… she's not coming down 'til it all makes sense again…

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Work your plan…

Here’s me trying to show you the new tool belt:


Hadda have one after watching Charlie work, up and down that ladder, up and down and up and down… His tool belt must weigh about  60 lbs, which is funny because Charlie weighs about 70.  But I just felt I needed a tool belt after that, if I wanted to be a serious “worker man” so I got one already broke in, for a buck at a yard-sale. Mine’s only one-sided, which I have to be careful I don’t haul around too much weight in it and  th’ow out my sacroiliac…  It makes a huge difference though, when you’re on a ladder, to have a bunch of different bits and drivers handy.

Been painting and repairing the garden shed, yet again. Is this the color that I can live with for more than 4 years? I hope so… I feel like every wall in my LIFE is on a 4 year rotation, and I’m perpetually painting.  The only color that’s lasted with me is the dusky grape in the communal living space. It still looks right.. I think it’s been about 8 years for that, which is a record, but it’s actually been repainted, just the same color! It’s a sickness… So I figgered I love that color, and had a little extra paint left over, I added a little white to lighten it up for the tiny space in the building, and then painted everything, walls, trim, and floor, all the same light lavender/silver and ohmygosh I have just written the most boring paragraph known to mankind… Can I make it more boring, yes, because here is what I learned: In a small tiny space like the garden shed (8 X 12), painting everything one color makes it appear much more spacious, less choppy… It’s also the most fun I’ve ever had painting, because I could just slap the paint on all surfaces, in all the corners, no trimming out, no edging, no taping off… Plus, it’s the garden shed, so everything’s a little rustic and forgiving… I tried to keep it cleaned out while painting, but still ended up painting whole BUGS into the walls and floor.

This year has been hideous with the stink bugs again. I sprayed the Talstar-Pro, which really works well, but it takes a few hours for them to die. Meanwhile they divebomb your head and stick to your skin and spray their vile stink on your hands and hair. BZZZZZZHHHHHHHH…. sound like tiny fat belly aircraft carriers, loaded with purple stench..  Here’s a pic of my precious, precious SPRAYER OF DOOM, oh how I love that sprayer…   and the electric weedwhacker hubs got me at a yardsale. I’m scared of it, had it about a month now and haven’t tried it. Last time I touched a weedwhacker (about 10 years ago, really)  I filleted my forearm, took one look at the blood and flew around the yard like a deranged chicken, durn near passed out from shock.. I don’t do blood well.


Bean’s been painting with me, thank goodness, because there’s seemingly endless scraping and repair and primering and painting to do, so much easier when you’re not alone…  I’m also grateful to have someone to pass on Dad’s sage painting pearls of wisdom to her: “Now, the primer, see, the primer is thick and it dries fast, you don’t have a lot of time to work it. And don’t OVERwork it, get it in there, get it smoothed out, not too thick, not too thin, and move on..” (We use BIN123 for everything, inside and out, me and Dad…)  Here’s one of my favorites: “Now the paint, see, the paint, when you do it right, the paint forms a protective, unbroken SKIN over the whole surface, it seals water out. You don’t want to leave anywhere for water to get in and get under your paint.”  Everything I paint, I hear Dad in my head about that protective paint skin…  Dad’s like the Sphinx from the movie “Mystery Men”…



He loves those little switcheroonie sayings, like, “plan your work and work your plan”, and “if you fail to plan you plan to…what? FAIL!”

I think too the Maestro from “Money Pit” when I paint, I can feel his intense glare, and  hear his Russian accent:


” UP and DOWN, UP and DOWN! Strong strokes! PAINT! Don’t tickle. And don’t smoke!”

Mr. Miyagi’s always in my head too when I paint, I almost break my wrist trying to do it his way:

mr miyagi

“tut tut tut tut..all in the wrist, all in the wrist, long stroke, up, down, up, down…”

You see this is why I have to have the radio on when I work, too many voices…

Here’s the last sauce I made, fresh from the garden:


Cooked ‘er all day, added hot sausage towards the end, served over angel hair, was delicious, the end.

