Chipmunks are very cute. They are cuter than rats. Nobody considers rats cute, so nobody minds if we put out rat traps. Some people consider squirrels cute, but quite a few people spot them as rats with furry tails, so they are at some risk of being shot. Also, squirrels have a lot of attitude, and scold a lot.

My former hairdresser’s father-in-law was so irritated by a scolding squirrel that he grabbed a rifle and shot at a scolding squirrel in a tree just outside his house. unfortunately, he shot through a window he thought was open but he had forgotten the window was closed. Naturally, that was entirely the squirrel’s fault that his window was shattered, The squirrel even lived to scold another day. Perhaps it was a female squirrel, now that I think about it.

Not every land has chipmunks. As far as I know England and Australia have no chipmunks, though at least one pet store in Australia sells them as pets. Beware!

There are lots of chipmunks in America, and a few in Siberia, who wander south to lands like Japan and Korea, perhaps to escape the Siberian tigers and the snow leopards who probably think they make nice snacks, rather like the lynx David once observed.

Chipmunks are very cute, thus in great demand as cartoon characters. Chipmunks eat raspberries and blueberries and boysenberries, thus the Friendly Neighbors and the Randoms trap the chipmunks with rat traps. Once the trap is sprung, they are no longer cute. They are dead rodents.

A few days ago, Mrs. Random and I went into town on a few errands. In particular we needed to get a new land line telephone. Out ancient telephone was putting out a lot of static. The last time Random Daughter called she expressed a lot of concern about the static. I hope she realized that the static is coming from the phone and not from her dad.

Although we are now old fogies, Mrs. Random and I both own cell phones (mobile phones). However, mobile phones don’t work on our five acres. They don’t work because there are not enough cell phone towers on our part of the island. There are not enough cell phone towers because people who want to preserve nature would rather look at hills covered with fir trees than at cell phone towers. The cell phone companies build towers to look like hills, but the preservationistd are not happy with imitation hills.

Anyway, we needed a new land line telephone, so we found ourselves in a store owned by Radio Shack, a company I once worked for for a bit, part time. (You don’t want to know. However, we parted ways peacefully, not always the case in many of my jobs.)

While we were examining cheap wired land line phones, a woman in her fifties came into the store in some distress. It took a while to make sense of her ravings, but eventually we realized that she had seen a chipmunk in our truck. Puzzled, my wife and I followed her outside, where she pointed at a chipmunk’s head . Actually, it was under the truck with its head pointing out through the grill under the hood. Indeed it looked very cute. It was obvious to us that one of the many chipmunks on our property on our five acres in the woods had crawled up into the engine and hitched a ride into town.

One of the employees, an agreeable and helpful young man in his twenties, offered to catch the chipmunk and free it from the truck.

“No!” cried the woman in distress and indignation. “Don’t touch it or handle it any way!. It doesn’t live here!” Obviously, she was worried that the chipmunk could not survive in town.

It was clear that the woman was very sentimental about chipmunks. What she wanted us to do was drive back the five miles to our property so the chipmunk could safely dismount and return to its nest.

I politely thanked her for her concern and we went inside and bought a new phone (which seems to work fine).

I did not tell her that when we returned home we would set out a rat trap for the cute chipmunk. Actually, when we got home we examined the engine of our truck carefully using a flashlight. There was no sign of the chipmunk. I presume it had dismounted in town. I hope it followed the woman home. Obviously, they deserve each other.

The Friendly Neighbors are not home right now. They are traveling in Germany on a church tour visiting religious sites with fellow church members. They are very religious and kindly people and they do many good deeds on a daily basis. However, the Friendly Neighbor is 1/4 Sioux Indian. One of his ancestors was Crazy Horse, a famous Sious Warrior. This may account for his skill and fierceness in hunting creatures who consume his berries, such as bunnies, chipmunks and robins.

When the Friendly Neighbors return from their trip I will tell them story of the chipmunk and its ride to town under our truck and the concerned woman. I am fairly sure they will be as wickedly amused as I am by the entire incident.

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Slaters

July 3, 2010

Just as the Garden Tour was finishing, the Barely Extended Family arrived. They had stopped at some of the other gardens on the way in, and at a playground for Random Granddaughter to have a break from adult pastimes.

