Saturday, September 15 2012
This morning Ramona pissed on the part of the futon she wasn't in the habit of sleeping on. There was plastic in place to intercept this piss, but it soaked into the futon's cover, and so getting it out involved dumping water on it and sponging it up multiple times, all while Ramona had a look that indicated that she felt she was being inconvenienced. I don't know why she hadn't pissed on the plastic sheet spread out on the floor, where cleanup would have been a simple one-step process of mopping up (and wouldn't have threatened her with its spreading wet spot). Later this evening Ramona would piss on the futon a second time, whereupon Gretchen and I would realize that there wasn't going to be enough hours in our days to clean up after her if she proceeded to piss on the futon at this rate for the next two months of her knee's recuperation. So Gretchen would end up pushing the futon tight against the wall, leaving Ramona with nothing but a ratty old dog bed to sleep on (and lots of plastic-covered surfaces to receive her pisses and poops).
At some point this morning Ray called and told Gretchen about some sort of rummage sale happening down in Rosendale. At the time I was down at the greenhouse applying a final layer of Portland cement to the catform interior, and when Gretchen hollered down to me to ask if I wanted to go, I said sure.
We ended up picking up Ray and Nancy at their house and driving in our car down to Rosendale. Eleanor got to come, mostly because she really wanted to and she's such a reliably well-behaved dog. The car, though, didn't seem to be handling very well with its payload of four humans and a dog. It just hasn't been the same since Mavis Discount Tire replaced the rear shocks.
The rummage sale was more of a mini craft festival and it was held in that ugly 60s-style church where Hope had held her 50th birthday party a week ago. I felt a weird sense of deja vu to go in there and see that same ugly interior now filled with pear-shaped middle-aged women selling craft goods to other pear-shaped middle-aged women. Ray, Nancy, Gretchen, and I are not an especially svelte group of people, but we were by far the thinnest humans in there. As for the craft goods being sold, they were as dreary as the church itself; I wouldn't have been surprised to see a whole table covered with owls that had been made from pinecones and googly-eyes. Gretchen tried to warn me as I was looking over the tools and such in the rummage sale out in front of the building, but I'd already been in there and experienced the horror.
After the rummage sale, the plan was to have a sandwich somewhere. Initially we were going to leave Eleanor in the car, which was parked directly in front of the ugly church, but Gretchen could hear her barking incessantly as we walked away, so I ran back and got her and she got to accompany us for the rest of our time in Rosendale.
There is this thing that Gretchen and Ray like to do (I don't think Nancy is as into it, but unlike me, she doesn't complain about it) which involves walking around slowly in a village and remarking about each building that is passed. We ended up doing this for something like a half hour or maybe even an hour. It was a beautiful day and a good one for walking, but I was the one with Eleanor and she didn't want to walk as slowly as the others did, and she had none of the same interests and aversions that made them linger in some places and then hurry past others. And it was the leash connecting me to Eleanor that made my interests align more with the dog than with my wife and friends. At first the plan was to get sandwiches at the sociopathically-operated Alternative Baker, but then our plan was revised and we went to the Rosendale Café instead.
The Rosendale Café has a nice little patio area out in the back adjacent to the garden, and that area doesn't even smell like an old mop end the way it used to. Still, Nancy kept expressing her reservations about the cleanliness of the place, which struck me as odd since I'd never had much occasion to be especially grossed out by it (other than the mop-end fragrance thing and a few incidents with things stuck to my silverware). But then when my coffee was set in front of me, Nancy did this thing that looked like she was pantomiming the act of pulling a tear-off from a roommate-wanted flyer. As she did this, I saw the crack on my coffee cup disappear, and I realized that the "crack" was actually the end of an eighteen inch long human hair. Later in the meal, after I'd eaten my fill and found myself needing to shield my uneaten chili from a hungry late-season Yellow Jacket, I covered my chili with the overturned plate that had been beneath my bowl. Looking at its ventral surface, I realized something about the Rosendale Café that I hadn't known: they only wash the top surfaces of their dishes. Nancy's opinion of the place was now doubly-confirmed.
I should also mention that the Rosendale Café's tempeh reuben had an unpleasant weirdness about it that I would have never expected. Reubens are supposed to be made with thousand islands dressing, which is a mixture of vegan mayonnaise and ketchup. But in my tempeh reuben today, the ketchup was applied in one dollop and the mayonnaise in another; there had been no mixing. Consequently the flavor was off; ketchup seems weird in a sandwich like that, and there were mouthfuls of sandwich that had ketchup but no mayonnaise at all. (Of course, by mayonnaise, I mean some sort of vegan mayonnaise substitute. The sandwich also contained some sort of successful vegan immitation of cheese.)
I spent most of my afternoon at Mavis Discount Tire, waiting around for one of the guys to look at the shocks they'd installed and see what was wrong with them. I felt like I had to be there, because the guy at the desk had said something about taking the car for a test drive, and that sounded like something I might have to go on. So there I was, parked in front of the Mavis flatscreen watching the History Channel tell me about first the hunt for the Ark of the Covenant and then the evidently-authentic Jewishness of an African tribe called the Lemba (my mother-in-law is very interested in far-flung Judaism, so I'd heard about them before). Meanwhile, two overly-energetic kids belonging to one customer played with the overly-energetic purebred poodle belonging to another (the poodle's owner was far more heavily tattooed than one would expect a poodle's owner to be; perhaps overcompensation was at play). I hate it when kids learn a dog command that a dog responds to and it quickly becomes their only form of communication the kids have with that dog. (Thankfully, dogs quickly learn to ignore such commands given in that context.)
When eventually I saw my car being taken back into the shop to be worked on, I realized that either the test drive had already happened or it wasn't going to happen. So I went to nearby Barnes and Noble to get a coffee and to load some reading material on Sailfish, the laptop I'd brought. Soon after returning to Mavis, the guy from the desk came over to tell me that the problem had been that a bolt on the shocks hadn't been tightened sufficiently. He also said that there was some minor lubrication issue that somehow I could take care of. But it satisfied me. The thing about Mavis is that they make the waiting process so miserable that any reason they give you to leave always comes across as a huge altruistic gift.
Back at the house, our friend Carrie was visiting with Gretchen, who eventually made a delicious meal of baked Brussels sprouts and pasta with some sort of creamy vegan sauce. I went and got some fresh chili peppers from the garden, and was somewhat surprised by how much Carrie liked them. So I prepared her a large bag of chili peppers to go.
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