Friday, September 28, 2012

Something Wicked

I went down to the scary basement today to turn off the breakers to the bathroom so I could put up new fixtures.  I thought while I was down there, I'd check on the decomposing rat Charlie and I left behind when we fixed the drain hose to the air conditioner.

There's just one little problem with that plan.

The dead rat is gone.

After I finished squealing, "Oh my gosh, oh my gosh, oh my gosh!" it occurred to me that there might be a reasonable explanation for the missing rat.  So I called Charlie.

"Did you pick up that dead rat out of my basement?" I asked him.

"Hell no, I didn't!  I got enough health problems as it is without pickin' up a dead rat," Charlie said.


Then something else carried away the rat carcass.

Something big enough to carry a rat.

Or big enough to eat it.

Something wicked.

Which means that someplace in my foundation, there's a hole big enough for something wicked that carries away dead rats to get inside my house.

All together now:  Ewwwwwww.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Girly Man

Charlie is home.  Actually, he came home Wednesday afternoon, but I didn't get around to blogging about it until now.  I've been busy hovering over him, checking his hand every couple of hours (I have gory pics if anyone would like to see them), and reminding him to take his antibiotics.  He's glad I went back to work last night.

I'm worried about him.  I think something might have happened to him in the hospital that turned him into a girl.

Wait.  That didn't sound right.

But seriously, y'all.  He's been acting kinda girly ever since he came home.

Wednesday night was not a good night at all.  I know this because both of us cried.  That automatically makes it a really bad night.  Sending a guy home with an open wound (the surgeon didn't stitch it up because he says it'll heal better if it's open), a bunch of antibiotics and painkillers, and a booklet about MRSA that will scare the bejeebers out of anybody can be a little overwhelming.  On top of all that, Charlie doesn't have health insurance or even sick leave at his job, so now he's got this big hospital bill and no money coming in to cover it.  So he cried.  Then I cried because he cried.  Then he told me I wasn't re-bandaging his hand right and I cried some more.  Finally we both sat on the couch with a box of Kleenex and cried it out while eating a whole bag of peanut butter cups.  You know, because that's what girls do.  Except that only one of us is a girl.  I think.

Then Thursday or Friday we had a big discussion about laundry detergent.  I mean, for like half an hour.  He's been buying the cheap kind but now he thinks he might buy the kind I use because he likes the way his clothes smell when I wash them at my house.  Besides, he says, "your soap gets my whites whiter".  Seriously.  He said that.

But what really sealed the deal about him becoming a girly-man was what happened last night.  I called him from work to check on him and he said he couldn't talk to me right then.  Why?  "Because there's a really good movie on Lifetime and I don't wanna miss it."  A really good movie on Lifetime??   I thought he was joking until he hung up so he could watch the movie.  He texted me during a commercial to tell me that "another good movie's comin on" after that one.

Who is this guy, and what has he done with my Charlie??

Wednesday, September 19, 2012


Possibly the best moment in the whole history of Twitter just occurred.

Bear with me for a bit of backstory, k?

Daniel Hudson  (DHuddy41) is a pitcher for the Arizona Diamondbacks.  He's a nice guy and one of my favorite players.  This is Daniel Hudson in action:

Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images North America

Daniel Hudson has a dog named Buckley.  This is Buckley in action:
Photo by Daniel Hudson

When Buckley's mom (aka Mrs. Daniel Hudson) bought a new couch and then announced that Buckley would not be allowed to sleep on it (that's the old couch in the photo), Buckley took to Twitter to protest, creating his own account (BuxHuddy41) with the hashtag #WemmeSweepOnDaCouch to campaign for couch privileges.  Buckley's supporters (and y'all know I support dogs on couches!) are known as the #RollAwoundSkwad and we #SwapPaws over small victories.

With me so far?  Okay.  That brings us to Tuesday night, when I was looking for something to make me laugh because, as y'all know, this has not exactly been the best week.  (By the way, Charlie had surgery Monday to remove dead tissue and infection from his hand and he's still in the hospital.  We now know he has an infection called MRSA, which you can read more about here, or you can just take my word for it that it's nasty, icky stuff which you would not wish on your worst enemy.)  Anyhow, I may or may not have posted this photo to my Twitter feed:
Photo via Emergency Cute Stuff on Twitter

Followed by this picture:
Photo via Emergency Cute Stuff on Twitter

Followed by this tweet:  "Oh my, the cuteness!  I am in danger of RT-ing everything from EmergencyPuppy!"

