As mentioned in an earlier post I bought a refurbished desktop computer for my study. Today I upgraded the memory and can multi-task a lot easier than before. It is still an i5, but now it has 32GB of Random Access Memory instead of 4GB which means I can have more than one application open and the computer does not slow down. It might be overkill, but whatever. It does mean that I actually spent twice as much on the computer than I’d planned (it was only $150 from Woot but the memory cost about the same). Still, not bad for a new-to-me computer.
Peepers and more
Dean texted me a week ago or so to tell me he heard spring peepers on a bike ride with Andrew. I was surprised, thinking they only sang at dusk. Today he wanted to show me where they were to hear for myself. Sure enough, once we got close to the ephemeral pools in an area of Rock Creek Park I could hear them sing.
Possibly even more exciting were the many spring wildflowers. It reminded me of a fieldtrip to Trout Park with my college botany teacher (including Dean’s sister Debbie who was also in that class). I could just see Mr. Steinbock trembling with excitement as he pointed out trout lilies, trillium, May apples and skunk cabbage.
Back in January 2020 I bought the Kindle edition of The Bookish Life of Nina Hill for $1.99. I was probably reading something else at the time, but thought the cover and description sounded fun and two dollars was not much to spend, even if I didn’t like it. It wasn’t until today that I started reading it. I’m kind of glad I waited because I really had no other delights to share today.
The author, Abbi Waxman, is clever and funny. Here’s the opening paragraph of the book:
Imagine you’re a bird. You can be any kind of bird, but those of you who’ve chosen ostrich or chicken are going to struggle to keep up. Now, imagine you’re coasting through the skies above Los Angeles, coughing occasionally in the smog. Shiny ribbons of traffic spangle below you, and in the distance you see an impossibly verdant patch, like a green darn in a gray sock.
Waxman, Abbi. The Bookish Life of Nina Hill (p. 3). Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
Practically every page is sprinkled with this kind of humorous writing. I highly recommend you put this on your to-read list. I think you’ll like it. I’ve already put all of her other books on hold at the library.
This evening while we were preparing dinner (leftovers from yesterday) I glanced out the window and saw four very large birds fly in a diamond shape over our house. My birdbrain kicked in and I shouted, “Great Blue Heron!” although I was not 100% sure that is what they were. A few moments later my suspicion was confirmed when three of the four flew back and I could see them better.
It reminded me of the day, long ago, when I stood in our upstairs bedroom and a Great Blue Heron flew past the window at eye-level. I could not believe my luck.
I am quite the procrastinator when it comes to calling anyone on the phone. This includes calling for services such as repair. If there is an option to chat or email, I will take that any day. This week I made the commitment to contact people about various repairs. Yesterday’s connection with the Bosch people gave me the courage to contact other companies about repairs
In the last few weeks we’ve noticed an ever-widening gap between a few of our tiles in our kitchen. I noticed a small gap months ago, but Dean didn’t think it was a problem. Now it is a problem since the gap is a quarter-inch wide. We first considered fixing it ourselves; it only required us to remove the wooden transition trim between the dining room and kitchen and push the tiles inward towards the gap. This didn’t work because the smallest of the tiles are attached to the floor with some sort of adhesive. (The tiles have a tongue and groove and are not supposed to be stuck to the floor, but in this case it was necessary because they were tiny parts of the tiles.)
Anyway I contacted the first company (family-owned since 1923) on the list of recommended dealers for this particular product and the man who answered the phone was very nice and promised stop by the next day, a Thursday. He didn’t show up (or call). I called again on Wednesday because he’d mentioned he was tied up through Monday and he promised to stop by on Thursday. He didn’t show up (or call). I called him on Monday and left a message saying that if he was not planning on helping us out, just call and tell us and we’d move on. He never called back.
I looked at the list of dealers again and found another company that seemed promising (“family and friends” was part of the name). This time I emailed with the exact issue, a photo, and a plea to let us know if they were not able to help us since I’d already been ghosted by another company. These folks immediately returned my email, empathizing with me about the no-show/no-call company and saying they’d discuss it and get back to me with a time they could come fix it. Needless to say I was relived and delighted with that response.