I used to love it when I was painting, and a kid comes out and whines “I wanna paint, I wanna paint!” So you stop what you’re doing and waste the next 20 minutes running around finding them a brush and a container and a rag… and they paint for 3 minutes and  say, okay, that was fun, I’m done, bye!  My kids always used to do that. I got smart though, I tell them now that they’re gonna paint for at least and hour if they start. They have a funny sense of time, they think an hour is eternity…

Here’s Mom and Dad, I made them do this goofy pose for my birthday, cause I saw it someone’s facebook. That person was 18 or 19 years old though…












Look horse, I never said I was a farrier…

When your whole “farm” consists of two miniature horses, zero cows, zero goats, zero chickens, zero regular-sized horses, not a single duck… it’s kinda hard to get an appointment with the farrier or the equine dentist, onaccounta they drive big trucks which run a lot of gas out… Oh, they’ll come out, but they will generally want to line up other farm visits same day in your area, so that it’s not a wasted trip. That’s okay, for people who don’t wait until the situation is DIRE before calling them out…

Then Lilly died, and I’m down to ONE mini horse… I don’t even have the heart to call the farrier out for that. Plus, I don’t want to talk about Lilly. I find it really easy to talk to my farrier, he’s kinda like a bartender or a therapist, he’s got a good vibe… except when you’re talking to him he’s bent over, filing the horse hooves, which means you have to talk to his backside, which isn’t bad.. that’s the only difference between my farrier and my therapist… But I know I would definitely say too much and start blubbering about my little horse..I can’t deal with it yet…

I bought my own set of hoof nippers and a hoof knife a while back, maybe two years ago, thinking, I don’t know, did I really think I could do this myself? Did I think, oh, I’ve watched Aunt Sis and my dad and the farrier do hooves enough times… surely I have absorbed some sort of “hooving artistry”… And that’s the problem. It is an ART.

I am no artist either. You should see the state of my eyebrows. Eyebrow shaping is an artform also. And tree pruning.  God help my poor apple trees… You know I have a real apple farmer right up the street from me, I see him out there all the time, workin’ the orchard… I should stop in and ask to look around at his trees during the Time of the Great Pruning…

The hoof nippers I bought are ENORMOUS. They’re about 42 inches long, actually 14” but it feels like 42, and are made for people who work on real actual sized horses. My horse has hooves about 3 inches in diameter, maybe 4 inches at the most. They are tiny. So are my hands. I have short little stubby fingers that do not wrap around those long nipper handles when they’re open enough to put some of the hoof in. Also, my horse is SHORT, so the handles are hitting the ground and I can’t get the right angles for clipping.. Also, my horse is a little TURD, so she’s trying to pull her leg free and kick my teeth in at every single turn.

It’s a 2-man job too, which means I have to ask someone to hold her rotten, beautiful little head and keep her still. When I hold her for the farrier, she’s a precious little peanut. Mostly because he knows what he’s doing, and she senses it. When my husband holds her for me, she’s a maniac. Mostly because I don’t know what I’m doing and my husband’s afraid of a horse that weighs less than he does, and she senses it. He holds her head and tries to stand 4 feet away from her at the same time! Hey wait, maybe he’s putting constant pressure on her halter, pulling her down and that’s why she won’t stand still… it sure looks like it, now that I think about it… He’s too tall and she’s too short. Maybe Bean would be a better “holder” person.

It’s also a great work out, especially the filing part. My back SCREAMS, my arms give out, sweat rolls off my nose and I feel like I’m having a mild heart attack. Times four little hooves. It helps that the file stinks too, I bought it at a yard sale, maybe if I had a file with decent teeth..

Regardless of all these reasons for not getting ‘er done, we got ‘er done. The hooves are still too long, and I was afraid to cut the “frogs” with the knife until I research it a little more on the youtoobz. But they’re nice and round again, and I was able to get the nasty split out of the one.. She’s at least presentable again, so I can actually call the farrier out without too much embarrassment. It’s like cleaning your house before the cleaning service gets there..

Here’s a grainy picture I took, of a nice clear picture my friend Karen took, of me and Juniper:


Here’s how tiny she is:


Here’s what she looked like the other day, a little drowned rat-horse in the rain, stealin’ tomatoes off the porch:







Wish this pic were less blurry, because this shows my goony dog in her true element: Bliss. Snoozing upside-down with a big dopey grin on her face.

Bliss has been on my mind. There are some people  in my life and in my space I wish I could dump some daggone BLISS onto.  

