Tuesday, September 23, 2014

My Car and Bill Cosby

Well, wonders will never cease in Little Egg!
I called Keith and asked him to give me an clearer idea of the "very expensive" fix for my car.  He said labor would be $1200 and a rebuilt engine with a fairly low number of miles would be another seven- or eight-hundred.  So I'm looking at about two thou and it's still eleven years old with almost 200,000 miles on it.
So I agonized and agonized over it.  Thought I'd take it to Mastercraft to get a second opinion, but I know them to be expensive.  They have easy chairs and designer coffee in the waiting room (that's what always appealed to me), plus a receptionist.  My theory is they have to charge plenty to cover all that.
So I took it to Pat's Automotive.  Just told him the "check engine soon" light has been on and also, that it sounds funny.  He looked, said a cylinder wasn't firing, also that somebody--Keith, although I didn't tell him that--had put too thick an oil in and that caused something or other.  Charge ?  Forty-five bucks.
Was this a permanent--well, nothing in this world is permanent, so semi-permanent--fix?  Dunno, but I drove off absolutely delighted. Meandered here and there around town, and it continued purring like a little kitty.  Let's hope it'll now last until I take off for the left coast.
Aline called twice and we made plans for today.  Betty called; I'll see her on Saturday at the reunion to which I'm not particularly looking forward.
WIDER: I just received a forwarded e-mail that purports to be written by Bill Cosby.  I doubt this, but won't bother to look it up. It's one of those tiresome, semi-literate, ultra-right wing tirades that appeal to many of the Neanderthals whom I'll see at the aforementioned reunion.  Well, it was good for a laugh and I wrote back emphasizing the giggle factor and pointing out that it's fundamentalist garbage.  Let's hope that raises some hackles.    

Monday, September 22, 2014

Nothing and the American Soldier

I did nothing interesting, absorbing, or even mildly pleasant most of yesterday.  After our walk, I didn't go out at all, an unusual and disheartening situation for me.  Didn't go out because I was afraid of driving somewhere and being stuck.  The car, still in the driveway, started up, but didn't sound right, so I left it there.
Spent the whole day finishing up the sorting and packing of the artifacts in the Uncle Frank bench.  I now have all of it in a number--too many--of plastic containers in the garage.
Although I don't like Mastercraft's prices, I think I'll consult the guy there to get a second opinion on my car.  Luckily, this week is less busy than usual, but I do have a hair dresser appointment on Friday and the doofy reunion on Saturday.  Not looking forward to either.
WIDER:  One of my friends put something on Facebook that's about the weirdest and most grotesque "share" I've ever seen.  For some reason--I think it's my settings--I can't copy it here, but will describe:  On what seems to be a silk wall hanging with an artistically waving flag and two golden crosses is the legend:
  Only Two Defining Forces Have Ever Offered To Die For You
                 Jesus Christ and the American Soldier
                        One Died For Your soul
                 The Other Died For Your Freedom
No, I don't think there's any hope for this country.  And maybe, considering the above, there shouldn't be.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Meeting and Gathering

