Ah, summer…

Yes, summer is really here, and today the temperature here in Winthrop by the Sea has reached 93 degrees, with a heat index of 100.  So naturally, this is when our air conditioner decides to partially break down.  We have AC in the basement (where it is least needed) and partially on the first floor, but it basically isn’t working at all on the second floor and so the temperature in our bedroom hit 85 degrees in the shade.  We are temporarily sleeping in the basement on the sleeper sofa until the HVAC guys can come on Monday.

The only one of us who seems totally unaffected is Violet.  She doesn’t seem to mind the heat at all.  Scratch, on the other hand, has camped out in the basement with us and the dogs.

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A Visit to Winthrop by Saint Nicholas

T’was the night before Christmas and all through the house,
Not a creature was stirring, especially not a mouse.
The children were snoring all snug in our bed,
And I killed time as sermon number two was said.

Geoff read his history book in the loft,
After the last high notes of the night, I coughed.
We stumbled on home as the clock struck three,
And were greeted by Dash who needed to pee.

After feeding each dog and both of the cats,
We took off our coats, shoes, and hats.
With dawn fast approaching we took to our bed,
With visions of sleeping late stuck in our heads.

When in the back yard there arose such a clatter,
Dash sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
A dachshund stampede that was gone in a flash,
I groaned, shook my head, and then muttered “DASH!”

The moon couldn’t shine off of non-existent snow
(No White Christmas for us this year as you know),
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a flying sleigh, and nine panting reindeer.

My first thought was that I must be sick,
“There’s no way that I could be seeing St. Nick!”
More rapid than eagles his nine reindeer came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;

“Now, DASHER! now, DANCER! now, PRANCER and VIXEN!
On, COMET! on CUPID! on, DONNER and BLITZEN!
And RUDOLPH!  Keep that nose of yours shining with light!
There’ll be no mid-air sleigh collisions tonight!”

As a ball when it meets Teddy Ballgame would fly,
The reindeer and sleigh fiercely arced through the sky,
And up to the house-top the reindeer they flew,
And suddenly I wondered what Santa would do.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The pounding and scratching of each reindeer hoof.
I wondered whether Santa had already found,
That we have no chimney! And two small loud hounds!

I blinked to be sure of what I was seeing
When I realized that, yep, Rudolph was peeing.
Santa hopped out of the sleigh and dusted his clothes,
He strode across the yard like someone who knows.

He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all dirty with ashes and soot;
A bundle of toys he had crammed in a sack,
He looked like Mall Santa, coffee break over, heading back.

His eyes — how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
He laughed as he kicked off melting ice and slush,
“Good God,” I said, “Santa Claus is a lush.

The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath;
So naturally we started to hear a loud screech.
“The smoke alarm! Where’s the stepladder to reach?”

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
Not anything like that creepy one on the shelf;
Then I saw he had another bag, packed full of coal,
And I wondered where he’d found it at the North Pole.

He saw the look on my face, and he smiled as he said
“Don’t worry, there’s no reason for you to feel dread.
That coal’s for the White House, they’ve all been quite bad,
Ivanka, Jr., Eric, and ESPECIALLY their dad!”

“But Santa,” I said, “do you have anything more?
Robert Mueller works very hard on this terrible chore.”
He chuckled and said in his cheery slurred speech,
“Fear not, they’ve got all that they need to impeach!”

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
They flew low and away, to avoid any missiles.
But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight,
“HAPPY CHRISTMAS TO ALL*, AND TO ALL A GOOD-NIGHT!”

*Except certain people in DC.

It’s that time of year again, Merry, Happy, Blessed Whatever

Most of you know that we’ve been doing this for a few years now.  Partly it’s because we’re cheap broke, and partly it’s because we send this link to nearly 200 people who we’d legitimately want to send a real card to.  Also, I’m not big on the card produced by Shutterfly and never seen by the sender thing, and this method actually has a Snowflake’s chance in Cambridge of generating a conversation*.  So we do it this way.

Continue reading “It’s that time of year again, Merry, Happy, Blessed Whatever”

Latest pictures of our little Violet

Violet definitely has her favorite spots in the house to sleep.  One of them is the basket that we made into a little cat bed.  It sits in the guest room (now unofficially called Violet’s room since she is the one who spends the most time in there) under the window.

This cat bed used to sit on top of the upright freezer in our kitchen in the old place and Scratch and Bucky would sometimes battle over who got to sleep in it.  Now Violet is the only one who uses it.  

