At the end of a long and tough week, I sit in my dining room with the windows and doors finally open to let him some cool, fresh air. The weather turned brutally hot, and unusual for this area of the country, we had four days of 103-degree-plus intense sunshine. My hydreangea in the front yard drooped and sagged in the wilting oven-like tempteratures. My oregano didn t survive.
This was also the week that the downstairs floors were refinished. There was no time to do this before I moved in as my closing and the previous owners occurred in one day. And the movers arrived the morning after my closing. With lots of things unpacked, I had to stuff furniture and things into the guest room (which didn’t get refinished), in the basement or in my garage. The couch and a china cabinetwere too big to store anywhere but the inner driveway, where they baked for three days. And while I’m thrilled to say the floors look stunning, there is a layer of dust over everything. I started the clean-up yesterday, but it will go on through the weekend.
Yesterday seemed endless. Beau had a terrible day. His teeth are not good. My New York vet had told me he needed to have some of them extracted. It was far worse than he had led me to believe. In fact he had ten teeth pulled! Lots of baby teeth had not fallen out, and others were crowding each other. This explained his terrible breath. So they pulled the teeth, cleaned his teeth and gums, and sent him home with two different kinds of pain killers and antibiotics and instructions for soft food for the next two weeks. Poor little guy was stoned from the anasthesia, and didn't have control of his kidneys. He leaked all over my brand new floors and peed on a carpet that had just returned from being cleaned! Grrrr... I couldn't be mad at him. I'm encouraged that his appetite is good, and he rolled over in bed for his morning belly rub, and headed out the back door to do his business this morning. Later today I'll take him over to the park across the street for his daily exploration.
I’m a bit weary from all the work on the house. For something that is “move-in-ready,” I find there are still so many things that need attention. My handyman arrived yesterday to take care of all the little things that the house inspection indicated needed to be addressed, such as fixing the backdoor lock, as well as adjusting the basement door so it closed properly; lashing the hot water heater to something solid in the event of an earthquake (mandatory); tightening the toilets to the floors (loose); repairing the fence on the side of the house which had fallen apart because of the growth of a tree that the fence was built around; installing a new door on the side of the garage and re-attaching a gutter to the roof of the garage; replacing broken windows and weather-stripping said windows in the basement; cementing up a hole where an old oil burner had been; and a a million other little chores for which I lack the necessary skills. Good thing Steve, the handyman comes so highly recommended. I’m impressed with his quiet competence and ability to get a lot of work done with no fuss.
The living room is fighting me tooth and nail. No matter where I put the furniture, it looks odd. It’s as if everything is out of balance. I’m trying to figure out where to put things, and I’ve moved it all around innumerable times. I’m coming to the sad conclusion that my china cabinet is sucking all the air out of the room. It’s not a large space—13.6 x 18 feet.
I’ve been looking for a new dining room table and have seen a lot of things online and in showrooms that lack distinction and cost a fortune. I scored a beautiful mahogany table with carved legs on Craig’s List. The oval table, with parson-like legs has two leaves. It’s not big and only goes to 71 inches with the two leaves (it’s actually a 42-inch round with extensions that make it oval). But it will seat six to eight and that’s big enough for me. I went to see the table, which is in mint condition, and bought it immediately. The finish is a medium brown and was manufactured forty years ago by Kindel, a respected maker of fine furniture. Now I gotta find chairs for it.
Saw the new Harry Potter movie this week, which was better than Manhola Dargis’ snarkey review in the New York Times. Mike Campbell, a publishing friend out here, suggested we see it at Cinetopia, a large movie complex that caters to movie fans with features stadium-like seating with leather seats, a “mosh pit” up front for those seeking to watch the movie on pillows and carpeting and very low seating. There’s a restaurant that serves somewhat pricey and okay TGIF-style sandwiches, salads, meatloaf and mac ‘n cheese-style entrees with a full bar. I wouldn’t want to make a habit, but it was interesting for a one-time experience.
I just read the story about the bank employee bonuses that made my blood boil. With out-of-control unemployment, people losing their houses (and even giving up their pets because they can’t afford them), and these clowns are still trying to say this is the only way they can keep their top producers in their jobs. With all the hungry and competent people out there begging for work, I’m sure the banks could hire people for less than what they are paying these pampered and immoral pigs! Other industries can down-size older employees in favor of cheaper, younger replacements, but with Wall Street it is business as usual. Only in America could we have a situation where a bank could be the cause of financial woe and still be allowed to pay themselves this bonus money. I’m disappointed that President Obama, Congress and the Senate can only criticize Wall Street for its greed and not hold them accountable.
Portlanders are terrible drivers. I’m developing a theory based on experience and conversations that I’ve had with locals here. Portlanders apparently feel entitled to vast amounts of personal space that New Yorkers would never dream of demanding. If you’re trying to pull into on-coming traffic, the tendency here is crowd you out (‘get out of my way’ seems to be the prevailing attitude). Nobody signals in this town when they want to change lanes—they just pull over. The other day I was in a car with a friend who was driving and apparently didn’t see another car which felt entitled to move ahead of us. We were halfway across the intersection with this jerk pushing ahead and then giving us a filthy look as if to say, “how dare you.” Clearly he wasn’t going to yield at all! I was on my way to pick up Beau at the vet last night. I was already crossing the street. A car at the corner was fully stopped, and the driver was waiting to make the turn. I was clearly in the crosswalk when he began to move. At the last minute I realized he wasn’t paying a bit of attention. My body was wrapped around the hood of his car and all the sudden he realized he was about to hit me. How he managed to stop, I’ll never know. I was sputtering mad at his lack of attention, and pounded on his hood, and yelling at him to pay attention to pedestrians as well as other cars. He was pissed that I said anything to him, and gave me a feeble, “sorry.” I did my New York thing and flipped him the bird. The receptionist told me she constantly avoided cars that nearly hit her on the street. I lived in New York for 38 years and never worried about being hit, and New Yorkers, particularly taxis and busses are notoriously aggressive. They have nothing on divers out here.
Off to a barbecue tomorrow with some new friends in the NW section of the city. Will get there and back by bus. Should be interesting. But I’m now convinced that I have to re-learn how to drive and get a license. You need to run errands (such as doing a big shopping or taking Beau to the vet), and buses are for commuting, not chores. While Portland has an excellent bus system, it has an aging fleet with 65% of the buses lacking air conditioning. I was on a bus the other day in temperatures of 106 degrees without air conditioning. And I’ve noticed that buses in their better areas of town are air conditioned, and in places less desirable, or maybe less traveled… There was no relief despite the fact that every window was open. Will try to face the driving hurdle beginning next week.
Don’t let all this mild bitching fool you. I’m still nuts about Portland. Everyone has a less-than-great week from time to time! Besides the week had an upside. I went to a party at the home of the guy I met on the plane out here--the one with three partners, but I'm saving that story for week six!