Last Friday I came home to a dark digital clock- the whole electric circuit of kitchen wall outlets had gone out. I unplugged the reachable appliances, excluding the post-rat digital/gas stove which is too heavy for me to move. Flipping the breaker and GFI did not restore the power. I am, as usual, loathe to call the landlord until I exhaust all possible, personal attempts to solve the puzzle.
Likely the problem is rat/raccoon damage in the wall, or a failure or short in the digital oven controls. (It could also be a function of the apparently shoddy installation- but I don’t think that is the case.) I looked up the owners manual for the Kenmore range- almost impossible to read the tiny number on the door, which luckily turns out to be the model number. Someone mentioned that there might be a reset button on the back of the unit, so we can look at that, too.
My neighbor, from whom i got the stove- another story- loaned/gave me an electric convection oven which I installed on the small enamel table with a heavy power cord strung around the corner from the bathroom GFI.
Today I got out my electric toolbox- turns out the continuity tester I had in there (it was Steve’s) is missing one leg, so into the electronic recycling bin it goes. I pulled the 2 USB port/power outlet I installed last year which looks fine. I am again shocked at how poorly the box is installed, jammed way back into the original wall, crooked, behind the layer of sheetrock. It took some jiggling and adjusting to get the outlet mounted straight, but now it is better than I had it before.
Meanwhile, a couple of culinary fiascos, including two enormous potatoes that would not bake, after which I bought an adorable small magnet/hook/stand oven thermometer and tested the convection oven, right to 350 in ten minutes, then hovering at 300 throughout the baking of a Trader-Joe’s-mix cornbread–too sweet, but a somewhat-successful baking experiment.
Sometime last month Ann Lippe told me she and David were working to get a family of raccoons out from under her house across the street. A few days later I saw one of them heading across our front yard; then, sounds in the false ceiling over the bathroom. Mandy messaged me that Pat was hearing loud scratching coming from our wall next to their driveway, and I did hear what sounded like scraping noises around the bathroom pipes and overhead.
This had gone on for a few days when one evening (8/21/18, Steve’s 70th birthday) I heard a thump, squealing, and furious scratching- a critter had fallen between the rafters and into a space between the walls. After a few minutes I realized I was not going to be able to sleep with such screeching and scratching going on, so I high-tailed it over to the pub to tell Gary there were screaming critters trapped in the wall, and I was going to Canyon for the night.
By the time I got home from the pub things had quieted down a little–some chittering and scratching, but not insufferable. Also, there was a note Gary had put on the door earlier announcing that the plumber was coming by and water would be turned off for a couple hours at 9:30 AM the following day.
Around 10 AM on Wednesday 8/22 Gary and the fix-it guy/plumber showed up- they were unable to turn the water off at the street. We assessed the situation- I could hear chittering right next to the light switch in the bathroom, so after the guy and I crawled under the house and saw how they were getting in, through a hole they had chewed in the outside wall, and up through the old chimney hole to the porch roof, the decision was made to cut into the wallboard and pull them out. We had to move my locker away from the wall, and open doors and back window so the emerging animal could make a run for it. When he opened the wall, there was just a void- dark, quiet, no sign of crittur (Thoreau’s spelling). We shined a flashlight in to take a photograph, but our cellphones wouldn’t focus. Their contention was that there was no one there, but I kept trying until I got an image of a little face–very hard to see deep in the 20″x4″x9-foot space between the studs. So a decision was made to cut another hole at the bottom of the wall. We all stood back, again, waiting for the frothing wild beasts to come shooting out–when he pulled the cut piece away, there was the furry back of one small raccoon kit, and the face of another–TWO! little guys, quietly huddling in the bottom of the void. After peeking out and seeing- perhaps for the first time- the light of day, they were having none of it. Fix-it guy sent me to get a cardboard box- Gary put on a leather glove and tried aggressively pulling one of the kits out by the leg, which made them huddle deeper into the corner. I suggested he pick them up by the scruff, like a mother cat, or perhaps raccoon, would do, and he pulled them out and dropped them in the box, where they crouched, quietly, until he dumped them out on the deck, then gathered them back into the box and put them out in the yard. I ran with my drill and deck screws, calling Pat to open the gate to their driveway, to get a bit of screen over the hole she had chewed in the wall before the mother raccoon could come around and get the kits back under the house- She came and took one, and about an hour later the other, and posited them under Pat and Mandy’s deck, to the relief and satisfaction of all involved.
Wasted time- embroiled in a conflict- unbeknownst to me, I found myself trapped in a petty karma battle. It took up a great deal of my time trying to make sense of aspersions being cast at me until it became public- then crack! it was over– i think. I did get a lot done in between, made some headway in my own growth, Var Mints! where are the photos of my new band? I had a lot of adventures in the process, but also spent so much time spinning my wheels. What was the gift?
Now and then I dig out an old sketchbook- I have saved these pages, and reference images, for such a moment, which comes rarely. I don’t know why, but it seems to take enormous moving of planets to get me out of my rut and seated at a table with the materials for a small sketch like this.
“To cultivate that fearlessness, watching PP set up the stage, while we continued to play–that obnoxious command of canvas, string, and poles! To know what I want, and push every living thing aside! to get it. But not to be a total Ahole.”
That was my dream for 2011. Has anything changed?
This should be my art blog! Aren’t the concerns much the same, for music or art? The need for fearlessness, the necessity of going vigorously after what you want?
Perhaps less chatting and more posting of process. A watercolor bouquet of three of five sunflowers Art brought me after Rick’s death, with the original sketch.
Well, how long has it been since I posted ANYTHING here? A very long time. Here is some recent stuff I have done.
A sketch of the moon, white and black Prismacolor pencils and white gel pen on 7×7″ sketchbook paper–January 12, 2018. A little too much snow up top.
Fat little bird, from a Christmas card, December 2017, pencil watercolor and glitter.