Tuesday, June 7, 2011


I feel like we’re sort of back. Our fire didn’t make me a better person although I look like I’m more organized because I have a lot less stuff. The stuff I have is the stuff I use, am going to use, am going to lose weight so that it'll fit, etc.

I’m writing about two pair of wool pants that I bought. I’m too fat for them, but, since they’re winter pants, it’s all about what’s possible. I believe that I will eventually fit into these pants in a way that I don’t believe that’ll I’ll ever be organized, won’t ever want a cigarette, will be good at follow-up, and will be able to measure things accurately, all of the time, in every circumstance.

I lost my measuring confidence because I pretty much stopped doing it and also because I recently hemmed some curtains for French Doors and the bottom hems are not the right lengths for the bottom rods. Also, they’re only sort of hemmed because I bought that fusion stuff that you iron on to fuse fabric and it is harder to work with than I thought it would be. It’s probably because I didn’t use any straight pins. If you’ve never used this stuff, I highly recommend it. It really does fuse things together by melting them that way.

I’ve been using it to fuse all kinds of things. I can tell you that it won’t work on a zipper or at least one of those nylon ones. That’s because to fuse stuff you have to have a really hot iron to melt the fuse membrane. And it has to be between two pieces of fabric otherwise it turns into this hard stuff that you knew for sure was once sticky. If you’re not careful, and you get it on an ironing board you can pick it off with your nail. But if you get it into the tracks of a zipper, it looks like that zipper is toast, although you could probably pick it out with a needle but it would take a long time.

I think I’m all caught up in fusing things and fixing things because I have my summer clothes back and a lot of them have little stapled tags on them attesting to my slovenliness. When fire helper guys took our clothes they cleaned them, mostly de-smoked them and analyzed them. That’s maybe not the right word but they really did go over them. If there’s a teeny, tiny stain, or an itty bitty pulled button hole, there’s an arrow affixed and it says that it was damaged prior to treatment. I’m not going into specifics here but good advice is to toss any underwear that you own that may have a pulled or separating waist band elastic. (I know this sounds like some mother who once told you to always wear clean underwear in case you got hit by a car, but that and this advice is probably good anyway.)

Because I only recently discovered fusing things I don’t know if it would have worked when I could have had a need for it. Girl Scout badges on sashes comes to mind, although if every single scout mother simply used safety pins this wouldn’t be an issue, but I can tell you for sure, having lived in NY’s burbs for more than 20 years that’s there’s always going to be at least one mother who’s going to sew them on anyway and there’s not anything you can do about that.

Come to think of it, there’s not much you can do about most things. That’s okay and probably for the best. You just have to make sure that you’re fused to the place where you live. That’s what happened to me after our fire. I’m fused here. It’s good, I hope it gets better and if it doesn’t, that’s fine.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Renovations, giving things away and fixing people up,

I have a friend who’s renovating her apartment. It’s adorable. She gets excited about tile and wood and just about everything. She’s surprised about how strong her likes and dislikes are. She asks me for advice which I give freely. I always know what she likes the best because she giggles. Sometimes she e-mails me a photo of a faucet or something and I can hear her giggling even though she’s uptown at her office. I just know it.

She chooses great stuff. It looks like her, even though she doesn’t look anything like a faucet. You know what I mean.

The advice I give tends to revolve around durability and I will most likely know how something will hold up if it’s never, ever cleaned. I also have significant knowledge about glitter and advise against surfaces that I know it can’t be removed from. I also happen to know which kinds of baseboards are best and easiest to repair if someone you know happens to collide their little metal trucks into them.

She asks advice like what size door would like best. How much should she budget for a linear foot of this and a square foot of that. And I say things about that.

The thing is that she’s super-duper organized. That is not, shall we say my forte. I paid a lot of attention to some things when the whole place was destroyed. I got a couple of bids and chose the one that the insurance company recommended and that crew did great work. I didn’t check anybody’s credentials or anything as I went with the guy who had a full crew and said it would take six to eight weeks. And it did. And I really didn’t expect it to because I’ve had previous construction projects.

