Thursday, January 28, 2010

Dreary Winter Days

This has been the view from my front window for ever so long. The sun tries to burn through, but it doesn't quite make it. I have felt uninspired to do much. Since the water problems have been resolved I find myself stuck in the monotony of each day. Get up, make coffee, gather wood, build a fire and huddle on the couch with the dogs....... remote control in hand and laptop close at hand. I have one of those coffee tables that lift up and I can position it so that I can have the laptop at just the right height and the TV is at just the right angle for easy viewing. I have a notepad and the phone right there. I do have to get up to fill my coffee cup and go to the bathroom .............
I have turned into a couch potato. A big giant slug. I must confess that, although I have tried, I feel no guilt. I know that in just a few weeks I will have to steal minutes for myself. I did however grow bored with what the TV had to offer. I am bored with all the current drama surrounding the affairs of John Edwards, and Heidi's insane cosmetic surgeries. I did find the feud between Leno and O'Brien amusing and am pretty sure that the ratings went up for NBC during the froo-ha-ha. Sad to hear that Nancy Kerrigan's father died and that her brother is at fault. I am a little puzzled that the networks thought this would be a good time to rehash her skating career and her bout with anorexia. I would think the real story would be the brother and her father and what happened.
I am listening to the news as I write. A young man is on trial for the murder of his mother. He was driving around with her body in the trunk when he was pulled over for his erratic driving and had only a learner's permit. This required the police to tow the car and upon conducting an inventory of the contents they discovered the dead woman in the trunk. The defense is trying to get this "evidence" thrown out. They say the search was illegal. Our judicial system is in a sad state, much like our government..........
The other thing I have done while sitting here with a blanket on my lap is sew. I have gotten the process down to a science. The white monkeys were my first attempts and I used some socks that were on clearance for $1.00. The other monkey is one of my latest and you will note that she sports a hat. I realized that the toe of the second sock was being wasted ....... and I hate waste. While sewing up the ends of the arms and legs I decided I didn't like the way they were turning out, so I changed the process a little and started sculpting "fingers" and "toes". The original "instructions" said to hand sew the arms, ears and tail on after stuffing the body. I didn't like the way it looked and how easy a child could pick at the thread and yank these parts off, so I cut a small slit in the "butt" and one on either side of the head and sewed the ears and tail on. The arms still had to be separate, but I am using upholstery thread and sewing them at the "neck" and going all the way through one arm, through the neck and the other arm.

I have scoured the stores for socks that will be interesting. I liked the smaller pair with the teacups, but I wasn't thinking about the fact that they would be upside down, since the toe is the head and the heel is the butt. I won't make that mistake again! These are regular ladies socks and they make smaller monkeys. No buttons for eyes. I used DMC floss, all six strands and created these sort of square eyes. Not my favorite and I have decided a simple X will do nicely for the eyes.

These guys are made from men's work socks. The middle one is from socks make specifically for sock monkeys. I bought that pair about 8 years ago. I was going to make one and never did, then "lost" the socks in my sewing stuff and recently found them. This was my least favorite pair to work with. Also the most expensive pair. I like the texture of the other two and they had more stretch to them.

The last group here are made from knee socks and have wicked long limbs. I like these a lot. They have personalities. I will have them available to purchase in my camp store. I make different things every year and put them in the store. One year I did rag dolls and sold about 60 of them, so I decided to play around with my scraps and made doll clothes, too.
Everything I make usually has something to do with one of the grandchildren. I made all of them robes and nightgowns or flannel pants one year and decided to make matching robes and gowns for the girls' dolls, too. So I went a little nuts and made several dozen doll night gowns. Then decided to make more doll clothes and display those, too. My "label" is Kathy's Klothesline. So, I strung a clothesline in the store and displayed the stuff with clothespins. Too cute, huh?
A couple of years ago I was asked if the doll clothes were dog clothes. I guess you know what my next project was. I made some really cute harness and leash sets and then decided to make some handbags with dogs and cats on them. In a fit of inspiration, I labeled this "line" Doggone Cute Stuff. I have a small sewing room right next to the office/store. I sew when it is slow in the store. That is, when I am not documenting the ridiculous happenings of the park.
I have spent the last two days taking apart my sewing room and rearranging. I have refolded all my fabric and it is all zoned according to type. I put a cabinet that was previously in the store in my sewing room. It has glass doors on it and is 4 feet wide and 6 feet tall. It is holding all my calico and top weight solids. The bottom shelves have my bottom weight fabrics. Only cottons, though. I have all the knits and upholstery fabric in another cabinet with a little more space. The rest of my fabrics are stored in giant plastic bins according to type. I am thinking my couch potato days are over.............

