Poetry, musings, reflections, life

Archive for the month “October, 2011”

These Changing Times

I must say, I have been absent from the blog for a period of time. It has not been my fault. Remodeling an old farmhouse does take its toll occasionally. The entire kitchen is in a state of turmoil. Having an eat-in kitchen with no formal dining room has its merits yet also its shortcomings. It is convenient for us, yet, our guests, if more than three or four, must locate a place on the sofa or the easy chairs for a meal.

Sometime back, we purchased some folding TV trays. This serves as a personal table for some and some may choose the fireplace hearth as a seating area. We did place a cushion on the hearth, so their backsides are comfortable and they can place their plate on their lap. However, this doesn’t work well if there is a fire in the fireplace.

In order to reduce the trepidation in my home over the lack of space, I decided to build a banquette-seating booth. If you are unfamiliar with that term, think of the booth at a 1950’s diner. This eliminated the need for a round dining table and consequently we gained some space. That was the primary purpose.

Since the new/old seating area resembles that ‘50’s period of time, we took it a step further. We refinished the cabinets in the “retro” style as well. We (actually I mean the painter to whom I am betrothed) painted the upper cabinets white, with the edges rubbed to give it that “retro” or antique feeling. Then the lower cabinets were refinished in black, also with the rubbed antique style.

The missus is decorating in “retro” as well. She located a reproduction of a table-top jukebox, the type where you insert a quarter and select your choice of music. This is actually an am/fm radio with a cassette player. Cassette Player? That certainly seems retro nowadays. We installed it on the wall next to the banquette-seating area. Too bad it does not accept quarters any more, I could begin to replace some of the money I am spending on this remodel.

The antique crank telephones (2) are mounted at each corner of the room. This gives it another effect. I should have installed a pay phone, one more way I could possibly pay for this remodel.

Remodeling this area of the kitchen leads to the replacement of the countertop. That will be ceramic tile. I know tile is not that much in style, granite being the current choice, but we are creating our own piece of history. According to HGTV, ceramic is out and granite is in, however,ceramic is cyclical, it comes and goes, while granite will soon go the way the avocado and harvest gold appliances went, never to return. I certainly hope they do not make a reappearance.

Replacing the countertop means the floor will need to be replaced. The pink and gold vinyl flooring appears to be “retro” however, the only way I can describe it is to say it is ugly. So, it will be covered in ceramic tile as well. As you can see, it has been very busy around “this old house”.

I cannot wait until this project is completed. Sometime around the turn of the next century, I suppose. When it is all analyzed, it never stops. And well it shouldn’t, after all, change keeps us rooted in this life.

However, in the next life, my home will never need repairs or change, it’s perfect. Besides, Heaven does not allow remodeling to any degree. I hope!

Have a great day. Stay tuned, more chapters of “this old house” are coming.

© Pete Robertson

Nothing Better to Do

I read somewhere that dogs, on average, sleep anywhere from 14-18 hours a day. They sleep, however, in small spurts. As I am writing this, I am witnessing Apollo resting by my side. Sleeping.  Occasionally he raises his head and looks around. Perhaps he is just checking to see if I am still in the room.

If my lovely wife is in the office and I am in the living room, Apollo will station himself in the doorway between the two rooms. Even though he reposes himself in this location, he knows if we move he will immediately arise to follow us wherever we go. Obviously, we cannot go anywhere without disturbing his slumber.

 For those of you who don’t know, Apollo is a fully registered AKC Black Standard Poodle. He stands about 27 inches tall and weighs around 40 pounds, give or take, depending on how many home-baked “bonios” he ingests at any given moment. He lives for “bonios” and the remainder of Jennie’s breakfast oatmeal. In addition, chippies and cheese.

 Now don’t get me wrong, he does indeed eat healthy and is in superb condition. He gets plenty of exercise. I know, because he runs through the house like Cosmo Kramer entering the room on the Seinfeld Show. He thoroughly enjoys sliding across the room on the runner rug.  

 Get up from the recliner for a drink or snack and come back to find Apollo occupying your seat. He raises his paw and dares you to remove him.

You can efficiently do this by declaring him despicable, which embarrasses him and, consequently he will hide his face. At this juncture, we point out that he is playing “hidey” face.

 He has his own personal “3D High Definition” window. Not a television, just a window. He can see the action of the outdoors. Intently, he watches the meandering cows, with their own personal cattle egret walking behind them, as they graze from the pasture. Some cows do not have a bird accompanying them, must be a hierarchy kind of thing.

 We dare not forget the bushy-tailed squirrels frisking across the yard busily burying nuts or playing chase with each other. I suppose the squirrels are disagreeing with each other about feeding in their territory. They are prone to spiral up and down the tree and around the trunk in territorial disputes.

Apollo observes the regal ruby-throated hummingbirds feasting at the balloon-shaped feeder or the red-tipped Salvia. I must point out that hummingbirds are as territorial as the squirrels.   Also commanding his attention are the Blue Jays rinsing in the birdbath and arguing with the Mockingbirds as to who was there first.  

For most of the action in the front yard, Apollo will wag his tail, fiercely at times, a canine way of smiling or laughing. He can actually smile or at least I perceive it to be smiling. Touch the side of his upper jaw and he will demonstrate for you, raising his upper lip and showing his teeth. Come to think of it, that may not a good idea for someone who does not know him.

 Anyway, as for the squirrels, he does not “smile” or tail wag. Apparently, Apollo does not take the antics of the squirrels in a good way. They are not a laughing matter.

 I forgot to mention the neighbor’s free-range chickens. They congregate in a chicken way in our front yard. Thanks to the bumper crop of grasshoppers this past summer, the chickens have been amply rewarded. I wonder if the grasshoppers are an aphrodisiac. The rooster must think so.  Apollo “smiles” at the amorous activity of the ruling rooster. He (the rooster) will not be denied his fowl rights. Lucky for us, Apollo does not eat grasshoppers.

 The antics of Apollo, our resident house supervisor, are varied and many. He finds comfort on the guest bed when we are away. Being ever vigilant, his view from there includes my pickup truck and the carport. He is, after all, a well-paid security service. From his window in the spa room, he can watch the rear of the house to ward off any intruding creatures that may venture into the yard. Out the doggie door exit immediately, if need be.

 And if he chooses to sleep without being disturbed, well, there is always the futon in the back bedroom. However, he hasn’t quite discovered the secret to opening it, at least not yet.

 If only Apollo could interact with all those creatures outside his “HD” window screen, he would resolve those territorial disputes and likely put an end to the amatory affairs of the rooster.

 On second thought, he would probably sleep through all the commotion. But who cares. Ahhhhh, sleep, restful sleep. He hasn’t had a nap since, twenty minutes ago?  

 Have a great day.

 © Pete Robertson

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