She also loves to sleep in the office up on the top floor, usually in the little cat hammock but not always.  Lately she likes to sleep under the desk when I am sitting there at the computer working.

I love that she wants to be nearby whenever I am in the office. It is quite endearing.

Yesterday when Kelly was up here practicing her music Violet also came up here to sit with her and listen.

We really lucked out to get a little kitty with such a sweet disposition.

~Geoff

The garden is doing pretty well so far

In my last gardening post, I had promised to put up more pictures at some point to show how things were progressing with the garden.  And so here is the progress report.  Today was a gorgeous (but hot) summer day and I was out in the yard doing some work, so I thought I would take some pictures for another blog post.

Continue reading “The garden is doing pretty well so far”

The latest on our little ninja

We recently noticed that Violet has found yet another new place to perch and observe the world go by.

The front of our house, and at the top, the window to the guest room, which is basically Violet’s room.

Can you see her?

We had moved the kitty “shelf” to that room. I am glad to see that she is using it.

So yes, little Violet seems to have adjusted to her new environment quite well, and made herself at home.

More cute animal pictures to come.

-Geoff

Take cover, little dachshunds – winter has come

Yesterday we had our first major snow event since we bought our house in Winthrop, and what do you know, it turned out to be a blizzard.

Dash Linus was not impressed.

Rerun had a protective blanket of fear. Dash prefers the whole bed.
Rerun had a protective blanket of fear. Dash prefers the whole bed.

Since Kelly and I were stuck at home yesterday, we had a marathon viewing of Season Six of Game of Thrones, just to watch it all again.  So it was so very appropriate when we re-watched the scene where the white ravens were sent out to announce the arrival of winter.  When I got up this morning, the temperature was 12 degrees Fahrenheit, with a wind chill of about -20.  When I went outside this morning, the winds had blown the snow around quite a bit, which at least made a pretty picture in the back yard.

I do love winter landscapes, even though they mean I have a lot of shoveling ahead of me.
I do love winter landscapes, even though they mean I have a lot of shoveling ahead of me.

It looked like we had gotten about a foot of snow, at least when I was out clearing the walks.

One of our neighbors kindly cleared most of the driveway and part of the walk for us with a snowblower. We love Winthrop.
One of our neighbors kindly cleared most of the driveway and part of the walk for us with a snowblower. We love Winthrop.

Officially, we got around 11 inches of snow, according to Boston.com.  As you can also see on that data table later in the article, the wind was blowing pretty hard – it got to over 50 mph here.  At one point yesterday afternoon when Kelly and I looked out the window, we could not see more than 100 yards or so.

So puppies did not go out a lot yesterday.  This morning Dash was excited that he was finally going to get to go outside, but he became much less excited when he realized that conditions were still far less than ideal for anyone really close to the ground.

Dash had gone out, turned around then went over to the generator to do his business. Note the lack of a Thumbelina in this photo.
Dash had gone out, turned around then went over to the generator to do his business. Note the lack of a Thumbelina in this photo.

Note that in the above photo, we are looking out onto our concrete patio, which is covered by our deck.  So all of that snow you see out to the support beams was blown in by the wind.  I’m just glad we didn’t have to try to crank up that generator.  That would have been truly awful.  As it was, Kelly and I were marveling over the difference in experiences between our new place and our old one.  At our old place, we would have been feeling terrible cold drafts even in our bedroom.

As it was, some members of the household decided that it was best if they stayed under blankets during the snowstorm.

Scratch doesn't get under blankets often, but when he does, you KNOW it's cold.
Scratch doesn’t get under blankets often, but when he does, you KNOW it’s cold.

Dash and Thumbelina also decided that it was best if they stayed in our bed.

Thumbelina likes to sleep like a person. I have no idea what Dash is trying to sleep like.
Thumbelina likes to sleep like a person. I have no idea what Dash is trying to sleep like.

And last but definitely not least, little Violet wanted me to come snuggle with her in “her” room (the guest bedroom) for a while.  She does this thing where she sees me, waits for me to walk up to her, then she jumps over the baby gate we have installed in the doorway of the guest room, then turns around to see if I am following her.  When I come through the gate, she will walk over to the bed and flop down on her favorite blanket, which is actually Kelly’s bathrobe.  And then it’s snuggle time.

She may just be the most adorable little baby kitteh ever.  And she probably knows it.
She may just be the most adorable little baby kitteh ever. And she probably knows it.

We may get even more snow this weekend, with predictions for “heavy” snow on Monday, although I have not yet seen any estimates of how much.

Stay warm, everyone.

-Geoff