Thursday, July 26 2012
Ray had been dogsitting Deborah's dog Allou while she was off in Rhode Island, though yesterday afternoon Gretchen had him bring Allou here for the night so Ramona (now with a better knee prognosis) could have an extended play date with him (the two dogs love each other and frequently go into the forest together to play cowboys and indians and whatever else kids without smart phones are doing these days). But by this afternoon, Allou's needy energy (which Ramona could not exhaust) was starting to grate on Gretchen and me. But by the time Deborah finally picked Allou up late this afternoon, he was starting to show signs of calm. As always when friends visit, I gave Deborah a large number of fresh tomatoes. It was nothing for me but a great thing for her; when she returned home she found maybe one or two small tomatoes had ripened during her seven day absence.
A powerful storm system was predicted to be coming from the Ohio Valley into our region this evening in a swath stretching from southern Pennsylvania to Albany. Predictions were for powerful winds, hail, and even (possibly) tornadoes. When Tropical Irene came through, part of its devastation had involved flattening our sunflowers. This year our sunflowers looked like this:
Photo taken by Paul. (Click to enlarge.)
So I cut some stakes to provide additional support should a strong wind develop. I also closed the garage doors (which usually remain open all summer long) and did some work to further enclose the upstairs of the greenhouse.
That involved installing two of the salvaged windows from the bay window assembly I'd gotten on Freecycle. To make all three of those windows fit into the available space, I am forced to install two of the windows rotated 90 degrees from the way they are designed to be installed, meaning that the glass is hinged to hang horizontally instead of vertically. Though both of the windows I installed today went in horizontally, only one of them actually has hinges and can be opened. But it actually works fairly well this way.
Meanwhile Deborah, who had been doing things in Kingston after picking up Allou, had grown so concerned by the weather report that she decided to spend the night at our house. Her house out in Olive lacks a basement, and a basement is where one wants to be during a tornado. Our guest room is in the basement, which Deborah would normally avoid due to its recurring problems with mold. So Deborah came over at around dinner time and Gretchen put together an improvised meal of cooked cabbage, Lima beans, and fresh tomatoes from the garden. After Jeopardy, we decided to finally begin watching Mad Men, starting at season one, episode one. We ended up watching the first two episodes. Despite all the praise lavished on the series, none of us were all that enthusiastic about it. The characters were all deeply unsympathetic and most of what has happened so far appears to be historical exposition: people drinking and smoking at work, women drinking and smoking near their children and while pregnant, children roughhousing in cars without either child seats or seat belts, and surprisingly uncluttered desks from a time before all that much equipment existed to occupy them. Still, Gretchen and I are willing to give the show more of a chance to develop.
As we were watching Mad Men, Allou and Ramona kept trying to play with each other in the room with us. Such play is full of moans and sneezes and makes for a generally unpleasant viewing experience. When Ramona is playing with Eleanor this way, we can tell them to go downstairs and Eleanor will obey, bringing Ramona with her. But neither Allou nor Ramona obey that command unless Eleanor is involved, so we kept having to physically separate the dogs and hope they would find something quieter to do with themselves. One one such occasion, Deborah felt something wet on her arm and looked down to behold a truly disgusting vision: a flat white object the size of a barley grain that was moving under its own power! I looked at the creature and identified it immediately as a segment from a tapeworm. But where had it come from? We couldn't immediately tell.
By this point the storm had already passed. Though there had actually been tornadoes further to the south, in our area there had only been a little rain and almost no wind. Deborah decided she was safe to go home and sleep in her own bed, far away, she hoped, from creeping segments of tapeworms.
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