It turns out that I like a lot of the things the construction crew did and I especially like the doors. When I told the head guy how much I liked them he said he was surprised because he said that I told him that I didn’t like doors.

I vaguely remember saying that so I admitted that that was odd and I asked him if I said anything else odd. He said that when the rooms were painted I asked him if I had chosen the colors. I’ll give him that too.

This is a real droll guy. He asked me if I was going to get rid of some kitchen granite and I said that I was going to re-use it. That turned into a real problem because my new kitchen is four inches bigger than my old one. I see where this happened because the stove is two inches smaller than the one that burned up and the cabinets extend two inches further than they did before the fire.

I was so determined to re-use this granite that I never measured it. I didn’t even measure it when I met with the kitchen designer who asked me that. I figured that you take something out, you put it back in, and if it’s inert, it will be the same size.

I mean, you never walk into your kitchen and say to the counter, “my, how you’ve grown”;you say that to little kids and you say it to teenagers who are suddenly taller than you, which by the way, you shouldn’t because most of them are really good at rolling their eyes.

The whole time they were doing construction the crew moved the granite to places where it wasn’t in the way. Even after I found out that the thing was the wrong size, was damaged along the edge, would cost oodles of money to fix that and it wouldn’t fit, they had to move it a few more times. You might think that when the crew offered to take it away, I would say fine.

Well, I didn’t do that. First I had to convince myself that I couldn’t use it. Then, I figured, surely someone could so I posted it on an on-line bulletin board.

A lot of people called. Most of them didn’t show up when they said they would but a couple of people did and I got rid of 3 pieces and thank you notes to boot. Since I don’t know how to post a photo on a list serve, and I had to confess that on-line, people couldn’t see what I was talking about, so, that probably diminished the pool of people who might have been interested.

This took longer to get rid of than I thought it would and since I became convinced that it was a great thing, I called a gravestone seller on Rivington Street to see if he wanted it. We had a back and forth about why black granite that got damaged up in a fire wouldn’t make a good grave marker. He must have not been busy because he told me all this interesting stuff about cutting and polishing stone and about how you had to set it for an unveiling.

Giving away something on a local private list serve is a very interesting way to meet people. Because it was so nice for me, I convinced my friend to post the things she’s replacing.

So someone responded to her post about an IKEA cabinet and needed to know the measurements. I said that it was probably a straight guy because there was a photo posted and if the measurements weren’t there, a woman would go to the IKEA catalogue but a straight guy probably wouldn’t. I said he probably was youngish because that’s who buys IKEA stuff. We talked about how it wasn't any of the old crazy people who live on the Lower East Side because they don’t use computers and we talked about how she should contact him.

Then I said that when she met him she should see if he’s attached because we know all kinds of people who would be happier with a partner. And, this isn’t as odd as you think because we know every kind of person from older Chinese immigrants to professional women and men, Hispanics of all ages, the GLBT crowd, etc. That’s what’s so great about the LES.

I wonder who answered that classified?


Friday, April 29, 2011

Everyone is celebrating. Part 4.

It’s getting to the end of the day and it’s still nice out. I’m sitting in a room that has a nice view of the East River and it’s blue. Lots of times it’s gray so I think this is better. There was talk about a late day thunderstorm but that isn’t going to happen. Storm clouds have dissipated and there are these fluffy white balls drifting in the sky and it’s pretty.

A bunch of little kids are playing in the playground and there’s a bus festooned with yellow balloons next to it. If I hadn’t watched out my window so many other times this would worry me, but I’m pretty sure the bus belongs to a church group who volunteer at the playground most days. They play games and sing songs (they actually blare them over a loudspeaker) and if this is annoying, I close my window. Usually, it’s nice.

Most of the kids are dressed in shorts. I guess they had them ready to go when it got nice out and today it did. Two of the little kids are carrying what look like Easter baskets and a different little girl is wearing a bonnet. This is good to see as since I live on the Lower East Side it is sometimes surprising when people have it together.

Because I smoke cigarettes on the street and because I share them with anyone who bums one, people talk to me. We chat about how expensive cigarettes are and about how soon smoking outside is going to be illegal. We chat about who has loosies (individual cigarettes) for sale at $3.00 each and various schemes about how to “get over”. A lot of this stuff is bravado and you know it even though you also believe that some of it is true.

