Tuesday, December 30, 2008

A Bathroom Transformed

Today not much was done. But what was done was the downstairs bathroom.

The ceiling was touched up. The bookcase was cleaned and brought in. So was the tall garbage can.

I had to re-wash the shower liner, with a shot of Greased Lightning in the washer, because the soap scum and mildew still stuck to the liner, despite being washed previously.

Once the liner was dry, it and the shower curtain were re-hung.

Hooray! We can take showers again.

I then cleaned down the top bathroom sink counter (which is in the laundry room, not the bathroom). And I washed down the section of wall to the right of the counter.

That was all that I could muster today.

Some days I work like a demon. Today was not one of those days.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Ghostly Activity De-Bunked

I wrote in a previous post about the unusual increase in ghostly activity.

Anyhow today, Ariana and I discovered that the "ghost" was actually one of the former squatters that I had evicted. Apparently, Richie, whom the both of us thought to be a nice and sweet guy was sneaking in Danny and having him live under our roof.

That explains a few things.

It explains why Jessica had been calling the house at late hours of the night. It explains why the ghostly activity ~ hearing foot steps and finding open windows and doors ~ suddenly stopped after Richie left the house. And it explains why Ariana's iTouch was missing.

Livid wasn't the word to describe how we felt.

We were not only betrayed by Richie, but also made fools of.

Granted, I was getting all set to evict Richie because he had proven himself to be a lazy bastard who was not contributing to this house. But we had NO idea that he was also a thief who was harboring another thief right under our very noses.

We were duped big time.

All this revelation came out last night when Ariana was visiting Amanda. Aside from being dishonest, Richie also had a big mouth. He blabbed to everyone that he was hiding Danny in the house and that it was Danny who stole Ariana's iTouch and gave it to Jessica.

(Danny also stole the credit card of another one of Ariana's and Amanda's friends and used it to buy a pair of expensive shoes for Jessica.)

Fortunately, this story has a happy ending in that Ariana had been able to retrieve her stolen iTouch.

She called up Jessica and confronted her. And after Jessica tried playing dumb, Ariana very calmly informed her that unless her iTouch is returned, she will be going to the cops.

At that time, Jessica practically admitted that it was Danny who stole the iTouch, saying that Ariana will have to go after Danny, not her, because she had nothing to do with the theft.


Jessica had everything to do with the theft. She accepted stolen property, making her an accessory.

Ariana had her iTouch withing half an hour.

In the meantime, seeing that Richie claimed to have lost the house key, and seeing that the house key was not recovered after Barbara and Ariana thoroughly cleaned the room where Richie (and Danny) was staying, I did not want to take any chances. For all I know, Richie could have given that key to Danny.

So I called a locksmith and had all the locks changed.

We still cannot believe that we allowed ourselves to be duped in such a manner. But then, con artists are such sweet and charming people. That's what makes them successful as con artists. And Richie was one of the sweetest ones that we met.

And how could we have been so stupid as to not even be aware of the fact that there was a 4th person in the house? Granted, ours is a big house. But still.

The both of us have learned a big lesson today. It was a very embarrassing lesson to learn. And hopefully, the sting of this embarrassment will stay with us long enough for us to never repeat that same mistake again.

Yes, Ariana and I do have that embarrassment to deal with.

But Richie, Jessica, and Danny will have something far worse to deal with should they continue the way they have.

Already they have lost their friends. Nobody wants anything more to do with them.

What will they lost next? And when?

Barbara ~ The White Tornado

Barbara has been going through this house like wild fire. In 3 days, she and Ariana have pretty much gone through the entire second floor. The only room that needs cleaning is my bedroom.

And yours truly has been stuck on the downstairs bathroom all this time.

It's amazing how one tiny, little room could collect so much schmutz.

Actually, after I had torn off all that crappy wall paper, I have been spending all that time painting the bathroom.

I started out with the paint that was left over from when the ceiling in my studio was painted. With that, I covered up all the moldy area above the showers. And I had some paint left over to do one wall.

When I ran out of that paint, I went and got the paint that was used to paint Ariana's room 6 year ago, But that paint had gone bad over the years. I may as well have been painting with melted ice cream.

Anyhow, today Barbara brought over some left over paint that she had. And it was in the same cream color that I tried to paint with yesterday.

So today I finished painting the ceiling, the door, and the rest of the walls with Barbara's paint, which worked so much better than the melted ice cream that I tried to paint with yesterday.

