Monthly Archives: March 2009

Adieu, Spring Break

Here I stand on the far shore of Spring Break. Depending upon one’s perspective, the time has been used wisely / has been completely piddled away.

What I’d planned to do: Clean the house, including dusting and washing windows, clean out and vacuum the car, grade creative writing and a bunch of old reading responses for composition 200, write a little fiction, and relax.

What I did: Wrote a lot of fiction (2-3 hours a day, M-F), read fiction, and napped. Today I’m going to vacuum the house and call it good, and today and tomorrow I’ll grade creative writing. And likely take a nap. Or two.

We get a four day weekend at Easter. I wonder what I can plan and ignore then?


Home improvement-1, baking-0

So last week my back doorknob stopped functioning.  Of course it happened when I was going to let Ricky out and by the time I managed to get the door open (about 5 minutes), he was howling like he’d hadn’t been allowed to pee in the last 24 hours. He is SUCH a princess.

The next day I went to ACE Hardware, where I learned that one can spend better than $60 on a new doorknob.* I settled for one in the $15 range — the range within which I could see the exact same doorknob that I’d removed the night before, but I figure by the time the new one breaks, I might be able to afford a $60 doorknob.

Turns out it’s pretty easy to install a doorknob. Unless, that is, the previous doorknob installation hadn’t been done so well. Yep, the latch area on the door itself had been countersunk about 1/4″, which explains why my back door often didn’t shut and latch without a hockey-style bodycheck.  After a bit of Gene Schaechterle-style cursing, it hit me: take the sheet of rubber gasket material from last fall’s plumbing adventure and cut a pad to sit behind the latch assembly. Which I did. I had to use an awl  from Dad’s tool box to poke screw holes in the rubber, and then an old pair of nail scissors to snip and widen the hole,** and boom! the latch was perfectly flush with the door as it should be.

But it was a millimeter too far to the right to click into the hole on the doorjamb.  So then I broke out a BIG flathead screw driver and the hammer and chiseled some wood away so I could reposition the jamb-side latch. And now my door shuts easily and stay shut and I’m feeling pretty much like this:

rosie_the_riviter_posterI am not, however, feeling like this:


Not only do I not have a secret life,*** my baking mojo has departed. Yes, I have commited baking sins in the past, but lately I’ve been turning out chocolate chip cookies and fatfree chocolate muffins and such and people have enjoyed them and no one has died or anything. So this morning I got up early to bake a double batch of chocolate muffins with the very best of intentions — 1 dozen for the potluck at my Quaker meeting later this morning, 4 for the nice older couple next door, 4 for the nice man down the street (and his daughter) who recently had surgery, and 4 for my friend Mark who sometimes repairs things around the house that I can’t fixwith gasket rubber. Yes, I’ve made these before. Yes, I used fresh flour. Yes, it was self-rising. And yet, they burned. I think I may need to invest in an oven themometer, as the only difference was I let the oven preheat for a long time before I popped the pans in.

Oh well. The Quakers will feed me even if I arrive empty handed because they are very nice and they are, after all, Quakers. And I’ll bake more goodies tomorrow. But still…it’s a bummer.

*for $60, a doorknob should sense you coming, open itself, and play a welcome home fanfare.

**And I didn’t even stab myself, although it was a near thing.

***I barely have a real life…..

“Why, Ides oughtta….”

Get it? Ides? March 15?

Not funny? Well then, you see why I haven’t been posting lately.

Last Friday, 3/6, I noticed that thickness in the throat that presages a head cold. No big deal, I thought, a little spring cold….and then I spent Saturday and Sunday flat on my back, completely wiped out with the stuffy and the runny and the achy and the sleepy and the (and here we can see just how gravely ill I was*) no appetite. Other than zombie-ing my way to the grocery store both days for juice and meds and Kleenex and more juice and meds and Kleenex,** I accomplished nothing. Monday I dragged myself to work and taught two incoherent classes and then went home and collapsed again. By Wednesday I was feeling  a little better and by Thursday much better, and that’s when the grading frenzy started.

Speaking of zombies, I did take a break from the grading to watch Fido, which I can’t even begin to describe at 10:16 p.m. after a full day of laundry and grading, but I recommend it to anyone who feels Ozzie and Harriet would have benefited from more severed limbs and  hints of necrophilia.

*I can always eat. Slip a sandwich*** into the coffin and I’ll eat at my own funeral.

**When I’m ill is when I really hate being single. Unfortunately, being a mere juice-meds-Kleenex conveyor is probably not what most men are looking for in a relationship.

***and a napkin. I may be dead, but I’m not untidy.