The Boy isn’t one of them. The Boy has found his bliss. Anything that involves making fun of his mother is TOTAL NIRVANA to him…  I was pouring water into the coffeemaker this morning, which he managed to find infinitely amusing, by imitating thehappy blissful look on my face as I poured… He said, Mum, why don’t you just dump it in there? I said Son, I pour slowly because past experience has shown that if you pour any faster than what the geometric structure of the coffee pot lip allows, you will without exception pour water all up and over the back of the unit down onto the counter below. Also, I forgot to add this part, but I remembered it later, water will also wash into the filter area and splash the dry coffee grounds up and over the paper filter, down INTO the plastic filter holder thingie, and from there the grounds will be washed down into the pot during brewing. Disgusting.

He said, Mum, you experiment about everything, you’re NOT a scientist. He said, you think you’re a puppy scientist, you let them out to pee for 2 minutes, then you feed them their breakkies, and then you immediately put them out to poop for exactly 3 minutes. It was beautiful when he said this, because right at the exact moment he was saying the word “poop”, here comes both Poppy and Boo to the door, wanting to come  in after completing their 3 minute after-breakkies POOP in the yard! I said thank you, Puppies, for proving my hypothesis. Well, it’s not just  my hypothesis, it’s actually a known thingie, and it has a scientific name, but I can’t find it right now, all I get when I google “Dogs pooping immediately after eating” is a bunch of references to “coprophagia” which means “eating poop”, “copro” meaning poop, and “phagia” meaning “eat,” …

And then the Boy said, Mum, you’re probably going to write on your little journal about your little dog-poo experiments, and then he imitated me with a blissful look on my face tapping away on a keyboard, and I said maybe I will. And he said, you will not…


Br’er Rabbit

brer-rabbit    I have 4 minutes this morning, onaccounta someone forgot their gym shoes, so I get to run ’em down to the school..

Yesterday was for slaying dragons. The bushy, prickly, thickety, scratchy, pokey, grabby, wrappy, kind of dragon… Giant thicket of briars and bushes and scrub trees and grapevines, oh it’s Bre’r Rabbit paradise, grew up along the pasture fence, and was already threatening to pull the fence apart. Originally, this is my story and I’m sticking to it, originally, there was a patch of milkweed there, which I was allowing to grow what fer feeding the Monarch caterpillars, as an homage to my mom, Patron Saint of the Monarch Butterfly… And also because butterflies are forces for GOOD. So I asked hubs not to mow or weedwack the milkweed patch…

But then a couple scrub trees started growing there amongst the milkweed, and you know what they say about scrub trees, “a stitch in time saves nine”, which means, you should clip ’em when they’re young, when you can just use little pruner shears, because holy mamma, do they get thick and woody and downright TREE-LIKE real fast! And me without a chainsaw!

I was taking a little break from my continued epic battle with the wisteria… (I’m to the point with that where I now realize that it’s gonna take me about 5 years of continued vigilance and hacking and digging and throttling and smothering, to actually beat that thing. It is entrenched.)… so I needed a break, because I was feeling a little tiny bit…sigh… depressed…exhausted…resigned…

Hey wait, NO, I wasn’t taking a break, I was actually dragging a tarp full of wisteria cuttings around back of the pasture, but I was also depressed, exhausted, and resigned.. and I looked at that mess of a thicket and I thought, “Hmmm… I bet I can eradicate THAT thing too, while I’m at it..”  Doesn’t make any sense that I thought that.

I didn’t measure it, but if the whole patch wasn’t at least 10 ft by 20ft I’ll eat my hat. I grabbed the pruners and started slicing and thrashing my way into the heart of the beast, Once inside,  I could see that it was 3 trees growing up and over the fence, plus grapevines appearing from nowhere, JUST OUT OF THE GROUND underneath the trees, reaching up into the branches and over into the fence, all through it, strangling, ripping, pulling… Plus assorted briars and brambles and Virginia Creeper and poison ivy. Let me say this about trees that you’re considering cutting down with a hand-saw: They will always appear to be much more “doable” than they are. Your estimation of your cutting abilities will be HIGHLY overinflated. Your estimation of their GIRTH will be wildly underestimated. This combination will result in much exertion, sweating, gesticulating, and cursing. And giving up. And sitting down. And getting back up and taking another wack at it. More cursing. More sitting. More cutting. it starts to form a pattern and you get in the zone and you just go with it, and at some point you quit believing that you can cut through that tree, but then suddenly the saw lurches through, and the tree falls and you fall the other direction and then you might find yourself on your butt, laughing in a sorta hysterical, involuntary, measurably relieved  way.

