Thursday, October 30, 2008

Thank you, Yarn Harlot

She turned on her furnace (as of yesterday). Just because it's below zero (I hope to God she is speaking, as she usually does, in metric) and snowed in Toronto. Apparently more than once. Because if she did, then I can, even though I have only seen a couple possible flakes, but friends in Canterbury and New Jersey tell me they have seen more than that, and if it's snowing in Piscataway I should be able to ice-skate here).

So I can, in theory, turn mine on without losing. I bet she didn't know she was playing this game with me. In fact, even I thought wondering when Stephanie was going to turn her furnace on was weird, but it's a consequence of my somewhat reclusive life.

Here I sit, with the internet and a cell phone, only taking the oxen into town when NH Unemployment demands; it happened to be archaeology lab day yesterday anyway. The lab is MUCH too hot if its furnace is on, as it has been for the last month. If the outside temperature dips below about 60F it's much too cold there, so one can't win. We are moving furniture, like full filing cabinets, and feeling very pleased with ourselves because we taped the drawers shut and there was no disaster.

The cats would like me to sit in the two rooms at either end of the house; these rooms have little faux-log gas fires, and one of them is the kitchenette where I sometimes bake things in the oven, as well. Turning these gas-fires on does not count, because they have pilot lights and they come on when the rooms get below 60 F. Certain cats have been known to sleep there instead on on my bed, where I pay them to be. They think because I am asleep I don't notice when they go, but I do and Marten will not be getting a nickel bag of catnip in his stocking this year (he would prefer single malt anyway). Willow says she should be allowed to stay downstairs in the warmer because she caught a cold, a very ladylike cat sneeze, when she was stuck in the porch, but she's mostly over it now.

Marten, being the very model of a gentleman cat, hardly ever makes a noise. He prefers to show up and look at me meaningfully, usually about cat food. Things with the kitchen have affected the cat door, as have the continuing ravages of Viking Raccoons (pillage. Melting eyes. Clanking of birdfeeders when decent folk are asleep. Little rubber noses. BASTARDS.). So now Marten has a fine show of sign languages indicating that A Guy Could Let the Cat Out if She Wanted To (Marten only suggests things in Minnesotan), but that is not always enough. So he is trying out a series of little polite noises spoken under his breath. It is very funny when he whispers "Roo." You can tell he feels gauche.

Buffy, the Last of Her Tribe, is still a very fine chicken. I think chickens, like goldfish, are happier in groups, but she seems very well and all of her feathers are grown back (not the case since Spike hit puberty). She has a placement through Archaeology Linda in a coop near Keene for the winter, but she seems happy running free, not being eaten yet. NH chickens have a Live Free or Die thing going she takes very seriously. Every afternoon we have Chicken Time and she sits on my lap and has a handful of sunflower seed. I will take her to Linda when it gets really cold, although Buffy says she would be fine in my kitchen. If I could litter-train her I would be fine with that.

I should say, she'd be fine in the kitchenette (with faux-log fire). Not much new in the kitchen, proper, because Paul seems to like working alternate days. The new stove is in, but not hitched to the gas, and the microwave/range hood is in, and now I have two clocks within three feet of one another and an guilty awareness that microwave clocks are energy vampires. If I ever get rich or another long-term tenant I shall replace the kitchenette fridge, because I don't think it actually seals. I should just delate myself to the ecology police. This is another reason I have been trying not to turn on the heat. I have cabinets, but Home Depot and Paul disagree on some of the sizes we have, and he needs to sort out three of them, and then we might have counters. I am wondering if we could put the shelves in and I could get some of the kitchen out of the dining room and the living room.

The other problem is that someone, probably not Doug or the contractor, has put STUFF on top of the woodstove, and some of the kitchen in the place the kindling goes, and I would have to move it to light the stove up and it's really nice in the bedroom with the blankets and a sweater or so, and ideally a cat on my feet.

Only a few more days and it will be the election. It will also be the end of Daylight Saving Time and officially Time to Think About The Holidays. NO. The election, fine, it is only like having a tooth extracted (do you want more agony or the bitter, aching socket of disappointment? Don't tell me about polls. I am madly superstitious, and as I said last time, I will only be cross by April because they aren't far enough Left), but the rest of it, no. In honor of being evil-tempered, disappointed, unemployed, kitchen-impaired, celibate, fat, and in the midst of an economic downturn of historic proportions, I am probably not knitting anyone anything for Christmas. Except me. I need a hat. And Arwen.

On the plus side, however, it appears I am getting a short-term tenant (an apolitical organizer, since it's a non-partisan group?) for the month after the election. He will be welcome if he goes through with it, but the poor dear thinks he will be in a normal adult household. It is giving Doug a reason to get his stuff out, which is good for both of us--it's like missing someone slightly and then you find another can of shaving cream; I don't know whether to be sentimental, resentful or use it to clean windows, and the file cabinets and the loom are worse. Doug has already had a couple of his bookcases unjustly seized (full of kitchen).

