Monday, February 26, 2007

AKA Pat, and other stuff

I deliver newspapers to 55 customers, 6 days a week. Amanda has 41 customers. Depending on starts and stops, give or take a few each week. So my weekdays sort of go like this: Get out of bed around 7 am, shower, dress, check email, start coffee brewing, go out and haul the papers in and count them out by route. Then it's breakfast while watching the news and reading the paper, fold papers, work on piano stuff in shop while Amanda has breakfast and folds her papers. Walk 4.5 miles delivering the papers. This brings me to Pat. I am Pat. I think all my customers know my name except this one. For some reason she thinks I'm Pat. At first I corrected her, but it didn't stick. For two years she has called me Pat, and I haven't the heart to try to correct her at this point. Pat gets good tips, too, so I'll keep the name!



Went to church on Sunday. I think it's the first time this month. First mom was sick, then me, then it was trying to catch up on all the work. Anyway, I headed out in to town. First death wish.....a jogger on the wrong side of the road. No sidewalk, running with her back to the traffic. Tempting....but gee, it was Sunday after all! Number two was on Broadway. Two women exit a car that was parked on the right side of the roadway. Woman number one obviously has brains and stays on the sidewalk. Woman number two is trying for an early death and steps right out in front of me (I'm only doing 20mph - the speed limit) and proceeds to just saunter across the road. Never a glance in either direction. Idiot. Death wish number three was a taxi driver. I watched in amazement as he drove without hesitation behind a car that was backing out of a parking space. I mean it was very evident that this guy was backing out! He was halfway there and the cabby just kept right on coming. And then there was death wish number four. This person just provoked me and had I been *the* type would have succumbed to a parking lot version of road rage. Mom and I went to Maria's for dinner. We shared an enormous dish of fried haddock, french fries, and onion rings. Well, I could see my truck from the dining room window and I watched as a car pulled in next to me in what WASN'T a space. I was griping that they were soooo close that I would not be able to get in the door of my truck. That car was thisclose. So, what happens? The passenger in the car opens their door and tries to get out. Bang, Bang, Bang into the side of my truck! I was fuming. I watched the people as they came in to the restaurant and made note of where they sat. If there were dings in my truck, I fully intended on coming back in for their insurance information. We paid and headed out. I couldn't get in my side (and I'm not a big person) and had to crawl through from the passenger side. It's a small truck and kinda requires becoming a pretzel to do this. I did check the side of my truck and thankfully there was no damage.


Home again from takes about 1 hour 20 minutes, starving and have lunch while checking email once again! Then it's working in the shop, driving Amanda to work, and then either more shopwork for me or some tunings, dinner sometime between 5 and 6 p.m., pick Amanda up from work usually at 7, then home to crash with the TV or computer or both. Bed at 10 with a good book to read until 11 p.m. Then lights out.


I was reminded of something spectacular (for me) at church this past Sunday. Last year, this time (Lent) it was suggested that rather than "giving something up for Lent" that we should look to see what we could add as "service". It was about that time that Jayne asked me to officially be on staff as a WHOA volunteer. I am forever grateful. And, for those of you who still don't own a copy....go to the official Net Crimes web site and order a book!

Friday, February 23, 2007

Just a Cuppa

For dickiebo ;-D

Thursday, February 22, 2007

You're Kidding, Right?

"The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it." George Bernard Shaw

I just can't believe it. There is a proposal for a new law. This is similar to the bicycle helmet law only..........this is to require that kids wear helmets when sledding, tobogganing, etc. They've got to be kidding. How do they expect to get a helmet on over a winter hat or hood? How many generations of children have managed to sled without high statistics of serious injury? It's not like they're out sledding in traffic! This is soooo foolish. So you tell your kid, if they haven't already figured it out, don't sled into a road, brick wall, house, lake, river, in to a forest, off a cliff, whatever! Want to do stunts? Learn the limitations the hard way. How many serious injuries were there last year, globally, in children sledding vs, how many thousands participated how many hundreds of times?

