After the very busy past four days working on the Volunteers form on the Austin Pond Society’s website, I finally had a day where I could catch up on some of the things that I have kinda let go.
It was a weird list with some indoor things and some pond things. I thought I would start with the indoor items first, the first of which was to fold the laundry. I like to keep some modicum of not acting too much like a slob. I could just leave the laundry in a pile and kinda work my way through it on a daily basis but I figured that if and when I reach that point, then I have sank to the lowest of the low. Actually, I don’t mind folding clothes as nothing I wear, which is usually T-shirt and shorts three hundred and sixty five days of the year, needs to be ironed and a few creases add character. The days of looking impeccably groomed are long gone, the minute I retired.
The next item on my list was to fix the dishwasher. Because I am a happy batchelor, I tend to reuse the same dishes over and over just washing them in the sink as I dirty them. When I think I have used them enough or the dogs have licked them clean, I pile them into the dishwasher. As you can guess, this process takes a long time as much as two months between loads. A long, long time ago, my wife of the moment finally gave up on me as a lost cause and not long after, I became a bachelor for the third time. I left the dishwasher for the reasons listed above and did not start it as at that time, I did not know that lack of use causes the motor to freeze up. Well, the motor did freeze up and I had to get a mechanic out to fix it. I watched him at work and all he did was take of the plate at the end of the motor and use a wrench to spin the driveshaft and lo and behold, it worked again. He then charged me $75. He told me that because I don’t use it very often, I need to just push the start button and turn the motor over on a fairly frequent basis, like at least once a week. Somehow, I managed to not do that this time around either because I was so busy with other things but more likely because my old brain just plain forgot. So, I had to go through the same repair method that the mechanic used. No big deal except it meant laying on the floor and using a flashlight to see what the heck I was doing. Of course, the minute I lay down on the floor, I needed another tool that I hadn’t brought in and had to repeat the process of getting down on my knees and eventually rolling over onto my back, over again. I finally got it fixed and ran a load of dishes just to make sure it was working properly. I had to take clean dishes out of the cupboard to do this as there were only a couple on the draining board. I charged myself $75 dollars but I don’t think I will ever get paid.
Things were going really good and I was right in the swing of things so I stripped the bed and remade it using fresh sheets. My little dog, Ginny was most upset that I was doing this as she spends a lot of her days sleeping on this bed. That is in between being outside and barking at anything that moves. I started a load of laundry which included both clothes and sheets and moved on to the next project.
This was a real stinker in the cat’s room, so to speak as it entailed picking up the newspapers that I put on the floor. One of the cats who I call Brown Cat for want of a better name which is the color of his coat, has either grown so lazy or is now getting so old, that he no longer uses the litter boxes of which there are four all stacked neatly side by side. In the cat’s defence, he is a diabetic cat and has to have insulin shots twice a day with me sticking a short needle in the back of his neck besides getting a needle stuck in his ear to draw blood to take a reading. Maybe peeing on the floor/paper is his way of getting back at me. Who knows what goes on in his little cat brain. I had to start putting newspaper down because of the peeing as it would seep under the litter boxes making it both really smelly and nasty and really difficult to clean up. The other cat, Ellie, is still pretty fastidious and uses the litter boxes and like all good cats carefully scratches and covers up her business. The problem is that as she crosses the paper to do her own thing, she smells the Brown Cat’s urine and then proceeds to do her “covering up” routine scratching my carefully laid out paper until it is just a jumbled mess. Apart from those small hiccups, we have a good system now and it doesn’t take very long to clean it and the room smells pretty good most of the time as I also have one of those gadgets that give a squirt of nice smelling spray every hour or so….
This actually led into the next project as a part of cleaning the cat’s room entailed washing the floors before placing newspaper down. I put a big fan on after the floor is washed so it is dry enough to take the newspaper.
When we bought the house thirty years ago, it came with carpet throughout the house except in the bathrooms and kitchen. After my ex moved out and left me to my own devices, I decided that I should rip up the old carpet room by room and install 12 x 12 ceramic tiles. It was a big project, 1700 square feet altogether, and took a while. Probably at least three months with me working on it every spare moment that I had. It was no big deal for me to do the work as in my working life, I had gained considerable knowledge of many facets of house construction. I always figured that in most cases, if someone else could do it, then I could and I would watch them and store all of that knowledge away. I had my own construction business when I lived in New York State and put to very good use, a lot of what I had learned.
Back to the floor tiles. They have been installed for probably around twenty years and cover the entire house except for the spare bedroom which has hardly been used in all of the thirty years that I have owned the house. It is my number one junk room now and I try not to look in there more than I need to for fear of what might have moved in and has made a home in there.
The tiles are a light gray color and look very nice but are really hard to keep clean. When I had a wife, she did OK at cleaning but it was not her strong point either.I tried to do my share of the chores but cleaning and dusting was not on my list. After she left, for a couple of years I routinely cleaned the house on a weekly basis including dusting. Gradually that got to be once a month and then once every three months and now it is on an as needed basis, which incidentally seems to be all of the time. It didn’t help that at one time, I had five dogs and four cats indoors and all of those tiny feet together can do an amazing job of dirtying up the floor tile.
Now, I am down to two cats and two very small dogs and the floors get dirtier now than they ever did before. Places that logically should not get dirty do, like under the tables or the sofas. As for dusting, I draw the line at washing the floors. Dust, what dust? I have this amazing ability to not notice anything that might even come close to need dusting.
Not to say my house is a pigsty but it certainly does have a very old male batchelor look to it. Things that I set down, sometimes don’t get moved for months on end and when they do, it is usually into the recycling. It must be an old age thing as my Mother’s house tended to be the same way as are many of the older folks houses that I visit from time to time. I think what it is that us older folks realize that we don’t have a lot of time left in this world and we are not going to waste too much of it on cleaning and dusting. And, old people tend to hoard stuff.
Having finished up all of the inside work, it was time to go outdoors and play catch up. First though I had to repair my most favorite pair of shoes. I have difficult feet needing both a 6e in width and removable soles so I tend to hang on to the shoes that I have as they are pretty expensive. Anything out of the ordinary tends to cost extra money. Wonder why that it? The ones I was working on just needed the rubber tread on the soles to be reglued. Sounds simple enough but I ended up having to use clamps and pieces of wood in order to bring the parts together enough to hold. This morning, when I went back out to the shed, I had to literally saw one of the pieces of wood that I had to used to help with the clamping, off the rubber sole where the surplus glue had managed to seep out. At least I know that the glue holds.
After finishing with the shoes, it was time to get into the ponds as the strong winds from the night before had moved a couple of the taller plants off their pedestals (concrete blocks) and into the water. Stuff that is really heavy on dry land is a lot lighter when it is in water so it was easy enough to grab the plants and put them back where they belonged. I took the opportunity while I was in the pond to add a couple of extra plants that I had already prepared. I worked on the 6000 gallon pond first and then moved over to the newly renovated goldfish pond. I was surprised just how deep it was as I carefully climbed down the steps that I had put in place for entries and exits. The water was up to my waist so I can understand why the heron panicked as much as it did. I measured three and a half feet up to my waist which means that the Heron was really pushing its limits.
Satisfied with my rearranging of the plants, I climbed out and stripped out of my waders hanging them up to dry. That was the last of the outstanding chores and everything seemed to go smoothly. I didn’t trip or fall over in the ponds or otherwise do damage to myself so I consider that a definite success. It’s amazing the things that we do if the need arises. Having the knowledge goes a long way but more than anything, I am grateful that my physical condition is strong enough to still do these sort of things.
Let’s see, what needs doing tomorrow…