Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Big TVs and Other News

I am writing with my toes spread wide:  I have just painted the nails electric blue.  Why I have bothered to do this, when bar-toe season is over in Utah, I don't know.  I have peeled off my tights as well, so my legs are chilly and feel exposed.

A front blew in overnight. Just yesterday Chuck was stuffing autumn leaves down my pants; but I woke to about 1/2 inchof snow on the ground.  My morning walk to the mailbox soaked my hair and froze my breath.  Chuck kindled a fire in the cook stove and made oatmeal for us both.  After supper this evening, we took our wine glasses and strolled around the darkening neighborhood, switching our glasses from hand to hand when the stems made our fingers numb.

At the moment, I have a headache, and am drinking a big mug of tea, trying to convince my head that it is just due to dehydration.  Well, and crying, because we watched The Descendants and I balled through large parts of it.  Because of where I am in my life, it was odd to watch this husband making end-of-life choices on his wife's behalf.  Simon and I were married for 19 years; so we talked about what we wanted if we became sick, we had lined up guardianship for the kids, all that stuff.  Tonight, I looked over at Chuck while we were watching the movie and thought, "It's not going to be me and Simon at the end, after all:  it's going to be.... me and Chuck." It was the first time I had looked to the future in that way.

I had a good day at work, although my schedule got a bit pinched in the afternoon.  I was supposed to be at a meeting off-site at 3:00 PM; and I was just buttoning my coat when one of the childcare staff showed up at my office.  She reminded me of a conversation we had had the day before?  About the two TV /  DVDs she was able to get donated to the school from a company that had phased them out?  Yes, we had talked about it; and she had asked, could we have one over at the church building where we hold our Family Literacy classes, and another here at the school?  She was thinking, "Show movies to the children."  I look askance at that, but I thought they would come in handy for showing a DVD to a group of students.  Faster than a laptop and speakers - just plop this little portable TV / DVD on the table and away you go!

Yesterday, she had outlined the shape and size with her hands, and I planned which of our cupboards we would keep in in.  We have almost no storage at Guadalupe, so everything has to be considered, even when accepting a little portable TV. 

Anyway, just before I headed out the door, she arrived and told me that the TVs were here!  She had her mini-van; and her husband had his pickup truck.  Huh. Quite a production for a couple of portable TVs, but OK.  Here's the cupboard where we should put one of them; and the other can go in the cupboard over at the church.  She smiled at the cupboard. 
"It's not gonna fit."
"Oh.  Well, I could make space on this slightly larger shelf..." 
"Still not gonna fit". 
"Maybe I had better look at these TVs."

Holy shit.  They are huge.  Behemoths.  One has a cart that it is meant to roll on.  They are too heavy to move without two people.   I was totally at a loss.  I asked them to take one TV and the cart over to the church, where we just might be able to push it into a corner and hope the priest doesn't notice and chew me out.  The other one?  No idea.  We do have a storage garage....  I went to the business office to ask for the key. 
"I just need a place where I can keep it until I can get a cart for it, and then we can roll it into the building when we want to..."
"No.  You may not keep that giant TV.  There is no spare room.  It is big and old.  It will sit in teh garage while you try to find a cart for it, and we will end up throwing it out the next time we clean the garage.  You can show DVDs on a laptop.  The answer is, 'No'."

"But Andrea is offering them to the school and I don't want to hurt her feelings..."

The answer was no. 

Now, if I sound mad at the business office, I'm not.  They are absolutely right.  What I thought I was accepting was the size of a breadbox, not a VW Combi Van.  It was a bit awkward to tell Andrea, though.

Needless to say, I was profoundly late for my meeting.

I am a bit stressed, thinking about the next few days.  Tomorrow, there is a volunteer intensive training workshop. I have done this training many times, but we have made some changes to it.  I know what the changes are, but I haven't actually written it, yet.  Then, on Friday, I have to conduct another training, all day.  Saturday there is a Halloween dance, and I do not have my costume ready.  I want to be  a cave girl.  I am looking for chicken bones to put in my hair, and I have a press-on tattoo depicting a bison.  And a spear.  I need fur, though. I cannot believe that Chuck and I threw away a big, moth-eaten chunk of fur only a month or so ago.  Bummer.  Anybody out there got a random hunk of fur hanging around? 

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Thursday, October 18, 2012

One Day in October

I’m trying to get my writing voice back.  I have had trouble writing anything that I like ever since my divorce.  Once a month, I’m just going to record a day as it happens, in an effort to teach myself to pay attention to what’s happening around me.  Will this work?


7:00 – One of my favorite times of the day is right after I wake up.  I take the 5 minute walk down the road to our mailbox to get the mail and the morning paper.  We love to eat breakfast together; to drink a cup of tea and talk about the news.  I eat my honey-nut Cheerois, and then I am off to the dentist. When I was about 6 years old, I chipped my newly emerged front tooth on a piece of playground equipment.  It has been repaired for many years, so imagine my shock a couple weeks ago when I woke up and looked in the mirror to find my six-year-old self looking back at me.  Shiiiiiiiit!  Chuck came to find out what I was swearing about and could not resist a smile.  “It’s not funny!  Look at me!”  “I love your chipped front tooth!”  That’s how he is.

