title of blog

Honey, I'm Home's Morning Mantra ~~ Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the floor each morning the devil says, "Oh NO, She's up!"

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

A Closet, A Closet, My Kingdom for a Closet

Today is a tad of background on my little cottage house. I adore my house and know all the problems inside and out. My little gem was built in 1935 as a farm house...just a tiny farm, though. The original family was a husband, wife, and 2 kids that shared one of the bedrooms. The road was dirt and about a half mile long. There wasn't a house next door, across the street, or anywhere else in sight. The closest neighbor was the Franklin Farm that was about a mile away. If you stood in the middle of the road and went all the way to the left, you'd come to the next dirt road that ran perpendicular. There was actually a sign in wood like a cross with the name of the road painted on it, "Three Chopt Rd", which came from 3 chops of the ax as a marker. Going the other way, you'd come to another dirt rd that had a sprinkle of gravel on it. It was barely wide enough for a car and in fact was used mostly with wagons, horses and tractors. Today it is a main road and 4 lanes.

We moved to this house in 1948 when I was one year old. It was truly in the middle of nowhere and people used to ask my father, who was a lawyer, why he moved so far away. Why, there wasn't even bus service! Now, we didn't have a car (or a TV)and I don't think Dad ever thought that out in advance, so someone came to pick him up in the mornings and took him "downtown" to his office every day for a year. In '49 we went all the way to Roanoke in the mountains to buy a hospital-green Plymouth, running boards and all. What a treat! ...except for that horsehair stuffing the seats. That stuff would stick the devil out of your hiney. Anyway, back to the house. The house appears to be good sized, but here's the way it really is:

Facing the house, divide the house into top and bottom and then into halves. Go through the front door and there is a staircase dividing the house in half. To the left is the living room and it takes up the entire left side of the house from front to back and has 6 windows and a fireplace. Bliss. On the right side of the stairs is the dining room with 3 windows but it doesn't go all the way to the back. It runs into the kitchen which is horizontal and goes from the back of the stairway (not the living room)to the other side -- narrow, sort of like a galley (3 windows excluding the window on the back door). That's the downstairs, 3 rooms. Now the upstairs is like this: Up the stairs and you're in the hallway with a window at the top of the stairs. To the right is the bathroom and a bedroom. Going the other way is the other bedroom. Boom, nothing else; 2 bedrooms and one bath. Do you know how hard it is at my age to bolt up those stairs a half dozen times a day to get to the bathroom? And the closets. Here's how that goes. Top hallway, one closet approx 18 inches wide and 12 inches deep. I can cram a dirt devil in there, lol. Then, each bedroom has one, count 'em, ONE closet. Each is under 6 ft tall and is 24 inches wide. It's the depth of the closets that is a killer, 14 inches. That's it. A little rod on each side, 11 inches each. A real killer. But when the house was built as a farm house, closets were only for overalls and the ONE suit and dress for Sundays. In 1935, it must have been heaven to have so much closet space. But there is an upside, sort of. In those days, women did not undress in front of their husbands, so a little "dressing room" was off the side of the bedrooms. When Dad died, Mom turned hers into a better closet. The one in my room is where this computer is and works out ok, although it's a bit cramped. Still, better than nothing. I never would have had a place other than this to even put my computer. As for clothes, well, tg for dormers in the bedroom windows. I have dressers in all of them, and trunks as well. In my room alone, I have 3 dressers and 2 trunks in use. You learn how to fold clothes very quickly in old houses. So there are pluses and minuses, but aren't there in anything. My rooms are few but they are good sized and not like the chopped up little rooms of many homes today; and the house is solid as a rock, too....oh yeah, thick plaster walls , those can be a problem, I forgot. Now there is a full basement that I forgot to mention, and that's where the washer and dryer and the furnace is. Seriously, I hate going down there. It's like a scarey cave and it floods all the time. My Lucy went down there ONE time and hasn't tried again. She came back upstairs, wide eyed like she'd seen a ghost. She must have told Sam about it because now he only peers down the steps and never tries to go down there, either. "Scaredy Cats".