Friday, January 22, 2010

Water Flows Freely

Running water has been restored to my world. I am squeaky clean and happy! The water was back on the same day I wrote my last post. To answer a few of the comments............ when the water is off, it is off in the entire park, so getting water from another building is off the table. The good news is that that handy-dandy valve that separates the living quarters from the rest of the park has been installed.

We have a deep well on the property that services the park. We even have a fire hydrant! The whole system enters a pump room in the main building. The main building houses the living quarters, the store, the laundry and two shower/bathrooms. When we have a leak in the park the pump will come on and go off way too often. It is fairly loud and is something that I listen for. In the past when I shut down the water, I would kill the power to the pump. This shut down the whole park...... including the main building. That has now been solved with that handy-dandy valve!!! I know, I know. You are all wondering what took so long for love of my life to install it. Me, too. He is the ultimate procrastinator and prefers to do these things under as much pressure as possible. Drives me crazy, but after 35 years, what can you do?

The weather is affecting my arthritis. Mainly my thumbs and one finger making it hard to type. Well, I don't know that you would call what I do typing, but I have been in a good amount of pain lately and the wrong movement will remind me to stop what I am doing. So I am mostly reading lately and catching up on things around the house. Supposed to be in the 50's tomorrow and raining. Even the firewood under shelter is so damp it doesn't want to burn.............. But I have water. Hot and cold running water. Life is good. Watching the news coverage of the earthquake is enough to make all of thankful for what we have. Yes, my life is very good.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Running Water.......

With the higher temps comes ........... leaking pipes. The pipes that froze and burst have now thawed. Happens a couple of times every year, but this last cold snap was wicked and I have been without water since yesterday morning.

I always leave my dinner dishes as a morning task. I don't mind washing dishes and I wash as I cook, but I prefer to wash the dishes in the morning because the hot water gets my hands going, loosens the joints and, well, just feels good. So, yesterday as I was washing and waiting for the coffee to brew I noticed that the water pressure was not good. It hasn't been good since the last re-routing of the pipes.

Love of my life wandered into the kitchen and I told him it was particularly bad. He did a "drive-thru". A "drive-thru" is when he climbs into his truck and drives through the park looking for signs of damage. He likes to do "drive-thru"s. This is when he smokes his vile cigarettes and ponders his lot in life. I can gauge the extent of the problem by how quickly he returns.

Yesterday's "drive-thru" prompted the dreaded phone call that instructs me to turn off the water. He was scheduled to work at 10 AM, so he attempts to fix the problem before he leaves and fails. He only has to work 4 hours, so off he goes, saying that he will re-route a cut-off, so that when this happens in the future I won't have to be without water in the house. You are all thinking what a wonderful idea this is and that he is on top of it...........

He bought all the stuff involved in this endeavor while we were in the throws of the insane cold snap. He cluttered the utility room with long and short pieces of pvc pipe and little cans of that smelly purple solvent that seals the pipes together and various odd shaped "joints" of connectors. Several times on days that he was off his wife suggested that it might be an opportune time to install this new handy-dandy cut-off valve. More than once I did this. He always had an excuse to not do it. He didn't do it.

I was a little perturbed as he left for work. I couldn't finish the dishes, I couldn't shower. Without water you can't flush either. Okay, four hours is not so bad. My BFF was here and even though we couldn't shower, we brushed our teeth, using chilled bottled water (very bracing) and thanked our lucky stars that I had brewed coffee before telling the man about the water pressure. We dressed and went into town. Not only could we leisurely shop, but we made sure to take advantage of the bathroom facilities before returning to the house with no running water. We stayed gone the entire 4 hours and didn't come back until he who plumbs was back from work. We were even wise enough to purchase a gallon of water to bring home.

