Monday, December 27, 2010

Monday, December 27, 2010
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Snowy and cold

The weekend’s been an adventure, that’s for sure, and the week promises to be just as . . .interesting.

Christmas Eve was great, pretty quiet, nice big meal, opened the presents, read, played with the cats, etc. I was up late waiting for the bayberry candle to “burn to the sprocket” for the tradition of “a bayberry candle burned to the sprocket brings food to the larder and gold to the pocket” on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve. Well, this was a really, REALLY high quality bayberry candle (from the 1856 shop) and it used every smidge of wax, so it took about six hours to burn down, when I expected it to take one.

Santa came and went, he had a brandy (because let’s face it, you can only have so much milk and cookies), the cats got their new toys and played with them, people came back from midnight mass, and I’m waiting for the candle to burn down . . .

And then I couldn’t sleep. I finally got to sleep a little after three and had to be up by six. We did stockings and ate breakfast and were on the road by 8.

The drive to Maine was smooth, not much traffic. I was going to try a way around Boston so I wouldn’t have to drive through the Big Dig, but I misunderstood the signage and wound up driving through it anyway. It wasn’t so bad; maybe I just have to get used to it.

We made it to Maine in 3 1/2 hours, went straight to my cousin’s farmhouse. It’s a large house, from the mid-1800’s, and he’s restored it himself, keeping the original details, restoring a lot of the things he found on the property and in the barn, but also making things like the kitchen and bathrooms updated and workable, while still fitting within the spirit of the house. It was great. We had 12 or 14 adults at dinner (kids’ table in another room), very nice, lots of fun, lots of actual discussions and laughter.

Left around 2:30, were back by 6. There was more traffic going back, but it still wasn’t bad. I was just tired from all the driving and lack of sleep, so I went to bed pretty early.

Started the laundry as soon as I got up yesterday, baked biscuits, got the newspapers and some supplies from the equivalent of the corner bodega — it’s a local store less than a mile away that has a bit of everything. The weather people said the storm would start at 4 PM, so of course, it was already pretty bad by 8 AM. Stuffed the turkey, got it in the oven, kept turning over the laundry — I figured just because we’re snowed in doesn’t mean we can’t have clean underwear.

I went down to get the last load into the dryer and stepped into about an inch of water covering the basement floor.

Yup, you guessed it, for some reason, the washer threw up, nice, clean, soapy water. I shut it off, shut the valve off, and called the owner. He came over (poor thing was sick),went out to get a pump, and we pumped and then wet-vacc’d the basement. The front line of boxes served as a buffer, so I don’t think I actually lost much (and nothing terribly valuable was in the basement), but I think the old rug still down there may be a loss, unless I can unroll it to air out sooner rather than later, and we’ll see how the edge of the box spring dries out. It’s not enough to put in an insurance claim, and it’s more disruptive than damaging.

So the sheets and towels are hanging on the rack downstairs, too wet last night to go into the dryer, but I managed to get the clothes dried and put away. The floor is really clean and smells Arm-and-Hammer fresh! 😉

I wrenched my back very badly rescuing the crates of LPs (the only thing that I was really worried about down there). It’s muscular, so I’m keeping it warm and keeping it stretched. I’ll be uncomfortable for a few days, but it is what it is. A doctor would send me for a lot of expensive, unnecessary tests and then give me a pain killer. I can treat it with stretching, hot water bottles, hot baths with proper salts, salves, and some Excedrin if necessary, and that will actually not just treat the pain but the cause. I just can’t do anything very quickly.

Did I mention this is a challenging Mercury Retrograde?

I put in a call to the repair place, who swears 7-day, same day service and has an answering service. I have yet to hear back. Now, with the weather as bad as it was and the basement pumped out, I would have told them not to come out in it yesterday anyway, but I would have at least liked the courtesy of a returned phone call.

I’m reading gardening books and all kinds of other stuff, trying to figure out what to do in spring. I shovelled out the drive and the front walk around sundown last night, using my new little electric snowblower. The lousy cord works my last nerve, but the actual machine does a good job. The ice melt is also keeping the drive and the walk fairly clean (supposedly it’s pet-friendly, car-friendly, and lawn-friendly). I’ll have to go out and do a little tidying up later this morning, and shovel out where the snow plow shoved stuff from the street across my driveway — because it is JUST out of reach of the blower’s cord.

Today, I have a lot of paperwork to catch up on, and I have to take care of some other correspondence, a blog post due at Savvy Authors, work on the Stephanie Plum lectures, and deal with the assignment for Confidential Job #1. Hopefully, the power stays on and the repairman shows up — I have a busy week this week, and next week Costume Imp is here and we have the party, so everything has to be in working order.

Metro North woke me up every two hours all night with text messages telling me they weren’t in service. I could have figured that one out all by myself. When I lived in NY and was desperate for service updates via text message, I never got them. I asked to be put on the list THREE YEARS ago. You know when they started coming? The day I moved into this house. And now they won’t take me off the list.

Sums up Metro North right there. Useless.

Love, love, love the new chairs, and actually, sitting in them is the only place where my back doesn’t hurt. Considering how much unpacking I have to do this week, and now checking the boxes and seeing how much water damage there is and if anything needs to be thrown out, this was a bad time for it to happen.

But the turkey dinner was really good! 😉

Onward — want to get some writing in this morning; I’m playing with a couple of things.



  1. Good morning! I hear you’re also sitting amid a pile of snow that’s apparently still falling. Ours was light and not too many were convinced our suburbs would get anything to speak of, but the snow is probably six inches and lovely. The wind, however, is wild.

    I agree on the back. I think what doctors say is 24 hours of alternating heat and cold, then cold until it feels better. For me, that works only on a muscle that is constantly used, like a shoulder or elbow. Feel better and don’t shovel. No sense exacerbating it.

    Glad Santa had brandy at your house – he had Johnny Walker here. 🙂

  2. Wing chairs are good for backs. My settees might be the most comfortable maneaters in the whole wide world, but they do nothing for my back. Hope it eases soon. The washer thing is just a plain nuisance.

  3. Oh I hate water flowing from anywhere in my house…except the faucett. Hope you can get it fixed soon.

    I’m glad you got to visit the family for Christmas even though the travel was long.

    PS Glad you are enjoying your new home. What a great gift!


  4. Yikes on the washing machine. I hope it’s fixed quickly. Glad to hear you had nice visit with your family. I also hope your back feels well soon.

  5. Reading gardening books sounds like a lovely exercise on days when washing machines go haywire and backs are sore!

    Hope the back’s on the mend soon. I agree: doctor’s unnecessary when you can give it all the TLC it needs at home.

  6. If you are considering a claim on anything in the basement run a verbal by your agent. In most policies anything in a basement isn’t covered, not machinery, not items. You are wise not to put anything valuable down there. Or put stuff “up” on a riser, pallet or table if you must store stuff down there.

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