Still, there were always wonderful, adventure filled days in this house. Since there was nothing close by, and back in those days everything was so safe, even at 4 yrs old, I could meander through the woods for what seemed forever all by myself, and even walk the mile plus to the Franklin's farm house. The Franklins were our closest and only neighbor. They raised cows, chickens, pigs, most things that farms have, but many mornings we'd hear a cow mooing in our yard. Mom and I kept a rope ready for this. We'd make a little loose collar for the cow and walk her back to the Franklins'. Not only was it a fun walk and I loved cows, but when we got to the Franklins', they'd always thank us with fresh hot biscuits and churned butter with preserves. YUM. That's all I have to say. YUMMMMMM.

So that's it for the history lesson of my beloved little house. I hope to be here until my last breath as this is truly home to me even though it's now not even close to being in the middle of nowhere, lol. It's still H-O-M-E, but give me a real closet, please.


Monday, June 28, 2010

Extreme Heat Means No News, Just Sweat~~

It is just too, too hot for man or beast. Today is yet another day of 102F. No rain in weeks and everything is scorched if not blackened. I know I've talked about this before but nothing has changed at this end of the compass. Everyone stays inside and the air is totally still and health warnings still run at the bottom of the TV. I was talking to Curtis the other day (if he's not on your list to follow, he should be) and found out he's getting rainy day after rainy day up in Winnipeg. The Rain Gods forgot about us in Virginia, I think. Do you know the grass actually crunches when you walk on it now? Even though the sun was blaring and you couldn't even catch your breath, I went outside to the backyard and hooked up the sprinkler for the birds, chipmuncks, and the squirrels and anything else that wanted a break in the day. It's one of those sprinklers that does a swathe of almost the entire length of the yard and goes wayyyy up in the air. Don't you love it when it's up in the air and makes a rainbow? I'd forgotten how pretty that is. It also must have been the "sign" for all the wildlife to show up. Birds that don't normally get along and the muncks and squirrels who normally are very territorial all shared in the wealth of the water. They were running back and forth, chirping, and chattering and I could have sworn I saw one of them stand on their hind legs and raise up their little front legs to heaven in a thank you prayer. Next, the robins showed up and stood right under the water until they looked like totally drowned birds, but boy, soooo happy. I left the sprinkler running for 3 hours for them, then turned it off and put out food and water dishes for each group. I've never seen such happy critters and it was amazing to see a bird and a munck share a water dish at the very same time. Well, now my backyard looks like Dogpatch, ugh. Dishes on the ground and all I need are hounds draped over the porch and half the roof falling down. HeeeHawwww. It's ok; it's for a good cause, right?

I had every intention of heading to the hardware store today for one of those do-hickies that let you hook 2 hoses to 1 faucet outside. Just too damn hot. I looked out the front windows today and saw my ivy around the porch was turning very, very yellow and totally dried. I don't want to lose that ivy but don't know if it's going to live through this heat any longer or not. The only thing still holding on are the cascading petunias on the back porch, but that's because I drown them half to death every day -- but cascading they surely are (Photo at top because I STILL can't get them to move, arghhhhhh) As you can see, I might as well just drop in a bunch of photos at the same time because not one of them is going to go where it's supposed to. I'm about ready to give up. But if you're reading this "no news" blog of mine today, you'll figure out what goes with what.

Two pictures are of new birdhouses I have. I love these. One is in the very back of the yard and the other is on the side of the house. They are made of resin and then handpainted and sealed. The best and smartest part of them is the underside. It unscrews so that you can clean out the house once it's finished for the season and then have a totally clean birdhouse for the next mating season. Smart!

Then there's the picture of the stone dog on the steps of the front porch. Sentiment for me. I had bought Mom 2 stone dogs, one for the back (gray) and one for the front (this blonde one). It happened to be identical to her favorite pooch, Mitzy, so how could I pass them up? I took them to her a few years ago and she loved them. I told her I'd put them outside for her (they're as heavy as a car) but she said no, she'd have it done later. Well, 3-4 yrs go by and the dogs are still sitting inside, albeit in different rooms. When I moved in last year, I knew these cement dogs needed to be outside. So here's one on the front (Ok, now's the time to scroll up to see the dogs).
I might as well drop in one more, why not. Nothing to say, that's for sure. Ok, this shot is of the house from the righthand side, lol. Wow, so different from the left....kidding. And one sort of looking through the porch from the side.......

That is IT for me today. Maybe something exciting will happen in a few days.....rain?


