Home Sweet Smelly Home

The day after we returned late in the evening, I got sick. I was sick for two days and very weak afterward. It wasn’t until Friday I was able to resume exercise. Wednesday, Kathleen started staining the new windows, the downstairs first. None of the herbs and other plants I brought in can go on the ledges where they belong, but all the ones not on the sun porch are on the dining room table, the one we eat on every meal. Or did when we could. Yesterday she began work on the bay windows in the living room. She is to return Tuesday to finish.

The odor from the staining and then the coats of polyurethane gave me a headache and made me sneeze convulsively. We have the weekend to recover but Tuesday, she must finish it off. It had to be done, the same as the windows needing replacement. We have to lock up three of the cats in the area of the house that includes my office, bedroom, bathroom and the sun porch, open to cats through a little tunnel through the wall. Willow, by far the shyest cat, hides in the wall till evening.

It has been a relief to get back to writing again. I’ve written three poems since I got back. I proofed my short story “The Service” yesterday for december magazine’s next issue. Yesterday I took time off to watch the Friday Breeders Cup Races and plan to do the same today. In many ways I prefer these races to the Kentucky Derby. With twenty horses in that race, a very good horse that should win can be stuck in traffic or bounced against. I’ll also be watching the Michigan game later on, probably after I tape it.

We planted bulbs this week, daffodils, tulips, crocuses, muscari, blue anemones and some other small bulbs. I dug the calla lilies to store from the winter. I took out the acidanthera from my raised bed before we left for Detroit. I still have two dahlias to dig but I’ll wait till the first frost – unless they start dying back before then. If they aren’t intact, often I can’t find them and then they freeze and die. I brought begonias in two weeks ago. They’re on the sunporch.

The murders in Pittsburgh haunt me. There has been a huge uptick in anti-Semitic attacks this year. Trump has really stirred up racism and hatred of groups seen as other. Trump has no empathy. He says a brief message of condolence and then goes on the campaign trail with his usual NeoNazi and white nationalist rhetoric. He doesn’t care who he endangers or kills so long as his base applauds him. I was beaten and bullied as a child with the open anti-Semitism of the time. Father Coughlin spouted his hatemongering every Sunday on the radio. I’d walk outside in the summer and hear his voice wanting to kill me from radio after radio, house after house. The Silver Shirts were handing out their Nazi papers and screaming insults on many corners. Things seem to get much better after World War II. Now things seem to be getting worse very very rapidly. Sometimes I think about Canada, that feels benign by comparison to what’s going on here now – attacks on women, transgender people, people of color, the poor, immigrants who want to come in and do the jobs nobody else will take, people fleeing with their children to save them from violent gangs and government sponsored killing gangs as well as poverty. My grandparents came here to escape violent pogroms. I empathize with the people in the caravans. I saw some right wing violence myself in Mexico.

The cats should calm down this weekend since Kathleen won’t be back to finish until Tuesday. My ankle has a serious sprain from Detroit, so my osteopath worked on it Thursday and I have an Ace bandage on it today. Still, I was able to do some exercise, what I can.. The furniture was all in the middle of the room and the stench of the stain was overwhelming. I’m hoping to get outside this weekend if the rain ever stops. Lots to do in the gardens. Lots to do inside. It’s milder for a while. Still some gorgeous color here. Every window I look out, there’s some brilliant reds, maroon, gold, yellow and orange. Woody, who did so much driving last week, is slowly getting his strength and health back. The trip really knocked us out. Being in a small chilly shabby room didn’t help, especially after I sprained my ankle and was stuck there.


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