A nice day, but problematic, too...
Nephew Tim sent an e-mail, saying it seemed too long a ride (from Vermont) for such a short time, so he wasn't coming.  No prob and I wrote back that he was welcome anytime.
Left about noon for the Players & Playwrights meeting and all along the parkway, nervously listened to the knock in my engine. It didn't seem too bad, but when I parked at the library and turned it off, I had a window down.  When I tried to re-start, it wouldn't. Went out at intermission and luckily, it caught.
Ernie's play, which wasn't bad, was read, then Linda's, which left me cold.  I had intended to meet friend Pat R. at The Greenhouse in Margate after the meeting at 4:00, but I got bored and decided to leave an hour earlier.
My pal, Grey, walked me out and we had our usual relaxing, occasionally profane, and ever-so-refreshing-because-free-of-the-usual-cliches chat.  He told me he had met a cute young guy and they were supposed to go out for a drink in Cape May, but the guy never showed up.  I said gawd, men are all alike: gay or straight, they don't want anybody their own age, only the younger ones.  He laughed and admitted it.
When I got to The Greenhouse, I was immediately swept up by Carole Wimberg C.  Had a fine time with her and the class of '59 people she introduced me to--I hadn't known a single one of them, as my graduation year is earlier.
Pat R., who had invited me, didn't get there until quite a bit later (she had come with somebody else who had dragged his heels). She graduated in the class two years before this crowd, but actually looks younger than most of the other attendees.  I was sorry that shortly after greeting her, I had to leave to meet my friend, Sandy D., for dinner in Tuckerton.  However, Sandy called to cancel before I got over the Dorset Avenue Bridge.  Just as well, because it freed me to find Betty and we had a nice dinner at a Mexican restaurant on Newport Avenue.
Driving home, the "check engine soon" light went on and boy, was I nervous.  I made it, though, and now I have to decide what to do. I'm leaning toward having a rebuilt engine in.  It'll be expensive, but may make more sense than buying another car.
I had intended to spend last evening reading Grey's book, but I was tired by the time I got home, so decided to wait until today.
Just now, had a lovely virtual visit with the tiny tot, K.; now he's a whole year old and is into everything.  K. does not like to be thwarted and when a fragile mobile was taken away from him, he cried loudly, but not for long.  He's growing so fast and now three teeth--that's going to be hard to top!

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Aches, Pains, and Mud

I'm a mass of aches and pains.  I spent the entire day clearing out the family memorabilia--photos and documents--in the covered bench Uncle Frank made for Judy in 1963.
This comprises an enormous trove, ranging from my parents' childhoods in Philadelphia and environs to the first twenty or so years of my own marriage and parenthood.  Laid everything out in six separate piles on the dining room table, consolidating and discarding as I went. I'm still not finished putting the things I saved in containers, except for the "early Byrne" and "early Figenshu" items.
In the middle of this, my friend came to hook up the television. She finally did after several calls to minimally helpful Comcast. The other reason for her visit turned out to be a big disappointment: She was going to move the pull-out bed/loveseat from the study into the guest room, now that I sold the beds.  She measured first and darn, there's no way it will fit through the door.
And, wouldn't you know, I just got an e-mail from nephew, Tim, to the effect that he might want to go to the beach and could I put him up tonight?  Sure, but he'll have to sleep on the pull-out, since I sold the guest room twin beds a few weeks ago.  Well, he won't mind.  I assume he's coming by himself--geez, I hope so; if he brings his girlfriend, the living room couch is comfortable, too.
Got a message from my Players & Playwrights pal, Grey L., asking me (and some others in the group) to read and critique his new novel, Mud.  Started it and, really, it's not bad; basic premise is that L.A. (Grey was a writer there for years and is also an entertainment lawyer), is experiencing non-stop rain, a nice reversal of the drought actually going on now.  I told him, though, I wouldn't have any comments until I read more of it.  I'll see him at 1:00 at the P & P meeting.  My tentative plan is to go there, stop at The Greenhouse after, then meet up with Tim at home and go out for dinner, the latter subject to change.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Back Up

Again, I'm bouncing back.
After dragging around a lot on Wednesday, brooding over the car news, the Morro Castle thing perked me up.
Yesterday, I galvanized myself to deal with a lot more of the never-ending pictures.  Even took my father's huge and damaged graduation picture from Villanova (class of 1918 and I'm not absolutely sure which one is him) and got it trimmed of the excess four-inch surround--it's a lot easier to handle.
Sold my old hair dryer, with box, to Unshredded Nostalgia, and that highway robber, Jim, gave me only five bucks for it.*  He was overstocked with old records; I have Bing and Frankie and others on the big size, whatever it is, but he didn't take them.  Stopped at the Stafford Library to say hello to Aline, who was working, and saw a paper about a flea market by the Ocean Church in October. Called the number to find out more and left a message.
Stopped at Shop-Rite for lettuce and, home, made a big salad.  My friend called to say we'll get yet more tomatoes (she went to the farm without me in light of my car news), which she'll bring today.
Bill G. stopped in to examine my two floor lamps.  He advised me on both, although I may not bother to keep the lesser one; needs a new socket.
Ran into Frank-Next-Door and asked if he'd consider a part in The Shadow, which I'm leaning toward directing.  Yes, he will, so good.
Pat L. called to say hello.  Said her mother visits her often.  Oh, hey, that's nice, especially since her mother died thirty years ago. Geez, I hope nobody who died thirty years ago ever visits me.  Or thirty days ago, for the matter.
After dinner, drove to Acme, then the Little Egg Library.  Aline was there, but was due at a book discussion meeting shortly.  How people can steel themselves to read and discuss--and what's worse, listen to others discussing--books somebody else chose is beyond me, but hey, she enjoys it, so more power to her.
*Remember, Mimi, the aim is to get rid of things, not necessarily make money on them.  Sure, but getting rid of them is twice as sweet if I can make money on them, too!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

