Not in the clamor of the crowded street, not in the shouts and plaudits of the throng, but in ourselves, are triumph and defeat.--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

REDIRECT ALERT! (Scroll down past this mess if you're trying to read an archived post. Thanks. No, really, thanks.)

Due to my inability to control my temper and complacently accept continued silliness with not-quite-as-reliable-as-it-ought-to-be Blogger/Blogspot, your beloved Possumblog will now waddle across the Information Dirt Road and park its prehensile tail at http://possumblog.mu.nu.

This site will remain in place as a backup in case Munuvia gets hit by a bus or something, but I don't think they have as much trouble with this as some places do. ::cough::blogspot::cough:: So click here and adjust your links. I apologize for the inconvenience, but it's one of those things.

Monday, June 21, 2004

And So--

As is usually the case, Friday night was pizza night--we had coupons for some “free” stuff--cheese bread and cinnamon bread, so we called up crappy old Domino’s and had them bring some pies and wings and other assorted junk. Sure was good--basically, anything you don’t have to prepare at the end of a long week is good. And it was.

To bed, then up early Saturday as Miss Reba got a head start on the day by making unsubtle noises with various cookware and closet doors. At least this time she wasn’t the first one awake--that honor went to some small boy who clicked on the television while it was just barely dawn. Grr. The rest of the time until I got up was a Technicolor wonderland of odd, semi-awake dreams. Finally had enough of that and rolled on out of bed and got ready for the day ahead.

Finally going to get that dining room cleaned out! Or not.

Some breakfast, then started in on the mess. We actually have a very nice little dining room--a beautiful near-antique mahogany china cabinet, filled with beautiful Lenox and Waterford, and a beautiful near-antique sideboard with silver platters and junk, and two bookcases filled with Literature, and a not-at-all beautiful table that had been our first kitchen table when we got married--lots of wear on that baby.

Anyway, it’s been at least five years since any food was actually eaten in there--it became a craft/sewing/Sunday School curriculum/office work dumping ground that had the tabletop covered with school projects and sewing stuff and assorted office equipment, and the precious little floor space filled with fabric and books and crockery and stuff and things and papers and picture frames and sacks full of photograph envelopes from various vacations and a ton of other stuff. Seeing as how we’re supposed to have the kids from church over on the 27th, along with their nosy parents, this mess had to be gotten out.

Where to start?

Well, the attic, of course! Not that there wasn’t already a pile of junk downstairs, but we decided to get even MORE down! We’ve had some of the older girls’ clothes stored upstairs for a while waiting for Cat to grow into them, so while I did the cleaning thing, Reba decided to try the clothes on Littlest One. So, nine boxes of clothes were trundled down from the already steaming hot attic. Of the nine boxes, approximately seven outfits fit. ::sigh:: But at least I wasn’t the one having to wrassle with a rather uncooperative seven-year-old.

While they did that, I got to work. First thing, trying to make some sense of what all was in there, so I could make piles of like stuff. Photos in one place, books taken by Middle Girl to the upstairs stack, old school papers unceremoniously dumped, craft items in another stack, Sunday School stuff over there--after five hours, you could actually once again see the color of the carpet! Hard to believe THAT much stuff could be in ONE room. And there’s still more! Not much, but stuff still needs to be put away. That’s going to be for tonight.

Anyway, while I did that, the kids cleaned their rooms some more (yes, believe it or not) and Reba packed boxes to go to Goodwill. I finally got to a point where I needed to move the craft stuff, and it needed a place to go. We have a four-shelf plastic thing out in the garage where this mess is SUPPOSED to go, but I told myself that before I put anything else on it, it was going to get reassembled correctly.

When Reba got it, she put it together herself, and didn’t quite have the oomph necessary to get the PVC tubing down into the shelf holes all the way. Which meant that when it was loaded down, the shelves angled themselves every which way in a frightening recreation of the Leaning Tower of Pisa. I unloaded the shelves, took it outside on the driveway (the better to sweep off the accumulation of bugs) and got it all back together.

“Whatcha doing?”

Oh no. “I’m going to try to put this back together so it doesn’t lean so much.”

“It wasn’t leaning, was it?!”

Oh no. “Umm, well, yeah--remember? And when you said it was leaning, I said not to worry about it, and that it would do until we could fix it right?”

“Well, I TRIED to get it together right and it JUST WOULDN’T GO!”