In the end, all I could really do was slash the strangling woody vines to free the fence, cut down the trees and let them fall where they may, and then leave the whole steaming mess to dry out in the sunshine.  I’m hoping in a couple weeks to be able to light a match and be done with it.

Some things seem impossible, and so you start to walk past them and hope they’ll go away. That only works for a while, and also tends to allow things to grow even more outta hand. I’ve learned this lesson before, countless times,  I’ve learned it about vegetables rotting in the vegetable drawer, mountains of laundry mildewing in the basement, unpaid wage taxes, and I’ve learned it about people…  I  must really love moving mountains. I sometimes wonder what it must be like to be one of those people who takes care of things when they first come up… who dot their I’s and cross their T’s and cut their lawns in those amazing diagonal cross-hatches.. they dead-head their dahlias, sweep their sidewalks, and prune their apple tree branches BEFORE the fruit grows so heavy it bends and breaks the branch…

But do you know anyone like that who isn’t also a giant anal-retentive MARTHA? Me either…


Adventures in Microchips


I wake to find a tiny red tutu on the coffee table… and I vaguely, sleepily remember the girls coming in late last night from their jaunt to the mall… dangling Boo in front of me… Boo with silly red tutu… poor Boo… and then ZZZzzzzzzzzz… The Boy and I had spent the evening belly laughing, catching up on our current fave, Modern Family.  Just want to document that, because it was so much fun to laugh at the same things, and to see him processing, actually “getting” some of the more ornery jokes. It’s like there’s a little “delay” where he doesn’t quite get it, and then KABOING, it passes over his face, he gets it, and he laughs! I love it.

Okay, today in this very entry, I will pass judgment on someone.  Hey, wait, there’s no “e” in “judgement”?!! That just looks wrong… Are we sure?…

My kids say I’m judgmental. And negative. And what did The Boy say the other day, he said I was a pessimist, and then he amended it and said I was a “bessimist” which means I will say something is cool, but I will always have to add some sort of way that it could be BETTER.

I reported that on Facebook, and my cousin told me her kids say the same thing to her, and that it’s probably a mom thing, just trying to get them to do their best, challenging them, and whatnot. It made me feel much better, and I like that idea, I’m not negative, I’m challenging you to test your limits, right?

Wow. I just spent three paragraphs setting myself up with the rights to pass judgment on someone. Well, okay then, we are covered, let’s get to the judgin’!!!

Bean and I took Poppy, Boo, and Chicken to a free rabies clinic yesterday afternoon, for shots and microchips. Here’s the link:   VIP VETCARE, it’s an awesome program, and much needed, especially in rural PA… what with all the rogue, garbage-ransacking, rabies-ridden raccoons and hissing, ghostly, bleached-out alien lookin’, bird-feeder-climbin ‘possums we got runnin’ loose around here…

I was so relieved with Bean volunteered to go with, onaccounta two dogs on leash and one Chicken in a carrier, it’s a lot to deal with, standing in line with 47000 other people and their variously behaved animals… And Boo’s a jerk sometimes, she’s afraid of everything, so she acts like a giant a-hole. (Oh my gawsh, personal insight…)  She approaches the hugest of the huge dogs, yesterday it was literally a 210 lb BULL MASTIFF, I know, because the nice owner lady (who referred to herself as “Mama” and to the dog as her “Baby, Smoochie, Pookie Poo”) told me how much he weighed and how many doggie beds he has deflated and how he likes to have a clean sheet placed on his bed each night… hmmm…. just occurred to me that I may be feeling the urge to pass judgment on more than one person in this entry…  Or maybe I’ll just continue to tell the truth, and allow you or anyone really, to draw their own conclusions. Because at first I wrote “CRAZY owner lady”, but then I amended it to say “NICE owner lady”, because she really was very nice. But she was REALLY into her 210 lb dog-baby, who was named “Tiny” which she informed me as if it were the most ironic, hilarious play on words, she actually searched my face to make sure I realized the irony of the dog’s name. I don’t mean to be…mean, she was actually very cute and bubbly and nice. I’m just saying, she was WAYYYY into that dog. And some might say, but Dawn, we’ve seen you with your dogs, and you sir are just as overthetop creepy about your dogs as that lady. And that might be a legitimate statement. I will allow it.  But my dogs really are snoochie boochie coochie cooter coooos…

