Recently in Home and Garden Category

blessed easter to one and all

| | Comments (2)

As usual, a busy Holy week and Triduum. Three babies decided that last Monday was their birthday,and another one made his appearance after the Maundy Thursday liturgy. Thankfully, I was able to finish out the service and then head over to meet his mom who was then in very active labor!
It is so strange not to have colored Easter Eggs or been hunting for baskets....with all the children elsewhere this year it has been just the two of us. Peaceful but different.
I am getting ready to start cooking dinner. Rack of lamb, fingerling potatoes, haricots vert.... and a nice rose wine to go along. The Good Friday snow is melting, too. Hope my rhubarb survived the winter and will start sprouting soon.

out of surgery

| | Comments (9)

and apparently doing well, according to the phone update I just got. Emma will be going back to the special care (step-down) unit, not back to intensive care. At least that is the plan for right now. Next big step will be oral feedings......

Dirt and related joys

| | Comments (3)

One of the joys of moving into a new home is to discover what the prior inhabitants thought would be appropriate landscaping. We have discovered that our back yard has dozens of old rose bushes that bloom in profusion from June through at least October. There are several peach trees in the back, and they have lots of fruits growing. There is also a berry bramble and I am looking forward to discovering just what kinds of fruits will ripen later this summer.

John has been wonderful about helping to get some planting done, as well. We now have several fruit trees in our front yard. I found some potted rhubarb plants at the Farmer's Market and they are planted in the back yard, in a plot just by the back door. John heroically uprooted several shrubs so that I could plant vegetables there, and next to the rhubarb we have planted some tomatoes, eggplant, and brussels sprouts. In the front, we will be growing watermelon and cantaloupes amidst the roses. I also have nasturtiums everywhere and herbs in the outside planter boxes.

We just received our second delivery from out new CSA ,Potluck Produce. It is very small and personal, and the owner delivers direct to our doorstep! This week we have pea tendrils, garlic scapes, radishes, lettuces and spinach greens. Last week was freshly ground wheat flour, spinach, lettuces, and radishes. I am not a radish lover. However, I pickled one of the bunches and that is a very tasty solution.

I still have a few plants in their pots and need to figure out where to put them!

so - how are YOUR gardens growing?

ecological breastfeeding

| | Comments (1)

bye bye stuff

| | Comments (1)


St. Joseph and my last day at work

| | Comments (4)

It has been a long and exhausting week. I've been trying to take care of the everyday business of life while at the same time working to get and keep the house in showable condition and preparing to move a thousand miles. Monday I took the cats to the vet and got them treated for ear mites, made sure that their shots were up to date, and got them micro-chipped. We are continuing to pack up our household goods and some personal possessions. The weather has shifted, and I am starting to regret that I packed all my turtleneck sweaters.

Tuesday at lunch my office had a big good-bye party, for me, for our dietician (who is moving home to the Carolinas but going on a medical mission trip to Africa first) and for one of the family practice docs who is leaving as well. From the time I came to that clinic 6 years ago to now, there are only 3 people who have remained. Me, the other midwife, and the site director. Now there are only two. Tradition is that they take up a collection for a group goodbye gift and circulate a card - I was given a gas card, something that will come in very handy on the move! I figured that the goodbyes were pretty much done, and I focused on these last few days as a chance to get my charts all caught up and to see as many of my patients as possible.
I was very surprised when I came in this morning for the weekly High Risk clinical meeting. This is an hour when the prenatal team discusses our patients who have risk factors and who need extra care. Their care is provided by the OB docs and residents, but we midwives also carry the weight of making sure that these patients do not have their other needs ignored - needs like education, emotional support, etc. Usually the meeting is pretty focused. This morning, though, there were baskets of fruit, muffins, and juice and lots of well wishes sent in my direction. The directors of the OB residency program gave me a very nice card and a gift card for an online bookstore.
The day continued in this vein. Everytime I turned around, some one was handing me a gift bag or a card. It was frankly overwhelming. But there was one gift that really got my attention.

I've been, frankly, bitching about how the house hasn't sold yet. The site director told me that she would have her mother light a candle for me, and then she handed me a gift bag. In the bag was a green cardboard box titled "The Authentic St. Joseph Home Sale Practice". You can imagine my inner thoughts. I said thank you, and went about trying to see patients, clean off my electronic desktop, answer questions, clean off my physical desktop and pack up my office.

