The Hellhole

Monday, May 25, 2015

I've been neglecting Ye Olde Blogge again but this time I have an excuse - well, two excuses.  One is that May is a very busy month for us under normal circumstances, with Mothers' Day, family reunion for Alan's maternal side, shopping and cooking for both of those events, our anniversary, opening the pool for summer - and this year we had other activities as well - a Todd Rundgren concert, Rush concert tomorrow night.  My second excuse is that a few months ago, I did something horrible to my sweet little Mac, which it in no way deserved:  I upgraded from Snow Leopard to Yosemite.  Yosemite is slower than maple syrup on a Vermont winter morning; it takes 3 - 4 minutes to load just freaking Google.  I hate you, Yosemite; I hate you with the fiery white-hot heat of ten thousand suns.  I even called the genius bar to ask if I brought it in, would they be able to banish Yosemite and install an actually workable OS.  They said yes but I've been too busy to deal with it.  I'd been complaining, but I don't think Alan believed me; he knows I hate and fear change and I think he figured I'd get over it eventually, after I'd done enough bitching (which is usually the case).  Then his co-worker Mo upgraded and started ranting about how slow and awful Yosemite was.  Like Alan, Mo is in the computer industry and I was therefore vindicated, but remain incredibly frustrated trying to do anything on my Mac.

So that's why I'm remiss in uploading lots of pictures from several visits (yes, plural) to the Atlanta Botanical Garden.  Alan and I are truly loving having a membership there.  On Mothers' Day we took Mom, and my brother and his wife drove down from Greenville to join us.  We had two guest passes, so Bo and Sarah got in free as well.  We wandered around for hours, then had a late lunch at Fado's Irish Pub -  it was a great day for all.


This reflecting pool and the stairway fountain below are new.

Mom and Sarah

Mom and Bo

The Fuqua Orchid House has a new section of desert succulents.

And orchids of course.

The Gaia is my favorite thing.

When we were there a couple of weeks ago, she was down for
maintenance.  I nearly flung myself into the reflecting pool
prostrate with grief.

Then we were back at the garden last Friday night for dinner at the cafe there - cheese plate and charcuterie platter, YUM!!! and Bruce Munro's night of lights art installation.

It was incredibly beautiful.
When it came to this exhibit, our iPhones took better
pictures than my DSLR.

This dome changed through a rainbow of colors, but the
best shot I got happened when it was clear.

Not part of the garden - the flowers
 I received for our anniversary.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Commander Vimes has a smug.

Friday, May 15, 2015

I head through the bedroom toward the back bathroom and come close to stepping upon a...leaving.  Our dogs are pad-trained but sometimes they think they're all the way on the pad but a little something is outside the strictly defined perimeter.  I shriek in outrage, "There is a poo!  Who put this poo here?!?  Who put this poo right where I would probably step in it?!?"  (I hadn't.)

Alan replies sardonically from his study, "I'll give you three guesses."

"Damn it, Alan!"  I gripe.  "Before I took you on, your mother assured me you were house-broken!"

Monday, April 13, 2015

Usually I try to eat relatively healthily; instead of actual meals for breakfast and lunch, I consume small servings of clementines, Greek yogurt, bananas or grapes throughout the day and eat a sensible dinner.  I drink bottles and bottles of water.  Today, I threw sensible out the window.

For dinner tonight I had a bacon and heirloom tomato sandwich on white bread with full-fat mayonnaise, with a Dr. Pepper to drink, and it was every bit as beautiful as I thought it could be.

/wipes tear of happiness from corner of eye

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Royal Flush

On Tuesday 31 March around mid-morning, I got an email from Alan.  He was having a semi-panic attack as he had lost his wedding ring.  It had been loose for months, as he has lost around one hundred pounds since I first gave it to him.  I had been nagging about having it resized for some time, but he kept putting it off, saying that his weight was still fluctuating (mostly downward).  However, that morning, he suddenly realized something felt awry and noticed that his wedding ring was gone.  He hadn't noticed it falling off or heard it hit the floor, though some of our house is carpeted or has rugs, so there might have been places that it wouldn't have been as loud as if the ring had hit tile or wood.

Alan searched the entire house on his hands and knees with a flashlight, as did I once I got home.  I suggested random places - gods know I've put some of my own stuff in very odd places for no good reason, similar to The Boss who says that whenever they can't find the remote, it's always in the fridge - always.  The ring could not be found.  Alan was coming closer and closer to accepting a terrible, near unthinkable realization that, based upon the activity in which he'd been engaged immediately prior, he had flushed it down the toilet.

We texted Matt to see if he could come help us unhook the toilet and search its depths plus the pipes immediately behind.  He was willing, but replied that, honestly, the odds were very much against it still being in the toilet/pipe.  But all was not lost because we have a septic tank, so it wasn't like the ring had washed miles away to the county water treatment plant.  Alan called a plumber or two and a septic tank service company.  The plumbers told him that they'd pull the toilet if he wanted but, similarly to Matt's advice, the odds were very bad.  The septic tank company was willing to pump most of the tank and...uh...sieve the contents but (a) was quite expensive; (b) stressed that the odds of finding the ring were slim; (c) worst of all, would only pump the tank to the last foot or so of muck and then we were on our own to...uh...initiate search-and-rescue measures.  For which we'd need basically HASMAT gear, not to mention the utter, odious repugnance of same - and they told him that even then we probably would not find it.  It was hopeless.

