Thursday, July 30, 2009


Guess who's staying with Grandma and Grandpa for a week? Here she is--trying to crawl into the webcam on my laptop. She is wonderful beyond words!

Monday, July 27, 2009


I had carpet layers at my house last Wednesday—their names were Dan and Jared, they told me as they earnestly shook my hand when they first arrived. Nice polite boys. They were there to replace my 1986 carpet, may it rest in peace.

After they had removed all the doors and started tearing out the old carpet, they came to me with r-e-a-l-l-y sad faces and announced that they had some very bad news.

It seems that whoever laid the carpet in 1986 had left the original 1972 rubber-back, glued-down shag carpet on the floor as a carpet pad—and now there was a really bad mess underneath. They hung their heads like there had been a death in the family, so I understood how serious it was.

To get the rubber-back carpet off, Dan and Jared had to employ some jackhammer-type tools with resulting fine black rubbery powder flying through the air.

It could have been a disaster, but it wasn’t. It turned out that Dan and Jared loved a local oldies radio station. So all day, they had that oldies station playing at top volume in the house while they worked. Lots of songs from the 60s, 70s, and 80s. Dan (or maybe Jared or maybe both?) loved to sing along with the radio. Just when you thought they couldn’t do any better than their rendition of “Fill me up, Buttercup, don’t break my heart!” they’d swing into a little Wilson Pickett doing “I’m Gonna Wait ‘Til the Midnight Hour.” The hits kept coming, and I felt like dancing.

Here’s my suggestion: if you have to have your house all torn up and carpet layers taking over your garage and your kitchen and what seems like every square inch of your life, make sure you hire Dan and Jared, the singing carpet layers from Floor to Ceiling. It makes the whole day seem kind of like a party. (Woo hoo!)

There’s something reassuring about having some regular working guys doing what’s got to be one of life’s ugliest jobs—scraping 36-year-old, rubber-back, glued-on orange shag carpet off your floors—while singing off-key oldies at the top of their voices. They just seemed like a couple of guys who love what they’re doing.

Saturday, July 25, 2009


Just a note: After my resolve to begin blogging again, our home wireless crashed for some unknown reason (the modem power light just keeps blinking . . . blinking . . . blinking . . .). Therefore, I am limited to hauling my laptop to the public library and using their free wireless until we figure out what's wrong.

So my blogging is limited to 10 a.m. until 8 p.m., Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday, and 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. on Saturdays. I will be closed on Sundays.

Any techies out there that know what a blinking modem power light means?


In June, when both of my daughters came home for a couple of weeks, I was the recipient of an intervention.

It was raw. It was emotional. But they felt the situation was desperate enough to intervene.

I had been on a trip to Door County, Wisconsin, with my four sisters. When I got home, my daughters were waiting for me. “Mom,” my oldest daughter said, carefully speaking from the intervention script she had prepared in advance, “your addiction is affecting the whole family.”

My addiction?!? Ye gads, did they find the Peanut M&M wrapper in the garbage?

She continued with the prepared script. “Your obsessive-compulsive clinging to your 1986 wallpaper and carpet has forced us to do a redecorating intervention.”

Desperate, I looked at my younger daughter for support. She stared back, steely-eyed, and said, “It’s true. You need a redecorating intervention.”

I immediately went into denial. My 1980s mauve and powder blue carpets? My matching wallpaper with the stripes and flowers? My white plastic light fixtures—complete with 20-year-old baked-on bugs? Was there something wrong with this classic look? Wasn’t it sort of retro/shabby chic?

At that point in the intervention, the girls pulled out paint chips with color names like “Spiced Applesauce,” “Olive Garden,” and “Warm Gingerbread.” I found myself feeling a little hungry. Maybe this wouldn’t be so bad. But when they presented a sheet from the local Floor to Ceiling store with price estimates for carpet, I suddenly lost my appetite.

I looked to Tom for help—good old dependable Tom. I knew I could count on him to veto spending all that money on new carpet and paint. He would support me one hundred percent. But when he couldn’t look me in the eye, I knew that the girls had gotten to him in my absence. “Dad called the painter and he can come next week,” one of my daughters said, giving her father a quick warning look with an unspoken, ‘Right, Dad?’

In my own defense, it’s not that I never planned to redecorate again. Tom and I have already spent 32 years in this house, and my guess is we will spend the next 30 years here, too. My plan has always been to redecorate right before we put the house on the market to go to the nursing home—in the year 2039 or so—to kind of spruce it up a bit for potential buyers.

So now that the intervention is over and we’ve repainted and recarpeted half of the house, I have to admit that it’s an improvement. However, now the other half of the house definitely looks slum-like in comparison. So I suppose there’ll be a second intervention, more paint chips, another heart-stopping carpet estimate . . . which will lead to a third intervention for the outdated siding and the leaky windows, etc.

It’s enough to drive a person to drink—but I suppose that’s just inviting another intervention.

Thursday, July 23, 2009


For over a month, I haven’t written in this blog. (Many thanks to the three people who expressed concern over my rumored illness or death.)

Today, I decided to try unclogging the drain in my brain by writing something—anything—on this blog. Wikipedia describes writer’s block as “a condition . . . in which an author loses the ability to produce new work” and offers several causes for writer’s block: creative problems, running out of inspiration, physical illness, depression, the end of a relationship, financial pressures, or a sense of failure.

Whoa, heavy stuff—but my life isn’t nearly that dramatic.

The following were the activities I engaged in instead of blogging (anticlimactic—nothing as spectacular as Wikipedia would lead you to believe):



Cleaning up after redecorating

Entering Stage 8 of my retirement: Laziness

Aging (which requires a surprising amount of energy)

Walking 2 to 4 Miles a Day

And finally, a deep weariness with the thoughts that go on—or fail to go on—inside my head.

So get out the Drano and uncoil the sewer snake. We’re going in to the clogged recesses of my mind. The writer’s block has been there long enough.