Friday, December 03, 2021

U Is For Undone


I've been feeling Uninspired lately--another good U word--but to write about that would be boring and terrible. It would likely result in a woeful and pathetic treatise about The Travails Of Dinner At The Dept., something I've written about many times here before. Let me just say this:  Sam now works dangerously close to the pie shop, and it is taking all my Restraint and Resolve not to call him at least once a week and say, "Hey, could you stop on the way home and get Dad a 6" cherry and me a 6" lemon meringue for dinner?"

But I digress.

Here are a few things in my life currently that remain Undone, for one reason or another.

1. The Back Yard:  Nearly everything in my landscape beds died in the past three years, including my ornamental junipers and my hydrangea tree. Even my viburnum. We called Marv, our original landscaper, made a plan, and picked some stuff out (with consideration of the evil black walnut behind us). Then did nothing about it. We never finalized anything, and here we are. Sigh.

2.  The Wall:  The entire wall behind the fireplace at the lakehouse is fake brick and I hate it. We've been talking about tearing it up since we bought the place seven years ago. "We'll do it in the winter when we don't have the nice weather and boating to distract us," we keep saying. The Wall is still there and I still hate it a lot. I also hate the mess of remodeling and drywall and demolition a lot. The entire situation is a Hate Crime.

3.  Someone's Clothes Hoard:  Someone has no less than thirty pairs of jeans hanging in the closet for various Jeans-Wearing Situations, should they arise. This same person has another closet full of work clothes from a company previously worked for, even though that job was held over a year ago. Another drawer is full of that company's shirts. Yet another drawer holds teeshirts, given away at professional basketball games, that no one has ever seen this someone wear. When I put away this person's clean laundry, I have to cram stuff to get it to fit. "I'm going to go through this stuff," Someone tells me. I prepare bags and bags and bags of donations to Vietnam Veterans and Easter Seals many times a year, and not in secret, but Someone has not put anything in them.

4.  The Wrought Iron:  We have wrought iron accent pieces in both the front and back yard, a lot of them. They are faded and a few of them have some rust spots. I bought everything I needed last summer to refurbish them, like wire brushes and black Rustoleum spray paint, and even a cheap tarp to paint them on. Did I do it? No I did not. All that is waiting for me come spring. Or summer. Or fall, if we have one next year.

Are there reasons for all these Undone Things? Yes, and many of them are pretty decent, and some are even good. In the end, however, the result is the same; Stuff Is Undone. All of it is waiting, and in each case, mocking me because I continue to see it and be aggravated by it.

What things Undone are bothering you? Share and commiserate in Comments.


Saturday, November 20, 2021

T Is For Tea

It's almost week ago since Rick and I returned from a relaxing and long overdue visit with friends in Southern Maryland. We talked, ate shrimp, oysters, and crabcakes, watched fun movies, visited a local winery, and drank wine. And, for the first time in a long time, I drank a couple of glasses of Iced Tea. 

It's strange, this estrangement between Tea and me. I grew up on the stuff, both hot and iced. Each was a significant presence in my life at home. 

As a kid I was often sick--earaches, chest colds, sore throats, high fevers--these were my common companions throughout my childhood. I could spend hours and hours coughing, trying to sleep propped up on pillows or rolled blankets. You name the illness and I got it--measles, rubella, scarlet fever, mono, bronchitis, strep throat, and a bout of chicken pox at the age of fifteen that was so rampant and hideous that my brother, seventeen and also stricken, covered the mirrors in the house so we wouldn't have to see ourselves. (Those blisters were everywhere on our bodies. Everywhere.

One weapon in my mother's arsenal against all illnesses was Hot Tea. Hot Tea with lemon was her go-to for soothing just about everything. It was going to help my cough, my congestion, my sore throat, and it would help me sleep. (It is important to note here that her cure for stress and headaches, however, was not Hot Tea. Those were cured by Putting Your Hands In Warm Dishwater. I'm sure you understand her strategy.)

I drank in my youth probably several tanker trucks full of Hot Tea. My father was also a fan of Hot Tea, which he would on very rare occasions lace with wine. Because of all the medicinal Hot Tea I drank, I now associate Hot Tea with illness. I cannot stand to drink it at all. Thankfully, there are herbal Teas that contain little or no Tea whatsoever, and I can drink them when I want a comforting hot drink on a cold afternoon.

In addition to Hot Tea, we also had Iced Tea regularly in our home. My mother was an Iced Tea addict, and a gallon pitcher of it, homemade, was always in the refrigerator. She had an enamel saucepan designated solely for Tea making, and in it she would place (I think) seven or eight Teabags, and cover them with water, and set it to boil on the stove. That would boil frantically, and she'd set it to simmer for a time as she filled the gallon pitcher with ice, a half of a lemon squeezed and tossed in, and a scant cup of sugar. She'd let the water run ice cold, grab her long-handled spoon, and then the pan of hot Tea. After squeezing the Teabags dry against the side of the pan with her spoon, she'd quickly pour the Tea over the ice and start stirring and filling the pitcher to the top with water. We never once had cloudy Iced Tea, thanks to this method, a method I perpetuated in my own home once I was married. (But I skipped the lemon. Too reminiscent of Hot Tea.)

