a top of unit in living room.jpg

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Today I am grateful for progress. . . no matter how slow it seems.  Doing this project of having two rooms painted and new carpeting was as close to moving as I care to get in the foreseeable future.  Wow.

Everything had to come out of the hutches in the dining room and the display hutches in the living room.  The ones in the dining room were made in Indonesia and while they are beautiful, they were hand done by many different hands and are far from precise.  Drawers from one don’t fit in the spaces from the other.  Did I know this?  Nope.  Not until we tried to put them back!  Grrrr.


The guys who laid the carpet were fantastic and fast and efficient.  Too fast for my brain.  When they started putting things back I thought I was brilliant to have placed masking tape on the wood molding marking where things should go, because without the dents in the carpet how would I know?  Brilliant me.  What I didn’t do is mark which bottom went where (left or right) and which top went on which bottom.  Did you get all that?  Me neither.  It reminds me of the “Bottoms & Tops” book I read to the grandkids or me in a fitting room trying to get something to fit on both of my ends.  My bottoms and tops don’t match either.


As it stands now, one hutch is ever so slightly leaning away from the wall, too far for my comfort.  That means I can’t load them, yet, until I figure out what to do.  Getting the matches entered my mind.  If I had a magic wand I’d wave it to switch the tops to see if that makes a difference.  Bibbity-Bobbity-Boo!  But my wand is in the laundry so I’ll have to count on my brain and the brain of Himself, which is as fried as mine.  Swell.


So what did we accomplish to cause me to write about progress?  Hooking up the stereo speakers.  Ha-ha.  Sounds simple enough, doesn’t it?  I marked the baseboard for where those big living room pieces were to go, too.  But I didn’t tape the speaker wires to the sides so we could get at them.  One hutch section, decorated two days ago, had to be emptied so we could move it.  Then the big one, which we mercifully left on the gliders, had to be moved out, too.  With Himself buried at the stereo jiggling wires, I went behind the behemoth with my grabber and snatched them out, quickly taping them so they wouldn’t recoil as much as I was.


Then they were broken and needed stripping and we turned on the CD player to figure out which was right and which was left and I was forced to listen to Christmas music for an hour before I simply couldn’t take it anymore and shut that noise down!  Deck the Halls, my ass!  Fa-la-la-this!


Decorating the top of our TV unit takes a powerlift, cherry-picker, six strong men and four bottles of vodka, not necessarily in that order.  But we don’t have all those things.  It’s just us.  So imagine how great we both feel after hoisting two ladders, 9,000 pounds of pottery, two lights and a beautiful Indonesian table inlaid with tiny shells, which I wanted to use in front of the couch, but it didn’t work, over our heads for four hours.  You better read that again, slowly, if you’re as confused as I am.


Himself was awesome.  When we had things put up there, the way I thought I wanted it, I hated it!  Hated it!  It just didn’t work.  The scale was off, the form was bad and I didn’t like the shapes and height of the pottery.  We needed the table up there for balance. Everything had to be undone and I had to tell Himself.  Holy divorce.


I have never turned on the water works and bawled on purpose to get my way or get out of a jam.  I didn’t have to today anyway because I’m a raw nerve and I bawled and sobbed as I told him it was all wrong and how guilty I felt because I didn’t want him to have to start over and how it looked awful and it was okay if we didn’t finish it today because I’m exhausted and he’s old (see what I did there?) and I get it if he wants to strangle me. LONG PAUSE.  “Let’s get it done,” he said.  “Just tell me where you want stuff.”  Wow.


We got ‘er done and wanted to run some stuff to the thrift store so I turned the lights off,  except they didn’t go off with the switch like they should have.  I had thought ahead and plugged an extension cord in and put it on top of the unit before the carpet guys pushed them back, except I plugged it into the wrong power strip.  No!


More flashlights, more rug crawling, more moving furniture, more “language” and those puppies are now correct.  I turned them on and off a dozen times to check.  Yes, we are making progress.  “Slowly but Slowly,” as one of my Indonesian drivers used to say.