He who plumbs decided that he should install that handy-dandy valve yesterday. I was ensconced in my sewing room doing a little hem job for Deb, while she was on the computer working her magic with getting our website out there even more. It was her turn to cook, I cooked last night (we play so well together). Using our minimal amount of water we put the tea kettle on and she put together a feast involving stuffed peppers. We stayed clear of the plumber, as things were not going well in the utility room.

As the smell of the nasty purple stuff permeated the air I began to anticipate the convenience of running water ................. I heard the pump come on with a loud snap and then I heard the water gushing from the pipe. I saw the water heading into the kitchen as the built up water pressure subsided. He who plumbs was unhappy and said some words while Deb and I laid low. When he disappeared again, Deb chastised me for laughing! Did she want me to cry? Of course we all know what happens when older women drink hot tea and then laugh .......... had to pee. No flush! I seriously considered grabbing a bucket and going out to gather some snow in the woods so that I would have some flushing ability after it melted.

We bought a cabin in Wisconsin when we lived in Minnesota. That is what Minnesotans do, they like to go "up north" to relax. The only reason I mention this is because the cabin came furnished right down to the "art". The decor was definitely backwoods with jigsaw puzzles glued to cardboard and nailed to the walls. The bathroom came complete with a plaque over the toilet which read "if it's yellow, let it mellow; if it's brown, flush it down". Little did I know that I would have to live by this credo in the future. After another attempt at the pipe sealing and another gush of water we convinced the plumber to eat dinner and give it a rest (hey, we were hungry).

So we ate and Deb went home to where the water flows freely and my plumber made one last attempt. He tells me to shower quick as he has just a trickle leaking and that he will have to go get more supplies come morning. Instead of a shower I grab a big bucket and fill it with water while also filling all the empty vessels I can locate. After flushing the toilet I tell him to turn it off for the night. I was even clever enough to fill jugs of warm water to wash our hands in and brush our teeth.

That was yesterday. It is now noon. He who plumbs has to go to work at two thirty. He who plumbs could use a shower and so could I. Unfortunately that isn't possible right now and as much as I want to be optimistic ................. it doesn't look too promising. I prefer not to observe the progress (or lack thereof) and hope to be pleasantly surprised. If I thought it was inconvenient to not have hot water, well, was I in for an epiphany! As I sit here and wonder what I should be doing instead of reading blogs I am cruelly reminded of all the things I do every day that involve running water. I can't wash dishes, do laundry, mop floors (well, that got done last night, actually, more than once, too) and so many other things that we take for granted every day.

I suppose it could be worse, though. I have a cooler full of bottled drinking water. I have a bucket of flushing water. I have a fire to warm my toes and I have electricity to shed light on my computer screen. Most importantly I have wi-fi! The TV works and I can watch HGTV and try to hone some plumbing skills of my own! There are still plenty of household chores I can do and I can sew. I am thankful for what I do have. I am thankful that my husband can rise to the occasion and eventually fix things. I am thankful for my sense of humor that keeps me going even when I want to cry. I am thankful for the land of blog into which I can escape for a few minutes every day.

I will be so thankful for water that flows with the turn of a lever.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Ping Pong Balls

Remember "All In The Family"? So politically incorrect, but you couldn't help but laugh at Archie Bunker. As the show went on and Archie had a grandson named Joey, I remember that the show was so popular that a baby doll named Joey came on the market. Remember baby Joey? He was anatomically correct and even though I was all grown up with a child of my own, I wanted that doll! I was fascinated that little girls with no brothers would be privy to the anatomy of baby boys.

I was talking to my son today. He is a little perturbed with his middle daughter. They have chosen to use the correct terms for body parts and being the bright little girl that she is, she has sensed that she can use one of the words to really get under Daddy's skin. Her older sister would never even think to do this and now my son is thinking he may have made a mistake naming her body parts. I laughed at him...... it is much fun to watch your kids parenting. I am not big on giving lots of advice or disapproving of anything they do. I just really enjoy celebrating all the ups and downs with them. Easy for me to laugh, as I am not there and she didn't call me a vagina head. This one little girl of his is a character and I love her spunk. She is going to give us all a run for our money.

