Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Heaven must be filling up

Here are the people I know who died last week:
Rose, my brother-in-law's mom (heart)
Rudy, from our Social Justice Group (prostate cancer)
Ray, the husband of Theresa from our Social Justice Group(heart)
Jan, a nurse that Kathy worked with (breast cancer).

Saturday, July 22, 2006

House weekend

This weekend was devoted to house things. No office work allowed. Friday night I went over and cut our friends’ grass. I had done it once before and made diagonal lines across their long sloping lawn. This time I tried making a Zen garden, cutting circles around the big oak tree in the corner of the lawn. It was supposed to represent the tree as a pebble dropped into the lake of the lawn…got it? I’m not sure the idea translated that well in the doing of it. If they ever ask me again, I’ll try something different.

I felt I was falling behind on the painting in the kitchen, so Saturday morning was reserved for that. Shane was a tremendous help, putting the final coat on the ceiling and then helping trim and prime the cabinets. We got a lot done and both collapsed later for naps. I couldn’t face the ceiling again, having put three coats on it earlier. The Kilz did the job and now it looks terrific.

We are still trying to get the last three pieces of the hardware we need. The store says maybe Wednesday. Today I finally took one out of the wrapper and tried it. I didn’t realize there were these little threaded nubs sticking out where the screws go. The holes in our cabinets are not big enough, so I’ll ream them out a little with a drill and everything should be fine.

Max and Shane stopped over the house on Saturday. Unremarkable, except that they did it in a steady downpour—on foot. They called it a ‘rain walk’. Since it was time for Kodiak’s after dinner constitutional, we joined them on the trek home. Max thoroughly enjoyed watching Kodiak try to shake himself dry. He learned that his glasses fog up in the rain, and that he cannot shake himself dry like a dog, try as he might. Earlier in the week, Max was in the backyard and he ran his hands over the grass, as he had seen me do once before, and he excitedly declared, “The grass is dry—we can play in the clubhouse!” The clubhouse consists of those two cardboard boxes from the appliance store. Of course we can only use them on dry days. I cut doors and windows according to Max’s specifications in every side of both boxes, so he is constantly flowing in and out of the openings, encouraging less limber me to follow.

Saturday night I went to 4:30 p.m. Mass since I was substituting for another reader and another Eucharistic minister. If I hadn’t had those responsibilities I would have stayed home. As it was, I was so tired, I was standing in my spot with the wine, and no one was approaching me—not unusual—when I heard “Psst!” It was a little old lady in the handicapped pew who wanted wine. As it turned out, a whole row of little old ladies wanted wine, so down the line I went.

After Mass, one of the women from Social Justice, Theresa, came up to me and told me that her husband had died that very morning. She was determined to come to church, and so she did. I felt really bad for her, as she stood talking to me, her eyes filling up. Her kids are in town, but the rest of the family will be coming in from out of state. Her husband was not active in the group, but Theresa is a wonderful worker. She is in her sixties, not sure how old her husband was, but we think he was a little older than her. Last week was a busy one with funerals, now we have another one.

I was talking to our pastor just before Mass on Saturday night. He told me about a funeral this past week where he was presiding. During his homily, someone’s cell phone went off. The guy answered it and paced up and down the side aisle talking. “I’m at the funeral. Father’s preaching now…” The pastor stopped and said, “Maybe we should wait until this gentleman is finished, since it must be a very important call.” One of the family members went to the guy and told him, “Sit down, now!” Did we lose our brains when cell phones were invented?

Today we are off to the Indians’ game. It’s cooled off this weekend, so it should be a nice afternoon. Next week is the conference we have been planning for the past year and a half. I probably won’t be able to write for a time.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Ah summer! Posted by Picasa

Some weekend

We just got a call from our daughter in law that Max had been attacked by her step sister’s Rottweiler. They were all over at her father’s house when this happened. Max was trying to get away from the dog and it locked its jaws on his shorts and tore them off. Fortunately, he didn’t break the skin. They left the house immediately and headed home. The owner simply said, “Bad dog.” I say dead dog. How do you keep a dog that would do something like that? Max is used to our old dog that is very gentle and just leaves the room if Max bugs him. These people treat their dog like it was their child and haven’t done anything to train him.

Saturday evening we learned that Kathy’s sister’s mother in law passed away. The sister and her husband stopped over at the mother’s house in the morning and found her dead in bed. Now they are catching grief from the woman’s daughter who is complaining that her brother hadn’t called her to say that their mother had been in the hospital earlier in the month. Now mind you, this daughter has not seen or spoken to her mother in over a year. Where does she get off saying anything to the people who took her mother to all her doctors’ appointments, sat with her in the ER countless times, and always checked in on her at home? The viewing is tomorrow, with the funeral Mass and burial on Tuesday. We are both staying home from work to be with Kathy’s sister and her family.