So Tiny was a lovely old gentleman dog,  he was trying to say a big dopey hello to Boo, he bent down to press noses with her, she sniffed him in what seemed like a miraculously friendly little manner, and then KABOOM, she explodes into tiny electrified DEVIL DOG. I actually felt sorry for the mastiff, he looked embarrassed… Sigh… she’s fine when she gets used to another dog, but she’s gotta be such a jerk at first…

The people ahead of the bull mastiff lady, they had two dogs, one American Pitbull, and one American Mixed Lunatic dog. I don’t know what it was, it was black and white, about 80 lbs, and was dangling two of the largest testicles I’ve ever seen, and they were all over the place, those testicles, bing bing boiing, because the dog was going bananas, the guy was practically pinning the dog to the ground with the entire force and weight of his body, literally they were laying on the ground, and the guys stage-whispering in the dogs ear for all to hear,  Come on Chopper, come on Killer, look how all the other dogs are behaving and look at you, you are embarrassing me… He’s trying to reason with this frantic ball of energy, I forget the dog’s name… The lady, wearing purple leopard print pajama pants and a purple shirt with a hole in the middle of the back, not judging, just want to provide a visual,  was holding the pitbull, who was behaving very well. Or was the hole in the front of her shirt… Immaterial…  But the people were both very friendly and clearly were struggling to contain the dog… I couldn’t help fixating on those giant bouncing testicles and thinking, surely even the DOG would be relieved to part with those things…

Others in line had cats in carriers, various and assorted dogs on leashes, and some had scooped up and were carrying their little Yorkies, Borkies,  Snorkies, Boggles, Boogles, and Beegles in their arms. Especially when the two gigantic unleashed unattended German Shepherds started to froth at the mouth and threaten to jump out of the back of the pickup truck in which their ridiculous owner had parked and left them while she ran into the friggin Tractor Supply store to shop. That’s when people decided to pick up their little dogs and hold them in their arms, and that’s also when we get down to the real JUDGIN’!

Someone has a pickup truck parked right alongside the line for the mobile vet clinic. Two German Shepherds are in the truck bed, and these were big ‘uns, beautiful dogs, big.. and excitable… they were pacing, and climbing the sides of the truck, up, down, back, forth, and  where’s the owner… I didn’t realize it at first, I assumed the owner was standing in line for the vet, maybe acting as a placeholder till the dogs needed brought down at the last minute… It’s actually a good idea, especially for me with my stinky reactive little Boo…  I’m assuming everyone who walked up to join the line after me made the same assumption, that the owner was somewhere amongst us.. Because the alternative would be ridiculous, wouldn’t it?

That’s when another dog strolled up to join the line, it looked like a brown kinda shepherd-retreiver mix, with short hair, and for some reason this dog set the Pickup Truck Shepherds OFF, they started scrambling, thrashing about, threatening to climb up and over that bed, they wanted that new dog in a bad way… And tension filled the air, and the people SCOOPED up the little dogs, including me, I held Boo, and Bean moved Poppy out of sight of the Shepherds, and scooted Chicken’s carrier up near the store… people looked around and started asking each other, ummm.. where’s the owner… ummm.. are those dog’s loose… ummm.. what the sam-hill kinda bone-headed thing is this…

Suddenly something happens, who knows what, the dog world is very fast-pasted and can go from zero to sixty in a split second, but something ignites the Shepherds, and the largest one climbs the roof of the cab, and falls dramatically and in slow painful motion THRU THE SUNROOF, so now he’s freaking out INSIDE the truck, the other one’s still outside the truck, the crowd GASPS at this new development (there’s no “e” in “development” either, which is ridiculous, because there’s an e in envelope. well, actually, there are 3 e’s in development, but I feel there is room for 4), and still, we all just sorta stand there like lemmings, clutching our precious little babies, waiting for a couple hundred lb german shepherds to quit goofing around and finally descend upon us, but by God we will not give up our place in this line!