Still, painting wasn't the easiest of tasks, especially when I had to paint behind the toilet. Also, the surface finish on one of the walls and the woodwork was not all that compatible with the paint. It was almost like painting on waxed paper, but not as bad.

I thought that I was all done with painting. But then I noticed that I had missed a few spots on the ceiling. Here and there I could see tiny patches of white peeking through the cream coat.

Oh well. Guess I will have to pick up the paint brush one more time. But I'll leave that for another day.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Operation Greased Lightning

Gradually the dense smell of chlorine is fading from my nostrils. And my eyes are not watering as much.

Barbara and Jeremiah came over this afternoon to assist in getting this house cleaned up.

I assigned Jeremiah dumpster duty. He had to break down stuff and toss the stuff into the dumpster.

As for Barbara and me, I decided to tackle the bathrooms ~ Barbara getting the upstairs bathroom and me getting the downstairs bathroom. Ariana was going to assist Barbara.

Well, first order of things was for Barbara and Ariana to make a run to Benny's to pick up some cleaning supplies, especially since I did not have any heavy-duty cleaners.

Barbara had strongly recommended this all-purpose cleaner called Greased Lightning, which is supposed to cut through soap scum and the worst kind of dirt.

And it was a good thing that Barbara got a couple of bottles and a gallon refill of the stuff. My earth-friendly vinegar solution simply was not doing the trick when it came to removing built-up soap scum in the downstairs shower.

Before actually starting to clean the shower, I first removed the shower curtain, liner, and bath mat, and threw them all into the washer with a shot of bleach. The liner and the bath mat were especially nasty with them being covered in soap scum and black mildew.

Everything was taken out of the tub. And the entire bathroom was cleared out. All that remained were the toilet and the shower.

I decided to remove the hideous blue and brown floral wallpaper that was peeling off the walls. It was a good thing that I did, for behind the wallpaper, especially above the shower, was a thick black coat of mildew.

Once the wallpaper was removed and tossed into a garbage bag, I began my methodical attack on the bathroom.

That Greased Lightning stuff was working really good. In fact I used nearly an entire bottle to clean the whole bathroom.

When I was done with the actual scrubbing, I sprayed down the ceiling, walls, and woodwork with a diluted bleach solution in order to bleach the black mildew into oblivion.

While I was plodding away in the bathroom, Jeremiah was on his mission to take apart the very long bookcase, the light table, and the metal shelving units, and then toss all the remnants into the dumpster. This massive destruction suited a big and beefy guy like Jeremiah very well.

He also assisted Barbara upstairs by doing the vacuuming.

Ariana actually scrubbed the upstairs toilet! From what I heard, she was really getting into cleaning.

Anyhow, while I focused on just that one bathroom downstairs, Barbara blitzed through the bathroom upstairs, the room at the top of the stairs, and the bedroom that was formerly Neil's and then Ryan's.

But then, Barbara had 2 helpers while I was working all by my lonesome.

I cannot help but feel extreme gratitude for all the help Barbara had given me. She is a pro and a dynamo when it comes to cleaning. And I am afraid that I am as far from being a domestic goddess as possible.

Barbara was my hero today.

She and Jeremiah will return tomorrow to continue w/the cleaning blitz and Operation Greased Lightning.

When I return from church and grocery shopping shopping, I expect that I'll find Barbara, Jeremiah, and Ariana well in the midst of another cleaning blitz.

These wonderful people are helping me realize my goal in having this house listed no later than January.

What would I have done without them and their generous help?

Friday, December 26, 2008

Two Mustang Horses and a Pink Christmas Tree

At first Ariana and I decided that after we get to Texas, our first Christmas there will be marked by us getting a 7.5-foot pink Christmas tree with pink fairy lights and pink glass ornaments.

Today we were discussing that once we get to the Lone Star state, we may want to get back into horseback riding. And Ariana stated that perhaps we could get 2 horses, one for each of us. She fancied the idea of those horses being mustangs.

Two mustang horses and a pink Christmas tree ~ hmmm ~ sounds a lot like the beginning of our Texas version of "The Twelve Days of Christmas."

Gee? What would would our true love bring us on the other ten days?

We'll have to give that some thought.

Hope It Was a Merry One

I could kick myself.

I had up-loaded my Christmas pix from my SD card. And by my carelessness, thinking that I had transferred all the pix from my SD card into my photo folder, I reformatted my SD card, not realizing that I had only transferred one pix.

That was not good. All those pix from yesterday, except for one, were permanently lost.