Enter my friend Matthew, who I adore but who is badly in need of some silliness in his life.  He's very serious and earnest.  His job somehow involves handling other people's money--I think he's an investment banker or a stockbroker or something like that--and maybe if I had to do math all day I'd be serious and earnest and ever-so-slightly cranky all the time too.

Matthew (not "Matt", not ever) tweeted me:  "Please don't."
I replied:  "But, but--that little dog doing yoga is so, well, CUTE."
And then:  "Maybe you'd prefer the cat singing a Collective Soul tune?  I have that in my arsenal too."
Matthew:  "All forms of animal cruelty as far as I am concerned."
Me:  "I'm guessing you don't follow BuxHuddy41 either...."
Matthew:  "You are correct.  Nor will I even look at it."

And then something wonderful happened.  Something marvelous.  Something that is quite possibly the best Twitter moment ever.

Buckley Hudson entered the conversation.

Oh yes, he did.

Buckley Hudson tweeted, "Fow shame.  #SomePeopowMan"


Sunday, September 16, 2012

Careful What You Wish For

Charlie came home from work early on Friday because of rain.  So early, in fact, that I was still sound asleep.  He made fun of me because I was still sleeping at 10 a.m. and I made fun of him because he says that half the day is gone by 10 a.m.  He stood by my bed and said, "Get-up-get-up-get-up-get-up!" until finally I couldn't take it anymore and I did, in fact, get up.  Grumbly and unwilling, but I did get up.  While I was eating my bowl of Lucky Charms, I said to him, "I wish sometimes that you would slow down a little bit and just take it easy instead of always workin' your butt off every day." careful what you wish for.

Later in the day on Friday, Charlie showed me a little blister on the web of his right hand.  Neither one of us thought much about it, although he did say that it hurt a bit.  Saturday when he came home from work his hand was slightly swollen.  This morning he slept in a little and I slept in a lot, since I had to work night  shift.  "Don't wake me up for anything," I said.  He threw a pillow at me.  About noon he shook me awake. "I know you said not to wake you up, but..."  He showed me his hand.  "I think I need to go to the hospital." His hand was swollen to about twice its normal size and the web of his hand was red and hot to the touch.  He said he was freezing (he must've had fever), and when he put a hoodie on over his t-shirt, I gasped when I saw the underside of his arm.  There was a red streak snaking up from his wrist, along his forearm, across the crook of his elbow, and under his arm to his armpit.

Later at the ER, when Charlie showed that to the nurse, the guy said, "Uh-oh, that is not good."  The doctor agreed, so Charlie's in the hospital now.  It's a staph infection, probably from a spider bite.  Charlie's on IV antibiotics and will be in the hospital until the infection clears up.  The doctor says he's not sure how long that will be.  In the morning they'll decide if they need to do surgery.

I wanted Charlie to take it easy for a few days...but this is not exactly what I meant when I wished for that.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Boatlift of September 11

"Average people.  They stepped up."
--Robin Jones
Engineer, Mary Gellatly

Monday, September 10, 2012

That Is The Question

To beadboard or not to beadboard?  That is the question.  You can't really see it in this crappy pic I took with my phone last night, but the walls are pretty yucky-looking in here.  Not, however, as yucky-looking as they used to be...When I bought the house, this bathroom had vinyl flooring nailed to the walls about halfway up.  Light tan vinyl flooring with a brassy-looking tack strip at the top of it.  Ugly.  I guess because whoever did the walls knew they'd be nailing ugly vinyl to it, they didn't bother to tape and mud very well on the bottom half of the walls.   (If you look just to the right of Gracie Cat, who is looking askance at the paint job in progress, you can see the line in the wall where the strip used to be.)

Because of all that, I'm thinking of putting beadboard on the walls.    I need a second opinion though.  (And a third and a fourth, and so on...)  Do y'all think it would look okay?  Or do you think it would chop up the area and make it look even smaller than it already is?  The other thing I'm thinking is that the light blue turned out lighter and more baby-blue on the walls than I thought it would, so putting white beadboard in there might make it look even more like a baby's room.

