Road Trip

We agreed that it was time for a visit to the Apple Barn for donuts and I decided to try a different route in lieu of the highway.

We thoroughly enjoyed the trip and the snacks at Tammy’s Candy Kettle in Hoosick, NY. Ron bought three pretty cut glass vases.

Back home, Ron installed hangers so we could put up the big stained glass piece. He washed all of the deck chairs, too.

Today I started washing windows. The building inspector is coming over tomorrow to check out the tempered glass in the first floor bathroom, so I made it a priority to clean that one.

Did a few more windows plus the sunroom door, then remembered I’d promised to vacuum the deck after Ron’s hard work yesterday. After I put away the shop vac and sat in a chair to relax, it started to rain.

Deck looks much better, though.

Ron vacuumed the two bedrooms before doing a grocery run.

I finished a letter to a bio cousin and mailed it at the post office.

We tripped a breaker this afternoon, a circuit on the west side of the house; not sure how.


Yesterday was a hot one but by afternoon the humidity had gone way down, so I tried to mow the front of the yard. I ran over a mouse with the lawnmower and had to euthanize the poor little thing.

Mowing takes more upper body strength than I have. The property slopes in two directions, East/West and North/South, so you’re fighting gravity with every push.

Ron did great, though, finished both front and back.

I staked some plants that might be Goldenrod. Took down the curtains in the kitchen. Did some grilling: cabbage with chopped onion, carrots and chickpeas for a kale salad, veg burgers.

We ate on the deck and DEET’d up, enjoyed being outside, unmolested.

It’s so muggy this afternoon that even our outdoor-loving neighbors are inside.

I did a transfer station and two compost runs because I’m absent-minded. Picked up a couple of staples at Stop & Shop as well. Changed the sheets. After buying a new drill bit at rk, Ron fixed the kitchen drawer! He is fretting about the “killer storm” predicted to arrive shortly but honestly from the weather map, looks like it’s going to miss us.

Great Day, Good Choice to Stay In

This is a banner day for the house: framing is done, inspection passed, praise for James and Jake from the Town building inspectors.

To celebrate, I picked up three sandwiches and a small meal at Poppa Charlie’s Deli. Excellent!

After mulling it over for a while, I’m staying put this afternoon because it all of a sudden got unbearably muggy. Good thing: at 2:20, it was raining like cats and dogs and now at 3:05 it’s like a sauna outside.

Spoke briefly to Robert to wish him a happy birthday.

Random Cleanup

Yesterday I finally learned how to add channels to my Sirius car radio and had a chat with my primary about glucose readings. Today I set up the most recent Greylock loan for automatic payments.

The electrician squared everything away on his side.

Yesterday I met with and got a quote from an arborist for tree and branch removal.

The carpenters got the architect’s approval to replace a beam with a larger one. They were here today for about five hours.

Ron and I planted some of the new plants in the garden in the center of the yard, thus adding more color to the area.

We were doing pretty well until we encountered a gigantic rock. Ron dug around it and was able to move it. I’m not sure how we are going to get it out of the ground and out of the way, though.

I did a transfer station run to dispose of an old chaise cushion and a bunch of yard clippings. Also dropped off compost materials and picked up our lunches at the senior center.


I was up at 2 am. Not tired.

Paid a couple of bills. Continuing to get caught up with emails. Wrote to James.

Ron did his usual great job of cleaning up before going to sleep.

Ron’s been annoying me with his lengthy monologues to strangers. I think he could use some new companions, but there doesn’t seem to be a way to do that easily. He really didn’t socialize much in Mashpee, either, even though there was an active men’s club and a crafts group at the senior center.

I tried networking myself but it’s a losing proposition and not that important to me so gave up.

I slept for a couple of hours and was in the shower when James came and went. Waiting for advice from the architect.

Meanwhile, Peter spent several hours here hunting down fault problems. It was complicated and apparently due to bad junction boxes ineptly installed by the former owner. He went up to the attic several times and got a lot done.

Gave Ben his birthday gift, a yoyo, a day early.

We Dug

We brought home eight more plants from Elhannon – orange and white coneflowers, asters, a balloon flower and a brown eyed susan – and started prepping the circular garden, which is full of weeds and has no color besides green.

We dug out two deep-rooted plants, a suspected hickory tree and a random something else, and a bunch of rocks. We planted the two flowers that Ron had picked out, a balloon flower and a brown eyed susan.

We did a lot of weeding and saved some small flowers like forget me nots for replanting.

Meanwhile, the carpenters installed an LVL in the spot that was the most difficult. They are waiting for advice from the architect before putting the last one in place.

It was arduous because they needed to work from the first floor up. Contrary to what I was told in the beginning, this was a good deal harder than working from the second floor down.

More LVLs; Movies

Yesterday the carpenters installed all but the last set of LVLs. They updated me on plans to demo part of the living room ceiling.

I pruned one of the hollies; surprised at the amount of dead wood.

I installed a paint can opener as a temporary eye to hold the deck door in place.

We drove to Walmart for Ron’s meds.

Cleaned the downstairs bathroom floor and accessories.

Today we did laundry and drained the air conditioner in the bedroom – again. The machine has a capacity of about four cups and we drained close to that much. So, it seems to be working okay, just that it’s been exceptionally humid.

After lunch, we went to the Bennington cineplex, I thought for “Sound of Freedom” which we’d been discussing at breakfast, but turns out Ron thought we’d bought tickets for “Oppenheimer”.

He skipped out of “Sound of Freedom” and watched about two hours of “Oppenheimer”. Meanwhile, “Barbie” played to a full, cheerful, pink-outfitted house.

Cleared the Deck

The carpenters had a banner day yesterday, installed 14 (over half) the LVLs. In lieu of scaffolding or tearing the ceiling apart, they hoisted them through a window. It was a good system, and it worked beautifully.

A handyman replaced the siding around the front door the other day. The entryway looks a lot better but the caulking is not so great.

We did two transfer station runs yesterday, including a couple of barrels of weeds. Disposed of trash, two non-working window fans, styrofoam packing materials from the air conditioners and recyclables.

I finally cleaned the deck with the shop vac. Just as well, it’s raining now and expected to continue all day.

Story July 19

A recent article in the NY Times claims that the wish to be beautiful is healthy, normal.

There’s no question that beautiful/handsome people have an easier time of it than the rest of us. But equating physical attractiveness with moral superiority and societal worth, a belief which religions and advertisers advance with rigorous conviction, is, well, crazy.

Or is it?

My mother abandoned me as an infant back in the baby scoop days when adoptions were conducted in secret and with little understanding of the complexities of profering very young children to strangers.

I grew up with people who were small-boned, exotic-looking, dark-haired As opposite my own English/Scots-Irish/German big-boned, coarse-featured self as could be imagined.

To make matters even more complicated, the supposedly infertile couple had a daughter of their own when I was about 2 years old. Their daughter grew up to be perfect: thin, beautiful, athletic, popular – the favorite of aunts, uncles and cousins. I was the black sheep in every respect: looks, personality, abilities.

So I didn’t grew up beautiful, and it certainly has impacted work, relationships and my place in communities.

I was so hated in my last town, Mashpee MA, that I had suicidal thoughts every day. I was hated at every place I’ve worked. I need to be very careful of how I act around other people in the course of normal affairs so much as that I’ve taken to avoid contact as much as possible.

The irony is that young children adore me, always have. There is no reason for this other than their purity and innocence.

I was blessed with one magnificent aunt who loved me without condition and who understood instinctively that my childhood rages came from a loss that was so bone-marrow deep that it expressed itself as “spoiled brat” non-verbal fury.

Being unattractive has been character-building, I suppose. I have a reputation for rock-solid integrity. Some people might even think of me as kind.

But does that make me or people like me valuable and worthwhile, especially in the United States? Particularly if we pair plainess or homeliness with intelligence?

It seems to be okay to be unattractive if you’re an object of pity, someone other people can patronize or about whom they can feel superior. Especially if a handicap makes a human being something of a family pet, a symbol of a parent’s forbearance, their “ticket to paradise” and guarantee of societal approval here on earth.

The way you look is determined by genetics. Americans’ preference for tiny women, for example, can’t be achieved with sheer force of will: a natural size 14 will never inhabit the executive suite, marry as well or be as well liked in her community as her size 2 counterpart.

And I don’t buy the story that is often advanced about a mythical size 18 woman who has such a sparkling personality that she’s married to a gorgeous man.

Maybe so, but that woman might be living a home life of sheer misery.

Trust me on this one.