Assorted Irregularities

Did you know that Draper Farms organic chicken is so fresh that it arrives in the grocery store, all packaged in cellophane, before it has been thoroughly plucked? Neither did I until I had to spend a half hour cleaning it before I could cook dinner tonight. That half hour wasn’t built into my time table.

Did you know that just because a product says it can be used on glass and windows it doesn’t mean it should be? I now have to clean my house TWICE. I handed Amoeba my bottle of Clorox Green Works glass and surface cleaner and said, “It says it cuts through filmy residue and is safe on glass. Unfortunately ‘safe on glass’ and streak-free are two different things.” Amoeba read the ingredients and tsk-tsked.   I said, “I suppose you’re going to tell me that it says right on there that it will leave streaks?”  He answered, “It sure does. See these words here -” he pointed “-‘coconut-based cleaning agent’. That translates to streaks.” How was I supposed to know that? I don’t speak ‘science’.

Speaking of not speaking science, were you aware that loading the dishwasher, adding soap and locking the door is not enough to make the thing work? No matter how many hours one waits, the dishes will not get clean until one pushes the little button on the front. Who knew?

Rearranging

I liked my last template, but it just wasn’t roomy enough. In the left hand column of this template you will find two RSS feeds. One which shows a current excerpt from O’Ceallaigh and The Quill (those of you who read part one of OC’s learning to ride a bike will be glad to know part two is up) and the other which shows the current verse up on, Bits of Me in Poetry. Unfortunately, the poetry feed doesn’t transfer in poetry form.

For those of you who are disconcerted by all my template switching, I’ll find something I am comfortable with and stay there. Maybe. Once far back in my distant past I used to rearrange my living room furniture every two to three weeks. I worked a job that kept me home near the phone and I had nothing better to do with my time and energy than to devise ways to torure the man I was then married to by hiding his recliner (in plain sight).

Christmas Day during a rare Portland, Oregon cold snap, the pipes in the housing complex we worked for froze and burst. My (now ex-) husband, Michael, left the house before the sun came up and didn’t return until well after it set. He came through the door cold, wet, starving, and wearing clothes so frozen that when he took his pants off — in the entry hall since he could see I’d cleaned the house — they stood by themselves.

As he disrobed I ladled a big bowl full of stew and set a plate of homemade bread with butter on the stand beside his recliner, then I grabbed his robe, which I had kept hanging over a heat vent and took it to him. I motioned to the living room and told him to sit and eat, I would get him something to drink. He asked for hot chocolate with a shot of Bailey’s.

As I stepped into the kitchen, he crossed the floor to where his recliner used to be and sat. He hit the floor with a thud and lay there looking up at the ceiling. I asked if he was alright. He queried, “Where’s my chair?” I told him he’d walked around it to get to that particular spot on the floor. He just closed his eyes.

I went into the kitchen to make the hot chocolate. When I returned to the living room Michael was sitting in his chair and most of his food was gone. As he handed me his bowl and asked for seconds he said, “Eight weeks.”

I said, “Huh?” He said, motioning around the living room with his spoon, “The furniture stays like this for eight weeks. And even then you don’t get to move it without telling me the day before.”

Later, after a shower, another mug of hot chocolate and a bit of Johnny Carson, Michael turned off the TV. I was curled up on the couch reading. I looked up at him. He said, “I’m tired. When I get in the bedroom am I going to have to search for the bed, too?”

Our bedroom was 12′ squared and our bed was queen sized. There was no way I could have put it anywhere he couldn’t find it, but I had turned it from the North wall to the South, so I told him yes. He left the room cussing about inconsiderate, contrary women.

Too Much Cleanliness

When I lived in downtown Las Vegas near Freemont Street, my neighbors were a lovely, lively bunch of people. My apartment was inside First United Methodist Church. I lived across the street from the police station, behind a bank and next door to a casino. Bums slept in the alley outside my door.