After visiting the Friendly Neighbors Garden after it had closed they came over to our house. I feed the chickens sow bugs as a treat, but I had been warned that RG collects sow bugs in little houses, so I wasn’t sure if having her help me feed some to the chickens would be politically correct.

Gingerly, I mentioned, “I feed sow bugs to the chickens as a treat. Do you want to help me collect some for them?”

She looked at me with a blank look. Eventually I discovered she did not know the term, “Sow bug.” She calls them, “rolly pollies.” Once the linguistic difficulties were overcome, she enthusiastically helped me turn over rocks and put the rolly polly bugs into a plastic dish and feed them to the chickens.

I think RG’s position at the top of the food chain is safe, unless we discover grizzly bears living in our woods, or a great white shark living in the Friendly Neighbors’ duck pond.

http://soilbugs.massey.ac.nz/isopoda.php

In New Zealand, sow bugs are known as “slaters.” If Australia and New Zealand are at peace, they may use that term as well.

The Barely Extended Family came to visit for our island’s garden tour. Only the very elite gardens are featured on this tour, and competition to be chosen is very intense. The Friendly Neighbours, gardeners extraordinaire, were selected. (The competition is very intense, and beneath the surface of immense politeness, fairly passionate, and even downright nasty…)

Mrs. Random became a docent for the tour. I was chosen to help guide visitors on where to park their Mercedes, BMWs, or Lexi.

Tickets to the tour are fairly expensive, hence the high proportion of visitors driving luxury cars. All the money from the tickets goes to charities. The visitors get to slake the need for natural beauty in their lives, and ease their guilt at being well off in a world of immense suffering.

Mrs. Random is very shy and very introverted, so it was only natural that she be assigned to help guide people. I have been a teacher and learned to act like an extrovert, so to keep me away from victims trapped in the garden, I was assigned to parking.

 Parking at big events such as this–over a 1,000 people came on one Saturday, is amazingly complicated. If not handled well, one could film a movie full of car crashes, shoot outs, carjackings, and the like.

 While I could write a novel on the day, I will limit myself to a short sketch describing my taking advantage of the opportunity to do stand up comedy as I helped guide visitors to an appropriate parking spot. Many of the rich visitors are elderly. They are easily confused and do not want to walk a long distance. Some are handicapped, with mobility limited by hip replacements and the like.

 In the battle plan, using cones and crime scene tape, we laid out the private dirt road with one-way parking, facing out, to make escape easy. Six parkers spaced over a mile of road carried walkie-talkies and wore road worker vests. Typical helpful advice I provided:

 “I am going to have you turn around here and send you the other way. I will guide you so you don’t end up in the ditch while you are turning around.”

 “As a special bonus for visiting the garden, you will get some cardiovascular exercise. It’s good for your heart. To make that possible, drive down to the next parker.”

 A lot of pedestrians walked in the middle of the road in a fairly clueless manner. Naturally, I warned people as they drove on the narrow road, “If you can hit at least ten people as you drive to your parking spot, we will provide a 50% refund of your ticket price.” [Seriously, one of the parking guides did suffer a mild, glancing blow from one of the drivers, but was not injured.]

 My best effort was, “You will need to drive a long way. Then you will get to turn around and get closer. It looks worse than it is. Except, it is worse than it looks.”

The parkers working down the road reported the drivers had a very glazed, confused expression on their faces and obeyed instructions in an obedient, almost robotic manner.

The Heavy Door

September 4, 2009

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My wife tells me that I am a very negative and pessimistic person. She is just as negative and pessimistic as I am, but she refuses to admit it. Every morning when she gets up, she grimly says to herself, I will be positive and optimistic.

Front Door with Inset

Front Door with Inset

It takes her a couple of hours and several glasses of tea for her determination to take effect.

 

I meant to write this story about five years ago, when our house was being built. I was optimistic, but I am finally getting around to it now.

 

My wife is a person with a highly developed aesthetic sense. It is very important to her to be surrounded by things she finds beautiful. For example, our garden is full of many nutritious food plants, but it is also full of beautiful flowers. It took four years for the garden to reach its full flowering. We are now harvesting our fruits and vegetables, which have been abundant, and sniffing the flowers, which are beautiful and provide beautiful scents.