When I got home (way too late, but what can I say), I was showing John the kit. The front of the box says "Includes an introduction, the way of St Joseph, a petition to St Joseph". So I opened it up and found some quite theologically sound commentary. For example:
"Mission: to displace the current quick-fix 'magic of burying a statue' with the age old 'miracle' of asking and believing". The kit also included a small but nice statue of St Joseph, a prayer to St Joseph that states that it was found around AD 50, a petition to St Joseph, and a request to consider supporting the Pious Union of St Joseph in their attempt to build a shrine to St Joseph as the patron of the dead and dying. I was a little bit abashed and quite impressed.

So now, what do I do? I have my little shrine set up inside the house - do I take this statue and put it outside? Maybe near the rosebushes (I mean, traditionally roses are for Mary - do you think that Joseph would be OK there?) Do I bite the bullet (eat my words, more likely) and bury the statue with due humility? Ideas? Suggestions?

reading while I am otherwise occupied


Is housework Spiritual?

| | Comments (1)

4 gallons at a time

| | Comments (4)

That's how we're emptying the water from the basement. Actually, I shouldn't say 'we', as John has been doing most of the work. He bought a pump but it isn't working at all. So he's been vacuuming up the water into the shop vac, dumping it into the buckets, carting the bucket up the stairs and away from the house, and dumping the water out. I carried only a few buckets worth before my knees started to really complain.
I finally pulled him away from it at 2230 - we still have to get up in the morning and I have to leave for work between 0630 and 0645. So it's off to the showers and to sleep. We still have lots of standing water to clear out, but John is willing to wait till tomorrow to work on it.
Have I mentioned how much I love my husband? Not only is he a great dad to our kids, but he also takes good care of me. And he is also handy with all kinds of chores. There's a lot to be said in favor of marrying a hands-on engineer.

Happy Easter, all


When we left the house this morning, I noticed that the last of our bulbs had bloomed. Our front yard is cheery and that helps me.

Morning Mass today was wonderful, even the music was mostly well chosen. It was definitely well-played - there was a small string group with back up from piano or organ. Two cellos, a few violas, several violins - and all of these were played by teenagers who gave up big chunks of their free time to rehearse and prepare. Standing room only in the church. Incense, a sung Gloria, the dialogue chanted. I wish that more just plain Sunday Masses could have some of the beauty that is pulled out for Easter. But then I imagine that my family would appreciate it if I would pull out all the stops for just plain Sunday dinner more often, and not just on Easter! food for thought......
This year, instead of my traditional lamb, I cooked a turkey. We had in the freezer a free-range organic local turkey. I marinated it while it was thawing. I used a mixture of oil, white wine, garlic, salt, turmeric and various herbs. It came out very well, if I do say so myself. I pulled out my personal favorite relish - the sorbet style one with cranberries, onions, horseradish, and sour cream. Accompaniments were mashed white potatoes, brown sugar sweet potatoes, steamed carrot coins, asparagus, and broccoli. I made a loaf of challah bread, and John and I shared a small amount of Asti Spumante - mostly because I had it on hand! Later tonight we will have lemon icebox pie (a family recipe) and pumpkin pie (at the request of the girl-child, I made it using almond milk instead of cream - we will see how it turned out). Also ice cream and sundry other goodies.
Hope you all had blessed and yummy Easters.

me and kitchen appliances

| | Comments (1)

I don't know what it is lately. First the dishwasher saga. Then, a few weeks ago, the icemaker in the fridge popped a hose and flooded the freezer, with drips down the back into the main part of the fridge. Once again, it was just as we were getting ready for bed that we discovered the mess - had to remove everything from the freezer, throw away that which was not salvagable, and move what we could salvage to the deep freeze - then clean and clean and clean.
Last night, I put a cup of tea in the microwave. Having given up sweetening my tea for Lent I at least wanted it to be hot. 20 seconds into the cycle, I heard a snap/crackle and looking over saw arcing around the edge of the appliance. Hit the off button, unplugged it, retrieved my still cold tea. That lovely smell of burning insulation........ John is of the opinion that the transformer blew and now the microwave (which is of the same vintage as the dishwasher - and was also purchased at Best Buy) is nothing more than a boat anchor.
Lord - can't you let me pick my own mortifications? Living without a microwave wasn't anywhere near my list!

It's snowing again

| | Comments (1)

I am getting totally tired of this weather. Almost balmy for a couple of days, and then smash - more of the wet white stuff. I want a vacation. I want a break. I want to go home.
Just heard on the radio that there is a jacknifed truck north of Nashua, and 4 exits worth of backup on the interstate here in Concord. I was going to head out and run some errands before the weather got too very bad, but maybe I'll just wimp out. The weather looks bad enough as it is. But they didn't close the schools here and my youngest drove to her High School classes an hour ago. Hopefully it won't be too horrible when she needs to drive home this afternoon.
At least today I didn't have to fight my way the 46 miles south to Nashua today.

what a job!