Anyhow, Ariana and I started off our Christmas festivities by visiting Carol at her condo. We brought Emi, who got very excited when she saw her harness, with us.

At Carol's we had a nice steak meal, followed by opening our gifts.

After Carol's, we dropped Emi off at home, and then proceeded to Barbara's house.

She had a big spread. And while Ariana joined Barbara's family at the dinner table, I remained on the couch crocheting away while their teacup Chihuahua Daisy slept on my lap. I was way too stuffed to even begin to contemplate in stuffing my stomach with more food.

We stayed quite a while at Barbara's before heading back home.

Despite all the fun festivities, it was good to get home. My stomach was not at all too happy with me, and it felt good to be home and allow my stomach to get over its displeasure.

Today was a mellow day, with not much accomplished. But that was OK. After all, the day after Christmas is not a major motivation day.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Finally the Sun!


The sun had finally shone her face this morning, making this snow white-washed world a lot brighter! And a lot cheerier.

Most of my time today had been spent in the kitchen, preparing a birthday meal for Carol, who will be coming over in another couple of hours.

The sun is shining. The kitchen is smelling of good smells.

To me, that's a sure-fire recipe for good cheer.

Correcting a Mistaken Memoir

Sometimes I wonder the reasons behind family secrets.

Take for instance this caption that I read in this morning's paper:

In researching the past for his memoir "Of Time and Memory," author Don J. Snyder of Scarborough, Maine, learned that his family had erased every trace of his mother, Peggy Schwartz, in an attempt to keep him and his twin brother from going through their lives with the knowledge that they had caused her death in childbirth. After the memoir's publication in 1999, he learned another secret.

To me, there is something wrong with that picture.

I have never been a fan of family secrets, generally believing them to eventually cause more harm than good.

Usually the intent of such secrets serves to protect an individual whom others judge to be too fragile to handle the truth.

Sometimes these secrets are more to protect the secret-holders than their intended targets.

But the thing about secrets is that eventually they get found out.

Very often the sense of betrayal ~ or at least the sense of being played for the fool ~ cuts far more fiercely than the actual covered-up truth.

For now the intended protected one is also at the mercy of such powerful emotions such as anger, resentment, and even rage.

How were this man's family protecting him and his twin brother by taking away from them their mother?

This was a far greater degree than just a simple white lie intended as a kindness. There was no kindness served in this kind of tragedy.

The twins had been done a great disservice.

Not only were they denied a medical history which could have proven critical had either one of them suffered a serious medical condition, they were denied their history.

Never were they to know that they shared the same laugh as their mother or furrowed their brow in concentration the same way she did.

Never were they to know that their intense dislike for licorice, or their intense love for animals was something that was passed down by their mother.

Was this really something that these twins needed to be protected from? Did they really need to have all traces of their mother's existence wiped totally clean?

Children are far more resilient than people may suspect. And in many ways, they are also far more wise.

There have been many children whose mothers have died in childbirth who had not received such well-meaning, but terribly misguided "protection." And I suppose that in most cases, these children grew up to be well-adjusted adults.

Why couldn't Don Snyder's family let him and his twin brother know that, yes, their mother did die while she gave birth to them?

They needn't have gone into the specific details. Those could have been left at a much later time when the boys were mature enough to process such information.

Instead the family could have told the twins that their mother loved them very much and is now looking down at them from heaven, where she no longer feels any pain.

The boys would have then had the opportunity to know their mother, even though she was no longer on this earth.

But that opportunity had been suppressed all those decade.

And not only was the opportunity to know their mother robbed from Don Snyder and his brother, so was the opportunity for them to honor her beloved memory.

A Life's Work Fulfilled

This morning's paper carried an interesting story about a dying teen's unusual request to the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

15-year-old John Halgrim did not wish for what most young dying individuals would wish for. He did not wish to meet his favorite soccer players, or go to an opulent resort in the Bahamas where he could swim among the dolphins.

Instead, John wished for a legacy that would enable orphaned children in Africa have a bed and a roof over their heads.

This incredible young man's incredible wish was born of his astounding journey of faith.

What really amazed me was the scope and maturity of John's vision. His altruism was of the purest sort.

The 15-year-old boy never got to see the Nairobi orphanage that was built and that now bears his name.

But he died having fulfilled a major life work, and in doing so, he gave hope to many homeless African orphans.

If only the rest of the world had the courage to follow through with such a noble vision.