 

When we were working with Tom, the contractor we hired to build our house, my wife said, “We will purchase the front door and bring it out to the construction site.” She said this because she didn’t want any old door. She wanted a door that represented us and our values and aesthetics.

Tom, the contractor, a very nice guy who did a good job for us in building the house, explained that we should purchase two doors: the permanent door and a temporary door. The contractor would use the temporary door during construction because it might accidentally get damaged. He would only install the permanent door near the end of the job.

We found a “door store” near where we lived on the mainland.. The large showroom includes racks and racks of doors in various sizes and designs. Many of the doors have glass or plexiglass decorative insets.

My wife, as is typical of her, spent hours studying different doors and beautiful decorative insets until she found just the right ones; a combination that would create a front door that would say “Us” to the world. We also picked out a cheap temporary door. Both doors were very heavy. Two strong employees helped load them into the back of my wife’s pickup truck.

We took the doors home, to the duplex we owned at that time with daughter and her partner on the mainland. Again, they were too heavy for us to lift by ourselves. Fortunately, some teenagers were playing football in an empty lot across the street. We asked them if they would lift the doors and put them in our garage for us. Welcoming the opportunity to show off their youthful strength, they cheerfully lifted the doors and put them in the garage. It took two of the husky young men to carry the main door.

We delivered the doors to the work site. We got our next door neighbor at the time, Tim, to help us get the doors into the truck. My wife has a bad back; it was not very safe for her to help me lift the door. I could not do it by myself.

The contractor said to take the “real door” back as he could not store it safely at the work site. It was a little irritating to drive the door back to the duplex where we lived and get my neighbor to help me unload it again.

The contractor typically worked on three houses at a time. At the time, his business was going well and he had a fairly large work crew. One Saturday morning we arranged to deliver the “real” door to the island. Terry the foreman, was supposed to meet us at the work site at 9 am.. To get there on time, we had to get up at 5 am in the morning. I arranged with Tim, our next door neighbor, to help me load the door in the truck, even though it meant he had to get up at 5 am on a Saturday morning. My wife had taken a dislike to Tim before she ever talked to him because he always had a dozen cars sitting on his front lawn, most of them in various states of assembly, dis-assembly, and repair. My wife thought Tim’s constant auto repair projects made our neighborhood look like a white trash headquarters. But, in fact, Tim proved to be a very pleasant neighbor in various ways, not least when he cheerfully agreed to get up at 5 am on a Saturday morning to help me load the door into our truck.

We loaded the door at 5 am, caught a ferry, and arrived at the work site about 9 am. The not quite finished house stood empty. There was no sign of Terry. We knew Tom, the contractor, was off island on other business. We did not have a phone number for Terry, the foreman. We sat around the work site in our truck for about an hour, extremely frustrated and irritated.

In the early days of his blog, David Rochester would write little stories about the irritations and frustrations of his life I called “Rochesterisms.” This was clearly a Rochesterism; not really a disaster, but certainly maddening.

We debated what to do. We were irritated at the prospect of making the long trip back to the mainland, unloading the door, and doing it all over again another day.

We drove the five miles back into the nearest town on the island. We stopped at a pleasant coffee shop and had some tea and pastries to console ourselves in our irritation and frustration. Having a house built is a stressful and anxiety producing activity. My wife and I stared at each other in gloom. We wondered if we should drive the five miles out to the work site just in case Terry the foreman had arrived. We decided to take the trouble.

In gloom we drive the five miles in silence. We drove down the gravel private road to the site where our house was being constructed. There was no sign of Terry the foreman.

We trudged up the driveway to our truck. Just as we got up to the truck, we saw Terry’s truck pull up.

He got out, explained that an problem had occurred at one of the other work sites. Apparently a building inspector had decided the other house did not meet code, and Terry had been forced to rush to the site and deal with the problem while his boss, Tom, was out of town.

We drove our truck back down the driveway.

Terry, the foreman, is a man of average height and build, as am I. I prepared to help him lift the door. Terry lifted the door by himself and carried it to the house by himself and propped it against the wall next to the construction door and my wife and I stared in amazement and admiration.

