Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Quote for the Week

We can make ourselves miserable or we can make ourselves happy.  The amount of work is the same.
            Carolos Casteneda

Sunday, June 28, 2015

My New-Old Gadget

It's now been a month since the Great Memorial Day Flood, and I have been coping better than I would have expected.  My "Flood Notebook" is full of interesting information that I've learned, like what "proof of loss" is, how many people want to dry out/clean out/rebuild your house, and most of all, how much you can do without.  I am back in my 5-bedroom house and making do with a bed, a breakfast room table and chairs and a chair for my built-in desk.  The bottom 2 feet of sheet rock is torn out all through the house, and the cat loves it because I can't close him in a room any more--he just walks right through the walls.

My dishwasher drowned in the flood.  The nice adjuster who was here explained that it's because the motor is underneath.  Who knew?  So now I wash dishes by hand after each meal, which is okay because I don't run out of spoons because they're all in the dishwasher.  But I don't like drying dishes, so I decided to try to buy a dish drainer.  I wasn't sure they were still around because frankly, I haven't seen or used one in probably 30 years.  I went to Bed, Bath and Beyond and, not certain the clerk would know what I was talking about, asked if they had a dish drainer.  Surprise!  They had several.  I bought the smallest, cheapest one...and I got a 20% flood-victim-discount.
Seeing it sitting on the counter makes me feel a bit like June Cleaver.  Yes, I know--some of you use dish drainers all the time, but I have been too lazy all these years to wash dishes without relying on a machine
Seriously though, the most important thing I've learned from the flood is how kind people are and how fortunate I am to have friends who care and take the time to check to see how I'm doing and if I need help with anything.  In spite of everything,  feel truly blessed.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Quote for the Week

“If you love life, don’t waste time,
for time is what life is 
made up of.”
Bruce Lee

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Books of May

I'm a bit late (no, a lot late) with May book reviews, but I've been dealing with a flooded house, the worry that Tropical Storm Bill would cause another flood, and living in a 5-bedroom home where all my furniture is piled in the middle of the rooms except my bed, my breakfast room table and chairs and the chair to my built-in desk.  And of course, the sheet rock is torn out two feet up from the floor...and I still can't find my salt and pepper shakers.  Anyway, on to the books I read last month.

A stranger visits various people and whispers secrets that change their lives.  Implausible and weird.  I could not suspend my disbelief for even a minute.  Read at your own risk.

This is another weird book, a supposedly modern-day version of the myth of Castor and Pollux.  The twins in this story were so identical and so confusing, I couldn't make sense of  it at all.  Another read-at-your-own-risk book.  Sorry, Scott Turow, I used to love your work.

I heard Geoff Dyer read from his book, and I bought it the next day.  As a resident writer for two weeks aboard an aircraft carrier, he describes all aspects of aircraft-carrier life in hilarious detail.  Some Amazon reviewers felt he was disrespectful of the ship and crew, but I loved it and laughed all the way through it.

A college student interviews a condemned killer who is dying of cancer and becomes intrigued by his story.  Okay but not great.

I love Liane Moriaty's books, and this one didn't disappoint.  What happens after a wife finds a note her husband meant for her to read after his death?  A fun read.
The White House as viewed by the "little" people who work there, as cooks, butlers, florists, housekeepers, etc.  Moderately interesting.
Happy Reading!

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Quote for the Week: Lyrics from an old song

I've always loved "You'll Never Walk Alone," and it seems appropriate as we brace for another possible flood.
When you walk through a storm, keep your head up high
And don't be afraid of the dark.
At the end of the storm lies a golden sky
And the sweet silver song of a lark.
Walk on through the wind, walk on through the rain,
Though your dreams be tossed and blown.
Walk on, walk on, with hope in your heart
And you'll never walk alone.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Shock and Awe

My friend from Philadelphia called on May 21, wondering about the flooding in Texas and asking if I was all right.  I called back and left a message.  "I'm fine.  There's been a lot of rain, but my street never floods." That was Before. 

On the night of May 25, I watched a basketball game on TV and went to sleep to the sound of thunder.  I woke at 2:00; it was still raining.  I had a snack and went back to sleep.  At 5:30 my doorbell rang and I stepped out of bed into ankle deep water.  That was After.

"Oh, my God," I screamed.  Surely I was dreaming.  We'd lived through floods and hurricanes with never a drop of water in our house.  But now every room was like a wading pool.  The street was like a river.

I called my son.  "Maybe you should call 911," my daughter-in-law suggested.  I did and they forwarded my call to the fire department.  "If you're not having a medical emergency and you're not in danger, just stay in place.  The water will drain out.  We've had a significant rain event."  Significant?  No kidding.  By the next day our neighborhood was a disaster area, with furniture, clothing, floorboards and carpet lining every sidewalk.  Neighbors milled about, discussing what to do, who to call, how to get through this.  Some people lost everything--house, furniture, keepsakes, clothing, cars. 

I was lucky.  I lost only one piece of furniture...a loveseat.  I lost some speech therapy materials, but they can be replaced.  I had my Oriental rugs picked up to be cleaned and fumigated the next day.  Of course I was isolated:  Comcast is my TV, Internet and phone carrier and it was out for days.  I got most of my news from telephone calls from friends near and far.  One morning a lady came to my door, introduced herself, said her mother used to teach with a friend of mine in Dallas.  My friend couldn't reach me and she was worried.  Would I please call her?

People were incredibly kind.  Neighbors offered help.  When I packed up to stay at my daughter's, a friend kept my cat.  A friend of my son's sanded down my front door because it had become so swollen from the rain, I couldn't lock it.  Another friend invited me to stay at her house the night and other nights if I wanted to after the flood.  I am touched by the kindness of everyone around me.

I stayed at my daughter's for a week. I'm back at home now.  Of course, the sheet rock has been removed up to the standard 2 feet, most of my furniture is in the middle of the rooms, covered with plastic, my dishwasher was ruined by flood water...and darn it, I can't find my salt and pepper shakers.

I had planned to put my house on the market this week.  Can't do that now.  I don't know if I will even get lot value for it.  It's probably worth half of what it was two weeks ago.  I'm just sitting around, waiting to see what the insurance company will pay.  Oh yes, I almost missed the deadline to renew my flood insurance... but thank goodness, I didn't. 

My cat is home, my TV is working, so I can watch the NBA finals, I can make phone calls, I'm back at work...and I still wake up every morning wondering if I dreamed the flood.  Then I look at the missing sheetrock and know it was real.

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