On the Lower East Side there are pervasive pockets of poverty that are multi-generational and for the people in the pocket, exhausting. Even if they’re “getting over” the energy and commitment to this is astounding.

There’s a school here that has the highest percentage of children who qualify for a free lunches in the city. Sometimes you’re exposed to a wearying level of need and it’s in your face. It’s in some of my neighbors faces too. You see it at our 24-hour pharmacy where some young woman with a couple of little ones is waiting for a prescription that she got from the Emergency Room and it’s 11 o’clock at night. You see it when someone puts groceries back after the bill is too high at the market’s checkout line and you see it when you see all of the people who make living collecting returnable bottles for the deposit change. Poverty is debilitating.

Every holiday, the 24-hour Rite Aide has a sale on holiday items the night before the holiday. They do this with Halloween, Christmas, Easter and Mother’s Day. Everything is 50%, except for greeting cards, and people line up to buy things. They buy candy and costumes for Halloween. Toys, small electric things and candy for Christmas and for Easter they buy stuffed animals, chocolate rabbits and peeps. The array of goods celebrating motherhood is truly astounding and ranges from all manner of very large candy boxes with Mother written across them to individual foil-wrapped chocolate roses and large bottles of Jean Nate bath bubbles, perfume and oils in a special, signature, Mother’s Day wrapping. This stuff is usually 25% off on Mother’s Day, and that is confounding.

People wait until the very last minute to buy things because they have to. Sometimes, people wait for the actual day when things are 90% off, especially if they’re going someplace late in the day. I think people count on this. I think Rite Aide probably knows this and that is why they do it. I like them a lot for this, except when I’ve run out of toilet paper and find myself in line with all those holiday shoppers.

Even if you’re all annoyed because you really do need toilet paper and the lines are moving really slowly, the lines are usually pretty happy affairs. The store is really over-stocked for whatever holiday is going on so people don’t have to settle for things that will almost do. There’s plenty of stuff and everyone’s chit chatting about how they’re going to celebrate and there are magazines that no one buys, but everyone paws through, so in addition to holiday spirit you also get caught up on what’s with Lindsay Lohan and Charlie Sheen and a couple of other celebrities that you might not know the name of because you haven’t watched the Housewives of somewhere.

I like the attitude of people who live here. I like that they get it together for a celebration. There’s something wondrous about an exhausted person’s determination and grit. I like that most holidays center on little kids. I just don’t like running out of toilet paper. And, I really don’t get the puny price reduction for Mother’s Day things.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Everyone is celebrating. Part 3.

If today weren’t so nice, people would be bitching about our Sabbath elevators. On certain days, observant Jewish people aren’t allowed to push an elevator button and they can’t ask any Jewish person to push it for them either. I’ve been told various reasons for this and the one that makes sense to me is that work is prohibited on the Sabbath so people aren’t allowed to make a fire and since electricity is fire, it can’t be used, other than candles at Sabbath meals or if someone turned on lights before Sabbath begins or if they have a timer. And you can’t ask a Jewish person, even one who’s not observant, to push any button or switch on any switch. This because you’re not supposed to ask a Jew to break the Sabbath.

Our building, which has an Orthodox presence, has an automatic elevator that goes up and down during whatever time is needed and it stops on floors automatically where people have requested that service. This seems to me an excellent solution. I think that in 2011 it would be unseemly to question everyone who waits for the elevator to see if they’re Jewish or not. It’s not such a big deal and only adds a minute or two to a ride but since this is the Lower East Side, some complain, not so much on a day like today, but if it were rainy or snowy it would most likely be a different story. Since most people here don’t have a car, they are not attuned to the suspension of alternate side parking rules so they don’t get that benefit.