Thursday, June 24, 2010

Watch Out For The Mouse...the one on your desk, that is

Herbs before the heat roasted them
Jaunt through the back yard to the fence

Man alive, guess what just happened. I was writing a long blog, believe it or not, and all of a sudden my hand hits the top of the mouse and I was back over on Curtis's site. I sat here with my mouth open and not even breathing, then tried the back button. No dice. Tried EVERY button and no dice. Daggone it, I was on my 8th paragraph and typing my fingers off and then lost it all. Now my brain has forgotten what all the topics were.

I remember the first one: I was saying how perfectly THRILLED I was to see that Toodie, Curtis, and Beth had found me and that Sue had meandered over from Toodie's, too! Oh, wow, Lisa found me, too --that's so good and this has made me so happy. Actually starts a little fire under my behind to not become m.i.a. again. And Beth, thank you for your words, sweetie. I know you get it. Moving on is the key word, it's just hard to do. I'm not feeling sorry for myself, it's the thing of being the last of a family. Gosh, it's such a final type feeling and really, I don't like it. But hey, it's sure better than last year at this time when Mom first became so sick and it was such a shock to all of us. So yes, I guess I have moved on to a certain extent since the crying isn't all day every day as it was before. Better days will be ahead.

The heat here is still either at or making records. To open the door to reach for the mail takes your breath away. No one is out and about now. Darn shame, too, since I have 11 bottles of wine just waving their little wine bottle necks and calling out for what else: Happy Hour. Here's the great part of a "moving on" thing that's happened here. MY porch has become the gathering spot for all the neighbors. It's so funny -- we've had a bunch of power failures because of the heat and storms, but once the lights are out, the neighbors from all the way down the street are right here. The last outage had 22 neighbors on my porch, some with wine, some with harder, some with just water, but everyone talking up a storm (pardon the pun) and having the best time. They stayed until 1 in the morning! It's not just outages that brings them around, although that's when it's in droves, it's regular days, too. The phone rings and it's like each neighbor calls the next and tries to round up a happy hour...and it ends up here. I love it :D.
I have the most caring, fun, and wonderful neighbors anyone could ever hope for and each day give very verbal thanks for that. Without them, I don't think I would have done very well for this past year. And do you know what? That includes Bob (Mom's Bob). He's only 8 houses down and he's here with all the rest, too! Super good, yessirree.

Back to the heat for a minute. Flowers and baby bushes all dead now, but it's that way for everyone. Boy, everyone sure poured a lot of money into plants this year. Well, there's always next year. What I feel terrible for is the wildlife. It started 30 yrs ago with one small family of chipmuncks in a stump in my backyard. Babies came, then more babies.....then they took over the world. The thing was, they recognized Mom and they recognized me, so they made a permanent home in the stump. Generation after generation in that old stump. Well, I found out what they all did when they couldn't come up to ground level over the winter due to the 2 ft of snow and ice. They burrowed from the stump to the garage and then did what every living thing does when they can't get out and socialize -- they mate. Now my backyard has well over 100 chipmunck holes and will probably sink in the next decade or 2. I don't care. I love the muncks. They see me come out onto the back porch with a little dried corn and seeds and some water in a dish and they run right over. What a trip to watch them stuff their little mouths til they are twice their size and run back to their burrow to store their goodies; then back for more. I put up birdfeeders, too, and had a slew of goldfinches and bluebirds, along with the regular house finches, cardinals, wrens, etc. It's been so much fun but I'm going broke on seeds -- one kind for colorful birds and one kind for regular and larger birds. Funny that the squirrels don't differentiate at all. Gluttons, all of them. So what did I do? Put out corn for them, too, in a different container. Worked great til the plate was empty and then they went back to stealing all the rest.

I went outside a couple weeks ago and found some fluffy feathers. Oh no. Then I saw even more. Had to be a cat. The next morning, I got up extra early and checked the window. There it was, a black and white cat just waiting at one of the munck's holes. All of a sudden I saw him go into a crouching postion and I never moved so fast in my life: I was down the steps, through the house, out the back door, and bellowing like a wild woman and chasing that cat all the way to the back of the yard and over the fence. Not too shabby, right? That's what I thought, too, until I realized I had nothing on. I stood in the bushes until I got the nerve to make a break for it and flew back to the house at record speed and trying to cover every part of me at the same time. I think I made it intact. At least, IF anyone saw that, they were polite enough never to mention it. Damn cat.
The next day, there was a yellow cat. But this time I was dressed and chased that one away, too, but I got so worried about the muncks and the birds that I took down the feeders for the time being. So far it's worked: no birds, no cats. But this weather, ugh; I put out water in different places and hope it helps. But the seed and the rest will have to wait.

