Archive for May, 2012

May 31 2012

The End

Published by under Cats,Family,Friends

Rob watering my purple honeysuckle – and a young Clyde, October 2010

It turns out my feeling of doom on Tuesday was correct – Rob’s Mother died around 9:00 Eastern that evening.

I believe Rob was with her and his siblings. He called Megan last night from the Philadelphia airport between flights, and with the background noise of the airport and the always bad cell to cell reception, he kept cutting out, so they kept the call short. As I write on this sunny San Francisco morning, Rob is (hopefully) peacefully asleep at Clayton’s Garage Mahal* and Megan has probably let my cats out to play** and is waiting to hear from Rob on when to pick him up in Santa Rosa.

I’m glad that Rob reconnected with his sisters and especially his brother, Bill, who was just a child when Rob moved to California 30 years ago. They found that they had a lot in common, and Rob stayed at Bill’s house in Ottawa. I’m sure that they will keep in closer touch now, so something good came out of something sad.

*Clayton has a former, vintage mechanic’s garage which he used to live in. It has a little kitchen, bathroom, office, and a living space with a hammock slung under a skylight. He lives in an apartment around the corner, so the Garage Mahal is his guest house and party pad.

**Megan texted me last night to let me know all the cats were safely inside. Finally: an actual use for cell phones!

4 responses so far

May 30 2012

A Change of Pace

Published by under Family,San Francisco

Everything seems to have been too strange for too long.

First there was Rob’s difficult trek to his Mother’s bedside, then it was Megan’s birthday and he wasn’t here, then it was Memorial Day and I didn’t have to work but Megan did, so I was on dog patrol, people came up to visit, then I worked one day at the jobette – where I had a feeling of doom all day – and now I’m in San Francisco for some meetings.

It all seems really weird.

Despite all the weirdness (and all the nightmares I had last night), it was a lovely drive. The sun was shining and it was like driving through a big postcard or a Visit California ad. Turning the other way on the highway (instead of the way that leads to the Big Town), I drove past the ocean, then down some hairpin turns to the river, which regularly overflows in the winter and traps Hootervillians and their visitors when the road is closed.

Then it’s through dappled sunlight and groves of ancient redwood trees that almost blot out the sky. There is something really special about being in the midst of these great trees. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but it has elements of spirituality, eeriness, serenity, and the feeling that they have been here for centuries and will be here long after you’re gone.

Next up is the beautiful Anderson Valley:

Bedecked by vineyards and apple orchards:

This is where it was time to put on the A/C.

The Valley gives way to rich farmland, dotted with peaceful cows and glossy horses, the trees still that fresh, translucent green of spring, the rolling hills still verdant from the winter rains, but with hints of the “golden” summer to come. The live oaks make deep pools of shade for the farm animals.

Of course, I had to stop for lunch at the Hamburger Ranch and BBQ in Cloverdale:

Past San Quentin* and the Marin Civic Center, Frank Lloyd Wright’s last commission, and you’re almost there. From the Waldo Grade, I could see that the Bridge was lightly accented with fog, so it was time to turn off the A/C and open the windows. Crossing the Bridge, which had just turned 75 to much fanfare just three days earlier, the fog blew mistily over the towers as if in a movie. There was still lots of sun to highlight the International Orange always worn by the grand old lady of San Francisco – she didn’t need Sephora to tell her it was the Color of the Year.

Now I’m at my home away from home, the modest motel about four blocks from my former home and four hours from my current one. I called Megan when I got here, but just got her voicemail, so I have no real update for you on Rob’s Mother.

She is in hospice care, and the doctors withdrew everything but painkillers several days ago, so it’s surprising that she still (as far as I know) is with us, though not conscious. I have to admit that it makes me sad that Rob went through all that hell to get to her side as quickly as humanly possible and he never got to talk to her or hear her say a word. I hope that people are right when they say that his Mother was aware of her children’s presence, and I further hope that she is in no pain and will pass peacefully.