So.  Beadboard?  Or no beadboard?

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Yard of the Month

The Garden Club will be over any minute now to award me Yard of the Month.
It's a good thing Charlie mowed yesterday and I stacked up the bricks and cinder blocks so neatly.
Too bad the ladies of the Garden Club don't have any place to sit and have a nice cold glass of sweet tea...since Flint came over and took the patio out this morning.

I thought he was coming over tomorrow.  Imagine my surprise when a Bobcat showed up in my yard.  At 9:00 in the morning.  I was sound asleep until I heard the guys yelling to each other over the noise of the Bobcat.

Flint took out the sidewalk too.  The new one will line up with the back door.  This makes me exceedingly happy.
They uncovered a very old sidewalk that led from the original back door (which is now the kitchen door) to the cistern (which is now covered by a small patio).  It makes me a little sad that this will be covered back up.

In fact, a lot of this mess will be covered up with concrete when I get a new patio.  That will be sometime next week.  I think.  Unless a cement truck shows up tomorrow.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

The Serenity Prayer Bathroom

These are the things I hate about the bathroom at the back of the house:

1.  It's 4 feet wide and 11 feet long.
2.  The vinyl flooring is kinda not pretty.
3.  The vanity is ugly and falling apart.
4.  The only outlet in there is on the fixture above the vanity.
5.  There is no HVAC back there.
6.  The shower is only 32" x 32".
7.  The Dutch door at one end of it is stupid and ugly.
8.  The walls are uneven and have cracks and holes.
9.  The ceiling is ugly and now it has a leak.
10.  I painted it a horrible cobalt blue.

Of that list, there are things I can change and things I can't.  So instead of griping and bitching incessantly about it, I decided to change the things I can and stop complaining about the rest of it.  The Serenity Prayer applied to a bathroom, if you will.  Looking at that list, I guess everything on there could be changed with enough time and money.  But let's be realistic.  (For once.)

So the first thing I'm going to do is get rid of that ugly dark blue.  You can see a tiny bit of the color it's going to be in the upper left-hand corner of the photo.  A much lighter blue.  With whitish trim.

And then maybe I'll get a new vanity, a temporary one.  Heck, around here "temporary" is anywhere from six months to six years.  That seems like it might be a good idea.

And I definitely have to do something about the icky ceiling, which is covered with craptastic acoustic tile that now has a big ugly water spot on it and is bowed way out, thanks to 8 inches of rain in two days.  Charlie told me not to poke at the ceiling.  Tomorrow I think I will in fact poke at it until at least the bowed-out part is gone.  Then I'll figure out something to cover the ceiling with.

If I do those three things, then I think I can live with this bathroom for a while.  Maybe a long while.  In-progress pictures to follow.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Here Kitty, Part 2

Charlie came over to my house after he got off work yesterday.

"What're you doin?" he asked.

"I'm lookin for Louis so I can put him in the house before I go to work," I said.  "I've been lookin for him for 20 minutes and I can't find him."

Usually when I'm looking for Louis Cat, I step out into the alley and yell, "Louuuuuis, c'mere buddy!" a couple of times and he comes running from wherever he's been visiting.  I wish I could put a little camera around his neck so I know where he spends his time when he's not in the yard.

Charlie and I looked in all of Louis Cat's favorite spots:  under the concrete bench in Floyd and Gwen's garden, behind the azalea bush in Martha's yard, on my front porch.  No Louis.

So Charlie went out into the alley and yelled, "Willis!  Hey, Willllllliiiiis!  C'mere buddy!"

Willis?  Who the heck is Willis?

Charlie said, "Where'd I get that?  I must be losin my mind."

 I was laughing so hard I could barely breathe.

Then Louis came running down the alley meowing.

Apparently he also answers to Willis.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

WTB's Porch

Over at The Coal Miner's Despair, Charlie and White Trash Bob are rebuilding WTB's porch.  (I don't really know why Bob calls his house that, except that it really was built by a coal miner sometime in the 1890s.)  The porch wasn't horrible before, but it did need some help.  What they've done so far looks fabulous.

