Friday, January 30, 2009
When I saw the extent of this storm I wanted to stay in the house for the rest of the winter. The thought of digging my car out again overwhelmed me. Nevertheless, once I accepted the inevitability of my plight, I dressed in layers of clothes, grabbed the shovel, and set to it. When I hit the snow with my shovel, it just bounced off. The top layer was a good three inches or more of solid ice. I had to hack away at it with my garden rake to crack it, then jump on it to dislodge the block I had made. I couldn't lift the ice with my shovel, so picked up each one and threw it to the side. There was snow underneath, and with what strength I had left, I cleared a path for the car.
That was the easy part, as it turned out. After the car was out, I crept along the side of the house to take food to the chickens. When I got there, I saw that their water had frozen solid. I have a heater under the container, so I was puzzled and distraught, wondering how much a new one would costan where I would find one. Then it dawned on me that their light was out, too. It had to be that the electricity was out. I remembered that the day before a man had come to clean the furnace. He had to pound the ice and snow off the bulkhead to get into the cellar. The electricity for the chicken house comes from the outlet in the cellar, through two long extension cords threaded through a hole in the side of the bulkhead. The man must have somehow unplugged the whole business and not put it back.
Now, imagine me for the rest of the afternoon (3 1/2 hours) smashing ice off the bulkhead door. I knew that somehow I had to get it open, but it was frozen under a huge drift that completely engulfed it. I couldn't even see where it met the ground. At times I was on my stomach with a screwdriver trying to chip the ice. At other times I was pounding the mound of ice with the shovel, the hoe, and the rake, which wasn't equal to the task and broke. Eventually I learned that the best tool was the claw end of the hammer. Once I had chipped away enough to get the hoe under the door, I used it as a pry bar. Each time I was able to dislodge about three inches of ice. It was an anti-climax once I got into the cellar, walked over to the outlet, and plugged in the extension cord, which was lying on the floor beside it.
On the way out, I dropped the door on my foot.
Friday, January 23, 2009
When I came home from Bangor the other day I could see Benny looking out the front window. I knew he was on the table I had set up for my puzzle. My heart sank, knowing what must have happened . Sure enough, my half-done puzzle was all over the floor, broken almost completely apart and the pieces all over the room. Benny was still on the table, afraid to jump down because of the height and instability. I swept up the piees and put them back on the table, but I wonder if I have the heart to start again. Many of the pieces have most likely escaped the broom or were eaten by Patrick and Lytton, so there is no hope that it will be complete.
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Obama had his hand on the Bible used at the swearing in of Abraham Lincoln, who freed the slaves...... a poignant reminder of how far America had come, to chose a black man as president.
David and Thom had invited people to watch the proceedings on their big TV and the atmosphere was festive and happy. We drank champagne and snacked as we wandered in and out of the living room. When the ceremony began, though, we all sat with our eyes glued to the screen. We were part of the millions of people who had gone to Washington, standing when they stood, applauding when they applauded.
The last time I felt so moved and proud of America was in 1962 when John Kennedy was elected president. Since then resignation and pessimistic apathy have gradually taken over my political thoughts and feelings. I have become sullen and critical, cynical, even ashamed of our government, our country. Now, as somebody quoted at our celebration, we know longer need "to pretend to be Canadian."
No matter what happens now, it's nice to experience a resurgence of hope and pride.
Monday, January 12, 2009
I got a new puzzle for Christmas from Diana. I set up the old gate leg table in the living room. Off and on I have been working on it, trying not to become addicted. Nevertheless, it turned out that there were too few hours of daylight to satisfy even my limited time allotment. Artificial light makes it hard to distinguish small variances in color, which the practised puzzle aficiado knows is absolutely necessary.
So I decided to move the furniture around in the living room so that I could put the table in front of the bay window. That way I could extract as much light out of the day as possible. This old table belonged to my mother's mother, and was never any prize to begin with. One of the leaves had snapped in two during my last move and I had glued it together. As I started to pull the table into position, the glue let go and part of the leaf fell to the floor. About a third of the puzzle, most of it assembled, went with it.
Irritated but not discouraged, I picked up the pieces and placed them back on the table. I glued the piece of wood back in place and set about replacing the pieces that had come apart. Forgetting everything but the task ahead, I leaned on the table, breaking the new seal and spilling the puzzle again.
Duct Tape was my next idea, but that didn't work. I knew that I could nail the broken board in place with strips of wood, but I would have to turn the table upside down. That meant moving the puzzle. Finally, I decided that it had to be done, so I scooped up the pieces with a piece of paper, trying to keep at least some of them together. I put them on a piece of masonite I had in the studio.
The search for wood proved unsuccessful, so I ripped one of the stretcher strips off one of my canvases and sawed it into small lengths with my wonderful little hand saw, nailed them in place, and the table was fixed. I even thought not to put the supports in the way of the gatelegs as they swing out. With the table repaired, I continued to rearrange the room until everything was in place. I put the wrecked puzzle in its new place (including the masonite backing in case I have to move it again) and now have spent a few hours re-doing what I had done. It's amazing that it is no easier the second time.
Saturday, January 10, 2009
Thursday, January 01, 2009
The new year started out cold and windy, but the dogs and I were not deterred from our morning walk. The water looked quite turbulent, with its miniature whitecaps making a hasty beeline for downtown. I don't recall ever seeing the water moving so fast. It seems impossible, but I look at the ocean and never remember seeing it the same way twice.
When I lived in my house on Eagle St there was a huge double sliding door across from the couch, going out to the deck. There was nothing but lawn between the deck and the water. I spent hours just watching, and never tired of it. There was infinite variety, and it changed so quickly that if I left my post for even a minute, I knew I had missed something that would never happen again.