“There,” he said. “I’ll have the crew install it on Monday.”

My wife and I thanked him effusively, got back in our truck, and drove back toward the ferry dock, our load lighter and our hearts singing.

 

Sweet Peas

Sweet Peas

 

 

 

 

Verry Berry

September 2, 2009

My wife and I live on a very fertile island in Puget Sound, a kind of temperate zone jungle. Berries grow very well on our island.

We grow and pick quite a few kinds of berries. For example, we grow strawberries. Strawberries are very well behaved. They have no thorns and grow well. I can envision strawberries sitting in neat rows at church on Sunday.

We also grow boysenberries. Boysenberries are a California crop more than a Pacific Northwest crop. Growing boysenberries brings back memories of her youth in California to my wife. Her family didn’t grow them, but they went into the countryside to buy them.

They grow quite happily here in Washington. They seem vigorous, but they tend to be “sickly.” They also are rather thorny.

Two years ago, they produced a lot of fruit, but then the vines looked very sickly.

At the end of the season, my wife cut them back to the ground. This year they are growing well, but it takes two years for them to produce fruit, so they are just practicing this year with lush vines and no fruit. Boysenberries go to church, but their attendance is a little spotty.

We grow raspberries. Raspberries are a little rambunctious. They produce well, and have a few thorns. They go to church, but argue with other church members when they serve on church committees.

The pastor would just as well the raspberries would pass on joining the committees, but they always do. In our garden, little raspberries side sprouts are always popping up.

We grow blueberries. Blueberries sit quietly in the pews. They don’t stand out much, but the pastor knows he can depend on the blueberries.

We grew tayberries. Tayberries go an odd church on the outskirts of town. If they drop into your church, the pastor would be just as happy if they went back to their odd sect. Pete, a fine and long-time reader of my blog, sent me some bushes. My wife was very suspicious of them and wouldn’t let me plant them in the garden for a couple of years. After they grew in the garden for a while, my wife said, “I don’t like the berries very much. The roots are stealing nutrients from the currents and the potatoes. I want to get rid of them.”

I asked Pete’s permission. It seemed rude to me to dig up a gift plant by the roots. Pete, kindly and patient as always, said, “Sure. Good luck.”

At my wife’s request, I dug up the tayberries. However, they are difficult to eradicate. They will keep popping into the church from time to time, just to be difficult. The pastor may have to spray these congregants with Round Up.

 

We also pick berries that grow wild. For example, we pick salmon berries. Salmon berries taste rather bland. Salmon berries are kind of like slum children from the “working poor.” They are harmless, but there are always a lot of them wandering around on the streets and playing pickup football and baseball games. If they come to church, they are restless, and sit in the back.

 

Then there are the blackberries. There are two kinds of blackberries. The native blackberries are very small. They are hardly worth the trouble of trying to pick and eat.

 They native black berries send their children to school, and they don’t go to church very often, but they don’t cause much trouble.

The Himalayan Blackberries are troublemakers. They ride loud motorcycles or drive souped up cars with no mufflers and play their radios very loudly as they drive by. Himalayan Blackberries hang out in bars. When they bartender sees a Himalayan Blackberry come into the bar, he makes such his blackjack is handy under the counter and the phone is within easy reach so he can call the sheriff’s deputies in a hurry.

 

So far I’ve been mostly using feminine metaphors describing berries, and mostly describing them in terms of members of a church congregation. I’ve always had a weakness for mixed metaphors in my writing and my Himalayan Blackberry metaphors are hopelessly out of control, as are the vines and the berries themselves.

 

Blackberry vines are guys. The kind of guy who looks like Marlan Brando when he was young. The kind of guy who has no trouble attracting women.

If you marry a blackberry guy you will have to call the cops because he will beat you.

 

The berries themselves are girls, the kind of female known as “jail bait.” They look ripe and luscious before they are of legal age. They are surrounded by vicious stickers that will sting for a long time after they rip into your clothes and your arms as you try and pick them and even your legs as you try to get to them. The stickers are the brothers of the Himalayan girls, and they’re always looking for a fight to defend their sisters’ “honor.”