Buying Gifts for Men

| | Comments (1)

Christmas Shopping Rules

close to the truth!

dishwasher update again

| | Comments (1)

The inspector guy came by, and agreed with me that the dishwasher is kaput. Within an hour we got a phone call from GE offering us a brand new dishwasher of comparable value, delivered and installed. If we want to upgrade (say, to a stainless steel interior instead of the flammable plastic) we will get credit towards the higher cost - not sure exactly how that will work. We need to call them and let them know what our choice will be.
So, I think the drama is almost over.
I didn't realize it when looking over the warranty, but the door is apparantly considered part of the tub - and the tub had a full lifetime warranty. So sending out the inspector guy was apparantly needed to verify just where the damage was and how it happened.
We also will be getting interviewed by an inspector from the Consumer Product Safety Commission sometime after the holiday weekend. But soon, I hope that this whole episode will be behind us.

We are still washing dishes by hand. When John got ahold of the proper person at GE, he was told that they would need to send out some one to inspect the dishwasher to see if it could be repaired. He offered to email them pictures and the fire department report but was told that they need to send a person out to the house. Now, I am pretty darn sure that the dishwasher is totalled - and even if they could fix it I WOULD NOT TRUST IT!!!! I'm traumatized. I wake up smelling smoke that isn't there (and having the hospital alarms go off twice during my last call night didn't help any). Well, I was OK with them having to go through the motions et al. So we waited for them to call us to set a date and time. And we waited.
John had told them to call him at his work phone #, and to leave a message if necessary. His work voice mail pages him anytime a message is left. He told them not to call the house because no one is there most days during business hours - and the voice mail isn't checked very often. Of course, they didn't follow the instructions. Finally, today, they got around to calling us.
Guess what. They want us to pay a $70 fee, up front, for the guy to come out and inspect the dishwasher that caught fire due to their design flaw. This whole episode has been a near occasion of sin for me. I am trying really hard to be understanding etc but right now I could spit nails. Pray for me, will you?

It was only by the sheer grace of God that I still have a kitchen or possibly even a house. The fire moved incredibly fast, and even though I have been trained in basic fire (Los Angeles hospitals require a 4 hour class for all staff)it still took me by surprise. I shudder at the thought of what would have happened if I hadn't been standing right there or if I had been alone in the house without John to help by shutting off the breaker etc.
I really don't want to have to hire an ambulance chaser to seek compensation, but I am getting perilously close. I'm not looking to make a fortune off this, I just want just compensation for the total destruction of an appliance that should have lasted at least 6 more years.

more on dishwasher fire

| | Comments (4)

The fire seems to have started in a bundle of wires within the door. They were at a flex point that would have been stressed every time the door is opened or closed. This strikes me as a basic design flaw. The dishwasher was only 4 years old. We bought it shortly after we moved into this house, and it was professionally installed.
Our particular model was not included in this Recall of Built-In Dishwashers. However, from the description of the problem, I think that what happened to us is what the recall was all about.

You know, I still shudder to think of how quickly we could have lost the kitchen, if not the entire house! And you know, the dishwasher is one of those with the 'delay start' cycle. That, to my mind, is an implied warranty of safety, that you shouldn't have to be standing there watching the machine wash your dishes.

We left a message for our home owner's insurance. I don't know if this is covered or not, but I think that they should be notified. I don't know if we will get a bill for the fire department turn-out. If so, I hope that insurance will cover it.

John talked to a person at GE yesterday. She gave him the phone number for the proper persons who should be notified of this, and they will be in on Monday.

We went to the appliance store yesterday. It is overwhelming what the choices are - and it is difficult to decide. The thing that is clear to me is that I don't want one with plastic based construction. The smoke from just a short fire had me wheezing pretty bad the next day. I also would like to avoid the main cause of dishwasher fires, which is the heating element for the dry cycle. Those two factors automatically bump the price up to the $700 and above range - and I hadn't been planning to buy anything in that price range anytime soon.

The other factor is a more philosophical one - if we are going to be in this house for another 5 years or more, it is probably worth it to spend a little more. But if we are likely to leave anytime soon, we would be leaving behind that investment, and probably would not recoup it in the sale price. Only if it were part of an overall kitchen remodel would it even be a sales point.

Meanwhile, I am doing the dishes by hand. We have put a cardboard 'floor' over the holes where the hoses and wires were, and the cats have been enjoying sniffing around the ex-dishwasher space. I suppose that I could just put a cabinet in there and go back to the hand washing all the time!