I think that there should be a law requiring that everyone at the beach or pool wear a lifejacket. Maybe we should require them for bathing, too.

And don't forget. There should be a tree climbing law. No child should be allowed to climb a tree without a harness and safety line.

Where are the parents? Do they need to just outfit their children in interior padded full sets of armor so as not to have to warn or supervise them?


Here's one side of our new one dollar coin. It's gold plated. What a joke. Most people hate carrying coins in their wallets or pockets. We have a perfectly usable dollar bill. Leave it to the government to come up with *this* stellar idea. The only reason I bought it was for the Statue of Liberty on this side.


Well, I worked very diligently all weekend and finished up three sets of keys. Now I'm waiting on the next batch. While I'm waiting I'm reorganizing the workshop. I'm reconstructing some storage shelving and building yet another workbench. I hope to have the major portion of the "reorg" done by the end of this weekend. Maybe I'll take some pics when I'm done.

Sunday, February 18, 2007


For those who are not familiar with my territory! Here's Rockport from a seagull view. You will note that there have been two new links added to the sidebar of my blog. The first new one is to the Kids and Teen Division of WHOA. We are actively requesting that web sites that kids, their parents, or their teachers visit, provide a link to the outstanding services offered by WHOA-KTD. That is one of my ongoing projects as Assistant Director of Communications. The second new link, and the reason for the postcard view of Rockport, is a link to the Sandy Bay Webcam. As winter turns into spring and then summer, check out the web cam to see the changes in Rockport Harbor! There is one camera at the Sandy Bay Yacht Club (pretty much dead center in the photo) facing east overlooking the main harbor and to sea. Another is mounted at a house on the right edge of the harbor and shows the yacht club and Motif No.1 (and part of the harbor from that angle).

And another week begins.......................

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Stormy Weather

Ahhhh, beautiful, sunny, tropical Florida! Since we had the Nor'easter this past week, I've been thinking of memorable storms. This is a pic of the "No Name" storm of 1993 (I think), in Dunedin. The photo was taken from the front porch of my parent's house. Now you know why my mother opted to move back to MA. Just right of center there are two cars with only the roofs left showing. My parents did not have beach front or ocean front property. Their house was two houses up the street from Edgewater Drive which ran parallel to the intracoastal waterway. Beyond the waterway (or St. Joseph's Sound) is Clearwater Beach and Caladesi Island State Park. The property where my parents lived is 6 feet above mean high tide. Fortunately the house was built (1940) with a crawl space underneath. The water completely surrounded their house nearly filling the crawl space, coming just 2 inches from rising into the house. Our power was out but phones still worked. My mom had called me at 4 a.m. asking "when is high tide?" They had whitecaps on the front lawn! So...the looking southwest across the driveway corner of their property, across the street (Lyndhurst), and across the front lawn of Schiller International University, Edgewater Drive, Saint Joseph Sound and Clearwater Beach beyond.

I had driven to their house to help out. I drove in the opposite end of their street and made it to about a half block away before having to park. Amanda was 10. She was with me. I had my old sea boots on from sailing days. I got Amanda up on my back and started wading down the sidewalk. My boots had rotted with age and water began pouring in! It was sort of amusing to be trying to drag my feet along wearing water filled boots. As I approached the house my dad was backing the mini-van out the drive from the garage in the rear. He opened the window and yelled to me. "Do you want to go out to breakfast?" Oh sure, why not! Mom's a wreck in the house, I'm soggy, Amanda is giggling on my back. I took Amanda to the door and left her with my mom. Dad and I had a nice breakfast out!


Other things I forgot about this week.....

Not only was the lady at the "Times" insensitive, but the guy that delivers the bundles of papers to our house decided to leave them at my folks drive instead of mine. On Friday I called to tell the paper to speak to him about it. Did it matter...NO. I had to haul huge bundles across frozen snow on the yard this morning in the dark. I was very irritated and they will hear about it come Monday.