Rob is flying back tonight, from Ottawa to Philadelphia and then Philadelphia to SFO. As I write, he must be in the air. He will arrive at the San Francisco airport at about midnight and take a cab for our friend Clayton’s house in the Haight. Tomorrow he’ll take a two hour bus ride to Santa Rosa and Megan will pick him up there, and together they will make the two and a half hour drive to Hooterville.

It makes me tired just thinking about it.

I realize that Rob and I will be in San Francisco at the same time, but we won’t see each other.

Everything really is weird.

*Megan used to teach some preschoolers whose classroom had a distant view of San Quentin. They thought it was a castle, and Megan never disillusioned them. Discuss: why does California persist in allocating prime Bay front real estate to prisons (Alcatraz and Quentin)?

2 responses so far

May 27 2012


Megan and I had a good time on her birthday evening. We ended up talking and listening to music instead of watching the movie. She loved her present, a garden bench/kneeler:

Having repeated knee surgeries makes groveling around to weed and garden pretty painful, and when you have an 80 foot by 80 foot garden, that can be a problem. I still owe you a post about the garden on the property, but in the meantime, here’s what it looked like after a neighbor and his big machine tore up the existing scrubby huckleberry bushes:

And here it is after months more of hard work:

It turns out that Rob gave her a pair of Felco pruners for her birthday before he left, and they will fit nicely in the pockets of the bench, along with things like sunscreen (for Megan and Star) and her sun hat when she’s not wearing it.

Rob’s mother is not expected to survive much longer. She is in palliative care, so we all hope she is comfortable. Unfortunately, she doesn’t seem to be able to communicate and is sleeping a lot. I hope that she knows her children are with her, even if she can’t express it. They say that people often hear and experience more than they can say in these kinds of circumstances.

If there is a bright side, it’s that Rob is with his siblings and they are supportive of each other and glad to be together. We are all lucky to have our families, both in good times and bad.

5 responses so far

May 25 2012

What a Long, Strange Trip It’s Been

Published by under Bullshit,Family,Special Occasions

Too much has happened since I last posted, and none of it has been good.

Rob’s sister called him earlier this week to tell him that their Mother is gravely ill. The truth is that she is not expected to make it.

We made rushed arrangements to get him to Ottawa, hoping that he would be able to talk to her and at least that she would know he was there.

The ticket cost a zillion and one dollars, and Megan made several calls to the airline and the Canadian consulate to make sure that Rob could travel to Canada and back on his Permanent Resident Alien card (aka “Green Card”). Everyone said it would be fine.

Rob got a ride to Santa Rosa, then a bus to San Francisco, where he stayed at the Hotel Clayton. He got up at 2:00 am to catch a shuttle to the airport for his 6 am flight, which connected through Philadelphia. At the gate, he was told that he could not travel on his Green Card. Tired and stressed, he got pretty upset and left the airport.

He called Megan, and she calmed him down and told him to go back to the gate and ask to talk to a supervisor. He did this, and the supervisor said he was fine to travel on the card. They rebooked him on a 10 am flight. Megan called Rob’s sister to let her know of the delay.

When she called Rob to tell him she had spoken with his sister, an Asian lady answered the phone. It’s hard to say who was more confused by this encounter. Eventually, Megan was able to explain to the lady to bring the phone to the airline desk. She then called the SFO paging department, who obligingly paged Rob.

Unfortunately, by now Rob’s blood sugar had dropped. He kept looking for the white courtesy phone instead of getting something to eat or drinking a soda, so by the time he got to security, his blood sugar was at alarmingly low levels. They had to call an ambulance to get him cleared to travel.

Guess who didn’t make the 10 am flight?

On the bright side, he got his phone back.

Eventually, he was released from the hospital and made it through security for a 10 pm flight. Yes, he was at SFO all day and half the night, arriving at 4 am and not leaving until 10 pm.

He called Megan from Philadelphia, and when I went over this morning, he was on the phone with Megan, wishing her happy birthday and telling her that it was hot and humid in Ottawa. He was fine, other than being exhausted and having the cold Megan is just getting over. He hadn’t seen his Mother yet, so I will keep you posted on that. Good thoughts and prayers and what have you are all appreciated.