And if only the rest of us would be blessed with knowing our life work and being brave enough to carry that life work to completion, even if that completion may take beyond the grave.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

A Dreary Study In Shades of Grey

Today was a day much more like a dreary black and white Ingmar Bergman film than the bright, contrasty black and white photos of Ansel Adams.

The whole world seemed washed of free of color. With color being most therapeutic for me, this dreary day inspired nothing but listlessness and sloth.

To heighten my heavy sense of malaise, it began to snow as I left church.

After finishing reading the Boston Globe, I went to take a nap, only to wake up to a dark house later.

Now the snow has changed to rain. And the wind is howling, to boot. How much more full will the rain buckets get inside the house?

I will be grateful to see sun light and color again.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

My Merry Christmas E-Card

Click to play Pine Trees
Create your own greeting - Powered by Smilebox
Make a Smilebox greeting

The Name Is "Jeremiah!"

Apparently our dear friend 'Miah does not enjoy being called by that moniker.

"My name is 'Jeremiah.'"

We all call him "'Miah." His friends call him "'Miah." And even his mother calls him "'Miah."

"But that's not my name."

And but why the sudden insistence of having himself called by his Baptismal name? Why allow us to go on for so many years calling him by the nickname that everybody knew him by?

As someone who does not care for nicknames, I can fully appreciate this young man's sentiment.

But God! Calling Jeremiah by this nickname is an old habit that's going to die a hard death.

Still Snowing the Next Day

The snow was still coming down this morning, though not as heavily as the night before.

There is something about a snowy day that makes one want to skip one's normally scheduled tasks.

Thus rather than get on the ball and make myself do what I had been meaning to do for these past few days ~ clearing out the storage area by packing up the sales items for pick-up or bagging them up for the dumpster ~ I figured that it would be a more fun thing to go outside and take more photos.

Here's the front of our house the morning after the blizzard.

'Miah had totally pulled down those vines during the summer of 2007. And look, they had already reasserted themselves in full force this past summer.

The Japanese maple in the side yard looks rather pretty with its heavy dusting of snow.

Here you can see the kitchen window and Ariana's window on the second floor from all the way across the side yard.

Taking a walk into the back field, which we call the "Back 40," you can see a lot more snow-covered trees.

I thought this spiky snow-covered branch looked interesting up close.

This view is from the very rear of the Back 40.
I was making my way to the defunct cranberry bog that was past the wooded area that was behind the Back 40.

It was difficult getting on the path because all the tall shrubs, brush, and saplings were bent over with the weight of the snow. I had to bush-whack my way through the totally covered and obstructed path.

Along the way, I spotted these pretty red berries.

This is what the woods looked like while I was trying to make my way to the bog.

Finally, after emerging from a brush-covered path and climbing over a downed tree, I came upon the bog.

In the background is the weir that used to serve the cranberry bog when it was still being farmed. There is a stream still running through it. And in the summer, you can find many frogs making their home by the small stream.

The bog stream stretches a good long distance.

On the return trip back, I found myself on the opposite side of the Back 40. Here a large, snow-covered tree limb looks as though it's a good candidate for snapping off the tree.

Yesterday's blizzard
caused many trees fall over or lose their limbs. There was one storm fatality yesterday when a tree fell on a man in Acushnet.

The tree behind the garage looked pretty with its snow coat.

While it was still snowing outside when I went to take these pix, being under this cedar tree gave a different perspective.

When I returned from my expedition, 'Miah and Ariana had just finished shovelling out the driveway.

'Miah told me to take a picture of my snow-covered car. Believe me, that car had a whole lot more snow on it last night before I went to pick up the kids after their grand winter adventure.

Across the street, the neighbor's boats look like they're going nowhere in all this snow.

I always liked the Eye of Horus that was painted on the prow of this boat.

There's the lonely maple standing in the middle of our vacant lot across the street.

Here's a view of the trees beyond the embankment of our lot.

This tiny house, which is easily seen from the top of the embankment of our lot, belongs to Cal, an old gentlemen (from an old and venerable Mattapoisett family) who is very often visited by Hannibal the Kitty Cannibal.

Hannibal likes to jump up and play on Cal's roof. And Cal seems to enjoy his company so much that he started feeding Hannibal Little Friskies dry cat food, and then canned food.

(Once Hannibal got a taste of the canned food, he turned his nose up at the Little Friskies.)

No wonder Hannibal is always going across the street and down the embankment. He's going to visit his best friend Cal.

The snow on top of the lamp post looked like a cone of soft-serve vanilla ice cream.

Here's a view down our road.

That first telephone on the left was the one that the utility workers were working on for hours last night.