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a alina's decorations with pillows.jpg

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Today I am grateful for three-year-old decorating.  Our furniture came yesterday while we were babysitting for the newly turned three granddaughter.  What a hoot.  She was vibrating with excitement as we sat in a corner of the living room while the movers tore the plastic off and unleashed the new red stuff.  No, you’re not getting pictures, yet.  We have a long way to go before that will happen.  A long way!


The progress, while slow, has been steady.  We had the little one today and will have her again tomorrow, too, so she has been helping us.  Today she helped me wash off wine bottles and put them back in the rack.  We’re all set now, because the wine is close at hand and not packed up in the laundry room or basement.  Whew.  Just in time.  I’m about to lose it if order isn’t returned soon.  Wine will help or else I’ll whine and that won’t.


Yesterday she helped me put her books and games back in the cabinet, pull some of the stuffing out of the stretched tight decorator pillows that came with the couch and rip open the packages for the new pillow covers for the bedroom pillows.  Then she  threw them on the bed.  It’s all about pillows for this kid.


When we were done with the wine rack and Himself and I were discussing our next task, she started running with pillows.  Safer than scissors so who cares?  There isn’t much in the way to trip her up at this point.  “What are you doing, Alina?” I asked, curious as she laid two pillows in front of the basement door.  “Keeping it safe,” she said.  “So no one opens the door and falls down the steps.”  I had just mentioned we should keep that door shut when she’s here.  Quick kid.  It’s scary.


But she didn’t stop there.  Soon pillow after pillow were carted to the dining room from every room in the downstairs and lined up against the wall.  “Now what are you doing?” I asked again.  Without missing a beat and not stopping for one second as she patted pillows into place, then ran to get more, she said, “I’m decorating!”


Tonight Himself asked if we should put the pillows back, but I don’t have the heart.  I hate to undo a three-year-olds-decorating project. . .especially since she’ll be here again tomorrow and will surely question me if I do!  Besides, she took ‘em out, so she’s gotta put ‘em back.  It’s good training for life.

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Sunday, April 14, 2019

Today I am grateful for emotions.  And mine are working overtime these days.  I’m weepy most of the time, even if I don’t look like it.  On the inside.  You won’t see it.  Trust me.  I’m a way better actress than I’ve ever gotten credit for.


I suppose I can attribute the water works to the fact that it feels like it is going to take forever (or weeks) to get my house back together after painting and carpeting.  While that is unsettling and frustrating, it’s nothing to shed tears over.


Or maybe it’s because I lost another friend last week.  Certainly she is worthy of a few tears.  But the last time I saw her we talked about my possibly cutting her hair again like I had done in the hospital, she cried and segued into an oration of how much horrible pain she was in and how she was all done with it.  Stroke after stroke had taken her spirit until it took her spirit.  Bless her heart.


I was padding along, busy at the task of washing glass doors, shelves, mirrors, since everything is coated with a film of dust.  I’d like to at least start out with it clean, even though I must be a horrible slob if the tops of my hutches when they were moved are any indication.  Accomplishing something is not necessarily accomplishing a lot, but every little bit pushes me towards the goal of being back in order.  It would be nice to get the pottery off the patio before I put the summer furniture out there.


I’d like to blame the fact that I finally pooped out and mini-crashed on still recovering from pneumonia, but I think it must just be age or weight gain or both or a bad attitude or laziness or Haley’s Comet or the fault of global warming.  Probably just age.


I plopped my exhausted self into my still-old recliner, found my computer and logged on to Facebook.  There was Yoyo Ma, playing Bach on his cello at the border of the US and Mexico.  I knew when I clicked on it I would bawl.  Beautiful music, played with exquisite perfection always gets me right there!


But I didn’t just bawl because of his playing, or the music choice.  I bawled because of the message of inclusion.  He read the words from the Statue of Liberty. . . “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses, yearning to breathe free. . .” and I cried.  For all of them, those beautiful souls who only want a better life without fear of death or worse.  I cried because children are separated from their parents and I can’t imagine how my own children would feel if theirs were taken from them.  How I’d feel.  I sobbed for the grandmas and grandpas and cousins and uncles and aunties who are left behind to endure.