I had to work all day, so it’s been a pretty lousy birthday so far for my wonderful sister. I am hoping to redeem its crappitude with:

  • A bottle of Skinny Girl White Cranberry Cosmos, which has been chilling all day;
  • A card (which can be planted) and present (a gardening bench to make it easier on her poor knees); and
  • A DVD of “One for the Money”, which we enjoyed so much at the movies this winter.

Hopefully that will redeem today a bit. I still say she is the best birthday present I ever had.

4 responses so far

May 21 2012

Weekend Recap

Weekends have a magical ability to disappear. They speed by with lightning rapidity – unlike work days – and by Monday morning, it’s like they never happened at all. All that fun seems so far away…

On Saturday, we had a BBQ at Jonathan’s place. The 80 foot by 80 foot garden has become the summer party pad. I owe you some pictures of the spectacular transformation from hardscrabble pygmy to flourishing vegetables. The latest enhancement is having both water and power piped into the garden, an endeavor which required some serious trench digging (and filling in).

Our friend Clayton, who hosted us in the city during last summer’s popular HospitalFest, arrived after dark and thought he was in the wrong place at first. Some of his friends came up the next day, bringing dirt bikes and a three month old baby girl named Josephine*, an unusual combination. They took turns babysitting and biking, and Josephine took it all in stride. I have rarely met a better natured baby.

After the biking, we gathered around the fire pit (made from a cement well ring) and had dinner while Josephine cooed and napped. It was a nice evening, and it was good to see Clayton again. Hopefully they will come back up again now that the summer visiting season is in full swing.

Also on Saturday, a hummingbird meandered into my house. I had all the doors open, so it must have come in to explore. I heard the distinctive buzzing before I saw it. It was iridescent green with a red throat. I should have taken a picture, but I was so worried about the little guy getting out of there safely that I stayed out of the way and watched him zooming around. Eventually, he went out the balcony door and I heaved a sigh of relief.

Good thing the cats were all outside.

On Sunday, I had yet another memorable encounter with my old friend the moon. That evening, she glided in front of the showier sun and eclipsed its blaze for a little while. Mark came by with his family and a welding helmet, so we all trooped through the house to the balcony and took turns peering at the eclipse through the helmet’s tinted window. It was amazing and spooky to see the sun covered by the moon. Eventually it became a “ring of fire”, and it was spectacular.

It was also eerie, the light becoming dimmer and with an unearthly quality that made me understand why it freaked out the ancient people so much. It kind of freaked me out, and I understood why it was happening.

The cats came in from outside, and Roscoe hid under the bed for the rest of the evening.

*As you may remember, I once had a beautiful Siamese cat named Josephine, after Jo March in “Little Women” (“Such a little name for such a person”), and an equally beautiful sliver-blue 1966 Mustang convertible, the color of my cat’s eyes. So I was delighted by their name of choice, as well as the name’s bearer.

One response so far

May 19 2012


Published by under Calamity Suzy,Cats,Family,Memories

The guilty parties

I’m up earlier than I’d like. As usual. When I’d like: 8 am or so. When I am: anywhere from 4:30 to 6:00. If I don’t stop these bad habits, I will never attain my lifetime goal of idle rich. Also, a girl must surely need more beauty sleep as she gets older, not less.

The boys found a new and novel way to get me out of bed today (and more importantly, to get breakfast and then outside into the early morning sunshine). This one involved rolling around on top of my unsuspecting body, clawing and biting each other’s heads with accompanying sound effects.