About the only accommodation the church didn’t have was a washing machine. I took my wash to the laundromat once per week, usually early on Saturday morning before the crowds arrived. One such Saturday I pulled into the laundromat just as the attendant unlocked the door. As I toted my stuff in he said to me, “You’ll probably be alone for an hour or so before any other customers come in. I’ll be across the street at Denny’s if you need me.” Then he left.

I carried my laundry basket to the first row of washers and started sorting clothing into machines. A man came through the door and walked to the opposite end of the row. He opened a duffle bag and shook it’s contents into the washer. Then he took off his shirt. Next his tennis shoes came off and went into the machine. His socks followed. He reached for his belt.

I started pulling clothes back out of the washing machines and returning them to my basket. I left the laundromat just as his underwear were coming off.

Mistaken Identity

The bathroom was clean except for the mirrors.  I needed Windex.  I went to the kitchen and grabbed a couple of paper towels, then reached under the kitchen sink and pulled out my brand new blue bottle.

Back in the bathroom I sprayed the mirror and scrubbed.  And scrubbed.  And scrubbed.  It kept smearing and seemed a bit sticky.

More Windex.  Spray.  Spray.

Scrub — it was stickier!  And smeared.  What the ….!

I grabbed the blue spray bottle, turned it around and read the label.   Oxy-Clean Stain Remover.  Oh.

I went to the cupboard that houses my laundry supplies and checked the shelf.  Windex, sure enough.

That means that yesterday the window cleaner did an excellent job of getting the soy sauce out of my t-shirt ……

Together At Last

Seatac Airport, 9:40 p.m., July 1st:  my cell phone rang.  It was OC telling me that Hawaiian Airlines flight 22 was safely on the ground and he would be allowed to deplane soon.  (I suspect that he had really called to see if I’d arrived at the airport to pick him up. I had.)  Twenty minutes later my cell phone rang again.  It was OC telling he there was some delay at security, but he was on his way.  (I suspect he was checking to see if I hadn’t changed my mind and bolted. I hadn’t.)

Finally OC came into view.  He was looking right and left, searching for me.  I waited, wondering when he would look straight ahead — and finally he saw me.  I smiled.  He waved.  He kissed me, hugged me, kissed me again (fleeting pecks) and left me in charge of his carry-on while he stepped up to the carousel for his luggage.  I briefly wished for a warmer reception, but OC kept looking back over his shoulder at me.  I chose to interpret that as happy-to-see-me behavior rather then, has-she-let-anybody-walk-off-with-my-precious-trumpets-yet? behavior.

Leaving the airport, we went to get fuel — for the car and for us.  We successfully fueled the car, but didn’t do quite so well fueling our tummies.  We ate at a Denny’s.  Now, I’ve had many good meals at Denny’s Restaurants, but this wasn’t one.  After Denny’s we retired to Studio 6, checked our email and fell into bed — where we each pretended to sleep so our upset stomach and general discomfort wouldn’t bother the other.

July 2nd:  neither of us felt like starting the day with food.  Instead, we went to Big Five Sporting Goods Store and each bought a pair of new shoes.  After getting shoes we traveled to the charming city of Anacortes, Washington and ate a lovely lunch in a little cafe named Calico Cupboard.  We also walked up and down the street holding hands and looking in shop windows.  We wanted to catch the 3:10 ferry to Friday Harbor, so we had to drive down to the Ferry Terminal and get in line.

Once in line, we had plenty of time to explore, so OC took me down to the beach. He behaved with wonderful patience the whole time over my unsuitable beach shoes — flip flops — and patiently helped me over the rocks and driftwood.  He also steered me clear of the more muddy and marshy areas.  However, he is a scientist and he likes to study squishy things, so he happily plucked seaweeds from the ground and put them in my hands.  He seemed quite pleased when I had no trouble telling the different kinds apart.  Even so, I hope there is no test later because I will not remember their names.  He also found a rock with some barnacles and a kelp “holdfast” attached and explained to me how kelp anchors itself to the ocean floor.