The nice clinic lady, who was working the line, uploading our info into her ipad… she goes looking for the owner, into the store, and a few very tense minutes later, out comes a harried and peeved looking lady, she was big-busted and red-faced, she was hard looking, a real pickup drivin’ Tractor Supply shoppin’ woman… She comes out looking like WHAT THE HELL I’M TRYING TO SHOP HERE… and she gets the dogs back in the truck bed, and maybe she ties them, I have no idea, but they’re in the bed, and she walks BACK INTO THE STORE, and as she’s walking back in, she looks back at the shepherds and she lifts her one arm and makes a “STAY DOWN” motion with it, while scowling at the dogs in stern Imeanbusiness manner. She must think she has done her duty, because back in the store she goes. I should’ve made a citizen’s arrest on grounds of stupidity.

But the tension seemed to dissipate then, and we got moved up to do our paperwork at the register. I don’t know. It made no sense at all. I can think of dumber things people do. But not many.

Here’s what I learned and can pass along to others and also wish to remember for next time:

  1. Take all small animals in a crate. Even if you have a well-behaved little dog on a leash.  For their own protection. Because you don’t know who or what you will be standing next to in line. Or when some idiot might pull up and park their truck with two giant unleashed German Shepherds in the back. Or when YOU might be the idiot with the reactive little Napoleon dog…  Also, people are there to get  animal vaccines, so you have no idea, NONE, what shots they’ve had previously, if any. Or what they’ve been bitten by or exposed to. It’s actually kinda a dangerous place, this isn’t a dog show where all the poochies are well-trained and lovely… There were ALL KINDS of people and all kinds of dogs there, and I was being very very measured in my judging and descriptions, because I’m trying to be a kinder gentler me, it’s hard, because there were some real characters there, and I’m not sure how long I can pretend to be a nice person, I’m really snide and rotten and wanted so badly to tell you that the guy with the dog with the testicles, he had one tooth in his head, I wanted to say that, but I don’t like to make fun of people’s teeth… and he was a friendly enough guy.. so forget I said that, but remember this part: it’s not like going to a vet’s office, it’s outdoors and it’s got a kinda wild-west-like vibe…
  2. Since this was an actual “Mobile Vet Clinic,” and not just a “Rabies Clinic”, you should be able to relax and breathe when it’s your turn with the doctor. I felt like I had to rush and move quickly, almost apologetic for having 3 animals there… But that shouldn’t be the case, I should’ve asked questions and taken my time a little bit, because the line moved quickly enough, it wasn’t a horrible wait… And I was having some pretty intense procedures on my little dogs, that microchip is friggin’ painful. The vets were very nice, I thought. I wish I had been calmer, at least for the dogs’ sakes. And I wish I had asked about what other shots my dogs and cat might benefit from, I had their shot records right there with me! But there’s always next week…
  3. Take water. It’s hot in the parking lot, and stressful. There’s a lot of panting going on.
  4. Don’t feed your dog treats in line. I was giving my dogs bits from my leftover chicken wrap, in an effort to divert Boo’s attention from being a reactive little a-hole… But now that I look back on it, maybe not such a good idea, because it might’ve been distracting to the other dogs. Plus, it didn’t work. She was still a turd.
  5. There is no #5, I only learned 4 things.
  6. Wait, no, I got one. The microchip thing hurt my dogs. I almost threw up. But I’m glad it’s done, it’s for their safety, and I’m sure  the nausea will go away in a few days. Mine. My nausea. The dogs are fine.


Every time I see that little frog with leaf umbrella he charms me all over again… he’s so… what is he…smug? You would be too if your were the inventor of frog umbrellas.

There’s a rumor that goes around in our family, my mom perpetuates it, but she says that her Great Grandpap Vannauker was the original inventor of the umbrella, but some other dude scooped him on the patent. And so, didn’t we narrowly escaped the scenario in which, on a rainy day, you might have been advised to grab your VANNAUKER on the way out the door… Also, we Vannauker descendants narrowly escaped being multi-bajillionaires…

Poppy snores on my kneecap, unimpressed..