At least I didn’t get a new bruise to add to my collection. The old one is still there, now turning yellow at the edges while retaining its alarming lumpiness. It’s about 6 inches long and three inches wide, with the power to frighten innocent passers-by and co-workers. At least it doesn’t hurt any more and will eventually vanish into the mists of time, unlike some of the other scars I still have:

  • The triangular one on top of my left hand. I got this one while ironing my father’s shirts when I was home from college. His mother taught me the proper Victorian way to iron his shirts, so when I was home, I’d iron them for him, usually while watching TV. I think it was an episode of “I Dream of Jeannie” which led to my being distracted enough to mistake my hand for his Ben Sherman shirt (which I now have).
  • The long, lumpy one at the base of my left thumb. For someone who’s right-handed, I seem to be unduly hard on my left hand. I broke a goldfish bowl in Megan’s room, again when I was home from college, and rescued the fish. I picked up the broken glass and it slipped. Instead of letting it go, I clutched at it and sliced open my hand to reveal its inner workings (there’s a reason why they hide all that stuff under our skin). I immediately turned into a six year old, yelling, “Mom!” She took me to the ER for several stitches, which surprised me by being black and wiry, and held my hand when they injected novocain into the wound.
  • Above my – yes, you guessed it, left – eye is a small wrinkle which I acquired while Mom in the hospital in the final months of her life. There is no tired like hospital tired. The little line mostly appears when I am tired at a normal level, but I notice it whenever I put on makeup and think of Mom. Accessorizing the line is a scar mostly hidden by my eyebrow, which comes from having a few glasses of wine too many after sharing Christmas dinner with Mom at the hospital and realizing there wouldn’t be any more to come.

    I lost my balance – which I am perfectly capable of doing with no alcohol involved – and hit my head on the open door of Megan’s desk. I was slightly stunned. Megan cleaned me up and called our brother. We still laugh about her calling him late at night and saying, “I’m drunk, but Suzy’s drunker, and she cut her head open.” He sighed and came over, and by his account, “When I opened the door, the smell of vomit wafted out.” In the meantime, Megan had butterflied my eyebrow together really well.

    Not my finest moment, but as usual, I was lucky to have my family there to rescue me. I think I threw up all the next morning. Merry Christmas!

  • The chicken pox scars on my legs. I had mumps twice, and I had chicken pox twice. Both poxes were memorable. The first time, I was 8 and my parents had taken us kids and Mom’s aging parents to England to visit Dad’s parents. On the way home, the flight was delayed at the airport for many hours. But that was the least of our parents’ worries – we had broken out in chicken pox that very morning. Mom was convinced that if the officials found out, we’d be forced to stay in England until we were healthy again. “Don’t you dare get any on your faces!” she said as we approached Customs. We didn’t, and after an overnight stay at Charlie Chaplin’s suite at the Grand Hotel in Eastbourne, we finally went home.

    The second time, I was 15 and spent hours lying in an Aveeno bath, complaining about the utter itchiness. Though I did get out of midterms.

Considering my ability to damage Self in nearly any circumstances, it’s somewhat surprising that I have never had major surgery, broken a limb (though I did break two fingers recently), and still retain my tonsils, appendix, and two of my wisdom teeth. I need all the help I can get.

4 responses so far

May 16 2012


Ironically, after posting that last entry about how much I hate driving, I went to the DMV yesterday.

Ever since I got my license, I have renewed it by mail, but this year, I got a notice saying that I had to go in person. I couldn’t help wondering if it was because I’m about to be really old in a couple of weeks. After all, Jessica had observed a couple of years ago that I no longer look as youthful as the Self pictured on my license, and I imagine that the sands of time have not started rolling backwards in the meantime.

Not for the first time, I find it incredible that our only two options are old age and death. Isn’t there a nicer “none of the above”, where a girl can retain her cuteness and vigor?

Such deep thoughts occupied my shallow mind as I walked the two blocks to the DMV from the jobette. Already the Big Town DMV was ahead of the Oaktown DMV, which had to be driven to in a dismal area of town. Arriving at the office, there were two people sitting quietly reading the paper, instead of the disgruntled hordes in Oaktown.

I had an appointment, so I was able to jump the modest queue. I did an eye test, had my right thumb scanned (twice), and was relieved of $31 before having my picture taken. The photo part made me realize that I probably should have worn my contacts, but DMV pictures are notoriously bad and I am notoriously unphotogenic, besides already looking ancient to six year olds.

I was given a paper license, which looked a lot like my original permit, and was told that I could expect my new and unimproved license in the mail in a week or two.