I think the adrenaline has worn off

| | Comments (8)

or, how not to spend a Friday Night at home.

John and I were sitting watching EWTN. At the end of The World Over, I went into the kitchen to get a cup of tea, preparatory to coming upstairs and settling down for the night. The dishwasher was humming away, washing the dinner dishes. I noticed an orange glow and smoke coming from the bottom of the dishwasher just as we both heard an electrical crackle from the same spot. John ran down to the basement to shut off the circuit breaker to the dishwasher, I called 911, he opened the dishwasher door and punched a hole in the melting plastic to get to the fire, he poured water on the fire while I talked to the dispatcher. By the time the fire department arrived, (maybe 4 minutes?)the fire was out, and John was busily disassembling the dishwasher to make sure that there were no smouldering areas.
The smoke alarm didn't go off until after we had the fire almost out.

Right now, I am incredibly grateful.

If we had already been upstairs when this happened, we wouldn't have been able to stop the fire as early as we did. The dishwasher is totalled, but it didn't have time to spread to the counter or even further in the house. We don't have any smoke damage, despite the heavily plastic nature of the fire. Not even any of the dishes were damaged.

We live 4 blocks from the local fire station. We have a fire hydrant in our front yard, so the firefighters know where we live. We are always careful to keep the fire hyrant shoveled out during the snowy season.

It was scary, but once again I realized that through years of practice, John and I can function almost seamlessly during a crisis.

I am once again grateful for the sheer competency of the man I married. He knew exactly where the breaker was and was able to turn it off within a few seconds. If I had been home alone, I would have probably had to turn off the entire house! He then had the presence of mind to use the nearby and available resources (broom handle to punch a hole in the melted plastic, jug of water to pour over the fire and thereby extinguish it). You may be thinking that you don't pour water on an electrical fire - but it wasn't an electrical fire, it was a plastic fire that had been started by an electrical short.

When the fire crew finished disassembling the door, it appeared that the fire had started in a bundle of wires that were pinched by the door opening and closing. Looks like a design flaw to me.

Anyhow, we got everything disconnected, and the shell of the defunct dishwasher hauled outside. I washed the dishes by hand, using the rack from the machine as a counter rack. Now, to try to calm down a little more and get some sleep.

Oh, and you have to imagine just how the cats reacted to all this excitement! I have quite a few claw marks from trying to herd them into a safe area while the firefighters ran the heavy duty fan to clear the air.

I've had quite enough excitement for the nonce. Now, I have to go shop for another dishwasher. I don't think we'll buy another GE, somehow.

adventures in plumbing

| | Comments (1)

Have I ever mentioned how much I love my husband? I had no idea when we got married that he would be useful as well as decorative in so many ways!
Friday night,after dinner, he noticed that the cupboard under the kitchen sink was close to being afloat. He looked it over and decided that the problem was most likely a leak in the hand help sprayer thingie. I hauled all the stuff out from under the sink and put it on a rug on the kitchen floor to dry. We told dear daughter not to touch the sprayer thingie and went to bed.
Saturday we got up and left for our already scheduled attendance at the diocesan Respect Life conference. (good stuff). We got home, and he immediately started looking at the plumbing to see what kind of sprayer thingie to get to replace the leaky one.
He was out the door on the way to the hardware store when I poured a little water directly down the drain and heard the sound of water hitting wood - looked down to see a cascade coming out of the drain pipe. Called him on the cell to say "Come back home, you will probably need to get some more parts". The drain pipe was totally rotted out.
To make a long story a little shorter, after two trips to the hardware store, we now have several new bits of kitchen plumbing completely installed and working well.
He also tore out the rotted wood shelving from under the sink, and once the floorboards are dry enough, he will nail down a new bit of plywood on the cabinet floor. Have you ever had the fun of removing plywood layer by layer? It is amazing what total saturation with water does to otherwise well behaved wood......
Anyhow, as he was working on this bit of home maintenance, I was thinking about how much in time and money it would have been to get a plumber out on a Saturday - and how I probably would have had to replace not just the flooring of the cabinet but the whole cabinet (which would have meant taking out the sink and rewiring the garbage disposal).
God really blessed me when he sent this man into my life!
Now, I am not totally incompetent, and I have been known to replace pipes in my day. But I am so blessed in having a husband who is not only able but willing to tackle this kind of everyday chore.
And I want to say so in public~

NH flood news

| | Comments (1)

February 2013

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
          1 2
3 4 5 6 7 8 9
10 11 12 13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21 22 23
24 25 26 27 28    
The WeatherPixie

About this Archive

This page is a archive of recent entries in the Home and Garden category.

health and illness is the previous category.

humour is the next category.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.