See that grey box half way up the pole? That's the junction box that the workers had open, trying to figure out what was going on and how to restore power to Crescent Beach and Point Connett.

If I had taken a picture of the pole much later on in the day, you would have seen a collection of furniture that I had 'Miah place there for tomorrow's scheduled Big Brother/Big Sister pick up.

I haven't heard anything from Big Brother/Big Sister able cancelling the pick up, so I am crossing my fingers that it is still on for tomorrow morning.

Friday, December 19, 2008

It's Still Coming Down

It's nearly 10:00 PM, and the snow is still coming down rather heavily.

The power company truck has been working at the telephone pole by our driveway for quite a while, occasionally causing our lights to flicker on and off.

(The pole by our driveway has both a transformer and a junction box. The utility workers have been working on the junction box, which they had wide open to the elements.)

As expected, I had to go and pick up Ariana and 'Miah at Amanda's 2 miles down the road.

But first I had to dig my way out of the driveway in a marathon digging session, and then slowly proceed down the road in 2nd gear.

I didn't get too far because fighter fighters were standing in the middle of the road where a tree branch had fallen down. So I had to wait for several minutes with the other cars that were also stuck waiting.

When I finally got through, it was tough finding Amanda's house because the entire Crescent Beach and Point Connett area was without power. It was pitch black.

I pulled over to where I thought Amanda's house was. And before I could call Ariana on her cell phone, there she was with 'Miah, who was holding a huge plastic garbage bag filled with soaking wet clothes.

The kids wanted to have a winter adventure. And that they did.

Coming back, we encountered large, impassable piles of snow in the middle of the road that were left by some inconsiderate snow plow driver.

Both Ariana and 'Miah got out of the car to kick some of the piles down to create a small opening through which I could pass.

But before I could proceed through the Scylla and Charybdis of snow piles, a big truck came up from behind us and mowed those piles down to size.

Isn't it nice how people help each other out in weather such as this?

While driving back, Ariana and 'Miah claimed to have seen lightning. They were freaked out by it. I told them, that while rare, it is not unheard of to have lightning ~ and thunder ~ during a snow storm.

I remember one winter, before Ariana was even a thought in Neil's and my mind, let alone a wee stirring in my womb, I was travelling home from work in the middle of a fierce blizzard with white-out conditions.

As traffic was inching at an agonizingly slow pace to get onto the highway, I looked up at the sky and saw definite flashes of lightning behind the heavy snow clouds. It was one of the coolest sights I've ever seen.

Well, we finally made it home.

The kids' clothes are still drying in the dryer.

The utility truck has moved on for now.

And the lights are still occasionally flickering.

For 2 years in a row, we had extremely mild winters with hardly any snow. And now Mother Nature is making up for her 2 years of slacking.

We are getting walloped.

The bushes in the dog yard are so laden with heavy snow that access to the dog igloos is blocked.

It seems as though we will be snowed in for this weekend.

It'll be just the 3 of us here ~ Ariana, 'Miah, and me.

Snow Is a 4-Letter Word ~ But It's Pretty

Ariana and I got an early start with our grocery shopping. It had not started snowing yet, and I wanted to get the fixings for Carol's birthday dinner on Monday before the snow-panic crowds hit the supermarket.

After that, I dropped Ariana off at Leonard's Cutters while I went to the bank to deposit a couple of small checks.

Then I poked my nose in Leonard's Cutters to share with Leonard a couple of naughty jokes, have a cup of coffee, eat some Christmas treats, chit-chat with the salon staff, and read the piggy confessions from the "Slut Book," AKA "Cosmopolitan Magazine."

After that we stopped at Denise's to pick up a large sack of dog food.

As we were leaving Denise's, I had Ariana call 'Miah to see if he wanted us to pick him up. The bugger was still asleep, that late in the day. He was too cranky to give Ariana a straight answer.

So I called him shortly afterwards. And while 'Miah was still cranky, I was able to get a straight answer.

Thus, we continued to his house, to wait for him there while he took his shower, got dressed, and packed an overnight duffel.

By then it was 1:00 PM. We were hungry and decided to go to Chili's to grab some lunch. (They have ribs there, and I am always a sucker for ribs.)

It still hadn't started to snow when we got there and started digging into our appetizers and drinks (cheap Margaritas!).

It was 1:30 PM, and the predicted snow still hadn't come. At the same time, Barbara called on Ariana's cell phone, and Ariana gave the phone to 'Miah to answer.

Barbara had already left her work in Providence because it had already started snowing in Providence.