My Car and the Maritime Museum

The news about my car ain't good.
I took it in at 8:30, Susan following to take me home, to have Keith check on why the temperature gauge had lit up a few times. Asked him to change the oil and, as an afterthought, mentioned the tapping sound I've been hearing recently.
That's the big problem.  He said he didn't think the anti-freeze leak was serious--if there was one, he couldn't find it--but the tapping was in the engine and I'd need a new one.  Even re-built, it would be very expensive and in a eleven-year-old car with more than 175,000 miles on it, it may not be worth it.  Asked him how long I could continue to run it and he said there was no way to tell.
Groa-a-n.  I had hoped to keep this relic until I move to California, but now what?  Hate to buy another car, then have to sell it in a short time.
Spent the rest of the day puttering; even took a short nap on the sofa.  Went to Graveling Point and took some pics of Atlantic City, then, shortly before 7:00, stopped at the library to return a book.
I then realized I had signed up for the presentation on the Morro Castle disaster, which was about to start.  I had meant to ask Aline if she wanted to go and could have kicked myself that I forgot all about it. In fact, I was the one who had suggested to the branch manager, Kelly, that they appear.  Since I was there, of course, I stayed.
It was terrifically interesting, conducted by Deb, the founder and owner of the museum and Gretchen Somebody; the two are co-authors of the book.  Talked to Deb after and told her I'd get down to the museum sometime and show her the little piece I had written for The Breeze on the museum.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

LBI and Blood-Drenched Monsters

A very pleasant day.  Picked Aline up at our usual 12:30 and drove to Long Beach Island.  I was a bit nervous about the car, as now it's started to make a kind of tapping or knocking.  However, it ran all right and I take it to the garage today.
We had intended to go to the German restaurant on Bonnet Island, but I missed the turn (you have to veer off the causeway and go under an overpass).  Continued on and decided on Buckalew's, not one of my favorite places, but it was okay.  Had a long, leisurely lunch--for me, a club sandwich and a Blue Moon--then drove to the Beach Haven library, our intended destination.
It's very small and charming, in an old house (1904), replete with brick floors, comfortable chairs, and a kind of mezzanine upstairs where non-fiction is housed.  I've been wanting to read Blink for some time, found it on a shelf, and started it while there.  Aline did the same with another find.  We stayed about an hour, then went to check out our books, but the very friendly librarian--or clerk--told us this library is not in the Ocean County system--darn!  Had to put our treasures back.
Of course, I then drove down to Holgate, a favorite scenic spot of ours at the very end of the island.  I took dozens of pictures of the rolling waves and Atlantic City far across the water--what a joy to be by the ocean.  Back in Little Egg, we stopped at our library to request the books above, then at Wal-Green's before taking A. home.
Got a call from Betty while I was making dinner and we had a nice chat.
Desi e-mailed me to the effect that he got the script for The Shadow I had sent him.  He liked it and asked if I would direct.  Hmm...I'm flattered, but I'll have to think about it.  I've never directed anything except my own stuff and I'm not sure I want to ride herd over our members, some of whom are convinced they're Little Egg's answer to Lunt and Fontanne.  I'll read the script over and see who I can cast in which roles, then decide.
WIDER:  Gee, it's good we have a two-party system, so we can decide which blood-drenched monster to put in office next: