Saturday, April 08, 2006


The carting man and his roofer son came today to look at the roof. I'll be getting an estimate in the mail early next week. They recommended that instead of an exhaust fan in the gable, I should have one of those funny spinning mushroom things in the top of the roof. I'll have to research them a bit. It'll let the hot air out in the summer, but will it let cold air in in the winter? Will it move as much air as an electric fan? Won't it look ugly, depending on where they put it?

I didn't do much of anything else today. I discovered the blog of a female journalist in India ( She did a recent series on domestic workers in India, and I was fascinated. Spent much of the day reading her archives.

I don't think I want to go to India - I don't think I could handle the poverty - but she travels a lot in southern Asia, and she has reawakened my desire for Thailand.

I'm meeting Dreyfuss for brunch tomorrow, at his daughter's deli. I don't think the he-me combination has any future, I suspect our lifestyles and backgrounds are too different. I mean, he says things like "Well now Little Lady..." in his emails (which, by the way, are otherwise well composed and articulate), and keeps wanting to come down here and pick me up to "save me the drive". (Anyone who knows me at all will be cringing.) Way to get my back up. I think he would prefer someone in an apron.

If it comes to it, I don't know how to handle rejecting him. I hope he doesn't like me. How did I get myself into this? I can't not go tomorrow....

Maybe I should overdress and wear all my diamonds and keep bringing the conversation around to Shakespeare and my favorite London pubs.

With my luck he'd love that.

Friday, April 07, 2006

#630 Toll Takers

I crossed the river today, on the Kingston-Rhinecliff bridge, and realized once again that I miss the toll takers. When I lived in Highland and worked in Poughkeepsie, I used to buy a book of commuter tickets for $.40 a west-to-east crossing on the Mid-Hudson bridge. I'd stop at the toll booth, and the toll takers always had something pleasant to say as they ripped off the ticket. They'd comment on the weather, or wish me a nice day, or a happy holiday, or, if female, they'd compliment my hair or jewelry. It was always so nice. One guy was so personable that when he retired, they announced his retirement party in the newspaper, and several hundred of his regular commuters showed up to slap his back and wish him luck.

Now I have EZ-Pass. An electronic box on the windshield that automatically charges me $1 per trip.

At first, even with EZ-Pass, you still had to stop at the booth, and after the toll taker pushed a button to read your box, they'd pass you through, with a wave and a greeting. Less time to smile, but it was still there.

Gradually, the greetings grew less common. I guess because fewer and fewer people bothered to roll their window down when they stopped for the reading.

Now they've replaced most of the manned booths with unmanned booths that read the box. No stopping, no greeting, no toll taker. All very impersonal. (And apparently more expensive than paying a toll taker's salary.)

It's all so dry. So blah.

I suppose I could go through the one remaining manned booth and pay a dollar cash, but even there something has changed. The toll takers not only no longer greet you, they don't even LOOK at you. Somehow that's worse.

I miss the old toll takers, and the way they could brighten the commute.

Since 9/11/01, since there has been an influx of NYC escapees, since it has been getting increasingly crowded around here, since the traffic has gotten heavier, there's been a change in the way people relate to one another, and this toll taker thing is but a tiny piece of the larger shift.

I don't like it.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

#629 Feelin' Groovy 2

I'm psychic! I got a note from the future co-mother-in-law to whom I had sent the silk veil. She has the hip scarf from Rakkasah, which is orange (I had forgotten what color it was), and she has purchased some other bits of practice costume, all in shades of brown and orange. The veil I selected to send to her is copper, orange, and yellow! I hope it will go beautifully with her other stuff, and will pick up the color of her hair. Wow. And to think I almost chose a red one.

I am so pleased!

The second dumpster has been picked up. I didn't think it would be as heavy as the first load, because this one has a lot less glossy paper and a lot more cardboard. But this load also came out to 1.5 tons (3,000 lbs). I forgot there was wood, metal, and huge old computer tape reels in this load, all of which is also heavy. That's 7,300 lbs of trash I've carried out, all by myself.

I am so proud!

I chatted quite a bit with the guy who came for the dumpster. His son, it turns out, is a roofer. So I'm getting another estimate on the roof on Saturday. He'll also give me an estimate for installing an exhaust fan in the attic, which will help the air conditioning situation enormously. Progress is being made, and I didn't even have to do anything for it.

I am so fortunate!

I found the mini-cycle that I had bought to exercise Jay that last year, when he was immobile. It's pedals on a small wheel, that you set up in front of a wheelchair or on a table to exercise legs or arms. It has a band that you tighten or loosen to adjust the tension. Jay was never really able to use it. I have set it up under the computer desk, and as I sit here, I'm pedaling like mad.

I am so virtuous!