In about another 15 minutes, the snow arrived in Wareham, where we were dining.

At first it was very light and did not seem like it was sticking. But in a matter of a few short minutes, the snow fall got heavier.

By the time we finished our meals, there was about 1/2 to 1 inch on the ground.

On the way back we stopped at the Wareham Post Office so that 'Miah could pick up the his family's mail. And then we brought him back to his house so that he could drop off the mail and let both of his dogs out to the bathroom.

Finally, we were on our way home. The roads had been getting worse. And it was heartening to know that my ABS brakes did a really great job the 2 times I had to use them. (I mainly down-shifted to slow down and maintain control of my vehicle.)

After the S-turn in Marion, there was an accident where a jeep spun out and hit a minivan. Fortunately no one was hurt, but the minivan did sustain some good damage.

'Miah got out of the car to render help, which involved getting the driver's minivan door open (because it was crushed in) and calling 911 (because the minivan's lady's cell phone had died).

After having done his good deed for the day, we headed home for good.

Because I had a lot of groceries in the trunk, I decided to back up into the driveway so that it would be easier to unload the car. However, with the driveway going up on a berm, my car kept getting stuck.

It took a few tries to get my car totally in the driveway. As I stepped out the car, I nearly landed on my butt. But I managed to catch myself. (Mind you, I was STILL wearing sandals!)

As I went to fetch the mail, and having the snow squish in between my sandals and my bare feet, 'Miah backed my car further into the driveway. Then he and Ariana unloaded the groceries from the car and brought them in.

After putting away the groceries, I called Neil in Lubbock, and put the phone on speaker so that the 3 of us could talk to him.

Just think, while it was snowing over here with temps in the high 20s, it was sunny and warm in Lubbock with temps in the low 60s.

It was starting to get dark, and the kids were getting anxious to go play in the snow. And I wanted to go outside to take some pix. So we said our goodbyes.

By the time I got dressed in appropriate snow gear and got outside, it was already dark. So that meant that I was going to have to use a flash.

This spruce was the first pic that I took. The flash really picked up the falling snow. (This was my favorite picture of them all.)

This is a spot between one of the spruce trees and some bushes.

The flash really caught a lot of falling snow flakes. You can very barely see the trees in the background.

Standing underneath a pine tree in the back field, I took a picture of these hanging pine branches. I was pretty much protected from the snow fall while under that tree.

Walking back from the back field, this is the tree under which I used to park my Tundra pick-up truck whenever I wanted to take a nap in the summer without being disturbed by ringing phones and rambunctious critters.
Now I'm coming up to the front porch. You can see that everything is getting a good dusting. . .

. . . even the sea pony.

Even Hannibal the Kitty Cannibal got a little bit of a dusting on his back.

'Miah had gone to the car to get his overnight duffel.

He was planning on getting out some heavy winter gear so that he could go outside and play in the snow.
found Neil's cross-country skis, and decided to give them a go.

I was inside, editing the pix that I took, when I heard 'Miah yelling for me to come outside.

There he was on Neil's skis, poised to take them down the front steps!

I talked him out of that, saying that the skis were not designed to go down stairs, and that not only would he break the skis, he would also break some bones.

Surprisingly, 'Miah listened to me this time, unlike the time when he decided to play with the fire extinguisher inside the living room.
was having a difficult time trying to get used to using cross-country skis. As he was backing up from the front steps and turning around, I warned him to make sure that he does not cross the skis.

Apparently 'Miah had already crossed the skis a couple of times and had landed on his face.

I guess that cross-country skiing is not as straight forward as it looks.

That was enough of 'Miah's experiment with the skis.

This time he and Ariana were going to take a walk to the convenience store that was about 1 1/4 miles down the road.

"You're idiots to do that," especially when the snow was still coming down hard. If I had to rescue them, it would have been difficult for me to drive my car, especially when the roads were getting worse.

And with several inches already on the ground, would my car even be able to make it out of the driveway?

Still, the kids were determined to go on their walk in the winter wonderland.

Ariana went through her clothes, finding all sorts of clothes to layer over each other.

With all the odd articles of clothing Ariana was putting on, 'Miah called out, "You gotta take a picture of Ariana!"

Doesn't Ariana look like a Russian peasant ready to go and hitch up the troika for some czar?

It's been a while since the kids have left.

They haven't yet come back, and I haven't yet heard from them.

I don't dare pour myself my evening glass of wine in case I get a call for me to go and rescue them.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Not a Day for the Whip

The whip didn't get much use today.