8:15- I drive out of Little Cottonwood Canyon and into sunshine.  About this time in the fall, Chuck tells me, the sun will no longer reach his house; and it will not be seen coming in the windows again until mid-February.  The Canyon walls are steep.

8:30- I visit the office of Dr. Russell, my very warm and personable dentist.  I visit with his hygienist, who is getting up at 4:30 in the morning these days to go to Boot Camp fitness training.  She will be in the Miss Utah pageant in a couple of weeks.  She is about 19 and looks flawless to me, but she says she needs more muscle.  They fix my tooth and I listen to her explain the world of $500 evening gowns.  This time, hers will be black – her pageant director picked it out for her because of its contrast with her blonde hair.  Not her favorite choice.

9:30- After much filing and fitting, I have an even smile again.  Because I have a meeting at noon in this part of town, it is pointless to go to the school.  I go home (smiling in the rear-view mirror as I go) to do a few chores:  make the beds; wash up the breakfast dishes.  Then I take a little time in the yard, my happy place.  I have enough time to plant some bulbs, mix some compost-maker-stuff into my compost box, surround my new lilac bush with chips from the wood pile.  Chuck borrows my car to go to the hardware store.  When he comes back he reminds me:  only 15 minutes until I have to leave.

I change clothes into something appropriately corporate (Don’t get too excited – even my most ball-busting outfit is…uh…not very ball-busting.  The red jacket with the big, padded shoulders?  I don’t own one.)

11:40- I drive over to the new Worker’s Compensation Fund building in Sandy.  The address I have been given is not correct.  I call one of my colleagues for specifics.

12:00- Meeting of the Executive Committee of our school’s Board of Directors.  I have been asked to come so I can fill them in on the Adult Education program:  how the past year was; problems that I need to solve; goals for the coming year. The meeting is at times tense. I have disagreements with the way our budgeting process was handled last spring.  My boss clearly does not want to be having this dialogue in this setting.  She is probably mad at me, now.  That is bad.  I got a chicken salad sandwich and a bowl of pea soup out of it.  That’s good.  And a cookie.  Even better.  Almost worth it.

1:00- I exit the meeting, gratefully, when my turn is finished.  I drive downtown to Guadalupe School.

1:30- I get to work.  Yesterday, when I was planning this day, I thought I had yet another meeting, up at the university.  I mentioned that I might not actually come in to the office, because I would be zooming from meeting to meeting all day.  The afternoon meeting was cancelled, though.  When I walked into the office, one of the newer members of staff exclaimed, “Hi!  I thought you were taking today off!”  Two more veteran members of staff, including one who is not well-disposed toward me, both pricked up their ears.  Ooooh.  Is Kate taking a day off in the middle of the week?  Is she being lazy?  I had to state (for the record) that there is a difference between taking the day off and not making it into the office. 

However, here I am.  I send a bunch of e-mails.  I put together enrollment reports for the two programs that are currently accepting new students (Here’s how many students you have, here are the ones with missing pieces of paperwork, here are the ones who still need to take tests, here’s how many children were in the childcare last night, etc…).

I call the Catholic church next door.  We always rent their hall, which gets more and more expensive every year, it seems.  Last year, I was shocked when the price went from $100 to $200.  But I found the money and put $200 in this year’s budget.  So, when the priest’s secretary told me that this year, the hall rental would be $535 (!!!!!!), I about hyperventilated.  She went to talk to Father and pleaded my case (always keep secretaries and cooks on your side).  Today she delivered the good news:  $285.  I’ll still have to find $85, but I am in a better place.

I took a moment to change my address for the purposes of voting.  No problem, except that I have to deliver the registration form to the County Clerk’s Office in person within the next few days if I want to vote in this election. Booger.

4:15-   I am ready to go home.  Lately, home is where I want to be.  Home is the place where I have forgotten the shopping list.  I call Chuck and ask him if he is near the fridge door.  He reads me the list and I leave work.

To Smith’s.  Honey crisp apples, salad fixings, a couple of those long lighters for the cook stove, beer, oatmeal, cornflakes.

5:20- Home sweet home.  I unpack the groceries and change into my running clothes.  I ask Chuck if he wants to go with me. Hmmmm…No, but yes.  He puts on his running shoes. It is nippy out.  My fingers chill.  We do a trail run on the Granite Quarry Trail, and then the Little Cottonwood Trail for about 45 minutes.  The trail is steep and rocky.  Every week, I do this run with the goal of getting as far up the trail as I did the time before, then an additional 60 paces.  I was strong until the last few hundred yards.  The trail got really steep and I did my stint, but with that lungs-ripped-out feeling. 