I got in touch with an exec at the TV show CSI Miami about the artwork used in a show possibly being by me. He emailed back. First, they keep no records of set items. Second, they have changed set dressers recently. So....still guessing.

Friday, February 16, 2007


Okay, took this photo a longgggggg time ago. Amanda is now almost 25. So, what is it you ask? Is it a pineapple?

Nope! It's a bit bigger than your average pineapple and loads heavier. It's a sort of pine cone. On occasion (only three times in 18 years) these would fall from the tree in our yard. Sounded like you were being bombed when they landed. Never actually saw one still on the tree. The common name for the tree is "Monkey Puzzle". It's real name is "Bunya-Bunya". The "needles" on the tree were strange, too. Dark green elongated triangles on thin branches. They dried to a sienna brown and the little branch would fall to the earth covered in razor sharp "needles". You didn't go barefoot in our yard! I got curious one time and took an ax to one of these "cones". It was white inside, fairly solid, and oozed a white gooey syrup. Glad I was never under one when it fell.

No particular reason for posting the photo at the present. Just decided to.


Well, nasty week. On Wednesday we got snow and sleet. I got a stomach virus. I could hardly move and had a temp of just over 101. I tried to shovel some of the snow out of the walk and the drive but my body just refused to do it. I gave up and went in knowing that it was going to be a mess when it changed to rain and sleet and then the temps dropped as promised. It was, and still is in some spots. I managed to get my truck backed out. I ended up heading down a different street than I really wanted to but didn't have much choice. The lack of steerage on the ice controlled the direction that I would go. I did get turned around in a neighbor's drive and got my truck back to the house and parked in the "front" driveway at my folk's. Whew. I was totally exhausted by then and it was only 8:30 a.m. I looked at the 100 newspapers waiting to be delivered.......................

I called the newspaper office and asked very nicely if they could have someone fill in and just "drive by" deliver. I was real sick and felt half dead.

"NO"...................I couldn't believe it!

For three years we have been delivering these papers. We have had only one week off (very advanced planned) in three years. Never called because of illness.

Amanda called Stop & Shop and told them she couldn't be in due to lack of transportation (and severely bad road conditions anyway). Then we took our time and slowly folded papers. I had to rest a lot every 10 minutes or so. We loaded them all in my folk's mini-van and drove and threw the entire route. Having the extra weight of the van and the front wheel drive kept us from getting stuck in the mess on the roads. It was all I could do to sit up and drive. When I got home I went to bed fully clothed. I hadn't the energy to even undress.

I know it's wrong to think this but nevertheless.....I sincerely hope that if *that* woman at the Gloucester Daily Times comes down with this virus (it's going around) that she has it a multitude of times worse than me. I'm just so angry.


Today was the first day I ate something other than saltine crackers and popscicles. I had toast for lunch and mashed potatoes for dinner. So far so good. All being well tomorrow, I might venture with some "baby" rice cereal.


Of course keywork doesn't know I'm sick. I've forced myself to keep plugging along at it. Two sets this week, two more that I'm aware of for next week. I still feel wiped out but at least not as sick. No more temp. No more disgusting symptoms. Just draggy and weak.


More news this weekend.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Don't Get Your Hopes Up.......

it'll pass.

Should be my new motto.

So things were picking up, evening out.

Until....early this morning.

I got woken up by my dad at 4:45 am. My mom was sick. Oh just great. I went over to their place (through the door). She had been up and down since 1 am. with a stomach virus. Lovely. She thought she was going to die. Couldn't convince her that this is making the rounds. To sip a little water, relax, it will go away, but it will be miserable and take a day or so. She can't do this and wants the ambulance. So, I told her to relax for just a bit and be sure that's what she wanted to do. Yep. 6 a.m. I'm on the phone. I refused to dial 911 as it was not an emergency. I called the police station and explained. They sent an officer and the ambulance, thankfully no sirens at that hour! By 7 a.m. mom is at the ER and I was there too (I drove my truck). I left Amanda to deliver some of the papers (supposed to be done by 9 on Saturdays) and my dad resting in his recliner.

