Blackout Wednesday

It has been pretty darned chilly this week, and I think we’ve got snow that’s going to stay on the ground. Yesterday’s  stuck on the branches which is very pretty, but I always worry that if there are still leaves on the trees, that with the snow it may not be able to bear the weight. They say it’s going to be in the 20s tomorrow. I am toying with closing my bedroom window. I do enjoy smelling the fresh cold air while bundled snuggly into my featherbeds and furs. (Took the picture, can’t get it off the device! I wish I was better with electronics!)
Sadly, we have come to fear that the wood stove isn’t repairable, and I miss having a warm place to go to in the house. I also miss being able to burn any trash so we don’t have to take it to the recycling center, but get BTUs out of it! Today (Wednesday) we’ve been working on the dining room. Over the year we’ve allowed stuff to collect around the wood stove there, and we’d love to get it clear enough to fire up that one. Meanwhile, we will be watching Craigs List for a cook range small enough to fit in the space we have available in the kitchen AND one that we can afford!
This week has been a comedy of errors around Stormgard. Chaos reigns. Sometimes we imagine there must be hidden cameras and we are the unwitting stars of a reality TV show because this much stupid stuff can’t be happening accidentally!
I regret to report that despite traps and poison, we still have rats; we can hear them skittering. At least I hope they are rats! This weekend John went down cellar and discovered a raccoon living in the root cellar. I feel slightly consoled that I hadn’t laid in hundreds of pounds of potatoes, as I try to do each fall. But he caught the little bastard chewing on our Coke cans! Does that make sense? Not to me, but apparently the tiny teeth are able to pierce the aluminum. John brought up, and we had to chuck out, at least three dozen cans, most with the tabs still down, but empty. We imagine it must spurt, (nastily hoping this is disturbing to them) but I guess they can then lick up the dribbling sugar solution. I washed off what was left and moved them to the pantry. Grrrr.
Actually, we know there are still at least some rats, John saw one in the kitchen this week. He grabbed a hammer, and when I came in he was chasing it around whacking it. He did damage, as it was screaming and limping, but the damned cats were just sitting there watching the show, not joining in (doing color commentary?). Finally John couldn’t bring himself to hurt it any more, and handed off the weapon, but the rat crawled under the stove before I could reach it (still fast, despite the limp). I hope it died, although not in agony. I don’t want them to suffer, just to live somewhere else. (Or die.) At least John didn’t manage a blow that splattered blood- we have found that he faints at the sight of much more than a suggestion of blood, and trying to pick him up would have pushed it past comedy into farce!
Another bit of absurdity was discovering shreds of toilet paper in the dryer. Clearly somehow a roll of toilet paper got into that white load, and went through both wash and dry cycles undetected… until we opened the dryer and there were sheds of tissue thoroughly mixed throughout the load. Sigh. I do not like the current writers of the show.
I’m also having a lot of trouble writing this week. The keyboard has gotten very sticky, so when I capitalize a word, often the second and third letters also capitalize, spaces don’t go in, and I spend what seems like half my time going back to correct words that have been completely changed by autocorrect. I am developing a real passionate hate-affair with autocorrect. I may give up on this and just send whatever I’ve got along. I should get up and put the turkey in at 8, so I shouldn’t stay up too long.
As you can tell, I didn’t get the letter done Wednesday, nor on Thanksgiving, or even on Friday (I sort of spaced it once it’s not the “right” day, and besides, annoying keyboard. I have decided to wait until next Wednesday’s letter to include what we did on Thanksgiving, and the usual “what I’ve watched and read” so I can send this off before then. I gave up when I had to go to the TDS website to pay the bill, had to change my password AGAIN, and discovered that the mail program won’t accept either the new NOR the old password, so I couldn’t send it out even had I finished it. If you’re getting it now, it’s fixed.
