Let’s see how this fits in reverse

About four or five years ago, I returned to my car in the supermarket parking lot and found a magnetic strip attached to the door. Mine wasn’t the only one. Many other cars had them.

The message deeply offended me. Still does.

For perspective, let me change one word – and then a few others to match – to see how the logic flows, or doesn’t. Here goes:

So you support Trump-Pence. This means you …

  1. Are stupid (which can’t be cured)
  2. Have been duped, indoctrinated or brainwashed (curable!)
  3. Actually believe in class warfare, white supremacy or the failed concepts of Capitalism, self-made man, etc. (which makes you a domestic enemy of the Constitution and the U.S.A.)
  4. Are ignorant of the facts – which are readily available. So if you have no desire to get the facts or once learned, you refuse to change your ways – please refer back to 1, 2, or 3.

“If we lose freedom here, then there is no place to escape to. This is the last stand on Earth” – Ronald Reagan.

~*~

The original, however, accused me of supporting a Socialist, along with an entitlement mentality, Collectivism, and Marxism, all because of my Bernie sticker.

The hit-and-run messenger was cowardly, of course. Presumptuous. Prejudiced (this person knew nothing about me, after all, except for a campaign sticker). A bully, trying to intimidate me or stifle my freedom of speech.

But I’m still deeply miffed about the bigger problem of a blinding power of labels to obstruct civil discourse and thoughtful consideration of public issues.

Socialist, after all, does not necessarily mean Marxist. To the contrary, it was an element of early Christianity, if you read the book of Acts and New Testament epistles closely.

Packing it in to move on

We were reluctant to start packing up our final goods from the house until the new couple passed through their final checkpoint in the home-purchase process. You know, just in case we had to show the place again to a fresh round of bidders.

What it’s meant was less than a week to box or wrap all that remains and haul it off somewhere.

We had already done a ton of packing and purging to make the rooms look presentable, but we wanted to leave enough to make it look cozy and livable. So that part’s done.

I’m a big believer in having uniformly sized boxes in a big move. They stack much more easily, for one thing.

Seeing those shelves empty of books does look strange. I’d forgotten how heavy they are in a box, too.

There’s no way it will all fit in our new Downeast address, especially before our anticipated renovations are completed, so we’re putting some in two storage units, in effect buying some time for some serious culling. More is going off to our daughter’s already stuffed barn in York, to come up later.

It gets emotional, of course. I’m surprised how much responsibility I feel toward the books I’ve read, and their authors. And then there’s my vinyl collection.

Of course, that’s only my tip of the proverbial iceberg. Take the kitchen and garden goods, especially.

Sometimes I used to joke that I couldn’t understand how people lived without a barn to hold all the overflow. Only now it’s not the least bit funny. Seriously, folks.

What I like about gardening

Candidly, I’m not the gardener in our household, but I still have to pitch in with the work. Let me look on the bright side. Plus, when it comes to dining, I definitely enjoy the benefits.

  1. There’s less grass to mow, thanks to the beds that take up at least half of what would have otherwise been lawn.
  2. The sequence of blossoms and produce give me a heightened seasonal awareness. Every week is different, from mid-March as far as mid-November, in the progression of blossoms .
  3. The selections and placement of plants reveals my wife’s mind with its shifting palate of color. She designs English-style clumps, unlike my straight rows. Yes, it really can be a feast for the eyes, even as we look out from our windows.
  4. Asparagus, in a permanent bed, is a delight to cut and eat almost immediately each day through the month of May. It’s the first of our you-can’t-buy-it-this-fresh revelations and reminds me of my years of living in the Yakima Valley of Washington state, where it sprouted like a weed. There, our goal was to sate our taste buds for the coming year. Besides, the delicate ferns are stunning foliage all summer.
  5. Fresh greens. Salads, especially.
  6. Berries, starting with strawberries and extending into blueberries and raspberries. We also have a bank of currants.
  7. Real tomatoes, not the poor substitute you find at the supermarket. We always raise a variety of sizes and shapes, and you’d be surprised how much their flavor varies. One year, I think we had 14 different kinds. Nothing surpasses a tomato and mayo sandwich every day through August and much of September. The king of France should have been envious. You can forget the bacon or even lettuce, as far as I’m concerned, they detract from the star attraction. Again, it’s enjoy it while it’s so gloriously available. (We also freeze a lot for deep winter – the soup, especially, can be heavenly while you watch the snow fall.)
  8. Weeding, which I’d normally avoid, has become a quick means to collect food for the rabbits, which they so greedily and efficiently compost.
  9. Which brings up composting, a lesson in patience and the importance of worms, as I feel virtuous in turning what would have otherwise gone to the landfill into a miracle mixture that’s revived much of our property from what my wife termed “dead dirt” into something soft, pliant, and fertile.
  10. Hummingbirds. They make their rounds through everything flowering, but you have to be alert to see them. Sometimes they’re even right behind your back.

~*~

Well, gardening does also serve as an item of conversation.

What would you add?

Room to welcome everyone

They definitely weren’t suburban. A big pink Victorian house suits Cassia’s colorful extended family in my novel What’s Left. And guests, even guests of guests, are typically welcome.

Have you ever been welcomed in a home like Cassia’s? How does it differ from yours?

~*~

Theirs also had a witch hat, something like the one here.

Howdy, Hank

exactly what comes next? maybe it’s Chicago within multiple trajectories of impatience and boredom before connecting and charging ahead roughshod you take a swing, fan, and fan again in this curriculum of revelations from Old Friends everywhere standing on some pebble-strewn base of a mountain, watching a squall line of religious tracts form in oppressive humidity how am I to know this will play Boston, this season or next? maybe I’ll score, ah, yes, and speaking of Hope, give her my greetings the big picture emerges one pitch at a time, here come the Sox . whoops

 

Ten big renovation and maintenance projects we did

In absolute numbers, I suppose you could say we lived in the place for free, once you compare what we paid for the place and added as renovations against the selling price two decades later, but I’m not sure that would hold up if we factored in inflation or what we might have earned if we’d placed much of that money in the stock market.

Even so, here’s some of what we had done:

  1. Reshingled the roof.
  2. Lined the chimney. And then the other.
  3. Replaced the cracked boiler.
  4. Saved the barn from collapse, created a mother-in-law apartment, later removed the second-floor deck from the house to the loft, and wired the loft.
  5. Replaced the downstairs windows.
  6. Remodeled the kitchen.
  7. Remodeled the upstairs bathroom.
  8. Restored the downstairs bathroom as more of a utility room and added a kitchen pantry.
  9. Replaced the sump pump, this time sunken into the floor.
  10. Replaced the rotten bulkhead with steel.

And that’s not counting all the garden beds and plantings or tree work.