Made me stroll down memory lane. I wasn't as brave or enlightened as my children. I didn't tell them the correct names of certain body parts, but close enough for anyone to know what they were referring to. My sister-in-law (yeah, that one) chose the term ping-pong for her son to use when referring to his penis. Cute, but if said in public only those who knew them would know what he was referring to. I remember when the very first mall was opening in the small town we lived in. This was quite an event for this town and the rural area surrounding it. The Grand Opening Ceremonies included a helicopter dropping ping-pong balls with numbers either in or on them for a prize drawing. Everybody wanted to go and gather as many balls as they could. My nephew was really confused, though. Poor kid could probably see testicles falling from the sky in his mind's eye........

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Underwear, or Outerwear? That is the Question.

Okay......... I have water again. After the fix yesterday when I gleefully washed the dishes and was all aglow with shower anticipation...... all hell broke loose; or should I say water? I was sitting here with a nice hot cup of tea. Posted my blog and decided to treat myself to an hour of reading before I tackled the aftermath of the repair job. I heard the pump click on, then off, then on......... not good, a sign of trouble. I don't know how long it did that before I became aware of the sound. I was reading!

Now, had I been really paying close attention I would have questioned the water pressure I had while washing the dishes. True, love of my life was showering through part of this task, but the water pressure was still not good. I wondered if the re-route might have something to do with it. Meant to mention it, but I was busy packing a good meal for him to take to work. I had cooked a big pot of chili and I carefully prepared two separate servings and packed two small containers of sour cream and sharp cheddar, along with saltines. I made sure he had enough to share with his co-worker. I am wonderful, don't you think. Any way, the water pressure went unspoken.

I reluctantly rose from my gaggle of dogs and blankets and left the world of blog to do a little investigating. I saw the growing lake of water as I rounded the corner to go to the kitchen. I immediately waded into the pump room to turn off the hot water, thinking that the repair must have some how come undone. The pump was still going on and off like crazy and I was wondering if it would take a minute to calm down........ hey, I am not a plumber person! I waded back through the kitchen and headed into the store to go out the side door to the laundry room and bathrooms. My sewing room is on the side there close to the registration desk and it was flooding, too.

I knew it had to be the laundry room. I was right. The outside faucet had burst and there was water everywhere. It was dripping from under the outer wall. Laundry room drain could not keep up with the flow and it was coming under the wall into the house. I ran back in and turned the pump off and called he who plumbs. He informs me that there is nothing he can do until he gets home. Really? He was annoyed at me for telling him that our humble abode is now a wading pool?

Both mops are outside and frozen. So I just left the water to dry on it's own. This is the one time I am ecstatic that my floors are concrete with a faux finish. I crawled back into my cocoon of animals and blankets after changing into dry clothes and huddle the evening away with my laptop and TV, getting up only to stoke the fire and take the dogs out............ I NEVER GOT MY SHOWER!!!!!!!!

He who plumbs comes home and although I am longing for that shower, I take pity on the man and tell him to just go to bed and fix it in the morning. Morning arrives and surprise, surprise...... the repair will require a trip to a hardware store. Gee, wouldn't you think he would stock up on these things that he uses to cap off the pipe?

The minute the water was back on I gathered together all the layers of apparel that I would wear and rushed into the bathroom to claim my shower. I warned the man that should another break occur he should not attempt to turn that water off until I emerged from my shower!!! For the first time in almost a week my whole body was wet and soapy all at the same time! My fingers and toes and yes, even my nose was warm .......... all at the same time! I had the water so hot that my nerve endings were tingling from the scalding my skin received. I looked like I had a sunburn. It was glorious and I will never take a hot shower for granted again!

But, now the title of this post. The pipes are holding together, but, I lack confidence in them. I need to do laundry. So, I ask myself, if the pipes only hold up for one load ....... what'll be? Underwear or outerwear. I am out of long johns, so I am sporting two pairs of pants as I write. Love of my life has a pair left (he owns more underwear than me), so I think underwear. But, wait, he is almost out of socks and they are black and he will need some dark clothes washed, too. What a dilemma. Should I mix light and dark together and get enough clothes in one load to carry us through should the pipes fail us again? Or, do I wash them separately and hope for the best?

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Unique......One Of A Kind.....My Husband

Sawdust, PVC shavings and all manner of debris decorates my life today. But I can take a nice long hot shower tonight. So I will don my cleaning apparel and get started. Well, after I tell my story....
See the new water connection? Really lovely, don't you think?

As I was heating the water on the stove to wash dishes I pondered my current dilemma. I was a little miffed that I now had only cold water in the kitchen. It is a deep well and when the cold water comes into the faucet, well, it is really cold! Yesterday I had hot and cold water in the kitchen and now I only have cold water. Love of my life is attempting to reroute the water coming from the water heater. He has been at it for several hours and has to go to work soon. He has made a trip into "town" and is now looking for a part that he forgot to get. My future is not looking bright and his is definitely dim.

This is the new route the hot water will take. Right there where we can see it. Lucky for me it seems to be in the same color family as my cabinets and trim.

Now back to that pesky gaping hole in the ceiling. He who plumbs made a foray into the barn and found "a piece of cardboard big enough to cover the hole". See his footprint of mud. Nice touch.

This is so lovely...... I have no words to describe how it makes me feel......

Oh, look, I found some. "Honey, where did you get the box?" He nonchalantly answers that it is a coffin box. Nice. I know it never occurred to him to at least turn the box over and put the writing on the side next to the ceiling. I ask for too much, don't I?
I have running water, hot and cold in every faucet in my house. I am willing to bet that no one else has a box that previously held human remains on the ceiling in their dining area. Unique...... one of a kind.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Frozen Pipes

Look at that adorable face......... melts your heart, doesn't it? Wish it would melt the frozen pipes!
The frozen pipes ........... well ...... they burst. Still don't have hot water in the bathroom. Now I have no water ....... anywhere.

What I do have is a hole in the ceiling. Lovely, don't you think?

Though she is trying to comfort me, it isn't working. She is sympathetic, but she is still just lying on the couch all snug and warm next to her husband dog, Oscar. Emmy is a love, and she does bring a smile to my face ......... but what good would crying do?

Oscar and Wall-E just wish I would leave them to their nap. No help from these two.

They have stolen my place to sit and the blankets as well.

Wall-E has the grace to appear sad for my current situation. Still, he is just lying around ..... no doubt happy that no water means no bath for him.

Yep, there they are. Content with their world and the fact that my feet are so cold all I want to do is curl up on the sofa with them and disappear into the land of blog.
In the land of blog there is no need for running water, baths, toilets that flush. Just electricity and if I lose that ................. it won't be pleasant. In the land of blog I can escape from the gaping hole in the ceiling and all that it entails. The cold air coming into the already not so warm room is keeping my toes cold. In the land of blog my husband doesn't ask me to prepare food (tacos) and while the food is being prepared decide to grab a saw and cut through the PVC pipe in the ceiling adjacent to the stove .......... while the food is cooking with no lid on the pan. In the land of blog, one is not required to wonder if PVC shavings are garnishing their tacos. In the land of blog I can try to forget that I have not had a shower in three days because I am loathe to go outside to the bathhouse and take a nice hot shower only to walk through the frozen tundra to re-enter the not so warm house. In the land of blog I can vent all my frustrations.
Is this why bears hibernate? So that Mrs. Bear doesn't kill Mr. Bear for not doing some preventative maintenance when Mrs. Bear suggests it? It is hard to be mad while you are sleeping ...... I think. I have noticed some new frown lines on my face and I have been grinding my teeth in my sleep .......... Just want a nice hot shower and warm toes, that's all.

Thursday, January 7, 2010


The snow is adrift. It is hard to see in this photo, but it is almost knee-deep. Only in the drifts. You can see the ground where the wind has blown it away. I have been out twice today to gather firewood. I am trying to drag as much wood to the porch as possible before nightfall. Love of my life is at work and before he left he hauled a load up for me. I have burned it all!
This wind is a killer and I am trying to keep the chill off the house. To get to the wood pile I had to walk through some sizable drifts. I had all the outdoor gear on, just can't locate my snow boots. You guessed it, I got snow in my shoes. When I warmed up, I redressed and ventured out again with dry shoes, thinking to walk in my foot prints from before. The wind had already erased them!
This picture was taken last night as the snow began to fall. It was so still and eerily quiet. I went out without even a hat and gathered wood as the snowflakes hit my nose and face gently. It was so beautiful, as nature can be.