Yesterday I was ruing the day my dad gave me three wisteria starts… Why THREE? Why did I accept them? There’s a lesson in there, when someone hands you three of something, you don’t have to take them all. You can decline, or deflect, or demure.. something… Or you can share them. Wisteria is one of those things that just keeps on giving and giving and giving.. It’s like that Friendship Bread that goes around sometimes…  I planted one wisteria to climb the back porch pergola. That’s where I should’ve stopped. Oh sure it’s beautiful and lush and green and oh the gorgeous purple blossoms… Because it’s a challenge about three times a year, hacking it back away from the table and chairs, all those needy creepy vines, reaching, ever reaching, demanding attention, tickling, licking and curling around your arm when you’re trying to enjoy your corn on the cobs… Wisteria can be downright creepy.

Here’s why Dad was gifting me with wisteria, because he had to dig up his wisteria that was creeping all over his house and threatening to lift the roof and whatnot, he had to move his 40 miles from his house, literally, he moved it to the cottage at the lake! And probably because I said something off the cuff like, “Oh, wisteria is so pretty, I wish I had me some…”

YEsterday I wrastled with a wisteria that was allowed to grow unchecked for 10 years around the stump of the Tubby tree.  (Tubby was the dog who lived under the Tubby tree back when my mom was a girl). I didn’t know what to do with it when Dad gave it to me, so I planted it at the Tubby tree, and imagined a wisteria covered stump, oh wouldn’t that be adorable? No. It would not. Not for one minute was it ever adorable. It never flowered until it reached up into the pussy willow and started to strangle the pussy willow. THEN it flowered in triumph! It also grew into and over the horse fence, and tried to break my horse’s neck. Here’s me, standing at the dishpan, not a care in the world, just la dee da, washin’ dishes, jammin’ to Classical QED, and here’s my tiny horse, I just happen to glance up and notice her in the pasture, moving back and forth in a strange manner, along the fence, back and forth, back and forth… I’m used to seeing her scratch her big horsey butt on the fence, she’s nearly ruined whole sections with her little scratching shenanigans, but this was a different motion for some reason… Something told me to move fast. There she was, mincing around, with a woody wisteria branch about a half inch diameter, which means that thing was STRONG, wrapped around her neck, and she’s not quite panicked yet, she’s still exploring her predicament… but when a horse panics, they bolt, it happens so fast, and they’ll break their own neck or their leg. So you know, you untangle your horse, and you go back in the house and send your husband out to hack down the wisteria while you stand alone in the bathroom and cry… some situations… are trying… 

I’ve worked on it two different days now, a couple hours at a time, and I probably have two more days to go. Took about 20 sizeable branches out of the pussy willows, cut wisteria out of the pasture fence, the bushes, the compost bins, and the white picket fence. I’m documenting this, because it’s a huge process, and I don’t want to forget, and I want everyone to know, especially the wisteria, that even though I know it won’t be easy, and it may take several years, I WILL WIN. You hear that wisteria? I will triumph over you. I will vanquish you. Just ask the saw-grass that used to be where the pussy willows are now. That’s right, you can’t, because I vanquished it.

Oh, I should ask, before I obliterate, destroy, and dessimate it, does anyone want a wisteria start?



Dehumidifiers I have Known

I was gonna write about all the dehumidifiers in my life…. and there have been many… so many dehumidifier stories, shocking, shocking stories of dehumidifiers, crazy, wild, mind-blowing… dehumidifiers… Ahhh yes, it all began with a the dehumidifier in mom and dad’s basement…

dehumidifier-shut-off-lgThey had it at their house, and then they moved it to their cottage, where it stayed for 27billion years, just chugging away, never finished with its work, (kinda like motherhood..) the cottage was never dry, EVER, oh sure, a room here or a room there became unpleasantly HOT and dry for a short time, but then it all sank back into the wet, dank, and slippery… (also kinda like motherhood…) poor, poor little overworked little 1980’s dehumidifier… sad, really…

Do you know the general life-expectancy of a dehumidifier? I had to look it up, but some  people somewhere have actually studied this and assigned a number to it:

“The National Association of Home Builders estimates eight years as the average  lifespan of a dehumidifier and three to five years as the typical lifespan of  consistently-used residential units under normal operating conditions. The  Association’s study based the estimate on surveys of manufacturers, trade associations and researchers.”