If you get a blackberry when it is really ripe–a period that last for about two days–they are incredibly sweet. A ripe blackberry comes off in your hand easily, and tastes delightful. After about two days, they start to dry up and they are not so good anymore.

 

Neither the blackberry guys nor the blackberry girls age very well (just as Marlan Brando did not age very well). You probably don’t want to marry a blackberry. It’s probably a good idea to wear protection, such as gloves, when you go out to pick blackberries. I picked a bowl of blackberries today. When I held up my hands to my wife, they were stained with juice, and they were stained with blood.

 

Good luck in getting a Himalayan Blackberry to go to church.

“What is that?” I asked as I pointed at some white flowers in the beautiful garden my wife has created in front of our house “It looks like the lavender.”

My wife said, “It’s called white lavender.”

“”That’s just plain wrong for a flower to be named ‘white lavender,'” I said.

“I think it’s going to have to go,” my wife said. “It’s growing to big and it’s overrunning the sage.”

I looked up ‘white lavender’ on the Internet. The complications of this flower’s name are much more complicated than I first thought. This is a flower with issues.

It’s not just plain wrong; it’s very fancifully wrong.

 

Actually, it is the pricking of my fingers.

Every six months or so, my doctor orders some tests for me, some involving drawing blood. As a person suffering from high blood pressure much of my life, I am an especially good candidate for kidney failure or diabetes.

I would go to the HMO’s lab door, take a numbered ticket, and wait my turn. As the phlebotomist struggled to find a good vein, I would grit my teeth, look the other way, and make a sour joke about drug addicts who stick needles in themselves on purpose.

Eventually, the HMO would tell me that I don’t have kidney disease or diabetes, much to my relief.

However, after my last test, my lab results said that I was “pre-diabetic.” When I emailed my doctor asking what I should do, he said I should be tested again.

A few days later, I had to go in for a pre-cataract surgery checkup. My doctor was away (probably goofing off), so I went to a substitute doctor. I asked him what pre-diabetic meant.

He told me it was a natural part of aging. “We all become diabetics eventually,” he told me cheerfully, ” though we can put it off for a long time.” He told me to eat green and blue foods and instead of junk foods. I told him we have a large garden and grow our own lettuce, broccoli, and blueberries.

“Good,” said the subdoc, with the weary air of someone whose patients lie to him all the time. However, in this case, I was telling the truth, though my wife’s nagging gets most of the credit. Also, I have lost about 40 pounds over the last two years, my blood pressure (which I now test myself) is at respectable levels, and my constant treadmill plodding has reduced my resting heart rate to something like an athlete’s, though I am not going to enter the Tour de France next year.

The subdoc also told me I should start testing my blood glucose levels and scheduled me with a nurse for training.

A few weeks later, I met with an eqally upbeat nurse who provided me with a kit of equipment and educational materials. She showed me the monitor. “First you program in the date and time. Then you draw some blood and test it with this little strip. Though first, you use a drop of control solution to make sure it is working.” She told me all this quite expeditiously, as if I understood what was going on.

She warned me that each pack of control strips has an identification number. The number on the monitor screen has to match; if it doesn’t I have to push little buttons until it does. Then she showed how the test results appear on the tiny monitor screeen.

 

Then she got to the good part. “Here is the lance. You twist this little cap off, then you insert it into the slot. Then you jab yourself in the finger so you get a drop of blood. You touch the end of the strip and after a few seconds your score appears. Then you can choose from various comments, such as if your test is before you eat or after you eat. This booklet will tell you more about the process.

“Here, you try it. Stick the needle into the side of your finger. Good, there’s some blood. Put it on the strip.” After a few seconds, a number appeared. “That’s a good number. You may not need to keep doing this very often” she said. That sounded too good to be true.

 

She also gave me a confusing plastic box for the safe storing of my used needles.

With the cataract surgery going on, I kept convincing myself to avoid sticking myself. But as my eye healed, I decided I had to force myself to confront this unpleasant task. Naturally, I had forgotten everything the nurse had shown me. The instruction booklets she had given me were written for diabetics, which also depressed me. After lots of blundering and smearing blood around, I eventually got the hang of the process.

It was not clear to me how often I should be testing myself or what score I was looking for. There seemed to be something about doing it before I ate and again two hours after I ate, and leaving notes on the monitor whether I had been exercising before the test, or ill (I presume with swine flue or the like).

I came up with six scores (recorded over three days), sore fingers, and considerable self pity. Today I am going in to see my regular doctor where I will discuss my scores and how often I need to stick myself. I am grossed out by the whole business, and no doubt you are also by now. I just wanted to give you something cheerful to look forward to when you grow old.

It is just getting light outside and I will look out the window for a bunny aiming to poach on our garden. If so…it will be the last garden it raids.

 

Match-Making

October 21, 2008

This is my second “Seinfeld” story,  that is a story about nothing, though something or other happens even in a story about nothing, so this story describes a bit of happy matchmaking.

I don’t know if I have ever matched two people romantically. By accident I once put two people in touch with each other and they fell in love and got married (which had not been my intention) but they later divorced bitterly, so I am relieved that it had not been my intention for them to marry.

Anyway, matchmaking can involve just introducing two people to each other because they will like each other or have an interest in common or can be useful to each other. I have successfully done that sort of matchmaking, and I had a good experience in this regard a couple of weeks ago.

I have talked about our friends S and B before. S grew up in Sri Lanka at a time when the terrible civil war was just getting started. As a child she saw people burned alive in mob violence. Her father had been a “rascal” (involved in petty crime such as changing currency illegally) and a Catholic, so S had attended a Catholic school where she had been taught by nuns. An older sister was already a college student in the United States. When the Catholics closed the school and sent the nuns back to Europe, because Sri Lanka had become too dangerous, S’ father decided Sri Lanka was too dangerous for his daughter as well, so he sent S to live with her sister in the United States.

S and my wife used to work together in Portland and they became good friends.

I don’t know how she met her American husband B, who works for a power company in Oregon. I will have to ask them one of these days.

They plan to retire to Washington. We hoped they would move to lot #4 (we are on lot #3) on our island. Each lot is about five acres in size because my wife and I love lots of separation from our neighbors. We love our neighbors more when we are not cheek by jowl with them.

S  and B decided not to move next door to us. S has a bad knee and can’t walk very far. They don’t mind living next door  to their neighbors as my wife and I do. S hopes to get an artificial knee to replace her failing natural knee before she retires. My wife’s other best friend has had two artificial hips installed. All of us are getting older and turning into cyborgs. My wife and I still have our original parts, though they definitely creak.

So S and B have been having a house built on the mainland. It is almost done. They will retire and move into the house in about a year.

Our neighbors on lot #1, whom I call the Friendly Neighbors for blog purposes, have been extremely helpful to us. We all garden, which bonds us together. Mr. Friendly Neighbor is a very handy person. He especially loves wood working, and makes many beautiful objects out of wood, both furniture and works of art. He is, in fact, a woodworking nerd (a term I use out of admiration, not disparagement).

He loves to talk about woodworking. He will show me a beautiful piece of furniture he is working on and talk about a joint is going to fashion and ask my opinion. He will point at a couple of other joints and ask my opinion about which to use.

I will say something such as, “That one looks very nice. But that one also looks very nice as well.”

He is a very kind and gentle person, so he says nothing unkind to me, or even cast a look of disgust at me, but it is clear I am of no use to him whatsoever in this regard. I feel like I have let him down terribly. Although he and his wife built their house together-and it indeed a splendid and beautiful dwelling-she is not a woodworking nerd either.

B, is also a woodworking nerd. When S and B visited us a couple of weekends ago, they noticed a sign in front of the Friendly Neighbors’ house advertising eggs for sale. (Their chickens are now producing eggs lustily, though probably that is not the appropriate word, as the Friendly Neighbors do not have a rooster.) They are now selling eggs to neighbors and friends such as us to help pay for feed for the “girls,” as they refer to the hens.

S said to us, “I would love to buy some fresh eggs.” She and my wife had a happy conversation about the difference between fresh organic eggs from the farm and fresh organic eggs in the natural food store. The difference is night and day they agreed.

I said, “I will walk down to the Friendly Neighbors and buy a dozen eggs for you.”

B said, “I will come with you.” S stayed at our place with my wife because the quarter mile walk would be too hard on her bum knee.

