Tuesday, November 20, 2007

A Whole Lot o' Shakin' Goin' On

Yowza. It's been a month since my last entry. Various excuses: job...weather...guests...travel...malaise... (I didn't say they were good excuses.)

The happy thing is that I've got quite the backlog of news to share (some of it has becomes olds in the interim, but whatever.)

Introducing... Po!
The most important thing: the house has acquired a kitten! Matt was seduced by a little feral tabby at his work, and next thing you know, we're cat-owners. His name is Po--mostly named after Lightnin' Hopkins who frequently referred to himself in the 3rd person as "Po' Lightnin'." As we got him the night before Halloween--on All Hallow's Eve Eve, if you will--his name is also a nod to the poet laureate of Halloween, Edgar Allen Poe. And lastly, and most implausibly, since I am an italophile, and there is a river somewhere in Italy called the Po, his name is also an homage to the land of pasta and expensive footwear.

He is ferocious cute. Check him out:
Po, our very cute kitten.

He's also a freak mutant. He's a polydactyl cat, which means he's got a weird toe deformation that gives him, in effect, thumbs. He's got giant clodhopper feet, too. Our little clydesdale.

Matt's totally besotted. Which, in itself, is actually even cuter than the kitten.

Matt & Po

So far, I've had very few allergy problems. We bathe Po and keep him out of the bedrooms, so that probably helps. I think I've mostly outgrown the cat allergy, fortunately. (The oak allergy, on the other hand, is still going strong. If I could sell phlegm the way other people sell plasma or sperm, I'd have already paid off my student loans.)

My name is Ozymandias, tree of trees
In other news, we have finally pulled down both our dead trees. The chinaberry came down a while ago, but we just toppled the ash on Sunday. It was a fighter. And nerve-wracking, because it was right next to the garage. However, we used guy-lines and a sort of a pully thing to hold it in the right direction. And then Matt went after it with a chainsaw very, very carefully. To our delighted incredulity, it came down with textbook exactitude: It didn't fall on the garage, the fence, the sapling bur oak, nor on our elderly neighbor who insisted on standing unnervingly close to the thing to watch it come down. The wood was very, very hard--poor Matt got tennis elbow dealing with it. But now we have a yard full of high-quality firewood--we shall have fires in the fire pit this winter! And drink hot libations while looking at the stars. Splendid!

Look upon my works, ye mighty, and despair!

Also, Matt's been working on installing our chandelier in the dining room. You may remember that the fan that had been in there was off-center, so we had to cut a new hole and thread the wires over to it. That part went fine--Matt just reached into the ceiling and pulled the wires over. The weird bit is that there were six sets of wires feeding into the old fan. Six! So he's having to test to figure out which are live, and that has been complicated. (Matt doesn't like volt-meters--he doesn't trust them. Much the way I feel about tire gauges, I think. I just never feel confident that they're measuring accurately.) So we're going to have to patch up the spare wire and plaster over the hole and do some more testing and then--hey presto!--new chandelier.

See all the freaky wires coming out of the old hole (foreground)? That pink stuff coming out of the new hole is wads of plastic--Matt says it's something to do with the insulation.

What, you may ask, have I been doing while Matt risks life and limb chopping down trees and fiddling with electricity? I've been "spotting" him (yeah, it's a pretty cush job) and working on that misbegotten incubus, the epoxy. I've been scrubbing off the old, sticky epoxy preparatory to yet another desperate attempt to refinish the pedestal tub. I'll be tackling the new epoxy soon. And that, my friends, is the last time. If I can't get it to work this go-round, I'll be hiring a professional to handle it for me. It ain't cheap, but I can't afford to lose many more brain cells to epoxy fumes.

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