Monday, July 21, 2014

Because ...

Because work got interesting late on Friday, and I've done nothing of note all weekend (except move furniture, work on organizing the sewing room, spray paint some shoes, start turning old wine into vinegar ... you know ... the usual weekend), and because MSgt B posted this, and just because EVERYBODY needs to be humming "fleas on rats" to themselves, not just me, I present today's history lesson:

Sunday, July 20, 2014

So much for sleeping in

Yesterday morning, I was still in bed while preparing myself to get up and go into the office for a few hours (“The deadline is when?). I hadn’t slept well for a few nights as the new ice maker sounds like the Tin Man vomiting shrapnel into a galvanized bucket whenever it dumps a load of ice. I’m still finding this … startling.
Anyhow, I was running through my mental list of Stuff to Do, when I felt a like I’d been jabbed with a Glover's needle. Nope, a wasp got me. IN MY OWN BED. It got me on the arm, above the elbow - it could have been much worse. And while a highly effective way to wake the hell up, I do not recommend it.

I probably didn’t need the coffee on top of the adrenaline, either. At least I was the only one in the office, so nobody could hear me singing.


Tuesday, July 15, 2014

New Fridge

I ventured into town this afternoon to see what I could turn up. Apparently, 32" is a very narrow space for refrigerators these days, so options were limited.

When Joey the sales guy heard what I had to spend, he gave me the card of a local guy who sells refurbished appliances with a 30 day warranty. We looked at what was on the floor anyway, to see if any fit my criteria; reasonable price, would fit in the space inhabited by the previous fridge, and could make ice. Low and behold, one appeared. After subtracting markdowns, sales, and discounts, then adding back tax and a three year bumper-to-bumper warranty, it came to $43 under sticker price. And that included delivery of the new fridge and hauling away of the old carcass. He said he'd give me a written estimate which would be good until the close of business.

At this point the heavens opened up and just let loose. I've sat through hurricanes with less wind and rain. I couldn't see 5 feet past the glass in the doors, much less where I'd parked my car. I figured this was the Almighty telling me to stay put, and just take the deal, already. So I did.

Half an hour after business was concluded, there was enough of a let-up that I could find my car. This will be interesting. I haven't had a new refrigerator since 1988.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Assumed Room Temperature

My refrigerator has been ailing, and apparently died while I was at work today.

Face Book friends came to the rescue and the first obvious thing to check were the coils. After getting the blasted thing moved out of the depression it had made in the floor, I realized that there were no coils on the back of this thing, they are underneath. And after being unplugged for a couple of hours, cranking the thermostat down didn't cause anything to kick back on. The conclusion was that the compressor was shot.

Years of loud music and then artillery means that I can't hear over things like room fans roaring quietly in the background. This means I failed to hear the compressor come on. Or, in this case, NOT come on. The turned milk should have been a clue. As should the ground beef that went off a little sooner than expected.

All the frozen stuff is downstairs in the chest freezer, and the rest is packed into coolers with ice. I found the perfect replacement fridge on Craigslist at a great price, but am not getting a response from the sellers. A coworker generously volunteered his services and those of his van and trailer. Tomorrow after work we'll drive into town and see what the Big Box Stores have in the scratch and dent section. Here's hoping I get lucky.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

The worst part ...

... about a massive sewing project with a deadline and then a weekend away, is that I come back to a house that looks like it threw up on itself. I'm starting to get things sorted and put away, but the sewing room is going to be a weekend project in and of itself anyway. For now, I'll settle for "grouping like things together in the same heap".

Sweet Daughter is looking forward to helping me organize the sewing room. She's good a sorting things into boxes, and if nothing else, she'll see how to tackle a project of this size. This may inspire her to work on her bedroom. I'll make a deal with her ... if she helps me with the sewing room, I'll help her with her bedroom.

Hopefully we'll uncover enough area in the sewing room to put out the cheapo sewing machine I got in trade for doing some sewing for a guy at work. There was a Commodore 64 at a yard sale that he wanted, but they wouldn't let him have it unless he took the sewing machine as well. It will be a good one for SD to learn on and if it gets hosed, no great loss.