Today, sitting at my computer, with electricity all around me. . .and no locked cage surrounding me. . .with the AC on because of the humidity and allergies, I am comfortable and content.  So what if I am also stressed and busy in my tasks to re-organize.  Those are first world problems.


My empathy and emotions go to those not as blessed as me.  As many of us.  While Yoyo Ma glides across the strings, I am honored to bawl for humanity and love. . . and pray for an end to hatred and ignorance.  That is about all my current emotions can muster.  It’s enough.

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Best Words in the English Language

Friday, April 12, 2019

Today I am grateful for the best words in the English language.  “You don’t gotta worry about a thing!” as spoken by the lead in the two-man team who are installing our carpeting.  Whew.


They said this, of course, to Himself as he was fretting through the living room trying to help and asking where they are putting things.  It’s a rookie mistake by him and I recognized it right away because he was not home when the movers came to pack us up to ship our stuff from Indonesia back to the States.


I was a rookie then, too.  This was me.  “Now I want this piece kept with this piece and then you could use this to cushion that and maybe we could put these things together so I’m able to find them easier and. . .” I rambled on and on while the kind, Indonesian man who spoke marginal English, nodded and listened to me like I was President Suharto in the flesh.


Then the crew came in.  Things started getting stuffed into every open item.  Pillows went in pottery.  Stuffed toys himself had gotten me were jammed into the china hutches.  Crates were made to suspend the larger pottery in makeshift cages with colorful rice cord.  I stood there in shock, spinning around like a genie winding out of a bottle, in a fantasy flourish of paper and Indonesian shouts.


In two hours everything we were taking was packed up and loaded into a container, ready for the long boat ride to America.  A journey a bit different than the one my grandma took with her family from Germany as a child, wearing all of her layers of clothing and carrying a small, leather grip, but profound just the same.


Himself, realizing that he is not needed here, went to run a few errands.  Good riddance.  With affection.  That way I can write in peace.  I do my best work with a lot going on around me, so the knives ripping, nails and staples being scrapped up doesn’t bother me at all.  Besides, I have the best words in the English language still ringing in my ears.  “You don’t gotta worry about a thing!”

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Crappy Recliner

IMG_7852 (Edited)

Tuesday, April 09, 2019

Today I am grateful for my crappy recliner.  It is a pretty sad day when the thrift store guys who are picking up your recliner and the chair with ottoman, refuse to take the recliner because it’s too crappy and in bad shape.  Wow.  And I sit in it every night.  In all of its crappiness.  Just crappy me in crappy it.


When my son strong armed our thrift store purchased, two-end-recliner-with-one-broken couch to the curb the other day Himself was ecstatic to see it outta here.  I held my breath, hoping it would be taken, as I was promised, by the trash hauler. Himself, my sister and I were all in the kitchen when the trash guys pulled up the next day.


We stared out that window, encouraged when the driver got out of the truck to help the other guy.  That’s a good sign, since pitching that behemoth-beast into the truck was a two-man job.  My son had already run screaming back to his house after yanking it to the curb.  That thing was HEAVY!  With a couple of loud grunts and probably a curse word or two from the trash guys (or was that me?) that sucker was soon laying in the bin like a dead whale, waiting for the hydraulic arm to come down and chop off its half broken head.  Good riddance!


Later that day, while my sister and I drove to New Jersey to visit a couple of her friends, the thrift store folk came to collect the chair, ottoman and recliner.  Himself did not want to call and tell me that they did not take the recliner.  I don’t always handle this kind of news well.  “They said it was in too bad of shape,” he said.


