Tuesday, April 30, 2013

A close call

This morning around 5 AM, I opened our windows wide to let in the cool air before the day heated up (high in the mid 80s today, completely wonderful if a bit warm). I'd just sat down to drink my coffee when I heard an odd noise. I knew it wasn't Kent and suspected a cat had gotten into something or other.

Well, it was Eddie in the window of the pink bathroom. Actually he was only half in the window since his other half was starting to hang out of the window. Yes, he'd managed to dislodge the pin that held in the screen on the left side. Being a large, 17 pound cat, he didn't have to do much to move the screen at that point.

Thankfully I got him back in the house, although he dug in his front paws on the outside of the window with his long, agile paws. He wasn't pleased and grumped at me to let me know how thoroughly disgusted he was.

We made sure all the windows were open only a couple of inches before leaving for the day.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Glorious weather

And the cats are loving the doors and windows being open. They don't often congregate together like this; usually they are more solitary in their outdoor viewing.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

A tale of two dinners

About 11 years ago, my brother and his wife came over for dinner. Because Kent and I like to cook and experiment with new recipes, we’d decided to try a Food & Wine barbecued chicken recipe that sounded different and intriguing.

The recipe called for the chicken to be baked at 500°F, which is pretty freaking hot. In fact. it was so hot that the glass baking dishes were smoking like crazy and the house was starting to smell smoky. So I thought hey, I’ll just put a little water in the pans so maybe it won’t smoke so much.

You see where this is going, right?

As the water left the measuring cup I belatedly realized that room temperature water in a glass pan that was 500°F was probably not a good idea. Fortunately, the oven door was mostly closed because that pan just exploded. I mean it blew up. And of course the oven got even smokier, and so did the house.

Kent and I started throwing open doors and windows to let the smoke out, and pulled out the non-exploded pan to see if the glass had gotten into it (somehow it had not). In the middle of picking glass out of the bottom of the still incredibly hot oven, the doorbell rang. Doug and Barb had arrived. Barb took a look around and said, “Well I think it’s time to open the wine.” And we did.

Last weekend we had them over again for dinner with my parents, who were visiting us from Idaho. We made chicken again, a dish we’ve made before – only this time we doubled it.

Our pan wasn’t quite large enough to contain all the sauce and chicken, so as it baked (at just 350°F this time), the liquid bubbled up under the edges of the lid and fell to the bottom of the oven where it smoked like crazy. Once again, we had windows open trying to clear the kitchen and the house of all the smoke.

I think the moral of this story is that we should never again make chicken for my brother and his wife.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

You are getting very sleepy

Nighty-night . . .

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Like peas in a pod

Or rather, cats on a cushion

These cushions are left over from our first POÄNG chair from Ikea. While I liked the fabric cushions a lot, I didn't like how much cat fur they collected. So we got new leather cushions instead. But I felt kind of bad taking away a much-loved cat seat. We've had them in various places around the apartment in Boston, the rental apartment in Overland Park and now here in the Little Yellow House.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Everything will be OK

Last night after I got home, I watched the video of the first explosion in Boston on Boylston Street, especially those first responders who ran toward the explosion.

That’s Boston. That’s the way people are there.

Seeing that video last night reminded me of the night we flooded. I thought I’d written this story down then, but I guess not. At least I can’t find it in my posts.

That night, we had only been able to find a room at what can best be charitably described as a crack house hotel. It’s in Dorchester and not any of the nice sections, and backs onto I 93. There’s a bowling alley right by it with a snack bar and also a semi-decent restaurant about a 3 minute walk away. That night there were also tweekers walking the halls and I could smell that unforgettable odor of crack. But it was the only place that would accept the cats. I guess the cats weren’t any messier than the tweekers.

Kent had gone back to the apartment, trying to save some things and I was with the cats in this nasty hotel. We’d agreed he would do what he could there and I would find us something to eat for dinner. I walked to the bowling alley first because it was closer but couldn’t bring myself to order anything there. So I headed over to the other, slightly nicer restaurant.

I ordered a hamburger for me and a pizza for Kent (he loves pizza even if it’s room temperature). It only took about 15 minutes until the lady brought out the bag with our food in it. Right as I started to pay, Kent called me and told me that the jewelry box my grandfather had made for me, which I was pretty sure was below the water line, was OK and that he had it. I’m not sure why that news made me tear up but it did.

So I stood at the counter trying to pay for the food while telling Kent thank you and blubbering over the news. The lady working there, a true Southie and probably my age although she seemed older, was clearly puzzled and alarmed on my behalf. I told her our apartment had flooded with most of our furniture etc destroyed, and that my husband had found and saved this jewelry box.

She came around the counter to give me the bag of food. To my surprise, she pulled me in and kissed my forehead – the way you’d kiss a small child to offer comfort – and told me everything would be OK.

That’s Boston, too.