The whole thing took about ten minutes, and nothing was stolen. Big Town: 1. Oaktown: 0.

6 responses so far

May 14 2012

The Dilemma

Published by under Family,Friends,Travel

Jessica’s school picture* this year

Ever since Erica and Jessica decamped to Portland last summer, the fabulous quotient in Hooterville and environs dropped by about 1,000%. I’m glad that Jessica is living a Ramona life in the land of Beverly Cleary and that Erica is revelling in city amenities, but I miss them.

Megan wants to go and visit the Dynamic Duo this summer, but her older sister has some reservations.

Number One: It’s a twelve hour drive. TWELVE HOURS. It used to take me 12 hours to fly non-stop to London from San Francisco, and even with the ability to get up and walk around, drink cocktails, read, sleep, and watch movies on my laptop, I could hardly stand it. At least there was Dad, London, and Europe at the other end.

The whole problem with driving is that it’s the worst of both worlds: really boring, but you have to pay attention. Also, it is simultaneously too fast and too slow. On the freeway, if you’re going 70 mph and everyone else is going even faster (as they usually are), if they hit you, not even Rico from Six Feet Under could make you fit for human viewing ever again.

And then there’s the whole dead thing.

At the same time, you are speeding along at 70 mph or whatever it may be, and it will still take you half a day or more to get to the next state.

And then you’ll have to do it all again in a week’s time.

Add in the fact that I don’t get paid when I’m not at the jobette and gas will be around $300 plus whatever other money we spend while we’re away, and you can add “expensive” to “boring” and “scary”.

On the other hand, we haven’t seen Erica and Jessica since Christmas, and they braved the hideous trip with their dog to see us, so we kind of owe them. Also, Megan is afraid that if we don’t make the effort, E & J will drift out of our lives, and that’s a fate worse than road tripping.

What to do, what to do?

*Honestly, have you ever seen a cuter school picture? None of mine even came remotely close.

8 responses so far

May 11 2012


Published by under Cooking,Country Life,Dogs,Family,Garden

I realize it’s almost this weekend, and I haven’t told you about last weekend yet. Let’s look back, back…a long time ago, about last Friday.

It was the first farmers’ market of the year, and it was a beautiful, sunny day. The market was less crowded than it will be when summer really begins, and it was nice to wander about in comfort. I picked up a fresh baguette (to go with the black bean soup I had made) and some cherries, the first of the season:

After that, we stopped by the garden center and picked up several bags of chicken manure. Folks, don’t try this at home. I washed my hands six times after helping Megan to load the bags in the back of the truck, and I could still smell it. All the perfumes of Arabia couldn’t sweeten my little hands. Megan laughed at me.

We also got fixin’s for a BBQ the next evening and bought some redwood boards, which was harder than you’d think, especially since we live in the heart of redwood country. But the pretty boards were warped, and the non-warped ones tended to have fatal flaws, like a giant crack or way too many knots in them. We were looking for six 10 foot long boards. The guy at the lumber yard was really helpful, looking through board after board. Finally, we found two decent 10s and some decent 20s, which he cut in half while Megan paid for them. He even cheerfully loaded them into the stinky truck.

Saturday was a magical confluence of festivity: Cinco de Mayo, Star’s fourth birthday, and the 138th Kentucky Derby!

The Derby has to be the best sporting event EVAR. Can you name another one where there is a red carpet with celebrities, fabulous hats, daytime drinking is positively encouraged, and it’s over before even I have a chance to get bored? And then there are the gorgeous, glossy horses and the winner being draped in roses.

This year, the delightfully named I’ll Have Another won at 15-1 odds, the first horse in Derby history to win from post position 19. His jockey, appropriately enough, was 25 year old Mexican native Mario Gutierrez, making a memorable debut at the Derby after winning Santa Anita last month. I bet he had another!