Okay.  But I wasn’t surprised and had even suggested they might not take it.  I had bought a cover for it after Christmas because I thought it looked crappy.  But the cover was ill-fitting and it looked even crappier.  It resembled a bad pair of plus-sized-tall-pantyhose on a petite woman, sagging and bagging everywhere, with the elastic never staying in place.  And it almost instantly started pilling, like it had un-popped zits. It felt like I was brushing over raw rice wherever my hand touched.  Guess that’s a better comparison than the zits, but not nearly as much fun to write.  Anyway, I hated it more with the cover so I took it off before they came to collect it.  Crappy.  Crappier. Crappiest.  It was its own English conjugation lesson.


The painting is almost done. The carpeting comes on Thursday.  The furniture we are getting comes on Friday.  I’m losing my mind on Saturday.  Again.  I lose it a lot.  Nothing dramatic about me.  Ha-ha. The new recliner won’t be on that truck because of the “tariffs” that have been put in place by the “thing” in the White House.  I don’t know the details and did have the energy to ask, but tariffs are causing complications.  Image how that thrills me.


Never mind.  I toyed with the idea of keeping the other recliner until I get the new one, but I don’t want it besmirching my new carpet so that crappy recliner is still going!  It can live in the garage until next Monday when it goes to the curb, gets chucked it the truck and visits the crappy couch in the Great Crappy Furniture Rejections Thrift Store in the sky.

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a cropped stoogeum pic

Friday, April 05, 2019

Today I am grateful for the Stoogeum.  What?  Never heard of it, right?  Neither had I, so it’s got to be the best kept secret in my area.  I set my sister to the task of finding something for us to do yesterday and she found this little gem during her search.


Full disclosure:  I have never been a huge fan of The Three Stooges.  Oh I watched them.  And I laughed.  And I got a kick out of the slapstick.  But it was mostly because there weren’t that many choices on TV at the time so you watched what you got.  And movies used to show them before the feature so I watched them then, too.


That said, I thoroughly enjoyed the Stoogeum, a three story, beautifully structured building, housing all things “Stooges”, including life size wax museum figures and a plethora of other memorabilia, like an equity card and tax return listing the numerous charities one of them supported.  Nice.


There is a Whack-a-Stooge game that made me grateful I had a couple of quarters on me.  Does anything feel better than bashing something with a mallet?  Not much, especially when you’re under stress because your house is torn up.  It was very cathartic.  So was sitting in the theater where Three Stooges Shows run on a loop.  Ah, laughter, the great equalizer.


There were paintings and sketches and drawings and a pinball game and video game and lunch boxes and pictures, pictures, pictures.  We got there late and spent a little too much time watching the Stooges shows in the theater, so we barely skimmed the lower section, which I’d like to do on another visit.


The staff is awesome and very accommodating.  I am not listing their hours, as per their request, because so many others have goofed them up and I don’t want to be in that “stooge” club.  Just remember that word I used. . . “accommodating”.


If you live near me and want something different to do, head to Ambler and visit the Stoogeum.  Best eight bucks (senior rate) I’ve spent in a long time!  To find out more about this best kept secret, read reviews and learn the details of visiting, please either Google them or go to

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a cake of many colors

Wednesday, April 03, 2019

Today I am grateful for a cake-of-many-colors.  Andy’s Diner, in Conshohocken really hooked us up last weekend!  With my sister visiting and through an act of God, we were able to all get together for a late lunch.  Himself and I had gone for a taste-run, loved the place.  Besides, it was reasonably close and easy for all involved to get to.  Sold.


Talk about accommodating!  When I made the reservation for mid-afternoon, Abraham told me he’d give us our own room. . .unless they absolutely needed it for other guests.  Perfect.  Then, because one of the granddaughters was close to having her 16th birthday, I decided we needed a cake.


I texted her mom to see what her favorite cake was and after copious back & forth texts, it was determined that she couldn’t decide.  Sounds like me.  I can’t pick a favorite cake myself because usually it’s whichever one is offered to me first.


Confused about how to handle it, I called my new BFF, Abraham, at Andy’s Diner and asked him if he could create a birthday cake out of pieces of many kinds of cakes.  So he did.  What fun to get to taste such a wide variety of yumminess!   The cake-of-many-colors was a huge hit!

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