That same night I found out that a member of our Social Justice group at church, Rudy, had died late last week. No services yet. They are waiting for relatives to gather from around the country. Rudy died of prostate cancer. He was probably in his seventies, but very good with tools and such, and was always looking for ways to help us. He made things out of wood or metal, like clothes racks and sign posts and was always trying to build a better mouse trap. He was really a good guy.

We really did have a nice day on Saturday, until all this news started pouring in. For instance, the electrician came back and finished the job he started a year ago. Now, after four hundred dollars, I can once again flip a switch and have a light come on in the garage. A year ago he dug a trench and laid conduit from the house to the garage, and the wires just laid there all winter. The next step is to get a garage door opener, a life long dream of mine. Hey—dream big, I always say.

The RN who is Kathy’s supervisor at the doctor’s office gave us a kid sized recliner for Max. His long legs stick out over the edge of the thing , but it still fits him pretty well. He immediately wanted to put it next to mine so we could watch movies together. He slept over here this weekend, and popped in on Kathy when she was getting dressed. She had just sprayed her deodorant, and he remarked, “Nana, you smell just like daisies” which I guess is the point after all. Shane took him to the Childrens Museum and a Cleveland fire truck pulled up and the fire fighters started to talk to the kids about fire prevention, and they got a call on their radios, so they suited up and jumped on the truck and took off. It was all very exciting. Shane said if it wasn’t part of the show, it should have been. The crew came back a short time later, since the call was a false alarm, and continued talking to the kids. Max came away with “Don’t play with matches” so he was listening. Yesterday evening we brought out the sprinkler so Max could cool off. I put my suit on and joined him. It was a great idea. Since it was in the 90’s again today, we were out there splashing around again. See the photo above for more details.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Woke last night to the sound of thunder...

And so we have survived another Fourth of July. If you have to be anywhere on the 4th, you should either be in Boston or Washington DC. Here, people were popping off fireworks long and loudly, way past midnight. Poor Kodiak was beside himself, keeping us up all night as he seemed to be hyperventilating, pacing around our bedroom, going from one side of the bed to the other, breathing huskily into our faces. Phew—talk about dog breath. We were afraid he’d have a heart attack, he was so nervous. The only other thing that bothers him as much is a thunderstorm. In fact, he knows he’s not allowed in the kitchen, but he will come in and plop himself on the kitchen floor, and won’t move no matter how much we berate him. Then we’ll hear some distant thunder and understand.

This week we have big news: four year old Max now wears glasses. They are, of course, very cool. He has rectangular lenses on thin frames, with little images of Spongebob Squarepants on the inside of the ear pieces. The moment he put them on he said, “Mom, everything looks bigger!” Apparently he needs them for more than just reading and driving. He looks very cute in them.

I’ve lately discovered an author named Anita Shreve. Everyone else already knows her—she wrote The Pilot’s Wife. I read her Sea Glass and just finished All He Ever Wanted. I went to the library today and took out The Pilot’s Wife. Might as well read them all. Her characters are compelling and stories spin out in a fascinating way. So far I’ve read twenty-five books this summer. Painting took up this week, but I have lots of time yet to reach the fifty or so I’d like to do.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

The Projects

So where have I been? Right here. Working on projects. I took this week off for vacation. Kathy wanted some painting done—just the shower stall in the basement. Then, things changed. She has been watching every home remodeling show there is: “Flip This House”. “Trading Spaces”. I don’t know all the names. Something worked on her and she got an idea.

She decided to make over the kitchen. She chose a light gray (Sherwin Williams calls it “Cumulous Clouds”) for the walls, and wanted to paint the cabinets white. I was a little dubious, but what the heck—we’ve never been happy with any color we’ve had in that kitchen, so why not take a chance?

Fortunately, there was a great sale –25% off-- at the paint store, so I went nuts. After all, Kathy was buying. Now painting tools are still tools, so this was a great excuse to add something to my arsenal. I chose a nice Contractors grade two inch brush. They run about thirteen dollars, but last a long time. The bristles don’t fall out, they keep their shape. All you have to do is take care of it.

The project included using the same wall color in the downstairs bathroom and the basement stairway. There is so much masking and edging to do, I am behind schedule. There are all sorts of angles and corners. If it were only rolling the walls, like in the living room, I could have been finished in a day.

Tomorrow I’ll finish the basement stairway and start prepping the cabinets. Should be exciting, if not excruciating.