storm warnings

They all left, and I got back to work. Pieced together a wall of beadboard like a jigsaw puzzle and managed to paint it before the weather rolls in. Oceangurl went clamming in the back yard, so after the sawing and the painting, we ate clams and drank beer. Ready to insulate, nail (with my new nail gun) and then start doing moldings. The Contractor told me I better get a mitre box, so I did, but then BI Bro told me it was bogus, a toy, the one I bought, and he'd show me how to use his guide for a skill saw to cut 45-degree angles. Whatever. I'll try to do better moldings than I did in the last room, which I guess is the point. Measure. Remeasure. Measure again. Have to cut inside if it's howling tomorrow. What a late spring!


island life

Patience, fans. I'm still having connection issues and will for a week, so posting will be haphazard until then. Not to mention throwing graduation parties, houseguests, home repair, much family and drama. Later.


blonde on blonde

Just got into NYC as the AIDS parade passed, and parked amid the drifts of water bottles. Hope I don't get towed. I would go look to see if I have, but the elevator is out. Got to see the ex-hubby's first wife and hubby departing Casa Claudia on their way out to the south of France as I was coming in. Made one Home Depot stop on the way down for the small stuff, including a mitre box. The Contractor was critical of the moldings I had done and recommended it. OK, I'll try. My hands are covered with dings, but the nail gun was fab, and I didn't nail any of my body parts. Goes a lot faster with modern technology. BI bro had to help me with fuel cell insertion, but we did it. Then, bang, bang, bang.
The Kauai contingent is coming over presently. They recently had a boulder fall off the pali (cliff) and through their house, now in major renovation (fortunately, the kids do construction). They are in town for a graduation, as I am.
Kudos to Citichild for making it through with honors in three and a half years and three institutions of higher learning, graduating from the best one of all.



I wrote a story for Discover magazine about the totally cool kids I met at MIT. It's just out in print, although I don't think it has appeared on Discover on-line yet. Anyway, it's really fun, so check these dudes out.


Danny's hair is now framed in the dorm kitchen



the poop

I'm feeling grateful (if penurous) that I had a bit of propane heat here during this past nor'easter. I'm also grateful for indoor plumbing. Back in the day (like a few years ago), I was grateful for a garden hose and an electric toilet, which made life possible at Claudia's Surf City. The electric (burn up the shit) toilet, of a type used often on boats, was called Incinolet. Dangerman wrote some great limericks about it, and my sister penned the following:

To Incinolet

We sit behind this peaceful door
And ponder times that passed before
The loves we'll tend forever more
And some we now regret—

When wrest from our exotic lives
Somehow our solitude survives
Protected, safe, this room connives
A human/steel duet—

As if in eye of whirling winds
We find renewal now begins
And as our swollen bladder thins
Our purpose is reset—

So leave behind the battles fought;
The things that make you most distraught
Are ashes, now, of times forgot
Deep in Incinolet.

Deep shit, eh?


thanks for the memories

Cheryl McCall called me today. It’s her 55th birthday, and she says it is her last. She has a very aggressive cancer of everything—bones, lungs, brain, lymph nodes, liver. She was running her law office and walking two miles a day three weeks ago; now she is in bed, using a walker to get to the bathroom. She doesn’t have long, and she has a daughter, Jessie, who is 16. Cheryl asked me to spread the word and request memories, anecdotes of her years as a young turk (or termegant?) journalist. Jessie never knew her mother as anything but a lawyer in a small town in California. Cheryl wants to leave her reminiscences of the other part of her life—the argumentative, racy, out-there, New York babe we knew. (Sexy is OK; she requests, however, that, given the target age group, we edit out any drug-use references.)
Please e-mail your thoughts to Cheryl at home. She's a pistol.


la-z girl

I just couldn't stay indoors today, despite being about done with the beadboard. It was too nice. So I loaded the back of the truck with dead pine branches (to be tipped over the dune in the dead of night) and made sure to enjoy PTH (prime tanning hour, check with me if you don't know when that is) as uncovered as seemed reasonable given the temp. That is to say, not bikini weather, but I did roll up my overall legs.


what's wrong with this picture?

Desperado is on a mission. If you want to join her in protesting in the Hoboken Path Station, it's tomorrow at 4:30. Here's what she writes:

"Ever since a mural of a woman’s torso in a bikini was painted on the floor of the Path station in Hoboken as a ploy to sell beer for Michelob, I feel sick.
Don’t misunderstand. I’m no prude, but why are we walking on women’s bodies? Aren't women’s bodies used enough as marketing tools?
Last year in New York City, female homicides, women murdered by their intimate partners, increased by twenty-eight percent. Daily newspaper headlines support the grim fact that the war on women is here and now.
Michelob’s campaign contributes to the abuse of women. It’s an eyesore.
Women are not doormats. If you love, respect and honor women, please boycott Michelob.

don't tread on me

photograph by Donna Ferrato


stairway to hell

Well, I don’t have to wonder where all my muscles and bones are. I guess it was wrassling those eight-by-four-foot sheets of plybead around. I got one jammed halfway up the stairs.
At that point, I sat down with a cup of coffee and another of pineapple cottage cheese.
Then I put the gloves back on and heaved and scraped (yep, just polyurethaned the stairs) and finally got the thing up. No way am I taking it down again to cut out the hole for the wall socket—that’ll have to be done in situ. My jigsaw didn’t come from the Tool Crib yet. Had to borrow BI Bro’s. Also the nail gun didn’t come yet. I was hoping this would obviate the necessity of ever learning how to nail. I can’t nail without taking three or four bent ones out for each hole and banging my thumb. Also I got the wrong kind of sandpaper for the sander I got. Learning curve.
The cuts were pretty slick, though. And we’re talking dormers, angles and matching up edges of beadboard. I forgot how to reset the saw blade, so I had to get out the manual again. My work table’s a little small, so I used a kitchen chair to hold up one end of what the manuals call “the workpiece.” Is this how the pros do it?


first blood

Thanks to two brothers-in-law, I got the beadboard loaded at Home Depot and offloaded at home. I forgot the C-clamps, bought the wrong kind of insulation, blew off a number of other small items, but did manage to get everything tarped before it began Raining Like Stuff during Tianli's birthday party. Also attending the party were the Contractor and the Architect and their mates. The Contractor and I talked a little business; the Architect and I did not. Then it was back home to start burning through propane in a effort to dry out the house.
Opening up a summer cottage is the same every year: chase mothballs, free up a window or two, get the pilots lit, check for winter damage, put the Adirondack chairs outside, relay the rugs. Then, in my case, once you got it all together, you destroy it doing home repairs.
So far a splinter in my thumb. But I didn't break a nail yet.