Friday, February 26, 2010

Into every life... a little rain

This has been one hell of a week.

On Monday, we had to replace the tank and pump on our well. To the tune of $2200. Not a big shock, we knew it was coming and had budgeted for the expense (Thank you, IRS!).

What we didn't expect was that on Tuesday night, our home would fill with fumes (much like tires burning) and when we checked the basement, we found the floor covered with water. Now our basement is blessedly water-tight so even though it was raining, we knew this was something else.

Several hours later, the repairman left us, with a bill for repairing the Hot Water Heater (the source of the leak) for $350 and another separate bill for unclogging the furnace (the source of the fumes) for $675. He also informed us that he'd have to return on Thursday to replace the pipe leading from the furnace into the chimney.

After that visit, he gifted us with an invoice for another $700.

Along with all this, we have seen torrential rains this week and a small leak in the roof has turned into a larger mess. So we tried to sleep and ignore the drip, drip, drip into the strategically placed buckets.


This wasn't a totally negative week. There were some random bright spots.

I discovered that my Tinkerbell pin (roughly valued at $1.99) had fallen off my lunch bag. I was positive she most likely dropped in the parking lot and had been the victim of rain/snow/ice and tires... but no, she was found (clean, dry and undamaged) and passed on to a friend whom I happened to bump into.

And for some reason, just by chance (I was clearing out old emails), I opened an email which informed me that I needed to download the new antivirus for my new netbook because the existing trial program expired 2/25. When I looked at the date on my desktop, there it was "Thursday, 2/25."


So... I scrambled to D/L the new program, installed, all good... and then I thought... "Wait a minute, it's Wednesday!"

The date on my netbook was off by a day - so I was able to get my antivirus all straightened out before it actually expired.

It's funny - the last time we were hit with these types of household disasters was 20 years ago. We were a young couple in our first home, with a 2 year old son. We were both laid off from our jobs in the same week and within days, the well pump and the furnace died.

My reaction at the time, was panic, "We're going to lose our house!" To which my husband replied "Yep, we probably will."

This did nothing to calm my hysteria. (Note to new husbands: If you learn nothing else, learn when it is appropriate and even expected to lie to your wife.)

20 years later, our reactions are somewhat different. Life does that to you. This time he said,"It'll be fine, don't worry."

After the third repair bill, his response was a shrug, "It is, what it is."

Then we went out to dinner.

Life has a way of taking the edge off things. I've learned not to stress about things I can't control. I try to find joy in the simple things in life. This year for Christmas, along with my netbook I asked for and received Tinkerbell floormats for my Jeep.

Not a huge thing, but I begin and end each day with a smile at the start of my hour-long commute.

The moral of this story - find what makes you smile.

For me - it's Tink.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Bear in a Beehive

This past week, we had what they call a "Typical New England Storm."

By that, I mean that the Weather Peeps predicted 2-4 inches. When all was said and done, we had a foot of new snow.

We're used to that in this part of the country.

Just a couple of weeks ago, they predicted 1-2 feet of snow. Schools and businesses decided to be proactive and began announcing cancellations the day before. I had a Doctor's appointment scheduled on the day of the storm. They called the day before to confirm that I'd be there. They called again the morning of the storm at 7 am to cancel my 9:15 appointment.

The snow didn't start until 11:00 am.

When the storm was over, we had between a half and three quarters of an inch on the ground. And for this, the entire state came to a screeching halt.

But if there's one thing we've learned, it's that we just never know what we're going to get. The weather in New England is predictable in its unpredictability.

It is what it is.

We've also learned to appreciate the beauty of the snow. That pristine whiteness only lasts a milisecond because once the plows and the sand and the salt start distributing, we're left with a brown tinge over everything.

But in that moment, as I was shoveling the front walk, I happened to notice that my Neighbor Bear was sporting a new "do."

My son has a favorite fur-lined Elmer Fudd hat that he wears all winter.

But I think I'm partial to the Bear's Beehive.

Can't wait to see what he does for Easter.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Sue's Bear

So my friend, Sue lives in the next town. She got quite a chuckle when I showed her this blog. "Who in their right mind would put a bear on their lawn? They must be nuts. Glad they're next door to you and not me!"

Oh yeah, Sue had some fun with it...

Until recently.

"I hope you're happy!"

I didn't know what she was talking about until she went on to say that in the center of her town, there was now ... a bear!

Right in front of the Town Hall.

As you can see, this bear is quite a bit different than my own. With his light muzzle and rounder ears - he bears a slight resemblance to Fred Flintstone.

So, there he sits. In front of the Town Hall. I wave to him every morning and night when driving to and from work.

"Who in their right mind would put a bear in front of the Town Hall?"

I'm thinking perhaps it's someone with a deep-seated political grudge...

Because the way he's sitting... he looks like he's taking a dump in that tree...

Saturday, February 13, 2010


Do you think Bears ever get tired of hibernating?

Do they poke their heads out of the den and think, "What? More snow? Enough already!"

Do they ever think, "Groundhog Tartare" sounds pretty tasty?

We live in Connecticut. We're used to snow and this year it seems like we've caught a break in the snow department.

Son O'Mine, however is in school in Baltimore. So far, the snowiest winter on record there. The last report said they have received 79 inches of snow this year...

You see, here in New England, we "get" snow. We expect it, we prepare for it and there is a finely structured process for handling it. Plows and sand trucks are perfectly choreographed to clear the highways and byways. Residents know to shovel their walks because most municipalities have a fine if you do not clear your walks. We know from experience to shovel several times during the storm rather than wait till it's over.

We "get" snow.

Folks in the Baltimore/DC area... not so much.

We were in Baltimore a few years back for Parent's weekend at his school. There had been some accumulation of snow the week before. I really thought he was exaggerating when Son O'Mine said "Mom, they don't know what to do with the snow!" Until I saw it with my own eyes.

Streets had been plowed exactly one plow's width. Changing all two lane streets to One-Way. Sidewalks were shoveled exactly one shovel's width - some only had garden shovels so those paths were walked one foot in front of the other.

And the parking... If you've never been to Baltimore, there is little to no off-street parking. So it appeared that some residents would take aim for a snowbank and floor it. We saw cars rammed into snow, or parked precariously at a 60 degree angle atop a two foot high pile of snow, nose pointed to the sky.

I don't mean to pick on Baltimore. If you've never been there, it's like nowhere else in the world. It's easy to fall in love with Charm City.

That's why I think we in New England should take these folks under our wing and mentor them in the fine art of snow removal and navigation. Perhaps we can enlist the help of several NY residents to teach them the Hokey-Pokey of alternate side of the street parking.

Of course, if global climate change continues, we may just have to share this information with the folks in Atlanta... and Miami...