Monday, May 9, 2016

Letting Michael Phillips take me away to the isles of Scotland

The Inheritance
If spring and autumn were in a race for my favorite season, it would be a photo finish for top honors.
I love the smells of spring, despite frequent sinus problems, and the soft pastel colors.  I look in every yard for flowering crabs, creeping phlox, and blooming bulbs.  And the first time out in the boat fishing i smagical.  Last week we opened our cabin and making that trip is a sure sign that spring has arrived.  Knowing that our loon pair is back gives us hope that this might be the year for a successful hatch. And then there is asparagus and rhubarb.  We had our first rhubarb dessert on Friday, and with help from our 8 year old granddaughter the pan is already completely gone.

May also brings Mother's Day and then my birthday soon after.  I don't make a big deal about either day, but it was just great that I got to see all three of our kids and the six grandchildren over the past four days.  That doesn't happen very often.  So I should be on top of the world.  But don't you know there always has to be annoyances to steal a bit of joy.  For me, it has been a series of household breakdowns.  We built our house 10.5 years ago, making our appliances 11 model years old, and I guess they've all heard that nothing lasts more than 8-10 years anymore.  Friday, when we got home from up north, I started in on the laundry right away.  As we ate a late lunch, the first load was entering the spin cycle when Russ and I heard an awful groaning sound.  Shut the washer off, checked the inside and fluffed the load in case it was off-centered and started it again, skipping part of the spin cycle.  Started another load which washed just fine until the final spin -- same noise but not so loud, then it got extremely loud.  Emptied the washer and felt around inside.  I can easily move the drum; obviously it has broken away from the brackets.

Now this same thing (or I think it is the same thing) happened when the machine was only 2.5-3.5 years old.  I called the dealer/repairman then and was told that the repair would be almost as much as a new washer.  When they pulled the drum, it was all corroded.  Despite not being under warranty any longer, they did replace the drum for free (but not labor) and we got almost 8 more years of use out of the washer.  Since labor and house visits are even more now, I figure it is time for a new washer.  To make things worse, this washer is part of a stackable unit, and no new washer will be compatible with the dryer.  In our unit, you actually removed the top of the washer and then the washer was somehow attached to the dryer bottom.  So I not only went shopping for a washer, I had to shop for a laundry pair.  UGH.  Most new front loading machines are bigger than my old one, and when stacked I would need to stand on a stool to reach the controls for the dryer.  We did find one unit that we liked that will let me reach all controls.  Since we are paying for  delivery and installation, we decided to go ahead and replace the above-the range microwave which has been less than satisfactory for quite a while -- broken door handle, plus the carousel does not function, and the power level is not up to snuff anymore.

Despite the sticker shock after Saturday's preliminary appliance shopping, yesterday's lovely Mother's Day had me feeling blessed and content. Then this morning I went to the kitchen to make breakfast.  When I flipped the switch to the garbage disposal, it made the faintest sound and then silence.  Checked the breakers both on the switch and at the box.  Nothing.  Russ checked the plug under the sink and tried to see if anything was caught.  No luck.  We had talked to the plumber about this unit a few months ago as it sometimes made really loud, whiny, scraping noises.  He said those indicated the unit was wearing out and would need replacing soon.  So on our way home from the appliance dealer, we called our son who works for a Plumbing, Heating and Electrical business and had him order a new garbage disposal.  Cha-ching.

Feeling slightly bummed and with a definitely lighter pocketbook, I decided to get started on supper.  A nice pasta salad using turkey leftover from my Mother's Day lunch out would be tasty and budget-smart I thought.  I assembled all the ingredients - grapes, celery, toasted pecans, celery, onion, turkey, pasta, and then I opened the cupboard door to get a small bowl for mixing the dressing.  Out fell a glass casserole lid which hit the vintage green glass bowl of my mom's holding the salad.  Although it appeared the glass bowl broke into three large pieces, I did find a couple sharp shards on the counter, and so I had to dump the salad to be safe.  Supper will be asparagus omelets.

So back to my love of spring.  As soon as I dumped the salad, I headed out to the yard.  I weeded some, planted a new perennial, weeded some more, all the while admiring our blossoming crabapple trees, tulips, dwarf irises, and late daffodils.  Blessings still abound and all will be well.  Stuff is just stuff, and it has a price.  We are not facing a famine, a forest fire, or an earthquake.  Soldiers aren't outside my home and I was able to attend the church of my choice yesterday.  My children are all speaking to me (or so I think), and it is spring.  Tomorrow we get to have lunch with
Russ's sisters and friends.  It will be a better day.  Please take time to appreciate the good and the beauty around you.  Sometimes it helps.

As for tonight, I plan to let Michael Phillips take me away to a very special Shetland island in Scotland in his new book, THE INHERITANCE.  If you want to learn more about a giveaway to celebrate his latest writing check out the website below
The Inheritance Giveaway

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