Knew it. “It’s no big deal Sweetiepie Hunnybuns Sugarblossom Reba Reba Bo Beeba--I PROMISE! These tubes just need to go all the way down and lock into place. See?”


A little tip, guys. Never fix the stuff your wife put together when she’s at the house.

Aside from the alleged affront to her handy skills, the shelves went back together very easily (yes, yes--she got it broken-in just right for me) and the craft supplies now had a nice, stable home. No wisecracks, please.

By now, it was time to break for lunch, so we did, and then it was time to figure out what to do with all the stuff we had cleaned out of the attic and the fancy eating room. Best bet was to try to head for the Salvation Army dropoff place over close to Wal-Mart, and that way we could also drop by and pick up the other stuff we needed--bags for the Japanese beetle traps, some vinyl upholstery material for the two pub chairs we keep in the foyer (they had ancient thin vinyl on them that dried out from the afternoon sun, and then cracked asunder when Oldest stuck her knee into the seat--her normal way of entering a chair), and some more bras for Reba (yay!).

SO, on with clothes for the kids, who had been content to wander around the house in dusty tee-shirts all morning, and then we loaded up the van with all of our donatable things. Well, at least all that would fit--we still have several boxes left over. Anyway, off down the hill and back up Chalkville Mountain, and thankfully, the collection trailer was still there. We weren’t quite sure if it was going to be there or not, because we didn’t know the collection times. We would soon find out.

We pulled up beside the trailer and I got out. A radio was playing inside the trailer, but there was no one around anywhere. Hmm. Apparently, one of the points of the Bermuda Triangle lies in the Wal-Mart shopping center parking lot. I went around to the front, then went back around to the back and called out to the non-existing person inside. Well, flitter. I would have just left the stuff, but I needed to get a receipt. At this point, I looked across the parking lot, and like Peter O’Toole riding up out of the desert, I saw a scrawny looking fellow walking slowly, far across the sea of asphalt. I thought this might be the attendant, but it could have just been someone who likes walking around during the hottest part of the day in a parking lot. We have ‘em, you know.

Anyway, he got a bit closer--"scrawny" being a rather too generous description of his physique, wearing a red baseball hat, aged about 50 or so, chewing on the butt end of a stinking rope. “I saw mah truck up there and he done took back off but I think it was him!”

“Are you with the Salvation Army?”

“Yeahhh--when I saw mah truck I went over thar to go git him and he’ll come back in a minute!”

Well alrighty then. I pulled the van up a bit so it would be easier to unload. He was very strong at toting things.

“Ah’m real strong at toting things! This shore is one hot day, but once that feller gets here with that dual wheel truck, it’ll be fine!” With this, he exhaled a fragrant brown cloud my way--I saw that his setup inside the trailer included a small clock on a broken desk, and a half-empty box of Phillies Blunts. Nice, big, full-size smokes, machine made with only the finest floor sweepings and rubber eraser crumbs for maximum smoking enjoyment. “AH got me a RIDIN’ LAWNMOWER in hyere! I told ‘em I could git big things in hyere!” Uh-huh. By now, my eyes were stinging, and I just wonder how the Salvation Army ever manages to get that smell out of the clothes they give to people. Maybe they just give them to people who already smoke. Or live near a lead smelter.

Finally got all the boxes out and safely stowed, and I asked him how much longer they were going to be there today. (Might be able to get the rest of the boxes out of the house, you know.)

“If mah big truck comes back, I will be leavin’ hyere at THREE THIRTY FIVE. I made me up a sign, and if you go look on the front of the trailer, it says ‘NEW HOURS, 9 am to 3:35 pm,’ so if he comes on back on time, I won’t be hyere past THREE THIRTY FIVE. An’ same thing on Monday--I’ll be hyere til THREE THIRTY FIVE. ‘Cause that’s when they come git the trailer is THREE THIRTY FIVE. ‘Course, ifn mah truck don’t come back, no tellin’ how long I might have to set here--might be past THREE THIRTY FIVE.”

Okay. After I got my receipt, we pulled away and sure enough, here come the big truck to load up and go. Right at 3:35. Or so. Why not 3:30? Who knows. Never argue with a cigar smoker, I always say.