I had a mid-day appointment, which I nearly missed last time I got so involved in my cleaning, culling, and packing. This time, wanting to avoid the same thing, I did not allow myself to get involved in activities that would distract me from my appointment.

But I did get something done.

I took out all the garbage bags, the old office tables, and other miscellaneous trash, and put everything in the dumpster. Buy the time Richie woke up, I was all done.

Richie did a bit of work on Ryan's room. He even told Big Tits, when she called to asked him to hang out, that he could not go ~ that he had to work.

Ariana would have helped, but she had gone with Barbara and 'Miah to Brockton, where 'Miah's brother was due in court. It was a very long day for the 3 of them.

After my appointment, I went on a mission to look for a desk calendar. Not wanting to drive beyond the Tri-Town area, it pretty much became a "Mission: Impossible."

I finally had to expand my search to Wareham, where I found a decent desk calendar in Border's.

I spent part of the day filling out two 2009 calendars ~ one for my bag and one for by the phone.

Another thing that I did was put 3 ads on craigslist ~ for Neil's weight-lifting set, his trampoline, and the 5-foot drafting table. Hopefully I'll have better luck selling the stuff on craigslist than I did through the paper.

And at least craigslist is free, and the ads run for 30 days.

Ariana got a mystery prison letter today. It was from Nick. Apparently he got sent to prison for assault and battery charges. That was unfortunate, especially since Nick was trying very hard to turn his life around.

But in a way, it was also a good thing in that he no longer had to worry about being homeless. At least now he has a roof over his head and food in his stomach.

It's supposed to snow heavily tomorrow. It'll definitely be a good day to crack the whip, especially if we get lots of snow that needs to be shovelled.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

More Boxes, Please

I got my groove back today, despite it being another dreary, rainy day.

Today's focus was on getting all the unsold stuff organized and ready for pick-up from some charity organization that I will call at a later time.

I concentrated on 5 rooms: the studio, the library, the living room, the room at the top of the stairs, and the workout room.

I filled several bags of garbage, which are sitting in the room at the top of the stairs, the studio, and the workout room.

Because it had been raining today, I decided to wait for another, drier day to toss all those bags into the dumpster.

Then, I put into boxes the stuff that I wanted to donate. I filled 34 boxes! I going to need to have Barbara bring me more boxes, as I used up almost all the boxes she brought me.

I did about 5 to 6 hours of work, deciding to call it quits at 3:45 PM. At that point, the top and outer side of my foot was killing me.

I somehow must have injured my foot. And right now I have it elevated and on ice.

That's as good excuse as any for not doing any more work.

Right now Ariana and 'Miah are up in the chill room, sorting through stuff and bagging the garbage.

Richie took a garbage bag to fill up earlier. But I don't hear any noise coming from his end of the house. For all I know, he's probably fallen asleep.

Anyhow, tomorrow I'll be cracking the whip, especially if it doesn't rain. There is a lot of stuff to put into the dumpster.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


There have been strange things happening lately.

As I had mentioned in an earlier blog, I found the window at the top of the stairs open. Yesterday I found the loft door open. And in both instances, Ariana and Richie claimed ignorance.

Today, while driving home from school, Ariana said that something weird happened when she was going to sleep last night, which in her case was 2:00 o'clock this morning.

She said that she heard my far door opening, then footsteps across my room. Next she saw her door quickly open and close. Then the footsteps walked back across my room, and the far door opened and closed again.

Next she heard footsteps coming up the stairs to the chill room, pausing for a short while, and then going back down again.

She asked Richie if he had been going to wake her up, as often would have been the case. But Richie was fast asleep. Besides, he would have not gone through my room knowing that I was sleeping in there.

I didn't wake up to all that noise. Neither did the dogs. Surely if someone had gone through my room, the dogs would have been awake and would have gone to greet the visitor.

Strange indeed.

Ariana said that she noticed that there has lately been more ghostly ~ or at least unexplainable ~ activity in the house.

And it did not end with last night's footsteps and the opening and closing of doors.

Just within the past hour, Ariana and Richie had gone on the porch to wait for Big Tits. Shortly afterwards, I heard someone walking upstairs. I figured that one of the kids went to get something out of Ariana's room.

When I heard that the kids were still on the porch, I went outside and asked them if either one of them had gone upstairs before going outside to the porch.

Neither one of them had gone upstairs. They went directly outside, and that was where they stayed until Big Tits came to get them.

Really odd indeed.

