Monthly Archives: October 2011

While the hubs is away, wifey plays

Okay, well, technically that headline isn’t entirely truthful. But work doesn’t rhyme with away.

Every October, my husband heads off to his annual media conference which this year was in Harrisonburg, VA. After a nightmarish flight for a planning meeting out east, he decided to skip the plane and drive this time. So with his little rental car filled with books on CDs, snacks and the usual fall clothing, he headed east.

I think my last words to him were…I have big plans for the next few days. That always causes him some consternation. One time he returned home from a short trip to find rolls of old carpet in the front yard. Another time, I’d stripped the wallpaper off an entire room.

While I’d contemplated painting the bedroom and/or ripping up some more carpet, I decided against both of those options — mostly because I had some research papers waiting to be graded.

That’s not to say I did nothing fun. In fact, I probably spent a little more money than I should have.  Spending the money wasn’t the problem. It’s what happened when I did what I did with one of the items I purchased. Let’s just say that when one hangs a new king-sized down comforter out to air on the line, one should remember to bring it in BEFORE it rains. And when one forgets to do so, one should be very careful in removing said comforter from the line.

Here’s the thing. We have a retractable clothesline that connects from the garage to the side of the house. Well, it USED to connect from the garage to the house. When I yanked the comforter off the line, I also managed to pull the entire two-by-four off the garage door frame. Ah well, just add that to list of “THINGS THAT MUST BE FIXED.

All in all, it was a pretty dull week. While the hubs woke up to 7 inches of snow covering his car this morning, I was happy to be running in 33 degrees, no rain, and a little bit of sun. While he rerouted his trip home to make driving through an unexpected winter snowstorm, I happily chucked my wool Merrells for my favorite Chaco flip flops for a few hours this afternoon.

I filled the freezer with cider from Suter’s, dusted the entire house, washed gargantuan amounts of laundry, delivered more of the hubs’ books to a local store that had sold out of them. Then I hightailed it to Lima where I did my own part of stimulating the economy.

What didn’t I get done? Way too much. I didn’t get around to reorganizing the kitchen, and I didn’t eliminate any more “stuff” from the attic. I didn’t sell the spinning wheel, darn it.

But hey, I also didn’t rip up another room of carpet, but I’ve got about two hours to go. If I start right now…who knows?

Celebrating the end of mowing season with the perfect fix: duct tape

Yesterday was another one of those fall days we Ohioans dream about when drowning in a week filled with rain, rain and more rain. When we woke to the promise of sun and relative warmth, the world came alive…people who had spent the week hibernating indoors flocked to the farmer’s market, sat outside enjoying conversation at the local coffee shop, and speculated on the possibility of a final lawn mowing.

Two of our neighbors got out the power saw and tackled an ash tree that was threatening to topple from one of their yards to our roof. We watched. And smiled.And cheered.

This is not to say that we did nothing. We busied ourselves by cleaning out the gardens, picking some herbs for drying, picking some sage blooms for an indoor display, taking a large load to the dump. Oh, and yes, we discussed (okay, argued) about the morning glories that have infested not only every flower bed in the yard but also have somehow insinuated themselves into my herb garden. Let me just say I did NOT plant them.

THEN it was time to mow. I distinctly remember our conversation of two weeks ago when we got out the mower and I tactfully suggested that perhaps it was time to consider purchasing a new mower. Understand, this is no fancy mower…it is but a small, sturdy, 6 HP, Briggs and Stratton self–propelled mower. Or at least it used to be self-propelled. But hey, it powered up right away that day and we happily split the mowing.

Yesterday’s scenario was just a little different. The hubs powered up the mower so I could get started on the back yard. Then it died. More specifically, a necessary chunk (including a fan, I think) fell off. This is where things got a little dicey. I made yet another (useless) suggestion that maybe we should see if our favorite local hardware still had any mowers in stock.

The family mechanic (and I use this term loosely and with tongue in cheek) insisted he could replace the flopping chunk. He popped it back in place. It flopped back to hang off the side.

This time, I had the solution. We would duct tape it into place. Guess what. It worked. The lawn was mowed and — assuming we have no more weeks of constant rain – we won’t mow again until spring.

We ended the day at a party, where a friend and I discussed the merits of duct tape. Laughing in only the way she can, her comment was, “Well, heck, if Bob fixed all those airplanes with duct tape, it should work fine on a mower.”

I may never fly again.

Hubs tries to even the ER score

This has been a month of hospital visits I’d rather have done without. First there was my mom’s early morning trek to the ER, then my dog bite visit. Not to be left out of the excitement my husband tried to even the hospital ER score by snipping off a bit of his left index finger. Well, technically, it wasn’t the finger snipping that sent him to the ER, but it was the initial catalyst.

Here’s how this happened. We have a composter to which we regularly add garbage, such as vegetable and fruit skins. To help speed up the composting process, Fred cuts it into smaller pieces….usually with scissors. So on Sunday, while I was minding my own business grading papers, I heard a muffled curse word. This is usually my clue that my assistance might be needed, so I zipped down to the kitchen. There he was, water running over his hand — not exactly hitting the finger in question.

