Wednesday, July 30, 2008

What's In The Garage

At age 70, when we first met, my future father-in-law was all about bridge and poker, his stock club and his garden.

At age 87, when Denny and I sold everything and hit the road, it was his stock club and his beloved garden.

At age 95, it was his garden.

At age 97, he slept.

Yesterday I spent a few hours going through Dad's garage, sorting and separating everything in preparation for the house sale. And it was there that I learned of Dad's parsimonious side. Old spark plugs ready to be cleaned and re-gapped, torn bits of netting shoved into a plastic pail to be used and re-used over the lettuce to keep the rabbits at bay, sturdy tools with handles wrapped in six layers of duct tape to keep them from falling apart, buckets of gravel for who-knows-what use. Much of it will simply go to the landfill because it is too old, too worn, too dried out to be of use to anyone.

Denny's dad was a pipefitter by trade, and he has myriad bits and pieces of metal strewn around to show it. I'm finding unusual old amp meters (I'm guessing) and electrical equipment that I vaguely recognize along with huge, heavy pipe wrenches that took muscular arms to heft. If Dad didn't have a tool he wanted, he crafted one by duct taping or soldering together pieces of two disparate items that worked. If something broke, he didn't buy new, but fixed the old. A new picture of my father-in-law is forming in my mind of a hard-working man who cared little about the finer things in life but was only interested in providing for his family and saving his money for them to have after his death.

Who knew that by clearing out a garage I'd find my father-in-law?

Monday, July 28, 2008

Another One

It felt so good to be home; we were unpacked and had finished a quick lunch of ham sandwiches with freshly picked tomatoes on them and I jumped on the computer to check e-mail. Vicki was online so I IMed her to say "hey" only to be told a mutual friend of ours passed away yesterday from cancer.

I met Mike 37 years ago at the Golden Lion, a dance club in Dayton. We shared some dances and went our separate ways, only to meet up again four years later at a Knights of Columbus function. His dad was a member as was my then-father-in-law and they were recruiting a younger generation of men to join up and thus Mike and I "re-met", although I was a married woman now. More young couples joined up and we partied and danced and bowled and had a great time together and then I divorced my husband and fell away from the group.

Vicki came back into my life a couple of years ago and with her came some of the old crowd from the K of C and that included Mike. He was always a skinny guy, but this time when I saw him it was not a good skinny although he was tanned dark as a nut and looked healthy otherwise. But the healthy looking exterior hid the cancer inside which took him at last. And once again I question why this insidious disease takes the good ones, so often way, way too soon. Because we're too young for this sh*t, right?

And hey, Mike? Save me a fast one, okay?

Friday, July 25, 2008

One Thing Down, A Houseful to Go

We've found a buyer for the lawn tractor. As a matter of fact, we've had several people express interest as soon as we sold the darn thing to the first person who stopped by off the road. Denny did manage to get the tractor started after replacing the spark plug, but since it acted up on us once, we figured we'd drop the price and get it out of here. I can't set up all the tools and "stuff" in the garage for a moving sale with the tractor and trailer taking up half the space, so selling it was a good thing. Now if only finding a buyer for the house and land goes that easily....

Denny cut me a break this morning and did my lawn mowing chores so I could start preparing the food for our cookout tomorrow at Mom's house. We're going to grill "beer chicken", which is simply marinating the chicken pieces in beer for 24 hours. The beer pulls the blood from the bones and makes the chicken nice and juicy and of course the alcohol burns off during the grilling. Add a nice barbecue sauce the last few minutes and voila'; beer chicken. Denny said that with all the stuff we're going to be lugging north it would be easier just to hitch up our fifth wheel and take it all with us. I don't think so! But since we're staying for three days to get some appointments taken care of and work done around the house and even a visit or two with friends and family, we're going to be loaded for bear.

Painting-wise, we're still on the back bedroom but it's almost finished. Denny gets side-tracked with little jobs or last minutes patching/repairs so it's not going as quickly as I would like. It will be Tuesday before we get back to painting here, but we'll finish off the bedroom and start on the bathroom. We'll do better once Denny's step-mother moves down to Tennessee, because she doesn't roll out of bed until 10:30 or 11AM which puts a serious crimp in our working hours. Me, I'd be in there at 8:30 or 9 o'clock otherwise, since I'm up at 5:30.

Our first Super Fantastic variety of tomato is ripe so we're trying that on a BLT for dinner tonight. The tomatoes are still kind of small, but there's some good sandwich sized ones on the vines that should be ripe in a couple of weeks. At that point, we'll be looking to give the darn things away because 19 tomato plants are way too many for someone who no longer cans produce from the garden. After all, how many tomatoes can two people eat? (I know, Nancy, a LOT, right? Heh.)

Well, the ice is melting in my frozen margarita and that's not good. Y'all KNEW it had to be 5 o'clock SOMEWHERE, right?

Thursday, July 24, 2008


Denny decided to put his dad's old lawn tractor out in the side yard with a "for sale" sign on it. We jump-started it (bad ignition),washed it, jump-started it again, hitched it to the trailer and drove it to the side yard.