Alan was morose and sad and mopey (which I completely understood) and lamented the loss of the actual ring even as we investigated obtaining a replacement.  He asked a few times if I was mad, to which I replied honestly that I wasn't, but that I wished he'd had it resized once it got noticeably loose, particularly during a stretch when my car was in the shop and he drove me to work.  The office right next door to mine is a custom jewelry design and repair guy who is an incredibly talented artist, a true craftsman, one hell of a nice guy and more pertinently,  10 feet away from Alan for several days when we already knew the ring was too big.  Such an avoidable tragedy.  And it was a tragedy mostly because of Alan's sentiment, but also because while the custom jeweler from whom I'd purchased the original ring was fortunately still in business (yay!), it was an expense we could ill afford while still recovering from tree removal costs.

We couldn't locate the paperwork from my original order although I'm pretty sure I know where it is - during wedding planning we had this massive three-ring binder with sections and index tabs where we kept everything, called The Book Of Doom; it's probably in there, but The Book Of Doom is packed, along with a lot of other possessions, in a storage unit which we filled when we were setting up our house to show and sell.  Ha-HA! The folly!  But anyway, I think it's there but I have no idea in what box, so we were flying blind.  For some time, Alan and Joe, the owner of Celtic Revival, have been emailing and calling back and forth trying to work out widths, what finish, new size required, trying to re-create the various options to get a replacement as close as possible to the original.

In the meantime, Alan had his very first routine colonoscopy scheduled, so starting last Thursday he was on an escalating series of dietary restrictions: first low fiber, then jello/broth/pasta, finally liquid only (laxatives throughout) and on Monday the procedure took place.  All went well and Alan is fine.  Once I'd got him home and he'd napped a bit, he was ravenous for real food so ignored his usual healthy diet for the day.  He had Chick-fil-A for breakfast and lunch, and ate half a pizza for dinner.  Who could blame him?  He's been gradually returning to his normal diet while still occasionally indulging after his torture.  Mid-morning today, he was preparing his healthy snack of pretzel chips and black-bean hummus.  He saw something in the bag, which was this key-ring that he'd been wearing on his ring finger because his hand felt so nakedly wrong without his wedding ring, and that had fallen off because it also was too large, so he reached into the pretzel chip bag to retrieve it.

At which point he realized that the key-ring was still on his hand and what his fingers had just closed upon was his wedding band.


Alan's original Celtic knotwork custom wedding band.

On my thumb, not Alan's hand.

He's not wearing Easter-purple nail polish.

This week.

Sunday, April 05, 2015

The other night, after dinner...

Alan:  What are you watching?

Me:  I'm not sure.  It's whatever movie was on the station after you turned off the DVR.  [We always watch Jeopardy! during dinner.]

Pause while we watch a few minutes.   

Me:  If I had to guess, I'd say it was The Amazing Spider-Man.  [I click the 'info' button, and indeed, I am correct.]

I then point the remote and start to surf.

Alan:  No, no, you don't have to do that.  I don't like superhero movies but you do - it's totally okay for you to watch it!  I'm going to go do schoolwork anyway.

Me: Ugh!  I said, it's The Amazing Spider-Man!

Alan:  [blank]

Me:  I only like REAL Spider-Man!

Alan:  [blank]

Me:  SAM RAIMI Spider-Man!

Alan:  [blank]

Me:  Well it's not the same thing AT ALL!

Alan:  [Oh no, holy shit, she's off again...]

Me:  In Sam Raimi's Spider Man Peter's web-shooters are an organic mutation from the radioactive spider bite, not a mechanical invention, and his parents are just dead, not because of an OsCorp conspiracy, and Norman Osborn wears a mechanical suit to be Green Goblin, he doesn't undergo a biological transformation, and Peter loves Mary Jane Watson, MJ, not Gwen Stacy, and he totally works freelance for J. Jonah Jameson at the Daily Bugle which isn't even mentioned until---are you even LISTENING to me?

Alan:  Of course I am.  You're right, Sheldon.  I mean, sweetheart.

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Another weekend, another few thousand dollars down the drain.  During the recent heavy rainstorms, we had a huge limb from one of the pine trees in our yard crash down into our neighbor's driveway, landing on her roof, driveway and low brick wall that separates our properties.  Alan cleaned it up and there was no damage to her property, but nightmares about what could have happened haunted us.  It was clear that the four pines at the corner of our house, which had the potential to hit our house, her house, her detached shed and fence had to go, at minimum, and probably the other pines in the front yard as well.

One of my BFFs had some trees removed from her property last summer so I called her to find out what company they had used.  Because the trees were so large and had the potential to damage so many different things, we were adamant about using a licensed, bonded and insured company for this, not Bubba with a chainsaw.  My friend Anne gave me the company name and number, and reassured me about my reluctance to destroy nature by telling me that the trees were all likely dead or dying anyway because of a terrible pine beetle epidemic plaguing our area.  The flip side of this was that I was now horrified that there would be another storm and the pine-beetle-plagued trees would give way before professionals could arrive.

Fortunately, that didn't happen, the four trees nearest our houses are gone, stumps ground away and I am now Red The Ent-Slaughterer, Destroyer of Worlds.

On the bright side of things, my brother and his wife (Valentine Wolfe link to the right) have a new project called Nightingale:  A Gothic Fairytale.  I offered some editorial suggestions along the way and although I don't know how much the finished project will resemble the draft I worked on, I am very excited about this one.   Check them out and help support local artists, if it be your fancy.  I offered them ten pounds of wood chips and all the pine straw they could carry, but apparently Kickstarter only wants dollars.  Go figure.