When we got to the Friendly Neighbors’ house, I introduced B to Mr. FN. “He is another woodworker,” I said to Mr. FN.

B looked at a table that Mr. FN had built. “What kind of wood is that?” he asked. I don’t even remember the answer (clueless  as I am), but within a few minutes they were deep in conversation about different kinds of wood and a few minute later Mr. FN was taking B on a tour of the house, showing him all his woodworking projects, and they were deep in  happy woodworking nerdish conversation. It was clearly love at first sight, as I had expected it would be.

Mrs. FN and I talked about chickens and gardening. After about half an hour, Mr. FN and B came up for air, and I told B, “We have to get back to our wives.” He obediently followed me, though it was obvious he could easily have spent many more hours in happy conversation with Mr. FN.

As we walked back, carrying the eggs, B described some beautiful piece of furniture Mr. FN had made. “I wanted to make something like that, but I didn’t.”

“Why not?” I asked.

“As I talked about it, S said she saw no need for us to have it. It didn’t go with our other furniture, she said. ‘Why do you want to make that?’ she asked me. ‘We don’t need it.’ She didn’t understand that I just wanted to make it,” he concluded mournfully.

As far as I can tell, B & S have a very happy and successful marriage. Yet as David has said, even in a successful relationship, one partner cannot meet all the needs of the other partner. There has to be space for other relationships even in the happiest marriage.

These other relationships do not always need to be alternative romantic relationships in every case. Probably in very few cases, though I have known some relationships where such relationships did occur.

However, David certainly needs to have at least one romantic relationship no matter how eccentric it may be. Even perhaps with someone as far away as Australia. Maybe that’s how much space he needs for a relationship to flourish. In my next post I will talk about the very high level premiums for those who contribute to the pledge drive.

Random Granddaughter brought her little spade. After her nap, everyone went outside to the big pile of dirt. She shoveled several spadefuls into the wheelbarrow. Grandpa pushed the wheelbarrow down to the garden.

RG shoveled several spadefuls onto a seedbed Grandma is preparing. I took RG on a tour of this year’s garden, pointing out raspberries, boysenberries, blueberries, and tayberries. I also pointed out less interesting items such as onions, peas just breaking through the soil, and chard left over from last year.

I also showed her the Italian (prune) plum tree (not leafed yet), the crabapple tree proudly displaying leaves, the Spitzenberg tree with a few tentative leaves, and the new apple tree with four varieties grafted on to the trunk.

We then went for a walk to the mailbox. RG has fallen back into her “it’s too far” whining. “I’m going back to the house,” she threatened. Mommy said, “OK, we’re going to the mailbox.” RG disappeared down the driveway, clearly sulking and heading for a meltdown. Mommies and grandparents proceeded down the gravel road. After a while, we saw a little figure following us down the driveway. We slowed, and by the time she caught up with us she was having so much fun stomping in puddles in her boots she had forgotten to sulk in the joy of spashing.

When we got the mail box, she looked inside and found it empty. It was, as Mommy said, a “teachable moment” where RG learned that the mailman doesn’t even ring once on Sunday.

Upcoming Events

March 25, 2008

Two items to note about coming events.

Upcoming Visit

A four year old young lady is coming to visit us this coming weekend.

Grandma brought her some gardening tools last month for her birthday. Apparently, the shovel is the gardening tool of choice. Apparently she and best friend Mia each dig the shovel as the best among all the tools.
We have a big pile of topsoil up by our house that we are moving down to the garden to supplement the rocky natural soil. We may put RG off shoveling for life. Stay tuned for reports next week.

New Private Blog

I have been talking about my job too much. In a fashion similar to what another member of our community has done, I am starting another blog which will be members only. Probably the main purpose of the blog will be to whine about my job relatively safely. It’s not quite ready for opening, but will be available soon. If you need to get in you will need to know the blog address and you will need to have a wordpress user account.

You can request the blog address by emailing me at eman_modnar at yahoo.com and you can get a wordpress account at wordpress.com. (Correct email listed above to contact me.)
For people such as Pete, who are too discrete and sensible to have their own blog, you can sign up for an account without displaying your real or imaginary life for the amusement of thousands (or even dozens).