I should mention that I finished a scarf/muffler (twisted rib, not-really matching color-lots, still pretty) during Octoberfest, and then I came home and finished the strawberry sweater I was working on during the Winter Olympics. In fact, !!! It's hugeous and warm and I love it but I hope I have enough sense to avoid so much moss stitch in the future. I am still tying the quilt. I try to tie it faithfully when I watch Jon Stewart so Ellie will get it before she finishes grad school (she adds, sadly, that she's cold in NJ) but it's enough trouble to do very small neat ties that I slack off. I have several pairs of unfinished socks, one pair of which may be too small in the cuff (I guess I could rip them out, they're toe think Adivan or something would help?).

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Mainlining Patrick O'Brien

I wish he had written more than 20 books. But I may have a Tony Hillerman festival next.

The day after I last posted, my contractor called; he had the Horrible Cold or possibly flu. He seems inclined to come back to work. Willow disappeared for 48 hours, making me think she had been chomped by a coyote. She was shut into the front glassed-in porch and very glad when I let her out. I was glad she was not part of the less-differentiated biomass, but I wish she would stop being mean to Marten.

My son, with whom I am only rarely in touch, had a fight with me, apparently because he is unhinged. This has not contributed anything good to my general mood, except for making me want to spend Christmas in a Muslim country. Or Buddhist or Hindu, I'm not fussy. Mars?

So I contributed to my NPR station in hopes of winning the 9-day trip to Greece, and made the person on the phone laugh by telling her I was more eager for the presidential campaign to be over even than the fund-raiser.

If I get the actual work (a) writing an log of the things I have been applying to for the NH Unemployment people, b) a small thing for a small nonprofit) done I will go meet one of my oldest friends today, where we will both try not to be too gloomy. She has reasons but we should probably both go on a course of therapeutic nitrous oxide.

I think I am going to try knitting Arwen, since I seem to have yarn already. The daughter's quilt is coming on (one of the few beings whom I can tell to "get tied" and have it be a friendly gesture?).

We still have some beautiful leaves, and I am actually cheerier than I sound. I think I had a mild almost asymptomatic case of that Horrible Cold, because I needed to sleep ALL THE TIME and had stupidity and a headache I only rarely noticed but it was a corker, for about ten days.

The possibility of someone wanting to rent a month here has been a great help in energizing my desires to tidy, but I keep doing deep-tidying that doesn't much show, just results in filling the car up (the recycling station/dump, mostly). I have always thought putting one's summer (or winter clothes away for the winter (or summer) was kind of lame in a too-rich-for-your-own-good way but it does get things off of the chairs (bed, floor, vacuum cleaner) in the bedroom.

And I have purple finches. Outside.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Not dead yet

The weather is still beautiful, if increasingly cold. I am unemployed. My kitchen isn't done and Paul is not answering his cell phone. I think I shall soon start parking outside his house and honking at 3 a.m.

I will be really glad when the election is over. And I don't even have a TV, my parents in Massachusetts are getting really tired of the Shaheen/Sununu (US Senate contest for New Hampshire) and I gather it's worse in-state.

My cats are well, although if you know anyone who wants a really nice, well-behaved cat who needs to be in a one-cat family, please let me know. Willow keeps attacking Marten and, wanting a quiet life myself, I am on his side. But Willow is very sweet to people.

I could be a lot more cheerful, even though I am in no danger of foreclosure or starving; even though I am not living as badly depressed a town as Springfield, Vermont, where I just went with Lisa-from-CA to visit her grandmother. It's a really pleasant mill town, specializing in precision gears. None of which are made in Springfield anymore. It seems wrong that that large a town could be so unable to provide an economy for itself, but it's a cash economy. Too cold to grow cotton, and though I have misgivings about industrialization, I don't really want to have to go back to making all my own clothes from the sheep and the hemp plant up. Gears are good to have, in many capacities; it's hard to produce them for a purely local market. It makes me want to go back to school and learn enough economics to figure out how many people it would take to have a fairly decent, independent civilization, one that includes advanced dentistry, progressive trifocals, computers, alpacas, and not too much pollution. And then I would want to break up into a bunch of those, with lots of communications with other states, and a high standard of human rights. In fact, I have read The Mars Trilogy too many times.

It is a mistake to expect a new administration will make everything all right, or even in the short term anything all right, but it sure looks like a chance for a change of boats in the middle of the Styx, at least. Between finances, what-should-I-do-when-I-grow-up-or-even-next-week? and a host of acute and chronic emotional embuggerage, a change seems like a good idea.