THREE to FIVE, and possibly at optimal conditions, EIGHT years. Dad has kept that goony old dehumidifier going for nearly FORTY YEARS. Maybe more, I gotta ask him to check the back panel for the manufacturer’s date, and then we’ll know for sure. Because you know, even though he has recently finally replaced that old thing with a bright shiny new model, you know he dragged it out to his garage to strip it down for parts, or keep it for sentimental guy reasons…

And then I was gonna tell you about my own dehumidifiers, because I have two… But then I thought, “dehumidifiers I have known…” and it made me remember one of those stories we read in our Literature anthology book in high-school, “Hoods I have Known” and I remembered the weird tone that story had to it, a dangerousness… I can’t remember the plot, it’s sketchy, and I can’t find it on the innernetz either, it’s weird, it’s like it never existed… But then I found at least which anthology it’s in, it wasn’t a literature text book, it was a small paperback, and I think we have it here in the house, I think Cassie may have absconded with it to her room… She has a bookshelf back there, with a kinda funny collection, some are hers, some are mine.. and it tickles me to see what she’s chosen, because some of them are actually books that I absconded with from my own mother’s bookshelf… but here’s the book:

on googlebooks, you can actually read a few pages of it, which was awesome, because I forgot how witty the writing was, I only remembered that the story made me afraid… Because I was that girl in school, I sat up front, straight and at attention, knees under desk, feet flat on floor, two #2 lead pencils sharpened and at the ready… I was frequently the “chosen one,” the one sent on errands or entrusted with the candy money, the ice cream money, the lunch tickets… Not so much “teacher’s pet”, more like the teachers knew they could count on me to get the math right, and to go straight to where I was supposed to go and come straight back to the room. I guess I was kinda boring in a way, but it made me feel important. And that’s what was so scary about the girl in the story, she had a certain “place” or “status” and she messed up, and all that was taken from her in one fell swoop… it scared me so bad that I forgot how friggin funny the story is.

Of course this anthology includes Flowers for Algernon, because it is an anthology, and by law, all anthologies must contain Flowers for Algernon. Creepy story, creeeeepy…and why? Why does that story have such a creepy vibe… maybe it was the cruelty… People can be just that cruel, and it’s disturbing when an author nails it like that. Or maybe it’s the thought that this could actually happen, sometime in the near future… and why not.

But both are stories of different skin. Being plunged into different skin. Drastic replacement of what you thought you knew to be your life, or your place. Or what other thought to be your place…

My dehumidifier is chugging along down in the gameroom… The gameroom is practically underground, with cement floor, and so tends to be damp and dank and slippery… I’ve actually owned the dehumidifier for about 3 years, but was too lazy to hook it up for 2 of those years, until now when it behooves me to actually breathe down there, as we have recently converted it into our bedroom.  So I let some of my dehumidifier’s predicted life-span waste away, while it sat there, forlornly, unplugged, un-used… there’s a metaphor in there…

NEW-MINI-LOVELY-DEHUMIDIFIERgreen dehumidwell, I didn’t know you could buy a dehumidifier shaped like a penguin. Nor was I aware that they had GREEN dehumidifiers. Mine are white and they are shaped like small hardworking soldiers. I would prefer a penguin.

Oh, and my other dehumidifier, I know you were wondering hahahahooohohohoooo, my other dehumidifier is over at the rental house. I’ve owned it for the same 3 years, and have been too lazy to hook it up. Yesterday we were over in that basement, replacing the washer and dryer for our daughter/renter. It is swampy and gross down there, very wet… And so “hook up rental dehumidifier” goes straight to the top of the to-do list. Scintillating!!

Ohmygosh, I forgot the most mind-blowing part of my dehumidifier tales: Dad’s new dehumidifier? It has a built-in pump. When the reservoir gets full, it has a little pump that pumps the water out through some kinda aquarium hose. Is your mind blown? Mine either, because I’m not sure I understand how that’s an improvement over just attaching a drain hose to it and letting it empty by gravity into a drain… Plus it’s another thing that can break down… and possibly shorten the predicted lifespan of your dehumidifier..  Dad’s real excited about it though. I’m just gonna let him enjoy  his dehumidifier joy though, I’m not gonna mention my reservations… That’s what family does for each other..