I wonder if the ghosts are getting restless with our plans to relocate. Maybe they don't want us to move.

Maybe we should invited them to come with us.

Leaden Winter Laziness

Today was not a day for accomplishing

It was a dreary, heavy day that brought to mind the first line of Cream's "Tales of Brave Ulysses":

You thought the leaden winter would bring you down forever, . . .

From the moment I woke up, I was exhausted, not being able to summon in the least even the slightest shred of energy or motivation to do any work.

It rained this morning, with snow being mixed in with the rain.

And after the precipitation stopped, the sky remained leaden grey, and the atmosphere felt so heavy and oppressive that I wound up having no choice but to take a nap.

And even after I woke up, I still had no energy to do anything.

The sky was still heavy. And all I could do was sit in the dark with the laptop on my lap, trying to win Mah Jong.

Even that got too be too much, and I lay down on the couch to sleep with the dogs until it was time to bring Ariana to school for her to pick up her art portfolio and her final grade for the semester.

All of us were thus affected today. And how could I make Ariana and Richie work when I myself was too beat to move?

Hopefully tomorrow will bring a new infusion of energy.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Hauling Trash

The 40-yard dumpster arrived shortly after I posted my last blog.

I was feeling really lazy ~ desperately wanting to take a nap. But after a few games of Mah Jong (all of which I lost ~ really tough lay-out), I summoned enough energy to put on my waffle-stompers and work gloves.

And off to work I went.

The bags were all wet from the rain that we've been having. As such, it did not take long before my work gloves and the legs of my jeans got soaked through.

Not liking the feeling of wet gloves on my hands, I went inside to put on a pair of vinyl gloves underneath the sopping wet gloves.

As I was hauling the trash bags to the dumpster and conscientiously arranging them in an efficient pile along the front wall of the dumpster, I was growing more and more resentful that, once again, I was the only one doing all the work.

And believe me, not only was this grunt work, it was also dirty work. Not only did my jeans get soaked, they also got caked with mud from the bags that hand been lying on the ground.

Neither Ariana nor Richie were home. And with each bag that I brought to the dumpster alone, I was getting more and more angry at being the only one working.

Actually, it was one of those paradoxical situations. I was mightily pissed off over not having any help. Yet on the other hand, I was inwardly gloating, "Look at all the work that I have done myself!"

And I was going a good job.

I was maintaining a tight and compact pile of garbage bags along the front of the dumpster. Not only that, I was maximizing all the space possible by tossing garbage bags higher than my own head.

It was like a game, seeing just how high and how accurately I could toss a bag of trash. And for the most part, I was pretty much dead on with my tosses.

Yay! Amazon Woman!

I had just finished with the back of the house when Richie finally showed up to help.

"It's about time!"

I had Ritchie start with the easy stuff, like picking up all the strewn trash from when the dogs ripped open the garbage bags.

That was because I really did not want to speak and go into an explanation of how the dumpster should be loaded. After all, I was still steaming. And whenever I opened my mouth to speak, I was barking madly at Richie.

I told him that he had the easy part of the job.

"Do you want me to load the bags?"

"No! I'm still pissed, and I need to work off my energy."

Yeah, when I am steaming mad, the best thing for me is to immerse myself in heavy physical labor.

And perhaps that was why I was able to toss those bags so high and so accurately.

As Richie continued working, I started mellowing. The fellow was putting in some honest hard work. And when I see someone making a good effort, I tend not to stay as angry for too long.

It was hard work, especially since my shoulder on occasion gives me a hard time, and I cannot wear shoes other than my sandals for more than an hour without having the ball of my right foot starting hurting like the Dickens.

But when I'm driven, I just work through the pain.

It's really quite funny.

Here I am, obsessively busting my butt when my natural inclination ~ or preference ~ is more towards the couch potato side.

I would much rather be sitting on my butt, either behind a key board or with a crochet hook in my hand.

But at the same time, I am capable of being a maniac work horse that doesn't know when to stop.

By the time we were done, I was a mud ball ~ my jeans soaking wet and caked with mud.

My hands were wet from sweating inside the vinyl gloves. I could feel all that wetness squishing inside my gloves.

But here, look at what we did.

As you can see, there is still lots more room for more trash.

(By the way, Amazon Woman here hauled that chair into the dumpster all by herself. And it was not a light weight chair either, having gotten heavy from getting water logged from all the rain we've been having.)

I told the kids that tomorrow we can play "bombs away," and start tossing stuff that we don't want out the loft door.

That should be a lot of fun.