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

#628 Feelin' Groovy

Missed yesterday's entry, because I was pretty busy.

I've got Piper and Roman together. Piper is a computer klutz, doesn't even know how to get to his email. Roman teaches computer stuff, and he's very good at it. So they had their first tutoring session yesterday afternoon, in Piper's office. I stopped in to see how they were getting along, and then left them to it.

Roman knows that Piper knows about my trials and tribulations with him, but he doesn't know how much Piper knows, or what he thinks about it. Piper knows that Roman knows that Piper knows. Roman knows that Piper is (or was) sort of interested in me. They have each assured me they won't say anything untoward. I can't stop giggling.

I had spent the morning doing some more basement stuff, stopped in to see how Piper and Roman were doing (and it was funny - while I was there, the phone rang, Piper answered it, and he said "She's standing here right now", and Roman and I looked at each other like "what? who? another one? who knows I'm here?" It was The Angel, Piper's cohort, who is doing my taxes. He's worried that I'll have sticker shock when he tells me how much estimated taxes I'll have to pay each quarter because of all the capital gains I'll have this year.)

After he had finished with Piper, Roman came here and admired the daffodils, and admired more how much progress I'd made in the basement, and when he saw the dirt that came out of the kitchen faucet, he changed the water filter for me! Wow! It wasn't easy. The threads were all coated with hard water salts, and it took some muscle to get it loose. Then we went out to dinner. (I did offer to cook, but he wanted to go out.) The first restaurant we went to was a bit of a drive, and was closed (the sign on the door indicated it should be open, but ...), so we ended up back in the village. The drive out and back was nice, because he had a comedy CD from our college years, and we laughed together a lot.

After we'd finished eating, we sat at the table for more than an hour just talking. It was really nice. We came back here for ice cream, talked some more, and he left a few minutes after 10. It's almost like we're starting over, and I like it. It's frustrating in a certain way, but without that certain thing, I don't feel used or taken advantage of, and I kind of like the feeling of being explored and courted. Like he has no other reason to spend time with me except - to spend time with me. That's not a bad thing.

(Of course, the devil in me is thinking that he doesn't need that certain thing from me, he's getting that elsewhere, and maybe what he's really doing is being faithful to her, and he's actually trying to let me down gently, and .... I've got to stop thinking like that! That way be dragons!)

(And yeah, I said I wasn't going to mention him any more, but it's just too large a part of my life to ignore or gloss over. The situation is where I am right now, and that's that.)

Today I kind of floated around. I selected a hand-painted silk veil from my stock to send to my soon-to-be co-mother-in-law, packed it up, and sent it to her in California by overnight mail. She had attended Rakkasah with me last fall, and got all excited about belly dance lessons. I gifted her with a hip scarf in exchange for a promise that she'd sign up for lessons when she got back to Ca. (and after Rakkasah had long worn off), and she did. She and a friend went to their first lesson last Monday evening, expecting to feel old and fat and clumsy, and it turns out that she absolutely loves it! (Heh heh. I knew she would. Apparently she lucked out and found an instructor who knows how to make it fun. It's all about how you feel moving, not what you look like. (Besides which, she's in terrific shape.))

The carting company called, and they sorta want their container back, so I spent the rest of the day throwing the last bits in. The final load was the dead humidifiers. They'll pick it all up tomorrow. There's at least one more container load to go, but that stuff is scattered all over the house, so ... maybe at the end of the summer, after I pull it all together.

And, I am now in email conversations with three online matches. Yes, I am worried that I may be toying with them. But I need something in reserve, in case, you know ... them dragons what might be there.

Monday, April 03, 2006

#627 Running in Place

Another mostly wasted day, as far as the house is concerned, anyway.

Something went wrong with my Netscape this morning. I could get to websites, but I couldn't click on any links in pages and expect to go anywhere. Like, nothing happened. Which wouldn't have been so very bad, except that I had some bills and other stuff that HAD to be done online TODAY.

I shut Netscape down and tried to bring it back up, and it wouldn't start again at all. So I went to Explorer, and that worked, but then I discovered that with pure Explorer, I had no bookmarks, and no automatically filled in passwords. Ack! I'm supposed to know this stuff?

AOL was no help - no bookmarks (not the businessy ones), Internet through AOL is slow, and navigation is painful. (Note to self - when I finally get a working printer, print off the flippin' bookmarks list.)

So what with trying to figure out what went wrong, searching for updates, shutting down and restarting (believe it or not, IPLing this dog takes at least 12 minutes), digging up website names and passwords, it took me four hours to simply transfer money to pay the car insurance, and paying it.

That used up the morning.