It seems to me that Jewish people have a lot of holidays. They probably don’t celebrate any more than any other group does, but since many of them are new to me, and since they usually last a couple of days that’s how it seems. By my calendar, the holidays begin in the spring when people celebrate Purim, but for sure, the Jewish calendar starts differently. At Purim, the little kids dress in costumes. The girls, I think, are always Princess Esther, and the boys dress up like biblical bad guys and there’s an occasional Power Ranger or super hero. It’s like a reverse Halloween because people drop gifts instead of threatening tricks if you don’t have a treat. It’s a very nice holiday.

If you have a Mezuzah (a little container that has a prayer scroll in it) on your door’s frame, there’s this group called Chabad that comes around and leaves you goodies. No Mezuzah, no treat. For years and years, we were gifted with treats and then we weren’t. I found this out after I pried the Mezuzah from our door’s frame and mailed it to a synagogue when I found out that it wasn’t supposed to be on my door because I’m not Jewish. That ended those Purim treats.

The end of Purim treats for us is pretty fair. This is because someone told me that the reason Jewish people put the scroll on their door’s frame in the first place was so that if there was a need to punish non-Jews it made it easier for the Angel of Death to identify who needed killing. I found out that this is completely wrong, but at the time I took off the Mezuzah, it made sense to me. Even though the decision to remove it was because of respect, there was this sidebar thought that since the Angel only took first-born, and my husband was that, well, let’s not go there. I confess that I was not in the best mood and if you think things like that, you’ve probably been with your partner for more than 30 years. And if you have thoughts like that you really don’t deserve treats and why it’s fair that you don’t get them.

At Purim, our building’s bulletin board always has announcements inviting everyone to Purim Parties and there are notices that tell of Megillah readings. The Megillah is Esther’s story, she’s the heroine and everything turns out good, so, it’s a pretty happy story and celebration.
After Purim comes Passover although there might be important dates between the two. There’s a lot of preparation.

In the weeks preceding Passover, Jewish homes have to get rid of all of their leavened products. Some people make a game of this. They put their products in a shopping basket and ask you to buy what's prohibited in their home.

When we moved here, I didn’t know that custom so I didn’t understand it was a game when a woman I knew asked me if I would buy her things, I thought that she was desperate for cash and also thought that she might be a little bit off.

This is not to disparage her; I had already been involved in a couple of other cash for goods exchanges. I wondered if this was something that I was going to have to budget for, if there was a better way to handle this, or if it was just one of those things. Then, I didn’t blend into this neighborhood too well but I think that’s changed as recently, a couple of times, I’ve been asked for directions where in the past I was only asked if I was lost.

I bought my neighbor’s things and tossed them. What you’re supposed to do is offer an extravagant amount of money for the goods. There’s supposed to be a tacit understanding that your friend might need money to flee and you’re supposed to help. You’re also holding on to the products in hope that your neighbor returns and then she buys them back from you. Also, she gives you a six pack of beer as a thank you but maybe that happened because she had the idea that we’re Irish and like beer. I simply don’t know. I do know that I’m glad she gave me two other chances to do this even though I didn’t do the right stuff the first time.

Before my friend passed she used to ask me to come into her home to look for a piece of bread that she had wrapped up in foil and put under her table. While I was searching, she would dust her home with a feather and sing a song, I think, in Yiddish. She said that the song was a prayer and that she was singing to god to tell him that she had gotten rid of all of the stuff she was supposed to and had brought in someone to find the rest and if there was any left, it wasn’t hers.

My finding the bread always coincided with an event called the burning of the Chametz. (A friend corrected me about this too because I wrote Chumash and that’s the noun for the first five books of the Torah, the books of Jewish Law) so even if there are errors here that one’s gone.

Our building sets up a fire in one of our yards when Chametz needs burning. People burn up scraps of bread. After the song was sung, the bread was found and the feather had collected crumbs, my friend would phone a neighbor who had boys and she would ask if they would take her things for burning. The boys, would scoot right over, delighted at the chance to burn something up. They were pretty gleeful about going to the burning where I heard that in addition to that there’s singing and dancing.

I’m really glad that I got to hunt for bread. I found out that only little kids do this and I found that out when I told a friend that I missed that part of the holiday. The hunt is analogous to an Easter egg hunt and is only for little kids so it is peculiar, but really nice that I got to do this.