An acquaintance called in the afternoon; he was in the area and would like to see the tractor. Do you think that thing would start???? Not a chance. Our friend cleared out the fuel filter, tinkered a bit, but no go. Dang. I guess the price just dropped on the recalcitrant old thing. Sigh.

We had to tow the old tractor to the back yard with the newer JD tractor. We'll try a new set of plugs today--yet another distraction from our painting duties. Our life is just not going as planned lately.

On another note, the nausea pills prescribed for my mother seem to be working. She said she was able to eat half of the small tomato we brought up from the garden. Major milestone. Denny and I will be with her over the weekend because we're having a cookout in honor of her upcoming 75th birthday. In the middle of all that we have to pick up and install her new refrigerator and take her van in for a recall notice. Thank goodness we're retired because I can't imagine how people handle situations like this while they are still working. We are fortunate in that.

The list of things to do seems to grow longer but for the moment there's a warm cat curled in my lap, a cup of hot coffee in front of me and the early morning sun has painted the sky in the colors of a peace rose. Life is good.

Monday, July 21, 2008

We're BA-ACK!

After three hours the two satellite dish installers finally figured out our problem; we weren't communicating with our assigned satellite. So they arranged a new satellite to be assigned and voila--we are once again online. Finally.

Actually, it was good for us to get away from the Internet for a while and get back to reading a book in our free time instead of hopping online. However, at this particular time of our lives, we need to be able to go online to research medical issues and deal with probate estate issues, etc. so it's good to have the service back.

In the garden we're picking Early Girl, Better Boy and Super Fantastic tomatoes, although the Super Fantastic (my pick) isn't ripe enough to eat yet. I'm anxious to see what it tastes like since it's a new variety for us. We've got some good sized tomatoes ripening on the vine so we're happy. We're also picking lettuce and broccoli, so tonight we'll have a salad made of those two items with some bacon crumbles and some diced onions and cashews thrown in along with a dressing of mayo and vinegar. Pretty yummy on a hot, muggy summer night.

Tomorrow I'm going back up to Kettering for a post-ER visit to the doctor to have him check Mom's injured back muscles and perhaps see if we can get something prescribed for her nausea. She's not keeping any food down at all and I'm wondering at what point the fool doctor will start to show some concern about her condition. Arrggghhh.

Life was so much simpler on the road.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

A Quiet Saturday

It's been an up and down day for my mother. She's tolerating food better today than she was yesterday, but the muscle relaxants and pain medication cause severe nausea for her. I took her out to her favorite Chinese restaurant for lunch just to get us both out of the house and she's been sleeping most of the afternoon since we got home. Which means she'll be up all night. The good news is that she's able to walk a little and at times she feels good enough to smile.

Tomorrow I'm going "home" to Cinci for two days before I have to return to take Mom to the doctor for a follow up visit to check her back. I'm hoping my brother will check on her tomorrow after I leave and Monday my aunt and uncle will be stopping by for the afternoon. Beyond that, I have to play it by ear. I've filled Mom's freezer with meals, bought her a fresh can of coffee and she has her cigarettes, so she's set for a while. But I'm watching her disintegrate before my eyes and that's hard for me because she has always been so active and vibrant. Now she's just a tiny, sick old woman who only occasionally shows a spark of the woman she once was. That's what I'm having trouble dealing with at this point.

On a different note, the Hughes installer should come Monday to fix our satellite Internet system so once again there will be no Lazy Sunday post. My heart just isn't in it this week anyway.

P.S. Deana, thanks for the offer on the "It's 5 o'clock Somewhere" garden flag. I saw an even cuter one on a website and didn't bookmark it like a dummy. That one had the parrot, margaritas and a couple of Adirondack chairs on a beach. My idea of heaven, to be sure.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

It's 5 O'clock Somewhere, Right?

My dear friend Vicki and I have been looking for a decorative outdoor flag that states "It's five o'clock somewhere" that we can plant outside our respective trailers because we love cocktail hour. Today by 1:30PM I knew it had to be 5 o'clock SOMEWHERE!

It all started at the ENT's (Ear, Nose and Throat specialist) office where I had taken my mother in an attempt to figure out why she is suddenly suffering from balance problems. While there Mom suffered a coughing fit (she's a life long smoker who now has COPD) and almost fell to her knees in pain when her back spasmed. I got her home and in bed, but when she tried to get up to walk to a chair she was unable to straighten up due to the pain in her sides and back and was unable to walk. Naturally, when I called her doctor's office I discovered he was on vacation so I called an ambulance because I didn't have the strength to carry her to the car and she couldn't walk. Long story short, the x-rays showed no fractures and it was deemed a lumbar strain/sprain and Mom was sent home with pain meds and muscle relaxants.