I woke up around 4:30 AM and took the dogs out. The fresh layer of snow was sparkling in the glow of the security light. I started to go get the camera, but wanted sleep more. When I got up at 8:00, the wind had turned vicious and drifts were piling as it blew hardy gusts.

I spent the day yesterday shrink wrapping the windows and left the faucet dripping when I went to bed. Unfortunately, love of my life turned the facet off. Swears he didn't, but he might have done it "on the accident", as my youngest used to say. Perhaps he did it after he foraged the kitchen for anything chocolate and cleaned himself up after crunching in bed, and waking me up! Cocoa Crispies are not a quiet food!

Time to gather one last load before it gets dark. There are bobcats in these woods and I am loathe to have to run from one on the snow covered icy ground. Of course, that would be funny to watch...... A hot shower would be wonderful, if we only had water in the bathroom. If only my chocolate loving husband had left the faucet alone. If only I could find my boots. If only Al Gore knew what he was talking about.......

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Too Cold To Go Out

It is too cold to go outside. I think we might have a case of cabin fever. I have been taking things apart and coming up with fun new chores for love of my life. Last weekend I decided that he should finally hook up the killer speakers to the stereo. We have only had them for about eight years. I thought it was time. He said I would have to take everything off the entertainment center. Okay. I got out the ladder and I carefully removed all my elephants and other gee-gaws, all the while dusting and cleaning.

I did my part and waited...... and waited. Then I started nagging very subtly, and when that didn't work I started nagging in earnest and not subtle at all. We had company, for heaven's sake and there were so many gee-gaws and family photos on the table we couldn't even have a meal. Finally he began. I helped him push the wires and such through and he got it hooked up.

He turned it on, put a CD on ....... country, at that. Did he let me put all the stuff away and clear the table? No. I didn't even get the ladder put away. All of a sudden the band was playing! Love of my life was a playin' the old wash board and Deb was a strummin' her guitar. The rest of us played audience and sang along.... well, I groaned a lot. Yeah, we got cabin fever. Fire up that wood stove, turn the radio on and break out the instruments. I suppose I could learn to play spoons....

Monday, January 4, 2010

Monkeying Around

My sweet granddaughter loves sock monkeys........ and I love her. While we were shopping she found these socks. So, I made some monkeys.
Knee socks work best for long legs and arms. I like the hot pink and red. I added some sculpted toes and "fingers".

The two red ones will be finding their way to Minnesota and I have 10 more in the making. It has been fun watching their personalities emerge as I sew on the faces. More fun will be seeing my granddaughters faces when they get their monkeys.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

I Watch TV........

It is in the single digits out there and doesn't fell much better in here. I have both wood stoves puffing away and I can't seem to get warm. Layers of clothes, long johns,two pairs of socks.

Speaking of socks I have spent the day creating sock monkeys. I took pictures, but can't locate the connector for the camera. I have three completed and six more in various stages of completion. I have it down to a science now.......... and I am out of socks to sew.

While sewing I have been watching Lifetime. It must be infidelity weekend. All these women spying and catching their husbands in flagrant affairs. What really makes me wonder, though, is the fact that all day long as I have had the TV on in the background as I have been sewing doing my various chores (going out into the frozen tundra and bringing in wood to stoke up my fire) is that not one of these women are watching TV! If these shows are supposed to depict a normal life, why is there never a TV on? Even on the daytime soaps, why isn't anyone watching TV? Am I the only one who watches TV while I do my chores? Just wondering.

Sleep sounds good now, so I am going to turn off the TV and go take a shower in the hottest water I can tolerate, while my comforter is in the dryer. Then I will toss more logs on the fire, crawl into bed with my comforter and dogs. There we will wait for love of my life to come home from work....... then we will turn the TV on!