So, that's the idea that this goy has about Passover and the holiday's preparations. I tell this story with affection for a passed neighbor and I hope that comes across. Corrections about the holiday are very welcome. This essay is not a treatise on Jewish Law or customs, only about how a non-Jewish person experiences them on the Lower East Side.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Today, everyone is celebrating. Part 2

It is an unbelievably beautiful day here on the Lower East Side. We’ve had a cold winter and a rainy spring so a day like this is really something. Everyone’s talking about it.

I went to my across the street Bodega and one of the Yemeni guys who works there and I were talking about it. We said the same things we usually do: “How are you?” answered with, “Same old, same old.”
But then we started talking about how the same is really good because lots of times when things aren’t the same they’re less good than they were.

We talked about what a beautiful day it is and about how his family lives in the Yemen mountains so they’re not in war danger unless someone gets airplanes and bombs and he showed me a photo of his new baby girl and told me that he prays five times every day to thank god.

He said something next that startled me because it was in such colloquial English. I couldn’t believe it and told him how great his English was and did he know how much more fluent he was than last year? He said he did and then he got all shy and we talked a little before I asked him if he had a holiday and he said that he didn’t and then I remembered what Passover and Easter commemorate.

My forgetting this is not as stupid as it seems, as here, many depend on alternate side of the street parking (which means that every other day or so you have to move your car or risk a hefty fine and also a sticker that’s really hard to get off that says that the street wasn’t cleaned because the driver of the car is a douche, or something very like that). Anyway, because they suspend alternate side parking for everyone’s holidays and because everyone has their special days in weeks of each other, the bother of moving a car is greatly diminished and you get to know the names of lots of people’s holidays. Also, since it’s pretty easy to find a parking space during alternate side suspension you think very kindly about your neighbors and say things like: “thank you Jews”, “thank you Muslims”, “thank you Diwali celebrants,” when you do get a space. So, that’s a true benefit.

Across the street from my building there are a number of little synagogues. Some people call them Shuls and I think it’s the same thing. Families were all dressed up and it seemed like everyone except the little kids were all in black and everyone had on really pretty shoes. Lots of the girls had on silver ballet style flats and that looked so pretty that I think I’m going to have to get myself a pair unless they only make them for little feet. Since I’m not exactly up on trends it is possibly a little kid thing but I don’t think anyone I know would know that and I hope I don’t face the same dilemma I did when I was determined to get a flashing light in my sneakers, but that’s a different story.

The same story, for everyone, is how pretty the girls looked and how disheveled the boys do. Some Observant Jewish boys wear a prayer shawl and the strings are prominent below their middles and I thought they were called Tzitzis (which is only used in a synagogue) but a friend corrected me as what I’m writing about is called a tallit. They’re both used for praying; the tallit is worn every day. Older boys and men wear these with dignity; young boys don’t and when they run the strings of the talit fly around them. That looks happy and when this happens everyone smiles except for the parent who is telling the kid not to run and telling him that he’s going to knock some old lady down or get killed by a car ….the kind of stuff that you heard yourself when you were a little kid.

After that I stopped to chat with a neighbor who was sitting in front of our building. We wished each other a good holiday and talked about the Seder her daughter put on and also how much work Passover is for religious people.

She told me that the last day of Passover is for remembering the dead and about how she said her prayers in her home and didn’t go to Schul. I asked her if that was why almost all of the men and boys were wearing black yarmulkes because usually you see really clever ones that someone crocheted that might even have a Yankee logo on it and she said she didn’t know but she thought that that wouldn’t matter.

Then we talked about what a nice day it is. Everyone is talking about that.

I know, this is really long…but I want you to know about holidays here and I haven’t finished with everyone yet. Corrections are very welcome.


Part 1 of 4 parts.

I love other people’s holidays almost as much as I like my own. In some ways, I actually like them more (with the exception of Thanksgiving which is my favorite) because I don’t have that thing that tells me I should be doing something that I’m not doing.