Since we were in the middle of a garage sale, we were fortunate that my aunt and uncle were there to help us run the sale as they had to take over for us. Another aunt had come along to be a "watcher", one who keeps an eye out for thieves, so it was good that my aunt and uncle had a third set of hands to close the sale down and carry everything into the garage to lock up for me. My brother left work to sit with me at the ER since Denny was stuck in Cinci without the truck (I have it while staying with my mother) so Don was able to stay with our mother while I picked up prescriptions and something to eat that might perk up Mom's appetite, although that's a losing battle too.

So, at 6:45 after a shot of morphine and a dose of muscle relaxants my mother is down for the count and I'm hoping she'll be able to sleep for a few hours. I'm kind of wound up, so I'll go out in the garage and start sorting and separating those items we're going to donate to charity that haven't sold at the last couple of garage sales and pack away the rest for another time. A little mindless entertainment like "So You Think You Can Dance" will round out the evening and then I'll crash too.

And tomorrow is another day....

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Offline for the Rest of the Week

Finally, finally, FINALLY we were contacted by an installer so we could make arrangements to have our Hughes satellite Internet system reinstalled and checked for problems. The bad news, he can't come until next Monday. At which point it will be a full month since we've had 24 hour a day Internet access. Can you say "severe withdrawal pangs"? Sigh.

I'm in Kettering at my mother's house to assist her with her garage sale while Denny is down at his father's house where we are starting to prepare for painting the interior of the house. Denny, his sister Connie and I all believe that the interior has not been painted in the 37 years his dad and step-mother lived there, other than the one time Denny repainted the living room and kitchen area. So we have to wash all the walls and ceilings first, plus patch all the holes and cracks that have developed. It's going to be a long summer. I have volunteered to hold a moving sale for Denny's step-mother who will be moving to Tennessee next month--I'm such a masochist. We'll have plenty to keep us busy, so we'll need to remember to take some "us" time because as I said to Denny a couple of weeks ago, it's been a long time since we've had fun. I think we're due, even if it's a goofy movie at the afternoon matinee. Mindless slapstick is probably just what we need right now, as a matter of fact.

So the next few days up here will be busy and then I'll be heading back down to Cinci to rejoin the other half of the currently stationary RV Vagabonds. We'll play catch up then, okay?

In the meantime, here's our new location; parked in the back yard of Denny's dad's house with a couple of acres of his woods behind us.

Patches now has her own exterior feeding dish (KIDDING!!!!!!) She loves to watch the birds from our bedroom window and of course she is never staked out this close to the feeder normally.

I miss my little flower bed around the tree at our campsite already, but my mother-in-law does have a couple of pretty hibiscus plants nearby.

Denny's dad always told us that tomatoes ripen best at the full moon and we're due for one on the 18th. As you can see, we are going to have a couple nearly ready to pick and there's a plethora of tomatoes on all nineteen of our plants. There's no such thing as too many tomatoes, right?

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Still Offline

Although we've moved down to Cinci and we're all set up in the back yard of my father-in-law's house, we've not been able to get our system to work yet. Currently I'm online through dial up and it is too slow to deal with for my tastes, plus I'm infringing upon my mother-in-law who can't understand the concept of dial-up Internet.

Now that we're down in the area where Denny grew up I'm hearing stories from his childhood that I've not heard in the 26 years we've been together. It's been an interesting week. Tuesday I'm heading up to Kettering to my mom's house for four days while I help her with her garage sale, then it's back to Cinci to help Denny paint the house. I don't think the interior has been painted in at least a decade--we'll have to confirm that with Denny's sister. Regardless, we've got a lot of work ahead of us.

The tomato plants are chock-full of tomatoes and we're waiting to see how much they ripen after the full moon on the 18th. Sweet corn is in and we've had our first BLTs of the season and life is good, albeit very busy and filled with travel. Unfortunately it's only local travel and not exploring new places. Although I will have to learn the Cinci area now, figuring out where my favorite stores are and how to get to them.

Sometime this week an installer should get out here to see what the problem is with our satellite system and we'll be back online. Eventually there may even be Lazy Sunday pictures again, who knows?

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Touching Base

First of all, thanks to all of you who left us a kind word after Denny's father passed on. It helped.

We picked our first tomatoes two days after Dad's funeral. I'm sure he was watching and appreciates that fact that we're going to have a bumper crop this year.

Denny's step-mother will be moving to Tennessee in August to be closer to family, so Denny and I will be putting a temporary 50 amp line in down at his dad's house so we can set up our trailer there while we make all the necessary repairs for putting the house on the market. It will save us many, many miles of traveling back and forth and we'll just make one trip a week up to my mother's house to handle things there.

Our system is still not functioning and we're going to have to call in a technician to troubleshoot it as we've run out of ideas of what to do about it. So posts are still going to be few and far between because between dealing with Denny's dad and worrying about my mother's health writing the blog isn't as important to me as it once was. I'm sure that once Denny and I get into the actual physical work on his father's house I'll find taking a break to blog will be a welcome relief, but for the moment my heart isn't in it.

Right now, it's lunch time and since I'm still on soft foods due to my gum surgery I have to figure out what might be edible in Mom's refrigerator. Only six more days until I can have Marion's pizza or any of my favorite foods that I have to chew. Sigh.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...