Afternoon, I stopped by the spa to pay for this month, and get weighed and measured. Even though I hadn't been in there in more than two weeks because of the basement work and other scheduling problems, I have lost more weight and more inches. I can see it myself - the pants I'm wearing right now are sagging at the waist, and I have to roll them twice because they mysteriously got too long.

Then I took the flat tire to Mavis. They were willing to plug the hole (it was exactly on the line between tread and sidewall) but strongly recommended against it. Given that if it blew, it would happen suddenly, on the road, and I'd have to change it myself, probably at night, I waffled. (I need someone I can call when crap like that happens. Another reason to expand beyond elderly female friends and Roman. I can't get help from them.) I had bought the tires on sale, and had got like 30% off, so I asked if they'd sell me another tire at the same price as the original, and they said yes, so that's what I did.

** On the expanding contacts front, I forgot to mention what I did at the volunteer fair on Saturday. I signed up for RSVP (Retired Seniors Volunteer Program), where they farm folks out where needed, and a program where you advocate for children in family court cases (which really interests me, but it could be too consuming, we'll see), and Habitat for Humanity. **

By the time I'd made a couple more stops, it was after 5 pm. Blew the whole day again.

During the evening, Netscape mysteriously fixed itself. I'm beginning to think the problem was not with Netscape, but with the folks I dial into. The line had dropped before I left the house, and when I got home and dialed in again, and tried Netscape, everything was just hunky-dory.

I don't understand.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

#626 Flat Tire, Flat Day, Flat Blah

Remember those new tires I bought three months minus two days ago? The ones where I didn't buy the extended warranty, because it cost as much as a new tire and I couldn't see that I'd really need it? Yeah, them?

Well, I got up and dressed and out the door this morning to meet the blind date for brunch (let's call him Dreyfuss, 'cause that's who he looks sorta like), and I didn't get out of the driveway. Flat tire. Yippee. I called his cell phone and left a message, then went to work on the tire. I got the spare out (a full-sized regular tire, thank goodness), got the van up on the jack, and then got stuck. I couldn't get the hub cover off. Not without hurting it real bad. I knew darn well I wouldn't be able to get the nuts off (why oh why do they put them on so tight?). And then on a hunch I checked the pressure in the spare - 15 psi. Should be 35. Razzelfrats! I gave up and called the Hairless Hunk.

He said he'd be over as soon as his wife got back from Poughkeepsie, about two hours. So I stayed by the phone in case he called. Six hours later.... The tire has a nice big nail in it, right in the side kind of between the tread and the sidewall, like where the tread is on its way to becoming sidewall. So the regular warranty won't apply. The Hunk says that Mavis isn't going to want to plug it because they'll say it's sidewall, but that I should argue with them and insist it's tread. If I win and they plug it, I should have them put that tire on the rear, and move the rear tire to the front (it's front-wheel drive).

My original plan for the day was to meet Dreyfuss in the morning, be home by early afternoon and work in the basement. I want to sweep and clean, and rearrange what's left down there so I can start moving storage containers down from upstairs. Rain is predicted for the next two days, and Roman is visiting Tuesday, and I wanted to be able to demonstrate SOME progress. So it looks like most of that got blown, too.

After The Hunk left, I called Dreyfuss. He never got the message I'd left on his phone. He said he had two messages, but mine wasn't one of them. So he thought he got stood up. Sheesh. I don't know whether he believes me about the tire or not. Three non-Roman dates in the past two months, and I've managed to piss all of them off, and all of it because of outside influences. Is Fate trying to tell me something? So, anyway, we've rescheduled for next Sunday.

To tell the truth, I don't really want to meet this guy, but I feel like I have to. I need to spread out and check out all the available local manpower. Otherwise I'm putting all my energy on Roman, and then when he doesn't call for a week, or has no time for me for two weeks, that makes me sad. And mad, because I feel like I'm wasting time. There isn't all that much time left. Women lose value fast. I do understand his class schedule makes things difficult. He wants me to wait, but mostly I don't feel like he's trying very hard. Maybe he is, but I'm not seeing it.

I need to feel like I'm trying, at least. Like I'm taking care of myself and my future, and not just wasting time. But it's probably an empty exercise, because I know who I want. At the same time, I need some appreciation. I want someone to flatter and pursue me. I need some validation. On the other hand, I am very much afraid that one of these new guys is going to develop a crush on me and I won't be able to get rid of him, and he will accuse me of toying with his affections, and that will hurt me, because ---- he'd be right. Maybe I'm not ready for this yet. I don't know.

Off to the basement. At least it's been warm lately. The daffodils have started blooming, and the underbrush in the woods is sprouting leaves. A pair of finches have taken over the porch light, and they seem very happy and excited. They sing and chirp to each other constantly, and they're never more than three feet apart. Spring love.