July 7th (or maybe July 8th, it could be after midnight)
I’m sitting outside in the heat and neglect ravished garden writing this with pen and paper. It’s a night to make 72F past midnight feel like watermelon on ice.
The last time I blogged, I was trying to make my mailman happy. I may have succeeded. But here we are again, trying to make the mailman happy. HMOKeefe and the mailbox had a lover’s quarrel. He wielded a U-Haul and the mailbox stood silent, but not firm. After sprawling on the ground for several days in the debris of unwanted catalogs and carpet cleaning advertisements, the monster mailbox was tossed into the rental dumpster.
Boston Boy spent most of the day installing a new mailbox using some New England method that bears no resemblance to how anybody I know has ever installed a mailbox. It’s not going well. I say, “Um, you’re trying to pound that thing into bedrock,” and he says, “I did this in Massachusetts” and then I don’t say, “What part of any of this reminds you of Massachusetts?” But it’s been 3 weeks without a mailbox and another day or 300 doesn’t matter. I’m not the mail junkie. The new post is sprawled in the driveway, exhausted but victorious against insertion into bedrock.
Oh, yes, rental dumpster. It’s been exciting times around the old barn and, really, if you’ve never rented a dumpster, do so. Before things got worse, I had a lot of fun running around like June Cleaver on crack de-junking the house.
I am too damn old for all the excitement of the past several months.
In no particular order, I offer up the following as a sort of “What I did on my summer vacation” essay.
1. The Derecho.
2. Three downed trees.
3. 6 nights and 5 days (and counting) of no power
4. Heat index between 105 and 115
5. The pied-à-terre abandoned (hence the Uhaul).
6. Mushrooms growing on my carpet.
7. New subfloor
8. Termites, carpenter ants, squirrels and a possum, all in the house, and all evicted.
9. Rotten bookcases.
10. 105 linear feet of homeless books PLUS HMO’Keefe’s.
11. Moldy drywall.
12. Packed the entire first floor of the barn.
13. New HVAC.
14. Chose new flooring, paint, and more paint.
15. Sanded drywall.
16. Acquired my first extension ladder.
17. New solid bottom (doesn’t that sound sort of risqué?) dishwasher to protect the as-of-yet-uninstalled new flooring.
18. Burl the Handyman Extraordinaire retired. Found Shorty, the Whirling Dervish Handyman.
19. Sheer, unceasing, unspeakable chaos at work.
20. Flunked the mammogram. Passed on the 3rd try.
21. More indignities of old age.
22. Even more.
23. Still yet more.
24. Filled the dumpster (and then some).
25. This is only a partial list. I’m leaving out 26 through 147, but each and every one of them hold promise of a good story when I get to the point where I can laugh.I got a wee bit drunk last night. It was my only hope for sleep. I’ll never sleep tonight. It is, literally, 94F in the bedroom and the entire first floor is a construction zone. The only furniture available for human bodies are the wooden kitchen chairs. The idea of wine as a sleep aid is revolting and I’ve been mainlining water so I’ll pee every 30 seconds all night. Might as well just sit here.
AH DAMN. I JUST SWALLOWED A BEETLE.
After the Derecho slammer jammed West Virginia, 85% of the state lost power last Friday, including me. I woke Saturday morning to air conditioned comfort much to my astonishment. That astonishment grew as I learned about the Derecho, the state of emergency, the suffering that hurricane force winds during temps in excess of 100 can provoke. For those of you as ignorant of this weather phenomenon as I was, a Derecho is either Spanish or Sioux for Straight Arrow (different sources different origins). It’s a hurricane force wind that arrives with no warning and travels a great distance in a very short period of time wreaking havoc. This one started in the upper Midwest and didn’t stop until it knocked D.C off the grid. In 10 hours.
I routinely lose power. If a cloud somewhere sneezes, my power goes out. How did I get lucky? I don’t know. But I lost power in the second storm on Tuesday and here I sit, swallowing water and beetles.
Boston Boy is resolved to sleep out here tonight. If he succeeds, we’ll be at the E.R. tomorrow tending to potential Lyme Disease and 3rd degree mosquito bites.
The IPhone is keeping me sane. I switch between Facebook, the APCO website and email. One thing led to another and I found Charlene on Facebook today. By the time she accepted my friend request, the battery was dead. So the phone is on the car charger and I’m losing the battle against the bugs. The nifty new lantern which was the last non-electric source of light available for purchase in the state of West Virginia is attracting June bugs who subsequently explode like tiny, wet fireworks when they get too close to the flame. (Yes, it’s gruesome, but there are that many fewer for me to swallow.
It’s a dandy lantern – 1500 lumens with an electronic ignition. If it just had wi-fi, I’d be all set.
Besides every hotel being full to bursting with tree trimmers, power workers and the heat-tortured citizenry, we’re not in a hotel tonight for fiscally prudent reasons. Nor were we last night, but we were Thursday night because otherwise I was going to end up in either prison or the psych ward. But the, “Gee! Let’s put in new flooring” torture and massacre of every penny and more in the budget has the checkbook keening loudly, although not loud enough to drown out the neighbors’ three, yes three, generators. I hate the sound. Hate it. It sounds like a stampeding herd of semi-trucks. I just know the neighbors are over there wearing sweaters and surfing the Internet while sipping something frothy with lots of ice.
[Connie looks forlornly at the 2” of dirty water in the bottom of the cooler.]
So, it seems I’ve blogged again.
It’s now Sunday evening, about 10 p.m. I’ve had power since shortly before 2 p.m. Of course, another storm arrived shortly thereafter which is wreaking havoc. Thus far, the power is on having only flickered once or twice. I have the AC cranked. I’m going to get this house freezing so if we lose power, and I expect to, we’ll have some spare cool air. However, the heat has broken. It’s a good 30 degrees cooler outside than it was this time last night. I expect to sleep well tonight. Last night I prowled Walmart after writing the above. Heat-induced insomnia is a terrible thing. I did manage a few hours of restless half-awake-half-asleep-all-miserable time in the bed. I did persuade HMO’Keefe to sleep indoors last night so no hospital adventures for us today.
Sleep well, y’all. And try to find contentment in chaos.