Spent an hour and a half with mom until they got her calmed down (I won't get into her behavior issues). Went home and "driving" delivered the rest of the papers, grabbed a quick shower, checked on dad, and grabbed a muffin to eat on the way back to the ER. Stayed for about a half hour and then they said that she could go home shortly. Drove back home to get her some clothes and her coat, back to the ER, wait and wait, and finally headed home.

Quick lunch, trip to the library for Amanda, worked on the key jobs. Took Amanda to work early as I had to be home for the people delivering the melodeon for an estimate. Got home with 15 minutes to spare. Looked the job over, they agreed to the price, so now I've got another sizable job. Then a trip to the drugstore and the market for mom. Went back to key work, threw a load of laundry in (I was out of clean socks), cooked dinner for dad and me. And on and on, checking and waiting on mom, too, of course. Picked Amanda up from work and now I'm in for the evening.....I hope.

Can I scream yet? I'm exhausted.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Lotsa Stuff

Well, a very non-typical Florida picture (postcard). Since I'm still showing warmer climes, you may assume it is still freezing (below) here. Yuck. Anyway, the postcard is of Coral Castle in Homestead, FL. They have a nice website so check it out. If you live in FL or visit, and like the really off-beat, you've got to see this! It *is* very amazing.


It's been a darn hectic week. Mom's neck was bothering her again, so we all had to go through that trauma. She had an appointment for a cortisone shot on Wednesday, but the doctor's office called on Tuesday to reschedule. Another trauma over that. She has, however, started driving again, so that's a relief to me.


This week was the first time that a Hospice social worker came to their house. I am so glad that they liked her as my mom is not overly fond of the Hospice nurse that comes once a week. Maybe having the social worker will give my mom an outlet for her whining! I hope! All is okay on dad's condition at present other than he developed a very sore throat yesterday. Once again mom gets on edge over that.


Amanda has been a royal pain in the you know where. She just can't seem to stop the whining and "mouthing off" at me. She'll be 25 in April and I feel like she's acting like a 2 year old. Well, actually she was a fantastic 2 year old, but you know what I mean. This is driving me so nuts I'd really like to just scream at her. Problem with that is it would do no good and she would then just complain and whine that all I do is scream at her. We were supposed to go out shopping this afternoon. I had privately decided to see what her attitude was like in the morning. The pits. So I canceled. Of course, now I'm the worst mom who never does anything for her. "GROW UP !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"


Had an appointment this morning with my attorney to sign my will and the POA papers. His office called to say that he wouldn't be in as he was sick. Oh well, he's supposed to call me to reschedule next week.


Been very busy with work this week. I went to the high school to tune the other two pianos that they wanted done. Oh my! The first was a Yamaha P22, very weirdly and badly out of tune. Pretty much up to pitch in the midrange. I've never heard anything so askew. Anyway, this one had a missing bass string so I replaced that. The previous tuner had a new one at his house so I had picked it up. He'd had it for 5 years! The piano had no A1 for 5 years! Well, turns out it apparently is not quite the correct string for the piano, but I think I made it work. It sounds okay but the windings are definitely shorter than the surrounding strings and the coil end was already cut waaaayyyy too short. May keep slipping because of that. Time will tell. (Maybe this is why it never got in the piano) So string went on and I started tuning this mess. Click, click, click, click. Oh crap. Every flange screw was loose. It's winter and dry, everything loosens. Out came the action, tighten 176 screws. Not over tight or come summer wood flanges may split. Action back in, tune, tune. Click here, click there. Crap again. Hammers unglued. Action out and ran CA on each, twice. Had to stand and hold the action upside down while the CA set up. Action back in and finished. By then it was 4 pm and I still had another piano to deal with and had to pick Amanda up at work at 6. So...............on to piano number two. A Baldwin Hamilton. This shouldn't be too bad. Yeah, right. First to deal with three sticking keys. They were warped and rubbing together. So...took case parts off and shaved the edges of the offending keys. Started tuning. Click, click, click, click. NOOOOOOOO! Flange screws again. The tuning wasn't a big ordeal on this piano so I quickly finished it up, then pulled the action out. Tightened all the wippen screws and started on the hammer flange screws. Looked up at the clock to see that it was 5:15. Ooops. So, what to do? Tightened the midrange only, got the piano back together and headed out. I had to stop at the office to turn in my visitor pass before leaving. Just made it to get Amanda.