I am a cultural Christian which means that when everyone is too big to dye Easter Eggs and refuses to wear an astounding hat I don’t know what to do other than make a dinner reservation or prepare a meal. But there’s this nagging thing that tells me that I should be in a church doing my Easter duty or celebrating Christ’s resurrection or something a little bit somber instead of arranging flowers and giving my family beach towels, which is my own personal tradition that no one recalls even though I do it every single year.

I am especially surprised that my daughter doesn’t remember that I do this as I spent a long time looking for very specific towels for her (My Pretty Pony, Rainbow Brite, Care Bears, etc.) and for years she seemed delighted to have them. My son was always easier and if you couldn’t find an Optimus Prime towel he was content with any old dinosaur which was always easy to find.

The reason my son was not especially concerned about his “special towel” was because he never staked it out as his own, didn’t care who used it and was very content to dry his body with anybody else’s towel especially, it seems, the aforementioned towels that my daughter coveted so I don’t have to tell you how the whole summer went about this. Thing is though, Easter, to me, is the hope of summer and the thing you do in summer is swim. Of course, you need a towel, preferably one that you treasure. This is so stupid that it makes sense that no one remembers this.

Stupid or not, I celebrate holidays. For the last four or five years, I hosted an Easter party for my Chinese friend’s children. This year, because it wasn’t possible to do it in our home because of the fire, we had the holiday in her apartment. We were worried that because the children are approaching 10, dying eggs wouldn’t be enough for them to do. We chit chatted about how they were older, mature and excellent with crafts so we really should think of something to do other than dip eggs in pretty colors (over and over again until they resembled hand grenades rather than eggs). So, I had to think about that.

What I thought was that it would be wonderful to do complicated eggs that you could keep for years and years. I had seen eggs whose insides were blown out from holes that you almost couldn’t see and I knew people kept them. There is, of course, a great advantage to doing this with people who never celebrated the holiday before as you get to be the expert about the holiday and its meaning and no one can dispute that. And so you know, I’ve been told a lot of traditions since I’ve lived on the Lower East Side so I know, for sure, that lots of other groups make it up as they go along too. That’s pretty okay.

I tend to be a 2000 kind of gal so I know about germs and the high caloric content of candy that no one is supposed to have. That is why, of course, you have to have something to blow out the eggs, so you don’t have to use your mouth which everyone knows is germy; humans are even more germy than dogs who get to slobber on you and when they do that no one so much as proffers a bottle of hand sanitizer. So, you can see how you’d have to use that aerosol can of air that you buy to blow away the dust from your keyboard.

Once you get the knack down about this it’s quite a bit of fun. What you do is peel a little hole in the top and bottom of an egg, and break the membrane. Then you have to find a long skinny thing with a point to put in the hole to break up the yoke. A yoke is a lot stronger than you think it would be so you have to poke it a lot. If the yoke isn’t liquid, when you apply the air (one long squirt is best) the egg explodes in your hand. If the yoke is broken, the egg whooshes out in a satisfying stream so it is best to do this over a bathtub and, in my opinion, is not the best project to do with anyone with a xy chromosome under the age of 50.

I spent a long time learning to do this and because I ultimately decided that it wouldn’t be a good idea to introduce this project in someone else’s house, and because we don’t yet have a kitchen, I nixed this idea.

I had a hard time letting go of that and could only put it aside after I wrote to the manufacturer so that their customers could know how to do this but I never got a reply. I was somewhat surprised about that and guessed that the project could raise liability issues or the directions were so un pc (I put in a warning about doing this with boys) so I understood even though I think they should have sent me a form letter thanking me and telling me that the e-mail had been forwarded to the appropriate person.

So, we just dyed eggs the regular way and baked them in little bread things that never actually browned. It is true that the children are indeed and becoming mature. The eggs turned out the colors that you think of when you think about spring. I don’t know how they tasted because I left when the eggs were still hot, but that’s not the point is it?

I wonder if everyone will be mature enough next year to blow out the eggs. Whatchathink?

Note this is in a couple of parts because I didn’t tell you how everyone else is celebrating and maybe you’d like to know about that too.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Me and James Thurber

A long time ago, James Thurber wrote a humor column for the New Yorker. Lots of times they were accompanied by little drawings he did and lots of them are part of anthologies that are still available.

