Creature Comforts

Here are the facts:

  • The boiler, which drives steam into the radiators to heat the house, is kaput. Rusted out.
  • Replacement is neither simple nor cheap.
  • The house is very cold at night.
  • The dog sleeps in a 6- by 8-foot mudroom. With a space heater.
  • The dog is very happy.


(Sorry, no image of dog-in-mudroom due to the graphic nature — i.e., cluttered mess. It’s just too grungy to photograph.)


Get to work


Like anyone else, I struggle with motivation on Mondays. It’s tough to buckle down and work. (Yes, I do some real writing, in addition to this silly blog and all the horsing around.)

But I work from home with no editor peering over my shoulder.

Yet I still feel like I’m being watched. All the time.

Because I am.

My personal micromanager, peering through the window, just beyond my printer:



Unfortunately, her definition of “work” does not involve a laptop or hours behind a desk.

Did someone say Gator? 



Not So Plain Rain


It is Wednesday, noon, and I’m moving through the rooms of the house, holding my breath to listen for leaks.

We’re getting thumped by another rainy weather system. Though calling it “rain” sounds pedestrian or prosaic; it’s more like a never-ending wall of water.

It’s not a notable storm — there’s no sexy name like Derecho or Hurricane Sandy — it’s just another weather event that’s become all too common in recent years.

When does this one wrap up? Five inches of rain by 10 tonight or midnight? Just a few hours in and already we’ve reached the point of saturation. The rain dives from the sky, plunges into the earth and then… resurfaces again: percolating up through the stall floors in the barn and pooling in pond-fashion. In the house it’s burbling up through the cellar floor — though it doesn’t sound burbling. It sounds more like peeing as rivulets of water follow the sloped floor and trickle into the sump pump.

Fortunately, no leaks from the usual suspects — the rotted window frames or the porous clapboard on the stormy side of the house. Nothing yet, but I’m staying vigil. 

Meanwhile in the dog’s world, it’s an unremarkable day, no different than yesterday or tomorrow. I noticed Maisie’s absence but couldn’t believe that she’d bolt in this deluge. Then, an email from our neighbor Chet confirmed my suspicion:

No deer, foxes, people, or even birds can be seen anywhere [in this downpour]. There is, however, one very happy black-and-white dog, who just raced through the hayfield with pure joy, headed to the river.

Martin, if you’re reading this: Dig out your Wellies and your rain slicker. It’s gonna be a wet slog to get the dog.





Update at 4 pm: When the kids announce that they’re going to float boats in the cellar, assume that the sump pump isn’t working.