The comedy show fundraiser I put on on February 18 was -- A HUGE SUCCESS!! I am so happy! Even though it was Thursday evening, we made over one thousand dollars! I am thrilled. It usually takes eight of us, sitting for hours at a booth at some community festival (and me working non-stop as face-painter) to make five hundred bucks. This was an almost effortless event. I got some good publicity (including a cable news spot, that unfortunately, didn't air in Beacon, so I missed seeing myself, but people who saw it said I did a good job) and we filled every seat and then some! The comics were so funny, and so professional, no one could have asked for more. Everybody was laughing and smiling, money flowed like water. It was just great.
Too bad I forgot to bring my camera! A few days later, I dropped it off my desk and killed it. It is DEAD. We need to buy a new one before we take our trip on March 10, to Rome and Istanbul.
Sitting at home with no employment, I like to keep myself busy. In addition to the wallpapering job that nearly did me in, I have been working on some woodworking projects. If you have old furniture, or an antique house, you need to buy some Briwax! It is a colored wax that you rub on wood, then buff it to a shine. It doesn't work on wood that has already been varnished, so you have to use some elbow grease and sandpaper first, if that is the case.
When he moved out of my house in Detroit, Herb Ferrer gave an antique English walnut dresser to my housemate, Dawn Young. She gave it to me. I absolutely love this piece. I have used it as a buffet in my dining room, though for eight years I have been unable to open any of the drawers. It was literally a mirror and a pile of boards with some water damage when I packed it up to move to New York. I put it together like a puzzle, held together by nothing but gravity. When Robert asked me what I wanted for Christmas, I told him I'd like to have it restored. He called in an expert who gave us a current price of about SIX HUNDRED DOLLARS for the repairs. I told Robert that was too much, and we decided to try to do the restoration ourselves. That required a couple of weeks with dropcloths on the carpet and lots of hammers and clamps and glue bottles lying around, but we finally got it put back together. A little steel wool and Briwax, and the water damage disappeared. And the drawers actually open and close!
I was so inspired that I took the doors off our really crappy-looking upper bathroom cabinets. They had paint dribbles, scuffs and worn sports, and I had figured I'd have to paint them because they looked so shoddy. But I used Briwax on them and put on some new hardware. They look great! I want to make commercials for Briwax! (It's from England. You have to buy it from a paint company.)
TOO MUCH WHITE STUFF!
We were spared during the last two crippling snowstorms. It was as if a magical dome came down from the sky and settled over Beacon, while everybody around us and all down the coast got slammed with sleet and yards of snow. This made Robert happy but it made me nervous, because I believe in The Great Leveler. The fact that we didn't get our butts kicked twice only meant to me that when we DID get our butts kicked, it would be twice as hard.
It was sleeting a little on Tuesday evening when I walked to my writing group. It is held at a local wine bar. When I got there, the place was closed (the proprietor had been snowed in and was unable to come there to open up) but no problem, because Simon and the other members of the group were sitting in his car in front of the place, ready to take me to another member's house for the meeting. During the meeting, though, the snow continued. Afterward, the drive back to my house (less than a mile) took an hour and a half! When Simon's tires weren't spinning uselessly on an ice slick, the car was sliding sideways through intersections. Thank God there were hardly any other cars on the road! Every half block or so I had to push the car to get it unstuck, and then Simon didn't dare slow down to let me back in. So I ran most of the way home next to his car (with the theme from "Rocky" playing in my brain), always ready to give it another push. Needless to say, Simon was our overnight guest.
On Thursday, the snowfall started shortly after Robert left for work and didn't stop all day. I began shoveling at about four for his seven o'clock return. It was very wet and sticky, and hard shoveling. I would go out for an hour, then come in to throw my soaking wet clothes in the dryer and put on new ones. And of course, every time the snowplows hit the street, they built an even higher fence of slushy stuff, so the depth at the end of the driveway was at least two feet. I had to get enough of the driveway cleared so Robert could get the car off the street, and I ALMOST made it. I was about four feet from my goal when the across-the-street neighbor came over with about four other guys with shovels. He was apologetic for not coming to my aid sooner. "Every time I looked outside, you were still out here!" Anyway, I was extremely thankful he came, because I was about done in. They also cleared enough of the driveway to free my car (as if I were driving ANYWHERE in the near future!).
This morning, OH MY! I wish I had not destroyed my camera, because it looks like another planet around here. There is a ten-inch blade of snow standing on every fence, every electrical wire and every branch. We have a free-standing birdhouse on a post in the back yard that looks like it's wearing a miter. Unfortunately, my beloved pink dogwood suffered serious blows, with most of its largest branches splintered. I am really bummed about that--I enjoy that tree so much. But at least we'll have lots fewer oak leaves to rake up this fall! Broken limbs are everywhere. I'd like to put more birdseed in my feeder, but the snow is hip-deep on that side of the house. And our electical power keeps flickering on and off.
Pretty, pretty, dangerous snow.
I just went outside to tell Robert to take a shoveling break. I must make chicken soup and hot chocolate!
[Post script--I still don't have pictures of the original snowfall, but here are some photos from a few days later (when we'd already had a sizeable melt)]
My favorite tree! The pink dogwood!
This is an ancient hydrangea tree -- totally destroyed.
I have made a breakthrough in the work I am doing on my Mom's book (a thirty-year labor of love she was writing about her family). There is just SO MUCH PAPER I often become overwhelmed. Not only did she keep all the original source materials (boxes and boxes of ancient letters, crumbling diaries, crates of old photographs, notebooks of transcribed newspaper articles ) but she kept every draft she ever wrote, and every copy of every draft that she gave to other people to read and make comments on. Then every time one of her computers pooped out on her, she'd re-type the whole thing, so I have various versions of the book. It is my job (as I see it) to figure out what version she wanted, and to organize the last six year's worth of letters. All I do is sort!
Like my Mom, I fear having a computer failure that wipes out years and years of her work, so I, too, have been nervous about throwing out anything that I'm not absolutley certain I have a copy of. But my breakthrough is --I have actually been TOSSING STUFF OUT! Just the fact of having less to deal with makes everything manageable! Even if I lose my computer files, I'll have a printed-out version, that is the closest I can come to her vision.
My only New Year's resolution for this year (See? I've even given up on the idea of losing weight!) is to get the book published by December. I feel pretty good about it.
Well, this is enough for now. We hope you are all well and enjoying the weather (HA!)
F and R