When bad things happen in Boston, you won’t get warm fuzzy words. You won’t get casseroles either (although you might get wine). But someone will tell or show you that it will be OK.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

He likes the tub

What the pictures don't show is that he zoomed from one end to the other. Usually he'll roll around and around with the length of his body lined up exactly as you'd line up to take a bath. But not today. Today he could clearly see things I couldn't see and tried his hardest to catch them.

Friday, April 12, 2013

It's not me, it's you?

Two people were let go at work this week. In the vocabulary of the day, they are “pursuing other opportunities.” When that phrase is used, then you know this wasn’t voluntary and it wasn’t a lay-off or reduction in force (RIF).

I knew both only slightly; while they worked in my larger organization, our paths never crossed professionally. They were the people you nod at in the hall on your way to the cafeteria or bathroom, the people whose first names you know but not much else.

I feel for them both. While I wasn’t fired, I have been laid off and it’s a huge jolt of “now what?” In the same way and even though by all accounts they weren’t doing their jobs well at all, they’re still people who went home Monday evening and then learned they had an unexpected and unpaid vacation ahead of them.

My current employer doesn’t let the terminated employees pack up their offices. They’re notified after they get home that they’re not coming back the next day. Then the admins pack up those offices. I saw L doing that yesterday and asked her about it. She said over the years she’s packed a lot of offices. I told her that would be really hard to do but on the other hand, I guess it’s better that someone friendly does the packing up. I said I thought it had to be hard on her, too. She didn’t exactly agree outright but it sure looked like she teared up.

Sometimes in corporate America, we sanitize things with our phrases and clichés until there's no meaning left. But those soulless corporations are made up of human beings. Sometimes we do really well in that environment and sometimes, as was the case with my two former co-workers, we do not. But we're still people and those two had a really nasty shock this week. I feel for them, too.

Monday, April 8, 2013

The words get in the way

I have a friend who has a blog – a poetry and literature blog, mostly. She and I have talked about why poems resonate so much with her and why they don’t for me. Recently, she posted for the National Month-Long Poetry tour and discussed a poetry reading she attended.

But as with almost all poems and almost all writings about poems, I just didn’t get it, and wondered how it was that I was lacking so much . . . Understanding? Empathy? I don’t even know what I’m lacking, I only know that I am lacking something.

Maybe I’m color-blind to poetry.

Or maybe it’s that I don’t speak the language.

Or maybe it’s the words that are just not enough. Or they’re too much, too noisy without saying anything. Case in point, I’d rather hear the song behind the lyrics any day – the tune, the melody, the chord structures, all of those things that do speak to me. That's true for pretty much all genres of music.

Here’s a silly little example, OK two examples:

First the bumblebee:

Now the unhatched chickens:

Can you see them in your mind? 

Would words make the picture any clearer? 

I will keep reading my friend's blog. From time to time, she posts a poem I end up liking a bit. It's as though I've turned my head and somehow heard something from another dimension. It doesn't happen a lot, but it's worth reading all the rest that are just noise to me to find those few. 

Sunday, April 7, 2013

“Make the leaves dance again”

Kent thinks that’s what our cats would be saying today if they could talk, and he’s probably right. We sort of inherited* a yard care person from the previous owner and he came yesterday with his crew of two other guys to rake, mulch and fertilize the yard, front and back. We had a lot of leaves on the ground so the raking took quite a bit of effort plus at least one leaf blower (there may have been two, I just didn’t notice). 

All of that work meant the leaves were swirling and swirling around our back patio door, which is where the cats spend their time plotting the demise of all the birds, squirrels and bunnies in our yard. They were absolutely enthralled by the leaves, and kept running between the two windows that flank the fireplace, with stops at the patio door. In fact they wore themselves out and crashed hard for the night with us. That’s saying something when you have three nocturnal creatures living with you.

Today they’ve gone to the windows from time to time, and when the leaves don’t move (because they’re gone), it’s almost as though the cats sigh with disappointment. 

*I say we sort of inherited our lawn care guy because he stopped by last weekend to introduce himself and see if we were interested in using his services. Since one of the big reasons we bought this house was because of the amazing yard, and since we don’t own any yard tools at this point beyond a snow shovel and one rake, we were definitely interested. 

Don is probably in his 40s or 50s and is Romanian. He fled Romania during Ceaușescu’s reign and got to the U.S. with only the coat on his back. He’s a fairly recent citizen, within the last five years or so, and told Kent very seriously that he loves this country and thinks those who don’t like it should go someplace else. I think he’s earned the right to say that. 

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Let's play a game

Can you spot the cat?

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Random numbers

This week's random numbers* left on the microwaves:

  • 7 seconds
  • 2 seconds
  • 4 seconds
  • 11 seconds
  • 19 seconds
  • 1 minute, 3 seconds
  • 9 seconds

*We have two microwaves in our break area, so we could have had a lot of random numbers left over. These are the ones I noticed and tracked.