We had expected company for dinner, so Megan and I bought a pork roast which I marinated in lime juice and spices on Friday, thinking it would be a good choice for a crowd to make fajitas. We hadn’t even thought about it being Cinco de Mayo, but it worked out well that way. Birthday girl Star celebrated spending half of her life in love and safety, where she will remain for the rest of her life. She patiently waited for her birthday dinner:

Other than Star, it ended up just being Jonathan, Megan, and me. We slow cooked the pork roast in foil over the coals, then grilled red peppers and rd onions and had it all with salsa in handmade tortillas by the fire as the sun slowly faded over the garden. We talked about the past and the future, sitting in the garden they have worked so hard to create. Looking at the faces of two people I love most in the world, I thought, “I love my life.”

2 responses so far

May 09 2012

Down and Dirty

Published by under Calamity Suzy,Family,Garden

In addition driving me crazy yesterday, Clyde also managed to get between me and the stairs, right before I left for work. I tripped down the last three steps, bruising my left forearm (and butt!) in a horrifying and lumpy manner, and doing something to my right foot which makes me a little limpish. But only when I walk.

Calamity Suzy rides (or falls) again!

Still, I think we can all agree that it’s an improvement over falling off the top of the stairs.

Today, my brother is going to stop by the jobette and pick up a tarp and random hunks of wood, which Rob brought over last night and stowed safely in Miss Scarlett’s capacious trunk. Why, you ask? Because my brother is going to pick up a truckload of dirt for me on the way home, and you have to cover it up and weight it down so your investment doesn’t end up flying all over the highway instead of making a comfortable home for your flowers. I’m looking forward to getting some things done in the garden over the next few days.

Hopefully I won’t fall off the truck while shoveling dirt. Stay tuned…

2 responses so far

May 08 2012

Cat Fights

Published by under Cats,Dogs,Work

Exhibit A

It’s only 7 am, and Clyde has already driven me crazy. Here’s how he does it:

  • Go behind the new couch.
  • Start clawing at the back of it.
  • When The Girl yells at you, go under the couch and start clawing there.
  • When the girl moves the couch out to yell at you and/or grab you, sneak behind the heater.
  • Mess around back there until the heater and/or phone go on and off, with accompanying beeping.

I ejected Clyde into the sunny morning, even though I suspect that he may begin to see clawing the couch as a doorbell substitute.

Any suggestions on how to eliminate the clawing problem?

Also in the Cats Behaving Badly department is Digit*, the office cat.

Exhibit B

As you know, staff meetings at the jobette are frequently attended by our Director of Barketing. He turned up yesterday in a natty red plaid vest, tail wagging, only to be greeted by a hissing and puffy Digit. Erin removed Digit from the meeting, and was scratched for her trouble. The dog and his owner went out the back door after the meeting, and when we opened the conference room/kitchen door, Digit was curled up on a chair, looking like nothing had happened.

Hopefully, they can work it out. The CEO’s kids chased Digit all over the office on Friday, and she put up with that. She also had no trouble with his dog, so maybe she just needs more time to adjust and realize that she is safe in her new home.

*Megan stopped by the jobette yesterday after teaching a CPR class. She thinks Digit is a silver tabby, like Megan’s beautiful cat Harriet.

4 responses so far

May 03 2012


When I (finally) got home last night, I covered the outside couch with a plastic drop cloth, even though it was a beautiful, clear evening and the moon was smiling down on me:

The forecast said 100% chance of rain, and they were right: I woke to ran pattering on the plastic and the plants. I won’t have to water the garden today.

Speaking of the garden: Rob dropped by last night and we talked about making a bent wood trellis. I lent him the book, so I’m hoping we might get it done this summer. My idea is to have the trellis (and whatever I’ll grow on it) hide the decrepit trailer full of Rose’s pottery which Mark may or may not have time to empty out and/or move one of these days.

Rob also fastened some mesh to the underside of the balcony, so the jasmine that’s growing beneath:

can wind its way up to the balcony itself. I love the idea of a jasmine-covered balcony.


Last night, I suddenly realized that I had missed my own blogaversary! I even had to look back in my archives to find out what day it was. It was April 20, for those of you who keep track, and my blog is now 12 years old. Or my approximate mental age. Pretty soon it will be pestering me for a driver’s license and an overpriced prom dress and developing the surly attitude beloved of teens everywhere.