"What we're really good at is making a mess."--WTB
Freshly painted trim under the porch roof, freshly painted and fixed-up posts, a brand-new railing, and nice new trim just below the porch floor.  WTB decided he didn't like the old newel post, which was square and really didn't seem to go with the posts, so he made two new ones which are round.  You can barely see them at the left edge of the above photo.  (I wasn't standing quite far enough away when I took it, but I was afraid I'd fall down the hill.)  WTB's idea is that the two round posts and new steps (not yet built) will frame the front door better.  The gap between the tops of the posts and the porch roof will be filled in with new capitals.  Look real close at the upstairs window and you can see two dolls that Mrs. WTB left behind.  One of them has fallen forward and its little hand is against the window, so it looks like they're trying to escape.  I want to put witch hats on them for Halloween.
"I love scrapin' paint so much that I had to do
some more of it over here."--Charlie
This is taken from the west side of the house. I don't know if you can see it in the photo very well, but WTB put the balusters at a 45-degree angle.  Looks really nice.  Here you can also see the porch floor a little bit. (I'll get better photos of the floor when they get it all swept off.)  Like I said before, WTB bought new tongue-and-groove flooring intending to paint it and then decided it was too pretty to paint, so he stained it.  Charlie scraped and sanded down all the porch trim and then WTB repainted it.  Check out the curved ceiling on the porch.  I just love that.  They're going to keep that, but repaint it.  I'm secretly wishing they'd paint it a very pale sky blue, but that's probably not going to happen.
"If we make the top the bottom and the
bottom the top, then I think it'll fit."--WTB
The east side of the porch.  Look at all those balusters waiting to be nailed to the railing.  While I was taking this photo, Charlie and WTB were trying to fit in the little piece of railing between the post on the far right and the half/newel post next to it.  Some colorful language was involved.  If you look really close, you can see a bottle of Torani Raspberry Syrup on the porch.  WTB mixes that with water or club soda to sustain them during the arduous porch-building.  He's a gracious host.

I think WTB needs some wicker furniture and big ferns on that porch when he gets it done.  What do y'all think?

Monday, September 3, 2012

Here Kitty...

Friday and Saturday we finally got some rain.  Lots of rain.  Lovely, slow, steady, soaking rain that turned everything green again.  Because that rain came from the edges of Hurricane Isaac, there was also a lot of wind. I worried about Mean Little Marie out in the rain.  (I don't know if I told y'all this or not, but about two months ago MLM decided to be an outdoor cat.  She will not come in the house anymore at all.) It was windy and kinda cold Friday night, so I ran outside in the storm, scooped up Marie, and put her in the house.  She stood at the back door yowling until I finally let her out again.  Strange little cat.  About 2 a.m. Saturday morning when the wind was really blowing I went outside again to try to make her come inside.  In the process of "rescuing" her, I stepped on her tail and she bit me.  After that, she went missing until about 10 p.m. Saturday night.  Then she showed up at the back door, meowing in her cranky voice, indignant because her food bowl was full of water and not kibble.  I never, ever, ever leave kibble in her bowl at night because our neighborhood is overrun with possums and raccoons.  (And apparently, rats, given what I recently found in the basement.)  Just this once, I thought it would be okay.  When I set out the bowl of kibble, Louis Cat ran outside.  Louis is a mostly-indoor/sometimes-outdoor cat.  I decided to leave Louis and the bowl of kibble outside for about 30 minutes.

When I went to check on Louis about 45 minutes later, I did not have my glasses on.  I'm at the age now where reading my Nook is easier without glasses.  So I opened the back door to call Louis and then saw him eating out of Marie's bowl.  I leaned down to pet him and said something like, "Louis, my sweetie, come in the house."  Then I noticed the big furry tail.  It was a raccoon!  A little raccoon, about half-grown.  It looked up at me with an "oh crap" expression on its face.  I looked back at it with the same expression.  We both stood there, frozen like that, for a few seconds, and then I very intelligently said, "You are not my Louis" and the little raccoon trundled off through the yard, climbed the picket fence, paused at the top to look back at me, and then jumped down and ran off across the alley.

Three things occurred to me:
1.  I will wear my glasses at all times forever more.
2.  I really need to get some electricity on the back porch.  (There's only one outlet besides the washer/dryer hookup.  No lights.)
3.  I feel like the woman in this commercial:

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Picture Rail!