Momentarily forgetting his dislike for blood, I foolishly suggested he keep an eye on the hand to be sure the water was running over the finger while I fetched bandages. That was my first mistake. The second was leaving him without telling him to sit down. I returned to notice he’d gone white and as I steered him toward a nearby stool, he suddenly passed out. It was like one of those movies where the person just goes down, in what I can only describe as a dead faint.

Smacked his head on a metal strip between the kitchen and laundry and then had what I initially thought was a seizure but was more likely the result of syncope. His eyes were unfocused, he thrashed around and then suddenly went completely still. Where was I? Standing there stunned, screaming like a ninny, as I fumbled for my phone and tried to remember how to call 911.

He suddenly came around, looked at me disgustedly and asked why I was screaming at him. He had no idea what had happened; in fact, he said it seemed like a long dream. He thought he was in bed and had overslept.

This is when it is helpful to have a neighbor who is a nurse anesthetist. Once I helped the hubs settle in a the recliner, because “I just want to rest for a few minutes”, I zipped across the back yard to fetch Bill Swartley. He came quickly, armed with an airway thingy, checked Fred’s vision, inspected the various cuts (finger and head) and suggested we stop by the ER — if only for a tetanus shot.

Which we did. Two hours later, having undergone an EKG, various blood tests, a tetanus shot, and dressings of the finger and head, we returned home. Having been warned to do nothing much for the rest of the day, the hubs retired to his basement office to watch his computer screen.

I think it’s time to install a garbage disposal.

Suddenly, our world is a mosaic of oranges, reds, greens, and yellows

After what seemed like a month of chilly, wet weather, northwest Ohio is experiencing that absolutely glorious weather we call Indian summer. It’s taken me a few days to realize this — mostly because I’ve been cooped up in an office.

But on Thursday, my recumbent bike returned home after almost a month in the shop, so today I finally get to ride to work again. On Thursday, when I tested it, I was so fascinated by its complete overhaul — new tires, new shifters, a few new gears — that I failed to fully appreciate the fact that the sun was shining and I was warm. So Friday, riding back to the office, I rode slowly so that I could really enjoy it. And yes, I was procrastinating a return to work. Who wouldn’t in this kind of weather?

Here’s one of the interesting advantages of a recumbent bike. Instead of looking straight ahead or down, your eyes can more easily glance at the sky. My head rested on the back of the seat and suddenly I saw that the trees around me have become a mosaic of oranges, reds, and yellows. This is what I saw. And I couldn’t wait for work to be over, because we have a whole weekend to enjoy the outdoors.

Enjoy your weekend!

THE BOOK and why it interferes with blogging

Seems I’ve been a bit lax in the blogging arena lately. But hey, I’ve had some good reasons — not the least of which nvolved a confrontation with a dog who latched onto my finger and left his mark….along with three stitches. It’s hard to type with stitches in a finger. Believe me. Don’t try it. It isn’t pretty.

Then there’s that course I agreed to teach, which involves the requisite class prep, grading, etc. Not to mention the one-hour drive to and from the location. But hey, it’s fun so who’s complaining? It just takes time.

But that’s not all. There was THE BOOK. It has basically governed our lives for the past year. Or more. I forget. All I know is that every other conversation involved the production of said book. First, there were the conversations about which stories should be included…which individuals should be invited to contribute…how many years it should span. You get the picture. Well, maybe you don’t.

Technically, this is not MY BOOK. I did contribute one chapter, but for the most part I was just the trusty sidekick, the Tonto to my husband’s Lone Ranger.

It’s like writing a research paper. You settle on a topic, gather your material, create an outline, write a draft…then another draft…then the final version. Then the fun starts. The proofreading….the changes…more proofreading…conversations with the publisher…and so on. What I didn’t realize until it was too late was just how much such a project would literally invade our lives.

Turns out the last few months are the most intense. And then…bam! Andre Swartley, publisher, Workplay Publishing, pops in to deliver the author’s proof and suddenly there is a huge release of pressure. THE BOOK is done and it’s time to plan the release party.

That’s when the proverbial you-know-what hit the fan. We couldn’t agree on a date. The first date coincided with a homecoming parade. Which in a small town is a big deal. The second choice coincided with another homecoming event. The third choice was fine with one person, but the other disliked something about it. I forget what.

Finally, we settled on a date. Then the discussion began all over again. It was like planning your first child’s first birthday party. Sort of.

We — the Lone Ranger and Tonto — hope you’ll all join us to celebrate the release of the book “A Good Place To Miss — Bluffton Stories 1900 to 1975”, from 6:30-8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 8, at Common Grounds Coffeehouse and Cafe, 101 N. Main St., Bluffton. Free Icon coffee and cookies for all!

Oh and by the way, this party is also the second anniversary of the official launching of The Bluffton Icon (, our free, online news source.

Can’t wait to see you! Just don’t ask the author, Fred Steiner, about the next book. Please.