedding event in Vermont have arrived. Aside from being simple and almost-but-not-quite rustic, they are the usual, classic invitations. The Friday night get together hosted by the groom’s family is a bit surprising – but what the fuck is “festive attire”? For an event a museum in Vermont in August? I have no clue what that means and my google-fu isn’t helping me at all as this event ISN’T being held in December. Or close to any other holiday. I have enough problems with clothes for an outdoor, evening wedding ceremony. Never mind the UES parental crowd.
I’ve listened to this particular music for eighteen years, it is as familiar as the back of my hands. But now listening to the recording of the concert that was first time I heard it live brings back some subtle memories and I can’t stop myself from banging out the steady time on my steering wheel. I’ve played may concerts as part of a band or orchestras, or as a soloist, including some splinteringly difficulty classical music; I think that only increases my respect and admiration for a group that can take on this kind of performance – on the road.
So the factory certified tech was here today to resolve ongoing issues with the brand new Bosch dishwasher. As it turns out, it was an installation issue – well, at least the issue of the soap dispenser not opening. Go figure. I am still not sure about the amount of water on the dishwasher surfaces, but I will need to run the dishwasher a few times. I am still sort of shocked by how much it will actually hold, it seems like it holds twice as much as our old dishwasher. Still learning how things fit, that may take a while.
Tonight we picked the first wax beans. Himself was terribly excited: a double whammy of the season’s first real “crop” and WAX BEANS!! I am astonished that we are picking any beans before the peas are ready, but they are just setting pods now, it will be two weeks before they are ready. I don’t remember if we grew wax beans when I was young, I just know we were picking them in late August and September. I nearly ruined the beans by cooking them for too long, but I think they were a bit tough and stringy to start.
Pulling out boxes from the pod and emptying them is kind of like an odd Christmas holiday, of sorts. I’ve almost completely forgotten what we had in the old kitchen, and I really don’t have any memory of what items were put into what box. Even our post-it label descriptions only provide general hints at what delights await inside the box: “baking stuff”, “dishes”, “glasses” or the ever descriptive “heavy”. But we got many of the boxes emptied during the weekend, and are gradually finding homes for various items. Whether these homes are permanent or temporary, remains to be seen.
At this point, the only work left to do in the grand scheme of the kitchen renovation is the final painting, but we have no idea when that will be. Or how many trips James will take to complete the work. It seems he comes in unannounced, does a small bit and then leaves with no indication of when he’ll be back – when will this end?? This is week 14 from when work started, and it has progressed well beyond ridiculous. I don’t understand why G won’t just pick up the phone and call James directly to finish the work.
I struggled writing the blurb about King Crimson concerts in the early 2000s. I don’t quite know why – I have some very vivid memories of both events. I did get lost while tripping down memory lane, however, and wandered off into other areas of the past. I also was trying hard to peel away the accumulation that has colored my memory. I do actually have memories, but many times recently, I have no memory of an event or period until prompted by someone else– like mom, with the burglar on the roof across the street when I worked at DAAD.
Could it be? The email we received today suggests that the proposal that we pulled together last fall, to continue our work with this educational technology and approach, will get funded. If we can just answer a few questions to their satisfaction, that is. Oh, and they need those answers in a week. The prospect of being awarded a second grant from the National Science Foundation is sufficient motivation to figure out what we need to do. And with today being a warm, dry day, dinner out at our favorite outdoor place seems to be just the way to celebrate.
Eyeing the beautiful sky at sunset as I drive home from Knit Nite, I see the full-on Maxfield Parrish golden-pink soft clouds against blue. I invite himself to join me and celebrate Solstice with a sunset trip to the beach. As we watched the colors fade from the sky, someone from a party on the beach released an Asian lantern over the beach – the heat from the candle lifting it upwards. We watched it float up across the water, and up..all the while, Tom Petty was singing Free-fallin’. Finally, the little dot of light on the darkening sky just disappeared.