You have been warned.


Digit on my desk. Note the name tag!

Digit’s first week as our Office Cat was a success, at least as far as her human colleagues are concerned. I was happy to hear that everyone but Me stopped in to see Digit on the weekend. It turns out that our IT guy comes in pretty much every weekend (who knew?), so she will always have some company.

She is still completely uninterested in making a break for it, which is great considering how often people are in and out of there during the work day. She always greets me with a purr and rolling over onto her back to have her tummy petted. She’s good at playing by herself, chasing a toy (or her tail) around the office.

So far, so good.


On the Saturday after the Girl Day, we had the first family barbecue of the year. We had it in the huge (40 feet by 40 feet) new garden on the family property, which is an amazing work in progress. it’s taken a couple of months to get to where it is now, deer-fenced and gated and planted with fruit trees and almost every vegetable you can think of.

We were joined by friends, including Lichen, though it was unfortunately too windy to cut my hair. We perched on hay bales and drank wine and ate like kings and queens: turkey burgers; marinated, grilled peppers and summer squash; my famous potato salad (mayonnaise free for the picky eaters among us); as well as mixed olives and marinated artichokes.

It was a great evening.

2 responses so far

May 02 2012

New Couch

Published by under Cats,Country Life,Family

Also part of our Girl Day was getting a new (to me) couch! I am hideously excited about it. I have been looking for a replacement for my battered old couch for at least a year, so imagine how thrilled I was to find the couch of my dreams for about $250. The store even threw in the decorative pillows for free, and you know how I’m all about the pillows (I think I have eight or so on my bed), especially ones like these, which are gorgeously beaded.

But we had to get the couch from the Big Town to my little house.

On Saturday morning, Megan and I went to our brother’s place and swept out Rob’s trusty old truck. Jonathan has been using the truck while his car is being diagnosed at the shop. We are all pretty nervous about this, because Jonathan couldn’t figure out what was wrong, and that means that whatever is wrong will be really expensive. The car has nearly a quarter of a million rough and tumble miles on it, so it may also mean that Jonathan will have to join Megan in buying a new (to him) car. I really hope these things don’t come in threes, because I’ll be next.

We also took a tarp from the hay bales and realized that we would need a tie down to keep the couch in the truck. Fortunately, one of the tie downs Rob uses for garbage hauling was still in the truck, though one of the hooks was missing. Jonathan sailor tied it to one side of the truck and hooked the other side on. We were ready to go.

Almost as soon as we did go, we saw that the gas gauge was empty. The light was on, but no gas was home. We drove the five miles to the store, hoping for the best, and I put in $45 worth of gas to get us to the Big Town and back, with enough left over for our brother to get to work on Monday.

Arriving at the furniture store, two nice young guys put the couch on the truck, tightened the fastenings, and removed the cushions, putting them inside the cab of the truck, observing that we wouldn’t want them to fly away on the highway, something I hadn’t thought of and was glad they had.

Boys rock.

We made our way slowly home, pulling over frequently, and arrived back at my hippie hovel with the couch still in place. Megan and I decanted the couch and the cushions, but we couldn’t move the old couch. Fortunately, Mark and his friend came over and moved the old one out (revealing a horrifying collection of dust bunnies, thirty cents, a lone pistachio, and a very small scorpion) and the new one in. It took them about two minutes all told.

Boys rock.

Megan suggested that I keep the old couch outside until it starts raining, and then we can take it to the dump, instead of doing it now. So now I have an outdoor living room:

And a much-improved indoor living room. Here’s how it used to look:

And here’s how it looks now:

You may also have noticed that I have new lamps, meaning that my whole house is now officially an IKEA-free zone.

The cats approve of the new couch. It now doubles as Audrey’s and Clyde’s bed (Roscoe still prefers the top of the armoire), and Audrey lounges on it during the day as well. I think she has noticed how well the beaded pillows complement her fur:

As for me, well, I think it gives the place some much-needed civilization.

And it’s pretty!

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