High School Day Two (ha, ha)
Stopped to check on that funky bass string. It had dropped a bit in pitch but not much. Reached in and gave it a nudge back up. Checked out the rest as I had made such drastic changes. Sounded good.

Headed for the Hamilton to finish tightening flange screws. Oops, rehearsals for concert that night so can't get to the piano. So.....

The other P22 that I said I'd look at because of a sustain pedal problem. Fixed that, fixed the soft pedal. Found a screw in the bottom of the piano. Hmmmmm....found where it went in the top of the piano and fixed that. Made a big mistake. BIG. I played the piano. Click, click, click, click. Okay, pulled the action and tightened another 176 flange screws. Checked the hammer heads. 2 dozen so loose that I could just lift them off the shanks. Re glued those and got everything back together. Why was it a big mistake to play it? Well, I was fixing the sustain pedal gratis. So, lots of work, no pay. At least not monetary but *I* feel good having taken care of those things. At least if and/or when they call to have that piano tuned, I won't have all that extra to do. BTW, this P22 is missing the same A1 bass string as the other.


And finally, two sets of keys in this week. One announced, the other a surprise. Another two sets to arrive next week. Tomorrow is the melodeon estimate. Sunday afternoon I may be going to the Western Electric Derby nickelodeon. Seems likely that the dry weather has gotten to it. It only plays very softly. This is another very discouraging thing about living here and the winter weather. It's murder on player pianos and the like and the customers just can't fathom the need for humidification. That is, until things stop working.

Monday, February 05, 2007

A Big Day

Today's post is a good one. I've been working and saving it as a draft. When the day came to publish it it published at the lineup date from when I first started working on it. I'm learning! Anyway click on this link to view please.

Dad's birthday

PS In viewing the post...some of the pictures and script are not lined up the same way as in my post or as in the preview that I can view before publishing pffft.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Second Post of the Day (so scroll)

Just thought I'd summarize how much (or little) I accomplished today by staying home. Here's the things I did list.

  1. Printed out 22 packets of WHOA-KTD information. As part of my job as Assistant Director of Communications, I've been sending a five page informational packet to each state's PTA 4 - 6 weeks before their respective state conventions.
  2. Ran into Stop & Shop, when I dropped Amanda off, to buy a roast for dad's birthday, wrapping paper for his gift, 9 X 12 mailing envelopes for #1 above, a looseleaf binder, and page protectors for the binder. Dad's birthday is Monday but we will be celebrating it tomorrow night.
  3. Played online (I have to take a break sometimes!).
  4. Started a reed organ "registry" (with the looseleaf binder and page protectors). I collected all the digital photos and the 35 mm photos of all the reed organ jobs that I have done. When I had a pic of the finished job, I either printed a page with the pic and an added identifying label, or scanned the photo and produced the same. Now they are all together in an organized manner and hopefully I can remember to continue adding photos as the jobs are contracted.
  5. Found dad's 2005 1040A for him.
  6. Got Amanda to sign 1 out of 4 of the newspaper contracts. Each contract is about 7 pages long and a signature and date required on each page. What a pain!
  7. Helped mom change the linens.
  8. Took out the garbage.
  9. Ate a yogurt for dinner before heading out to pick Amanda up at work.
  10. Sent an email verifying another keytop job arriving next week (that makes two more that I know of).
And what I didn't get done (and more) and will have to work on tomorrow.....
  1. Finish the Needham key job.
  2. Play, play, play the daylights out of the Bridgeport organ.
  3. Work on my income taxes.
  4. Finish addressing all the PTA packets.
  5. Cook a birthday dinner.
  6. Drive Amanda to work for 11 a.m. I'm not happy about this as I will have to miss church.
  7. Pay bills
  8. General household clean up.
  9. Shop clean up.
  10. Replace the ink cartridges in my printer - really LOL.
And anything else that sneaks in there.