As the calendar tells me this is week 14 of the project now coming to a close, the kitchen is still not finished. I am trying very hard not to dwell on that fact, but every time it occurs to me, I cannot help but get very frustrated, almost immediately. So I have decided to not think about it and try to move on. I could try to reclaim the knitty room, get the kitchen stuff out this weekend. Or the living room. The POD needs to be emptied soon, so I don’t have to pay another month’s rental fee.
We spent most of the day excavating the living room, carefully peeling back the drop cloths and taking them outside. I did several loads of laundry and mopped the living room floor three separate times, removing a month of grime with each pass. There is too much furniture in the room now – but no ready solution that either of us is happy with, so it all stay for now. G did offer up one option he would consider, that would be a temporary solution if we make our planned changes upstairs. But I do like my couch in this room.
Today I worked on cleaning the knitty room, no, restoring the knitty room. As I unfurl the rug, I see damage that wasn’t there the last time I saw this side of the carpet. Moths? Beetles? I grit my teeth and spray the area and hope for the best. I take this opportunity to move a few things around. We bring in the other chair - but where are the legs to the chair? Not in the POD. I clean and oil my great-grea aunt Elsie’s sewing box and realize it has never looked this good. The room looks great.
t wasn’t as good as what I really want and need, but today’s massage was much better than the last. Linda was really good for me, but it is not clear if she we will be returning. I now know what is possible – that the right massage is essential to maintenance of my back and leg. As I am struggling to keep from descending into pain again, I need to keep looking for the right massage. There appears to be one chance left to explore here, but I have already decided I may need to find a real medical massage.
After all of the drama the last few months, it was such good news that Dad’s appointment with the new doctor – his new, primary doctor – went so well. Dad likes NewDoc - recommended by DrDon, how could he not? It seems that there’s no real plan at this time, tbut here are tests scheduled, and mom says that dad actually discussed the memory issues, something he’s been unwilling to acknowledge to date. And the smoking. But the first order is getting dad fully recovered from the infection. Mom said the doc tried to impress upon dad how serious it was.
So, at long last, the kitchen painting is done. Well, except for the bit that is actually in the hall, where the paint touch-up went awry with the wrong color. I don’t know what the fix is for that, but I guess this means the kitchen is done. And yes, the color is a little paler than I’d originally envisioned. How long since the first day of demo? Fifteen weeks and one day (but our kitchen had been packed up for a week before that). We must get everything out of the pod this weekend. Tomorrow I can schedule pickupI
Harlan, oh my Harlan! The news this afternoon was not entirely unexpected but heartwrenching just the same. You lived a rich, full life and I enjoyed meeting you every single time. I respected your courage and passion. I learned from your words in fictional stories, critical pieces, and in your unfailing pursuit of your ownership of your creative output. Your stories were not always “pretty” but they were beautiful, filled with truth about humans and the world we live in. I like to think that the fireflies I saw in the yard tonight (first this year) were sparking for you.
We haven’t been very adventurous as of late. Between my family drama and travel, and the house, and a general… malaise, we’ve gone nowhere, done nothing. But this afternoon we both wanted ice cream. The local place we go to has changed hands – again – and still is a circus. Considering our limited options, we decided to try something new: Sonic. One opened up a month ago locally, so we went for an ice cream dinner at 5:00 on a Friday. But – they only do shakes? And super simple Sundays? Disappointment reigned though DH said his chili dawg was really good.
I don’t do well living with physical chaos, piles of unknown stuff, not knowing where things are. Both the knitty room and office were victims of the kitchen reno, and my being gone for weeks at a time. My skin has been crawling with the need to bring order to the chaos. It was too hot out to do anything in the garden so I spent the afternoon sorting through the piles, scrapping what is no longer relevant and addressing the highest priority bills, notices, etc. in the knitty room. It isn’t done yet, but at least cleanup is started.
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