One of his columns was about the amount of submissions he received and he told about how many women find their day-to-day tasks hilarious even though they weren’t and he advised them not to write about them.

I question whether I do that. Candidly, I try to keep some perspective about our home’s destruction and it sort of mystifies me that I’m so caught up in this. I’m caught up in a way that I didn’t expect to be. First of all, I’m amazed about the amount of money I spend and the things that I should have bought but didn’t because I forget that I don’t own them anymore.

I’m not talking about construction stuff. I’m talking about other stuff. You know a drawer full of pens. Me, I’m not so good with pens and I find that whenever I need to write something down, I can’t find one. I don’t know whether this is new or not. Okay, it’s not brand new, as I used to be able to rummage around for one but now there’s no rummaging. It comes down to the fact that I bought a pen and I lost it and I don’t have another one and it’s iffy if I’ll remember to buy a couple next time I’m out or at least very soon. This leads me to borrow my husband’s pen which, I’ll have to tell, he didn’t forget to buy. After I borrow his, I put it someplace where neither of us would look for it so we spend some time pen-less. This does not endear me to my spouse and we’ve been married for such a long time that there’s no question about who lost the pen, the scissors, the tweezers, the dental floss, etc. Lots of times I deny responsibility for things like this but I really don’t have any credibility, even with myself. I deny anyway.

This happens to be a recent issue. The reason for this is the aforementioned piles of stuff and also because when we lived at our neighbor’s house they nicely had piles of pens in places where you would look for them. I’m only recently living with single items and that’s going about as well as I should have known it would but I didn’t think about stuff like that but now I do.

A really big part of me thinks it’s an excellent idea to live smaller, be more organized, and not buy into that consumerism thing. Also, at the moment, I like our home empty. We have a couple of lamps, a pretty good collection of wine, a desk that we brought from a neighbor, 2 camp umbrella chairs, 2 folding chairs a card table and a bed. We have sheer curtains on our bedroom window and all of the other windows are unadorned.
We have a stove, a microwave and a refrigerator. By the end of the week we’ll have counters and a sink and next week we can hook up the water. I fouled this up because we were supposed to get the counters (whose glue takes a couple of days to dry) this week but when the granite people called to confirm the Wednesday delivery I told them that it had to be Thursday because Monday thru Wednesday was Passover and that our building didn’t allow large deliveries during that holiday and they can’t come until Friday so it has to be then. I didn’t double check and it turns out that Passover ends on Tuesday so a Wednesday delivery would have been fine.

I don’t mind this as much as I should and this is partly because we’ve a bunch of kitchen stuff in storage that has to be cleaned and I am a little bit lazy about getting the stuff (which is a couple of blocks away), which has to be toted and unpacked, washed and put away. So, it seems perfectly reasonable to me to plan to devote next week to that. My better half is not going to understand this. I will be chagrined, he will be annoyed but will exhibit resolve and I will promise to do all the things.

I’m pretty sure that the majority of the kitchen things will be fine. With the exception of the silverware, which fused in a pile because our home was so hot, most stuff, I think, will be okay.

I have oodles of stuff and will be glad to see it. I can winnow stuff down and function with many less things than are stored and this will help me with my anti-consumer campaign; also, when I find out what I have, I can buy some pens and also a pineapple corer/slicer that I didn’t buy when I was at Williams Sonoma because that just seemed silly and I didn’t have a place to put it and also the anti-consumer thing.

I am preparing to clean everything in a green sort of way. I tested a ceramic dish in a dishwasher and the soot didn't come off. Then I tried a bunch of different kinds of soap and only Dawn worked and I only tried that because I remembered an advertisement that used it to clean gulf pelicans after the oil spill so that would seem to cover the green requirement.

So, this isn’t about hilarity and if James T. was alive and he read this he probably wouldn’t object on the non-hilarious grounds. Because he’s passed, he can’t object on any grounds at all and that’s good. What I write probably wouldn’t annoy a lot of dead people, so there’s that. Also, when I get a pen, I might start including little drawings as I already confessed that I can’t do the photo thing.