Bridgeport organ and more...

Another one finished! I'll be calling the owner this week. I like to spend some time really "playing it in". Just to make sure everything has the bugs worked out. I played around with my camera to figure out how to get a decently lit photo beyond the standard flash mode. Remember how dark some of the organ photos have been? Well, guess what....I lied to the camera for this one and since it really doesn't have a believed me! I told it that it was night time and voila'! Oh yeah, please excuse the beach towels on the floor under the organ. Two purposes are served with them. One is it makes it easy to scoot the organ back and forth, in and out, etc. for working on it. And, two, I don't scratch the floor doing the first.

Now, about the BIG job today. I've called and postponed it. A few reasons. It was really icy this morning and tough delivering papers, so I'm tired. It is questionable, not that the road is clear for me to get to the job (I think it will be) but how icy may it be once I want to leave at say 4 - 5 p.m.? And finally, mom's neck is bad enough that there have been some complaints about driving Amanda to work this afternoon. So, I'll be home to do it. I've got plenty to keep busy with here. Keys from Needham, organ to play and play, income taxes to work on, January's business books to do, and on and on.

Friday, February 02, 2007

A Week Near Completion

Well, these photos sort of sum some of it up. First off, the photos were taken 26 years ago on the island of St. John's, USVI. So, as indicated, my folks have their place, I have mine (with my daughter, now, of course). Mom and I went to see the lawyer, today. I was a bit sabotaged ahead of time by my mom, who all of a sudden started talking about if *she* should want to sell the house to go to a retirement living situation. And where would this leave me? My investment? My home? Didn't seem to matter. Oh boy, what a feeling. So I went to my house and stewed a bit and then tried to calm myself. Fingers crossed (and toes, too) and off we went to Gloucester. Thankfully all is okay. Legally, as it is presently written, the house is mine with the provision that my folks can live here until they die. This is fine with me. This is what I wanted. Additionally, it protects all investment in the property from any possible medical liens from their care. Current law requires 5 years since a deed (or other property) transfer. However, when we wrote the change into the deed and put my name on it, the law was 3 years. That was 4.5 years ago. We are "grandfathered". Phew.

A side occurrence of the trip to the lawyer is a long overdue act. I'm having my will done.

Mom's neck is bad again. This complicates my life considerably. I'm back to being official driver, carrier, shoveler (snow tonight), and general doer. And I'm just too tired. I'm a member of a group of others in the similar situation of care giving for parents. That helps some but I still get very frustrated and overwhelmed.

Sometimes I feel like I am going from one mess to another. My marriage to RC was a nightmare after the first year. Once he didn't need me to support him, he turned on me. I will never know why, but even though a tough go, divorcing him was one of the best (and lifesaving) decisions I've made. Then to be stalked (by him), to move life and business 1500 miles away, to start again. To be followed and harassed (by him) online. Then, as things are looking up, as I have met new friends, my business is doing well, I enjoy volunteering with WHOA , I keep in touch with old friends, I get to do *a little* traveling, then there are the family responsibilities that are bringing all to a slowdown.

Well, even this will even out I suppose. I just can't take on much more of the double household bit.

And now tomorrow....big job. A possible's going to snow tonight and the road and drive that I will have to use for the job will be a problem if not clear. I'm going to do a drive by in the morning to check it out. The customer will be coming from out of town to his "second home" and if things look precarious I'll call and postpone. This is a job that I am anxious to get over with though. I've never done this type of repair alone and keeping the procedure in my mind is a pain. Not rote yet. I like the big things to be rote when I have to do them in front of a customer.

I'll let you know what happens.