December 4, 2016: Hola everyone! Winter has arrived in Milwaukee and there are snow flurries today. Despite several hard freezes remarkably my "spikes" in two of my patio planters have absolutely refused to die. The rosemary and thyme plants I nursed inside the house through last winter spent the summer in their pot outside next to the side stoop off the driveway, where they get plenty of sunshine all day long. I transplanted them into a cozy sheltered spot right next to the stoop in October and they are still green and growing, too! With the delay in getting the drywall patching done in the relatively minor "reconstruction" work I had done in my kitchen, I am way behind my time in getting the house decorated. But yesterday I got my wreath decked out with extra lights and dressed the front door of the house, and my battery-operated traditional candles were put up on the window sills all around the house Friday evening. It becomes a ritual to go around at dusk and turn the tops to the right to turn the candles "on" and at bedtime to go around and turn the tops to the left to turn the candles "off." Today I put some "glittery" throw pillow covers purchased new last month from H&M on three of my sofa pillows to glam things up a bit in the living room and add some sparkle. Later on, after I sufficiently fuel myself up with wine and snacks and probably to distract myself while I listen to the Packers game on the radio, I will huff and puff and pull my artificial tree up from storage in the basement. I will decorate it simply this year. Every year I say that, and every year I end up throwing just about everything except the kitchen sink on the tree. I am very proud of myself this year, though. I did not buy a single new ornament or Christmas doo-dad for the house (throw pillow covers don't count!!!) Happy Holidays to all, with hope and fervent prayers for 2017. I've a feeling we're all going to need a lot of help from Goddess in the coming year. Jan

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Day from Hell - Mantle Wipe-Out

It started out last week with weather in the mid-80's; and then the dew point slowly crept upward.  They tried to keep it hidden and did not even mention dew point in the weather reports on commercial t.v. until it crept up to 65.  The weather-people neglect to mention that many folks (like yours truly) begin to feel uncomfortable when the dew point rises past 50.  At 60, I am suffering; at 65, I do not even have to move, I break out in a sweat and keep sweating with no relief, except in air-conditioned spaces; and even then, if the air has too much moisture in it, I sweat in the cold!  It's pretty hard not to move for a week, but that's what I've been living through here.  Saturday the temperatures topped out near 90; last Sunday I don't know what the official reading was, which is measured -- get this -- at the airport which sits right on top of Lake Michigan -- but out here, seven miles to the west where I live, it was 94 or 95.  Monday Hell really started heating up -- in the mid to upper 90's with 65 to 70 dew points.

I couldn't sleep, even in my centrally air-conditioned home.  It was too warm and stuffy upstairs, and the sofas and my recliner downstairs aren't made for all-night sleeping although I did use the recliner Tuesday night.  Didn't get a good night's sleep.  Not to mention I toss and turn relentlessly and need my double bed to keep me from falling to the floor, which I've done sometimes when sleeping on one of my sofas! 

A jury would not convict me upon hearing (and seeing my current condition) if I committed mayhem and murder. 

Maybe I was delirious last night from heat prostration.  I woke up several times and had a hard time drifting back to sleep; then, about 3:15 this morning, I woke up and sat up in bed, and for some reason I looked toward the 9-drawer dresser on the south wall and thought I saw something - was that a man?  a monster? - underneath it.  Mind you, that dresser is all of perhaps 6 to 8 inches on its legs from the floor.  There is not enough room for a child to fit underneath, let alone a man or a monster.  And the slowly coming awake rational side of me knew perfectly well there was nothing at all lurking underneath my dresser, except perhaps some dust bunnies.  But the half-asleep me was terrified.  My heart was pounding!  I leapt from the bed with a screech leaving my throat (I don't know if it was loud at all - I meant to scream but usually in such circumstances all that comes out is a little croak because of partial sleep paralysis).  One of my legs got caught up in the sheet, I tumbled out of bed - really close to that dresser with the person or monster underneath it!

Talk about making some Olympian moves!  In a flash I was up, back over the bed, and into the hallway where I turned on the light and then into the bathroom and turned on that light too, and shut the door.  But I did not lock it.  Not that a lock would keep out a monster anyway.  It was some minutes later and I was still feeling groggy and just not with it, but now the after-effects of a full adrenalin rush were catching up with me and I started shaking.  For pete's sake! 

No broken bones - what a relief!  No sprains, either.  Whew. 

I girded my figurative loins, opened the bathroom door, and marched the few steps back to my bedroom.  I then turned on one of my flameless candles -- the biggest, brightest one.  And kept it on all night.  A baby light. Something to chase the boogey-man away.  Because I was scared crapless!  But I was even more tired than scared, so I crawled back into bed, being careful not to look anywhere near that shadowy space between the bottom of the 9-drawer dresser and the floor, pulled the sheet partially back over me, and went back to sleep.

Nice way to begin the day, heh?

I drag myself out of bed at 6.  Terry (the woman who does cleaning for me once a week) comes at 7 on Thursdays.  I had to be ready to greet her.  I go downstairs, feed the birds, feed the squirrels, make my coffee, head back upstairs to start getting myself together.  Get dressed, am in the bathroom getting ready to put on my make-up and attempt to do something with my hopeless hair when I hear a horrid crash bang boom!  OH NO!

Run to the stairs a few steps away.  Look down into the living room below.  The framed map I had resting on the mantle behind safe and secure stops, has somehow toppled over off the mantle, taking along with it a tall candle and even taller glass hurricane candle cover, my t.v., my little lamp, and worst of all, my gold mother elephant, who lost part of one ear in the process.

Shards of glass from the 24 x 36 glassed frame were EVERYWHERE.   TINY shards.  Obviously not safety glass.  I've owned that frame and glass since 1986.

I didn't know whether to scream, or cry, or both. 

Terry found me on my hand and knees with gloved hands picking up shards of glass from EVERYWHERE in the living room.

Let's just say that I went to work with no makeup on and even worse than usual looking hair (since a disastrous haircut that I will NOT talk about).  My blood pressure was sky high so my face and neck were beet red most of the morning.  And it was raining.  But only for 2 blocks, so I had to take the damn umbrella with me.  And I was sweaty, and sticky, and really really hacked off.  Oh, and tired, too.

This is what the mantle had looked like after I took down all the spring stuff and put more sedate elements together, except for one thing:



After the above photo was taken, Mr. Don suggested I move mother elephant to a spot between the t.v. and the map.  And so I did.  I wasn't sure I liked her there at first, but it grew on me after a couple of days and there she stayed after I tweaked her location a little bit and had her angled facing outward about 40-45 degrees from slightly behind the t.v. lapping over the left bottom corner of the map.

I liked it.  I thought it worked as a whole wall look (from the spheris on top of the curio cabinet to the brass plate behind the lamp on the side table).  There were a few bare spots I intended to fill in - and I was working on that.  I ordered a few things...and received them.  Unpacked them last night, as a matter of fact.

And then this happened:


Frame without glass or anything to frame.  The glass that broke was 24 x 30.


Map without a home, now camping out on the wing chair in the family room. 


Bag of glass shards enconsced in the garage.  While doing some touch-up work on the fireplace's latest scrapes and bruises I found some more glass shards tonight, despite careful sweeping and vacuuming by both Terry and I.  Thank Goddess there are no little ones or pets rambling around in the house!  I will just have to remember to wear shoes or my slippers every time I'm in the front room for the next several week,s until I'm sure that all glass has been removed.  Terry and I are still finding glitter from the Christmas ribbon, wonder how long we'll keep finding teeny tiny little shards of glass...

So now, like poor Frederick in Jane Austen's Persuasion, I will have to begin all over again. 

I'm getting a physical tomorrow.  That will seem like a cake-walk compared to today.

Fortunately, the plant I took home from Dad's funeral was safe and secure on its end of the mantle.  And, ironically enough, the short brass candle holder that the pillar candle underneath the glass hurricane cover was resting upon was also still serenely in its place on the mantle.  The framed map took out the hurricane cover and the pillar candle but not the candle holder.  Go figure. 

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