6:15- it is starting to get dark when we get back to the house.  I put on water for pasta and Chuck kindles a fire in the cook stove. I jump in the shower to thaw out.  I wash my hair and shave my legs.  After a bit, Chuck arrives with a glass of white wine for me, which he balances on the window sill.  “Are you a prune, yet?”  I trade places with him and get dressed.  Supper is simple tonight:  pasta with the pesto I made last week, and salad.  We get Scarlett out of her cage and let her hang out with us while we eat.  She perches on Chuck’s shoulder for a while, but is attracted to the pasta.  She makes her way down, down, down his arm and begins tossing his dinner out of the bowl.  “Hey, learn some manners, bird!”  I give her some of her own pasta on a little plate.  She is very orderly – removes each noodle and lays it out on the table before consuming it an inch as a time.  After supper, Chuck does the dishes and I clean up the kitchen.  I want dessert, but there isn’t anything.  To Smith’s for ice cream?  OR to Dairy Queen for ice cream???  Finally, we decide to make cocoa and put Bailey’s in it.  Chuck settles down to watch a rugby match on YouTube and I look at the paper for a little while.

I scrub out the kitchen sinks and clean the gunk off the dish drainer.  I survey the pantry.  It’s a mess:  everything thrown in there higgledy-piggledly when we first moved in, and not yet changed.  I start organizing it, putting like with like and discovering that my disorganization has resulted in the purchase of multiple bottles of vinegar and jars of chicken bouillon; and somehow we have become the proprietors of 7 bottles of hot sauce.  Chuck does not disapprove of the hot sauce, though.  In his opinion you need a lot of different kinds:  some moments call for Tabasco. Come for Chulula, some for Tapatio. I wash walls in the pantry, too.  Chuck calls this “burning sage”.  I find myself wondering if I will finally feel that this is my home, not “Henrietta’s”, after I have cleaned the whole place from top to bottom?

10:00- I get my shit together for the morning and Chuck proposes a soak in the hot tub.  We retire to the back yard with another cocoa (for him) and a whiskey (for me).  We hang out talking in the hot tub for a long time.  This is partly because we are having a talk about our relationship and our future and partly because it is chilly out there and I don’t want to get out!  I finally make a run for it and dash to the house and almost directly to bed.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Screwing up Six Word Saturday

Hey, Six Word Saturday folks!  Did I do it right?  I don't think so, because my link in the sidebar is wrong; but it seems to work at the other end.  Advice?

Six Word Saturday

Autumn Saturday.  Perfect for Cross Country.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Amityville Horror

The scene with all the swarms of buzzing flies?  That's Chuck's house at the moment.  He says it always happens this time of year, and has hung fly-paper at all the windows.  I don't mind too much, but I did have to fish four of them out of my bathwater this evening. 

Monday, October 8, 2012

September Ends in Pictures

 The last day of September dawned a little stressfully for me, because I had had a party the night before, and said drunkenly stupidly before I fell into bed, "Book Club tomorrow morning?  No problem!  I'll get up early!"  And so I did, to face all those things you find after a party:  black guacamole; burned out candles; five opened bags of tortilla chips; baskets half-full of crostini; etc...
 Let's shed a little light on the topic...
 While cleaning up, I'll just knock together an Herbed Ricotta Tart.
 Shove the tortilla chip bags out of the way and get choppin'.
 Get the oven lit and a flame going.

 NOW what time is it?!  NOW what time is it?!
 Almost ready...
 Drum roll...
 Made it!
 Lots of possible choices for next meeting.  I chose "The Night Circus", which I have been wanting to read.
 Time for some housework.

 Scarlett come out to play while I was working in the kitchen.  Turns out she likes coffee. 

 Shall I show off my guy's genius?  Look how he used this corrugated steel to make indirect lighting in the kitchen. 
 The Monday / Wednesday night Adult Education program starts tomorrow.  Last minute phone calls to folks I haven't been able to contact, yet. 
 Leftover banana bread!  A big reason that I love hosting Book Club.
 Scarlett loves to tear the woodpile apart while I read the Sunday paper.

 Shall I flop on the bed and take a nap?  Or shall I get out into the garden and plant garlic?

 Hi, Fatso!  He's "Henrietta's" cat, but he visits us a lot. 
 Chuck's daughter Kaitlin made this little cement doo-hickey many years ago, and I unearthed it while I was mulching.  We'll make it the centerpiece of the garlic bed. 

 Time to go pick up the kids.  We parked the cars out by the main road last night, to make more room for guests.  I will take the scenic route, so I don't have to walk in front of "Henrietta's" house.  I can feel her sticking pins into her voodoo doll when I walk by.  So I walk into the forest...  Past one of Chuck's antique barns...
 I clamber down an old bridge abutment and cross the dry creek bed (this time of year, the water is low and whatever is still flowing down the mountain has already been diverted for use by the city of Murray before it passes Chuck's house.)
 And up the Granite Quarry Trail to my car.  Which is.... A RENTAL, because I was back-ended on the freeway last week, and my little Fiat is in the shop AGAIN!!

 Dinner is leftovers from the party and Book Club.
 Paperwork for Guadalupe.

 I'm gonna read this to the kids. 
 Ooooh... I bought it for this morning, and totally forgot.  Now it looks so tasty...