As you may recall, we bought a teak outdoor dining set in the middle of winter. Dean put the set together in the dark on a freezing night just before a snowfall. In hindsight I think waiting until daytime and warmer weather might have been more practical. Anyway, I’ve been applying a teak protector on the furniture to keep it a honey-brown and noticed that some of the chairs were not put together well — in fact some of the chairs were missing dowels. I mentioned this to Dean, hoping he’d kept some of the hardware, but he hadn’t and instructed me to go to the hardware store to buy some.
I decided to try the company from whom we’d purchased the furniture (chatting this time) and within a few minutes was told that they’d send dowels to us at no charge. I guess we did spend a pretty penny on the furniture and it is under lifetime warranty, so I should not be surprised. But I was delighted nonetheless.
The temperature this afternoon made it into the upper 70s. Glorious! Delightful! This Carolina wren agreed with me.
I still have it
I’ve not thought about, much less worked on anything related to accessibility since the day I retired. I unsubscribed from my favorite accessibility email list and uninstalled all accessibility software from my computer. I found that thinking about it created anxiety and I didn’t want any more anxiety thank-you-very-much.
Then last week Clare asked me to help out with a PDF for her second job. Since I was converting a word file to PDF file I figured I would make it accessible too. That felt good.
This week she asked me to check the website for her second job and see what needed to be done to make it accessible (its a non-profit organization, but still should be accessible). So today I spent a few hours looking at it with my long-neglected accessibility perspective and sent the results to Clare.
It felt good to know that I still knew what I was doing. I’d gotten caught up on the fact that I was not the best in my field at work and the competition there was uncomfortable, thus my decision to retire early. But with something like this, I am the most knowledgeable person at the table (between Clare and myself and maybe the people who she works with) and I feel my confidence coming back. Which is a delightful feeling.
I feel as if I am not looking hard enough for daily delights. Days and weeks are just the same old, same old.
Let’s see —
I bought a new-to-me (refurbished) desktop for the attic study mostly because my laptop (which is still great) is very low on storage space. I could have moved things off the laptop to external drives, but this deal came up ($150 for a decent refurbished Lenovo ThinkCentre) and I pressed “buy” without out much thought. It arrived and works very well. So what if I cannot use video backgrounds with Zoom.
Dean’s been wanting to get away so I researched and booked an Airbnb in Savanah. The weather should be nice and maybe I will see Painted Buntings!
Dean and I had Last Word cocktails on Friday (yum but strong!) and less potent champagne (cava actually) cocktails on Saturday.
The Secret History
I started reading The Secret History, Donna Tartt’s first novel since my last post. It was a book group read early on in the history of the book group (pre-1999) and probably before I joined in 1995 (the book group was founded a few years before I joined). Anyway, I wasn’t sure I liked it when I started reading it. The first couple of chapters were a slog, but I am having a hard time putting it down now. I might have given up in the middle of chapter two, but Clare said she loved the book. I assumed she would with the ancient Greek and all. Interestingly it takes place at a fictional college in Vermont that is based on Tartt’s alma mater, Bennington — a school I really wanted Clare to visit on her college tour because it is where Shirley Jackson wrote most of her works.
I threw away a 17 year-old can of Bird’s custard yesterday. I kept the 9 year-old one though.
In the more grateful than delightful category:
Electricity, water, heat
As I hear about the power outages in Texas, I should be grateful (if not delighted) I live where a winter storm might cause power outages, but we’d still have water and the power company is prepared for winter weather.
Life and health
As the numbers of people dead from Covid-19 in the United States near half a million, I should be grateful that I am healthy and wealthy enough to be able to stay away from people who might be exposed. I am able to have groceries delivered instead of going to the store. I don’t have to go to a job where I might be exposed.
Today as I closed the side door in the kitchen after dumping the compost in the outside compost bin, I saw a large bird fly towards a tree across the street. I suspected it was a Pileated Woodpecker as it approached the tree and when it landed on the trunk, about 30 feet above the ground my suspicions were confirmed. That was the first Pileated Woodpecker I’ve seen from my house in more than 25 years. There used to be a nesting pair kitty-corner from us, but their home was cut down long ago.
The second bird that delighted me was actually two birds. Two very frisky Tufted Titmouses (Titmice?) were performing a courtship ritual.