Monday, October 31, 2011

It's So Nice To Have a Man Around the House

When I was growing up we 'hired it done' once we got past changing the light bulbs.  Imagine my surprise when Mark entered my life and I realized that people could fix things themselves.  I should have known.  My grandparents certainly had that type of household, but that's another story.
Mark's moto is that 'no job is too hard if you have the right tool.'  Of course it took me a while to realize that was a justification to keep buying tools but that's another story as well.

This story is about a project that Mark made, start to finish for our cabin.  When we had to take down a dead tree, he remarked on the size of it and one of the fellows said he could take it to someone who would saw it into boards.  They did that two years ago and then Mark and Em stacked the boards so they could age.  Early this year, Mark picked out a board, took it to another fellow he met and had it trimmed to the size he wanted for a small shelf.
He and Drew selected birch twigs and, after Mark figured out how to cut them, the they stained them.
During our September trip up, Mark finished staining the shelf and secured it (with my help!) to the kitchen wall.

I am always amazed when these projects work.  It's not that I don't have faith in Mark because I do.  It's just that I didn't grow up with anyone who planned or measured or took the time to do things thoughtfully.
I have had to learn, from painful experience with my knitting for example, that a little forethought is a very important thing.
Anyway, Mark has ideas for lots of projects which is a good thing.  It bodes well for retirement.  Always nice for a husband to stay busy.  It's worth the price of a few tools.

Thursday, October 27, 2011


We drove to the lake yesterday under ever-changing skies.  We arrived after dark and found the gate to our lane, not unexpectedly, padlocked. While this discourages intruders during these quiet months, it also lends to the feeling of entering the set of a horror movie.  Opening a creaking gate and driving down a dark lane was a little eerie.

This morning all seemed well and instead of feeling lonely, the lake seemed peaceful.  Some sun helped and a yard filled with birds felt like enough company.

Mark and I took the dogs for a walk and found all sorts of marvels.  When we were here a month ago, the trees were bursting with color.  Now, most are bare of leaves.  What that reveals are the quiet treasures.  Mark spotted a paper wasp nest suspended by a slender branch.  A white tailed deer later streaked by me as I drove to town for a few groceries.  I almost missed her because she blended into the woods so completely.

You have to look harder now to find each bit of beauty but it is there.  The few remaining bits of red and yellow seem almost out of place among these subdued landscapes.  I understand why the kids love the bright oranges of Halloween but the soft tones of the world right now remind me to slow down and pay attention.  I'm trying.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

One Wacky Bird

We hang bird feeders here in Omaha and at the lake.  Most days it is soothing to watch the finches, wrens and cardinal dart and swoop in between visits for seeds. But for the past three days, I have been visited by a Red-bellied woodpecker who seems intent on bashing his brains out against my window.
It's not unusual for a bird to bump the window once in a great while.  That is an unfortunate side effect of having a feeder close enough to really watch the birds.  But this guy is on a suicide mission.

The first few times I thought it was slightly amusing, in that odd sort of way.  Then I started to feel bad.  Yesterday, I finally took down the feeder, hoping he would go somewhere else.  He hung out in the tree right behind the house and kept flying along the window on the same endless loop. I have a window covered with bird poop to prove it.

It reminded me of how my mind loops back and back over something that is bothering me. I can't quite leave it alone, even when I know it is not doing me any good.  I become the Red-bellied woodpecker.  There is a look my husband and kids give me that says 'let it go' when I have been talking about whatever subject is worrying me, but more often than not, the loop just keeps playing in my head.

I thought he was gone so I re-hung the feeder this morning and he turned back up.  At least he is eating. And he seems to be hitting the window a few less times.  Either he is wearing out or he is slowly learning to find another way to cope.   Maybe if I watch him for a few more days, I will learn something.