Lol, it is now almost 5pm and I am telling you the truth when I say the phone just rang. Yep, it's the first neighbor and she said, "Hey, want to do Happy Hour?" You betcha. See you soon!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Oh boyyyy, a first!

I can't believe I'm actually starting a whole new blog! This is the bees knees for sure. It's so much more different than our old Spaces -- but if you were on Spaces, you already know. What a trip Spaces turned out to be. It started off so nice, made sense, easy to make all sorts of things, and then POW, off with their heads...."our" heads, that is. I couldn't even get to my main page, but what I did see was that many of our old group just threw in the towel, gave up the ghost, kicked the can, and said, "I'm done, done, done with this mess". I couldn't agree more. Who wants spammers all over the place and in your so-called private mail? Not me and not you. I'll use Curtis' old saying: "Bugger snot". Yep, that's what it is. Ok, 'nuf said. Now to just fiddle around here and get things up and running. I'm older and slower so it won't be overnight, but it'll get there.

My old Spaces group knows this, but just in case they're around, here's the latest skinny: I am STILL doing paperwork for Mom's estate, can you believe it? But I can finally see a little speck of light at the end of the tunnel and for that I'm grateful. The bummer side is that John, my wonderful and appreciated financial advisor, quit the company. Thought I'd fall over with a heart attack. He called me and said he's moving his family to NY city and jumping into Wall Street. Well, he does have the talent for it and the personality to withstand it all. He's an A personality for sure, so this is right up his alley. But omg, where does that leave me? I don't know. I'll live through it and learn from this, too. Remember Regan in Poltergeist? Heading spinning completely around? That's me.

Do you know it's been almost 11 months since Mom died? Yes, August 6, 2009. If I didn't see it in print I'd never believe it. Seems like only 2 weeks ago to me. Is this the way it will always be? Do you know? Will you tell me? I really need a bit of emotional advice. I don't cry so hard every day anymore, but I do have my lump-in-the-throat moment every day and sometimes I break for a few minutes, then it's back to work. I want that day where the crying stops and the only things left are the good and fun and funny memories, not this nagging sense of unbearable loss. If I'm like this, how on earth does a person cope with the loss of a child? It's just beyond me, incomprehensible.

Working on the house.....whew. I have some major things to have fixed, such as flooding in the basement with the slightest drizzle. Then there's the yard. God. I worked sooooo hard this Spring and put in tons of flowers and bushes in the back only to have the heat burn them all up in these last 2 weeks. We've had record heat waves and burning sun, and my poor little baby plants couldn't tolerate it. Had it been a normal Spring, they would have thrived. I went out this afternoon and performed last rites over 2 Hydrangas and 3 Calla Lillies. The front is almost as funny (said with tongue in cheek). I had to have the giant pine in the middle of the front yard taken down because it was destroying my roof and gutters. 120 ft. tall it was --- and almost 5 ft across at the stump level. I looked at that awful hole with sawdust in it and said I couldn't live like that and wouldn't subject my neighbors to that sight, either. So I dug out that sawdust and filled it with topsoil and then potting soil and then dragged sod over it. Interesting sight. There's a pitcher's mound in the front yard now. HAHAHAHAHA, can't win. They say all that stump drops down, down, down over the years and so that's why it was suggested that I build "up". Oh yeah, great. It will be level in about 2 more generations. I may have to just have the entire front regraded and reseeded. Well, we'll see. I am trying for the 4th time in the last 20 minutes to get a picture of my house in the end of this blog. No luck. It keeps dropping it at the beginning and I can't move it. Can't even right click and cut. Have to "edit" and delete the html. I hate new stuff. Lol, no I don't, but I didn't feel like fiddling with it today. Hell with it. I'll put the pic in anyway and it'll be at the top. Who cares. If and when you see this, you'll know what happened; but because it's my first blog, no one will see it anyway. HA, the jokes on me, lol. Later~~
Oh, and p.s., there is now a matching double rocker on the other side of the porch as well. I'll tell you about the history of this little house another time. But to just pinch your interest, picture a closet less than 6 ft tall and only 2 ft wide. Every day is an adventure ;)