On then to Wally World, where we went to the restroom. Then we went and found they had completely sold out of bug bags. ::sigh:: Meaning another stop somewhere else. On then to the fabric stuff for the chair covering. Bought a yard and a half of brownish leatherlike looking stuff--enough for all four chairs, although I only was going to do two of them. The other two will be projects for later. You know, when Oldest has finished tearing them up. Got that, and then off to the lingerie aisle. Hooray!

Boy and I had to stand off to the side--he thinks it’s gross to go into the bra section, and I have to act like I’m not looking at bras. So the girls waded in and in short order Reba was back with the makings of a really exciting fashion show.

Hit the checkout, tried to figure out how such flimsy pieces of fabric can cost so very much, then down the hill to K-Mart to see if THEY had beetle bags. Nope. But they DID have the meeting site for the weekend car show, so we got to see a few as they were arriving. This is a pretty big deal out our way--every weekend, folks bring out their iron and sit around and swap lies and such. It’s a low-key sort of assemblage--no trailer queens, and a good bit of wavy sheetmetal and orange-peel paint, but everyone seems to have a good time. The crowd was just arriving, so there weren’t that many folks there, but there was a very nice ’64 Goat pulling in as we left, and there were a couple of mid-year Vettes, and a yellow five-window low boy with a big block that very nearly took off the front of the van. Whee!

ON then to the next stop, the Marvin’s down the hill from our house, where I found the mother lode of bug bags. I got four boxes just to be sure I had enough. Then, back to the house, where we unloaded ourselves and I set to work on recovering the chairs.

Don’t know when they were recovered last, but it was a while ago. Did the first one and it turned out pretty darned good, if I do say so myself. The vinyl I got had an interfacing that made it very hard to do the corners, and hard to cut, too, but by the time I was finished, it looked nice and smooth. The second posed problems, however. Instead of the normal sized tacks, it had tiny little tacks with tiny little heads, which I knew I would never be able to reuse. So, back to the hardware store for tacks.

Back home, and with the experience gained in the first cushion, the second went on even quicker. And looked even better, but not enough so to make me consider redoing the first one. I may be crazy but I’m not stupid. Much.

Supper, then a brisk scrubdown on the washboard for the kiddies, then to bed.

Snore, then up again early Sunday. Shower, dress, fix some breakfast, and then open my Father’s Day booty--some very sweet cards, and three books to add to the List of Things I’m Reading Now. First up, Twelve Ordinary Men by John MacArthur on the lives of the Apostles, then Lost Scriptures--Books That Did Not Make It Into the New Testament by Bart Ehrman--I like reading about stuff like this, and finally The Complete Book of Bible Literacy by Mark Taylor. The last one is pretty fun--there are a series of multiple-choice quizzes in the front that are good to test yourself with. I did fine on the strictly Biblical ones, but worse on the various denominational dogmas and traditions. In just reading through it, I also have to say it’s not quite THE complete book--a lot of the themes are repeated throughout, with several different questions asked about them, in only slightly different ways. But, still an enjoyable book to peruse.

On to church, and for once I actually got to sit through the whole sermon without undue disturbance from Tiny Terror, then afterwards off to the other side of town to go visit Ashley’s other grandparents. Mine and Reba’s old growing-up place continues its downward spiral--every month we go out there, it seems like there’s a new pawn shop, bingo parlor, or title loan shop opened up. The place looks like absolute crap, which is sad. It was never anything real spiffy, but at least once it did look like happy families lived there. ::sigh::

Went and put flowers on my dad’s grave and on Reba’s first husband’s, then went and visited for a bit, then headed back toward home to see Reba’s dad for a bit, then headed on toward church again for the evening worship. Once again, the two littler kids sacked out and snored, so once again I actually got to listen, then back home for a nice, quiet, turkey sandwich.

It sure was good.

Bed, then here again. And tomorrow? Well, tomorrow I will be at a special Traco National Architectural Summit! Oooooooo!

Continuing ed credits to be had--FIVE of ‘em--along with a continental breakfast and lunch, AND it lasts all day long. More or less. And I get to mingle with window salesmen. Whee.

So, NO POSSUM TOMORROW as I go get myself all continually educated. AND THEN, Wednesday, I have my early-morning regulatory meeting, so VERY LITTLE POSSUM. Then Thursday, I have to take half a day and watch the kiddies again, so INDETERMINATE AMOUNT OF POSSUM. In other words, not much possum this week. Not that that is such a bad thing, but I thought it best to warn you anyway.

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