Way back in May, I bought picture rail and painted it.  Charlie said, "The next time it rains on a day that neither one of us is workin, we'll put that up."  Who knew it would be September before that happened??

So yesterday we hung picture rail all day.  This is the only in-progress photo I have:
Charlie wearing a dorky hat that I hate.

Charlie said, "Don't be takin pictures of me."
Me:  "I'm not."
Charlie:  "You are."
Me:  "Am not.  You said pictures, plural.  This is the only one I'm takin."

This was one of the two worst bits of trim in the whole room because it had both an inside corner and an outside corner on the same piece.  I think Charlie measured that part of the wall at least four times, then cut the piece of picture rail, then trimmed a bit off one end and a bit off the other end at least six times, then swore a lot, and finally got it just right.

This is the outside corner of that same part of the room:

And here's what the room looks like today:
And also:
I need some more furniture in here.  I'm working on that.  And now that I have picture rail, I need to buy some hanging hardware and some pictures!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

By Request

By request of Karen Anne, who wrote in a comment, "Speak to us":

It's about 1:15 a.m. Saturday morning and it's still raining.  The news says it's the tail-end of Hurricane Isaac.  I am not complaining--we desperately need some rain around here.  Besides, it got me out of scraping paint off the side of the house, so that's all the more reason to like the rain.

Speaking of scraping paint...Yeah, I'm still doing that.  The west side of the house is very nearly done.  All that's left is a 15-foot section of the wall, some trim, and the gutters and then we'll be done with the west side of the house.  Ahead of my schedule, which I carry in my head but don't mention to Charlie who is not a schedule kind of guy.

The debate now is what to do next, the back of the house or the front?  There are issues with both.  Before we paint the back of the house, we have to replace a section of clapboards 8' wide and 20 clapboards high.  In the middle of that section is where the back door used to be (many years ago) and the opening was very sloppily patched when the door was moved.  We decided that running new clapboards along the entire width would look better than re-patching the old door opening.  (By "new clapboards" I mean circa 1870 walnut clapboards off a house that was torn down a couple of years ago.  One of my neighbors salvaged that siding and agreed to sell it to me for less than half the cost of brand-new cedar siding.)  But if we do the front of the house next, then we'll need to tear off the existing front porch before we paint.  The porch we'll be building in the spring is smaller than the existing porch, and it doesn't make sense to paint around this porch, then paint again when we build the new porch.  I already have permission from the Historic Preservation Commission to tear the porch off now and hold off on re-building it until the spring.  (Budgetary constraints prevent me from building the new porch right now.)

And speaking of new porches, WTB is building a doozy of one and Charlie's helping him.  WTB bought tongue-and-groove flooring that turned out to be so pretty that he couldn't bear to paint it, so he stained it instead and Charlie laid it out like an interior hardwood floor.  They're scraping paint and painting trim and rebuilding porch posts and railings and new steps and when it's all done it will be gorgeous.  I don't begrudge WTB his new porch, but I miss Charlie's help with my house.  Maybe two more weekends and they'll be done with the porch, at which time I'll take pictures to show y'all.

Contrary to the neighborhood rumor, Charlie's still around.  Look across the street, folks.  He's just right over there.  Everything's fine.  Well, for now anyway.  His lawyer says Charlie's case is going to trial, probably in December.  This sounds like a losing proposition to me, but I am a fire dispatcher, not a lawyer, so I keep that opinion mostly to myself.  (Except for sharing it with the whole interwebs right here.)

And finally, the rain has me cooped up inside and bored, and y'all know how I get when I'm bored.  So today I bought some paint and started in on the back bathroom.  The color is Calm Misty Sea or something like that.  Kinda pale turquoise.  I'm finally painting over the hideous cobalt blue in the bathroom that my son and his friends talked me into four years ago.  The trim in there will be the same whitish color as the trim on the outside of my house, because I'm too lazy to go pick out something else and I like that color.  Photos to follow when I'm done.  I promise it won't be almost two weeks from now.

I leave you with this photo, which makes me laugh every time I look at it.
From the Uncredited Hell that is Pinterest.