Wednesday night (Thanksgiving Eve) was Mark’s 70th birthday, so we had him over for beef and I made a Coke Cake. It didn’t come out as well as I’d hoped.  I’ve also noticed that the thermostat on the oven is probably off. I’m thinking that the insulation in the wall behind the stove may have settled (or been eaten by rodents), and the cold from outside may be effectively lowering the oven temperature. I should think that the thermostat would detect and compensate for that, but things I’ve baked lately seem to require more time than the recipes call for. Last weekend I made a coffee cake and threw in some apple pieces. (I’d made an apple pie, but used the pie pan that didn’t have handles sticking out, so that the cake bell would fit over it better. That pan is clearly smaller, because I peeled and sliced the usual 10 apples, but they didn’t fit even when I stacked carefully. Thus: I was “forced” to make a cake as well.) It’s possible it took longer to cook because of the added raw fruit, but I am afraid that the thermostat needs replacing. (I think we did that a few years ago.)
We went to the dump Saturday, then over to Big Lots, where we got a fryer to replace our old one that died, and ordered a featherbed. When you have heating from the 19th century, you need 19th century tech to keep you warm! Yesterday I drove Mark down to his doctor’s checkup, boy, they really like to do lots of tests as you get older! Willow saw her therapist and got the frustrating information that “she’s doing everything right- why isn’t it working”? Feh.
This week I heard that Aravis Del Clare died. She was in the old guard (the lady with the blue and red skirt) back when I joined the SCA in the 70s, and when we got on the thrones in the 80s were happy to bring her into the Order of the Pelican for the long time, steady, unglamorous service she’d put in since the beginning. Often Pelicans were give for single dramatic efforts that only lasted a year or so. As far as I know, she continued to work steadily in the background, because that’s the way she was. (Wow, looking at this picture, taken at a Carolingian anniversary gives you a good idea how young we were, and how much garb has improved!) I was not considered old guard enough to be in this picture!
El’s in front, then there’s Alfgar, Morgiane, Lisa and Ælfwine (sitting on the stage), Patri, and Travis, then James. Above I think is Tabitha and George, and a couple of folks I don’t recognize, and Andros. Since I don’t keep in touch I am only certain four of them are dead, but what do you expect when you’ve been in a group for 40 years, and didn’t start as a baby?
Kat’s been working on her latest commission, a dress designed by the customer, and I always worry that they won’t be happy with the results when they give her bad instructions. She works so hard. John continues to be my strong right arm and back. I have not done any of the shoveling this year. Willow still gets herself out to be governess for Avi’s kids on most weekdays (although she was sick this week- I fear as I try to use up the older meat in the freezer, I may have poisoned her, although John and I didn’t get sick. Kat couldn’t bring herself to eat any, and she’s our “canary in the coal mine”. It may have been just too much for Willow at her level of exhaustion. Oh, alarming news: apparently the ticks are now active all year long. There is no respite from the fear of Lyme.
I will mention that I got the latest Haunting Danielle, which I’d pre-ordered and discovered in my kindle when I opened it, then read it through. It’s #19 in the series, and I love them. Quick, light reading, but complex plots and appealing characters. This one was The Ghost of Christmas Secrets.
I may catch up more next week, or blow it off. A week that was so boring that I would have time to talk about books would be quite welcome.
Hope you had a great thanksgiving!
“Coincidence is God’s way of remaining anonymous” Albert Einstein
Holidays coming up

Th 22 Thanksgiving Day, National Day of Mourning, Start Your Own Country Day

Fr 23  Espresso Day,Cashew Day, Wolfenoot, Buy Nothing Day, You’re Welcomegiving Day, Day of Listening, Native American Heritage Day , Random Acts of Kindness Friday, National Leftovers Day,Doctor Who Day 

St 24 National Sardines Day, Aura Awareness Day, Small Business Saturday, Evolution Day, Celebrate Your Unique Talent Day

Sn 25 National Parfait DayCrystal Skull World Day, Hat Day, Blase´DayElimination of Violence against Women

Mn 26 National Cake Day, Cider Monday, Cyber MondayCraft Jerky Day, Pie in the Face Day,Turkey Leftover Day

Tu 27  Bavarian Cream Pie DayDay of Giving – #GivingTuesdayPins and Needles Day

Wd 28 French Toast DayIt’s Letter Writing Day, Package Protection Day, Make Your Own Head Day,Red Planet Day