Tonight, I'm staring at a few uncluttered surfaces (too few), and also at a glass of wine that has to be the worst stuff I've ever had. Research has begun on making vinegar at home. We'll see how that goes.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Independence Day in Colonial Williamsburg

Sweet Daughter and I watched hurricane Arthur with interest, and it looked like the timing was perfect. It would pass up the coast and clear out of southern Virginia by noon on Friday. And as anyone who has dealt with hurricanes knows ... the weather after one is gorgeous. SD and I had planned on CW for Independence Day as she doesn't remember seeing "real" fireworks up close an personal. I think this was just an excuse on her part for another trip ...

Friday morning dawned and the weather reports said it would be raining until noon, so we put on "regular" clothes and drove down, only to find sunny skies and an nice breeze so we changed (per SD's request) into our 18th century clothes.

Rule 1. If you are going to dress like you work there, you'd better be prepared to be polite to everyone, even the tourists who think it's okay to touch you without asking. I always pointed out that I wasn't an employee, making clothes was a hobby, and if I couldn't help, I pointed out someone who could.

Note to the guy in the Continental uniform who replied, when asked where the fireworks would be by saying "up" with a disgusted look on his face, you are the OCT of the living history world. Don't ruin it for the rest of us.

Anyhow, the one thing I wanted to see was the reading of the Declaration of Independence. So, apparently, did everyone else.


 It was very heartening to see people cheering and applauding and reciting parts from memory. There may be hope for us yet.

After a day of wandering about, people watching, and enjoying the weather, we went and checked into our hotel, changed into regular clothes, grabbed some dinner to eat as a picnic, and went back with our folding chairs and books. I think we got the last two spots on Palace Green a good 3 1/2 hours before the fireworks started.

The Virginia Symphony Orchestra played, and they had speakers set up so we great unwashed at the back who chose not to pay $45 for a reserved seat could hear. They started with The Star Spangled Banner and I was pleased to see people leap to their feet during the drum-roll at the beginning, and not a single male head remained covered. Then it was on to Gershwin, Copland ... and a tribute to the armed forces ending with The Stars and Stripes Forever. Yes, the piccolo still makes me burst into tears, which was exacerbated by the fact that they started the fireworks during the last bit.

The fireworks were amazing. Forty minutes of non-stop light and noise. I don't think SD will forget these any time soon. She's already plotting a return trip next year. And the traffic getting to the hotel afterwards wasn't bad at all. She may be able to convince me.

On Saturday we returned, again in 18th century clothes. This was the day SD wore her new muslin gown.

Playing a "Game of Graces".

We went to Shield's Tavern for lunch and had a wonderful meal. Who knew a curry-chutney coleslaw would pair that well with Carolina-style BBQ? Especially with hard cider ...

We visited our favorite shops and found out that cotton chintz at Mary Dickinson's was on sale. It wasn't really in the budget, but the reproduction fabrics go on sale so seldom, it seemed like a good  idea to economize for the rest of the month so we could pick some up. I narrowed it down to two choices, and told SD to pick. She picked my second choice. I asked the shopkeeper which she liked best and she agreed with me on my first choice, but SD was politely adamant. So, a swatch of each was obtained and one was draped over each shoulder. It took less that two seconds to realize SD was correct. She was very polite about not rubbing it in. Much.

"I won't say 'I told you so', but I can think it, okay?"

Gown from the back, showing 10 feet of sash.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Quick pics ...

More to come on the trip to Williamsburg this weekend, but here are pictures of the finished gown. I still have to make a turban, but the straw hat made more sense for the hot sunny weather.

The inspiration
Photographs courtesy of the marvelous Fred Blystone.

See the gown above Sweet Daughter's head with the purple sash? Looks like we're on the right track.

Special thanks to everyone at the Margaret Hunter Shop who are always so generous with their time and knowledge when we go in with questions.