Once aboard the ferry, we walked around a bit.  OC showed me a map display of the islands and explained what route we would take. We stood on deck for awhile and watched the shore passby – then we sat down and fell soundly asleep, waking only when the announcement came for drivers to return to their cars and prepare to exit the ferry.  I got barely a glimpse of downtown Friday Harbor as we exited the Ferry.  We were rushing to the grocery store before closing time.  The store was packed and crazy so we just grabbed the fixings for a quick meal, plus toast and juice for breakfast.

Friday Harbor Labs, Apartment A103.  Ours is the ground floor unit, you can see the door between the trees.

Same door, different view from the hillside.

View through the living room windows. 

View through the open bedroom window.

The path from the parkinglot to our apartment.

Same view, (picture magnified so you can see the car). 

I love these trees.  OC says they are called Madrone.  He also says they shed their bark on a regular basis, probably to rid themselves of parasites.  I say they are gorgeous.  This one is just off the patio on the uphill slope.

July 3rd:  the day started at OC’s favorite walking trail.  He said it was 8-tenths of a mile long, then he took off at a sprint and left me to walk.  I am not used to the humidity and was soon out of breath.  I kept walking — briskly, but nowhere near OC’s speed.  I walked.  And walked.  And walked.  The countryside is gorgeous.  I enjoyed the wildlife — even saw some deer.  And I walked and walked.  I couldn’t believe how hard it was, or how out of shape I was.  That was the longest 8-tenth of a mile I had ever walked. When I met OC on his return trip, he said the end was still five minutes away.  Five minutes at his pace was going to be way too flipping long at mine.  I turned around.  Later OC said he may have miscalculated the length.

After our walk, showers, and breakfast, OC took me to the main building and introduced me to some of his coworkers.  We needed to visit the tech guy and get cleared for internet access.  OC and the Apple loving techies made fun of my PC.  There was another guy in the room with a PC laptop.  I said, “Why are you giving me such a hard time?  That guy has a PC, too!”  That Guy waved his hands and exclaimed in horror, “No way.  This isn’t mine.  I’m just working on it!”

Despite the tech guys best efforts, I only get reliable internet connectivity when sitting on our patio.  That evening as I went in to use the bathroom I said to OC, “I guess it’s safe to leave my PC outside unguarded.  It isn’t like anyone here would steal it.”  OC agreed a bit too enthusiastically.

July 4th: I woke sore from the trail, yet consented to trek it again.  OC admitted that it is about a mile and a half long.  I made it a bit further, but still haven’t reached the end.  My muscles were a bit sore when I started out, but I didn’t think it was any big deal.  However, they didn’t loosen up as I walked.  In fact, my calves kept cramping.  I walked it anyway and I kept a good pace.  After showers and breakfast OC and I went to the staff/student volley ball game.  I managed to skin my knee, and I missed a few shots, but I made a couple, too.  I played three games and sat the rest out in favor of some younger folk.  OC played 6 or 7 games.  Here he is celebrating a good serve.

In the afternoon most of the folk from Friday Harbor Labs — ourselves included — went to 4th of July Beach for a barbecue.  OC is a master at skipping rocks.  Ask him to prove it some time.  He says it is all in the wrist.  We walked up and down the beach — once again with OC being perfectly patient about my flip-flops as he helped me over, through and around obstacles. 

Driftwood cemetary — 4th of July Beach.

And that evening we walked to a grassy rise just a few yards from our apartment and settled in anticipation of a fireworks show.  As we waited OC played his trumpet, and night settled in around us.  The show was spectacular, and from two different points on the horizon we could see other displays — one from Cortes Island, and another from the mainland.  It was a magical display of ohhhs and ahhhs — and that’s pretty much what this whole trip has been so far. 

The last ferry of the evening leaves Friday Harbor.