There was never, ever a time that my mother was without a glass of her Iced Tea by her side. As a matter of fact, once, when called home from her job at the bank because of an emergency (I had attempted to shave my legs in secret and cut a huge swath off the front of my shin and was bleeding), she bustled in the side door, dropped her purse, and before she did a single thing, poured herself a huge glass of Iced Tea. Then, and only then, did she call out to me and ask what on earth had I done to myself. 

My Iced Tea days fell by the wayside years and years ago, partially due to my migraine medication.  It's important that I drink water on this medication, and it has also rendered Tea almost flavourless to me. Thus, it seemed a heck of a lot of work to make Tea when I could--and should--just drink water if they tasted pretty much the same anyway. 

Ironically, my mother doesn't make or drink Iced Tea anymore. Occasionally, she'll get it at a restaurant. She drinks Hot Tea now and then, but she prefers coffee. Rick is the Tea Drinker, having given up coffee due to blood pressure and stomach concerns. He especially likes Earl Grey, which smells so much like Hot Tea with lemon to me that it sometimes gives me little flashbacks and twinges of feeling sick. And no, I'm not being dramatic; there's Science behind that reaction. Imagine if I were British! I'd have to renounce my citizenship.

Tell me about your Life With (or Without) Tea in Comments. 


Tuesday, November 09, 2021

S Is For Scissors


Right now in my home, were you to go on a Scavenger Hunt of sorts, you could find at least fifteen pairs of Scissors. It's not that I forget where I put them and so keep on buying them, pair after pair after pair. It's also not a case of being a sort of Scissor Snob or Scissor Specialist, buying highly specific Scissors for certain jobs, designating a certain pair solely for paper, another for fabric, another for my knitting needs, and another for flowers. It's not like that at all.

And I'm not into paper crafting, either, so I don't have those fancy schmancy Scissors that cut various designs onto paper edges for scrapbooking or card making. I don't even have a pair of pinking shears.

What I do have is the gleeful realization that I can have more than one pair of Scissors in my home!

Let me explain.

Growing up, we were a One Scissors Household. The six of us and all of our Scissor needs were met by a single pair of decent Scissors. Can you even imagine it? This condition persisted for as long as I lived at home. It was highly inefficient and, to me, extremely unsatisfactory. Oh, sure, once in a while a pair of our crappy blunt school scissors would surface, but I might as well try to cut with two butter knives taped together for as helpful as those things were. 

(Which reminds me--we also seemed never to have any Scotch tape, ever. Even at Christmastime, I cannot tell you how many times we wrapped presents with electrical tape, carpet tape, or, on one horrific Christmas, no tape at all, holding all wrapping paper together with ribbon and string. None of us will ever get over that one, not ever. But I digress.)

Trying to find the Scissors was also a chore. There was no end to the places they could be:  the drawer in the living room; the drawer in the kitchen; in the sewing kit; hanging up in the kitchen; upstairs or in their bedroom; check on top of the dresser! How it never occurred to anyone to get another pair of Scissors escapes me. My whole life, I merely assumed that you could not have more than one pair.

It wasn't long after I got married and had my own home that I realized you could buy Scissors at the store, as many as you want, and just HAVE THEM. Honestly, I got a thrill. And so I began buying Scissors.

I have two pairs of Kitchen Scissors, and I love them. I don't struggle with opening bags of anything; I grab my Scissors and cut them. I happily spatchcock chickens like a chef and snip away skin and fat that I don't want. 

I buy little Scissors at Back To School sales and put them in my knitting bags. They're perfect for cutting yarn when I finish a project or start a new colour or whatever. I have lots of those, and they have fun colours on the handles.

There are Scissors in my desk drawer, my bathroom drawer, my nightstand drawer, and Rick has barber Scissors in the bathroom cabinet. I have Scissors (and Scotch tape galore) in my Christmas giftwrap tubs in the attic. I have Scissors at my back door to cut herbs in the garden, and I have a pair of Scissors in the basement so I can cut open new cat litter bags. I have a sturdy pair of Scissors in my toolbox, and another pair in my tub of craft supplies. 

As far as I know, my brother and my sisters are not as Scissor-Happy as I am. Perhaps they have hoards of Scotch tape or something else they felt the lack of keenly. I don't know. But I wonder if I have the most Scissors. Do I?

Tell me all about your Scissors or something you stock up on now because you hated being without it before. I look forward to reading about it all in Comments.


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