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I am dealing with non-stop adversity here, comrades! But bravely of course! Ever dauntless!

Betrayed by Garden Device
Just when I finally got the automatic watering system running like CLOCKWORK, there was a sudden horrid flood on the path under which a buried hose takes water to a planter box.

SIGH. Pulling up immensely heavy flagstones, dabbling in the mud–in the blinding heat, while having the blood drained out of me by voracious mosquitoes (probably infected with Zika)–so NOT the way I had planned to spend my weekend.
Well, the hose connector had just burst apart. It was an example of an exciting new technology in hose connectors–so much quicker and better than the old fashioned kind! Except, that is, for its COMPLETE failure to actually, you know, connect hoses. I replaced it with an old fashioned connector, and trashed it, together with all its family of expensive couplers and gewgaws. Put the mud and flagstones back down. Then spent a satisfying few minutes writing a venomous review on Amazon. HA! That should show them.

Betrayed by Electronic Device
Having decided that I MUST watch Game of Thrones–damn the expense!–I turned on Roku, found HBOGo and clicked on GAME OF THRONES SEASON 7! YAY! Go Jon Snow! Except his voice was mute. As were all the other voices. I could hear wind blowing and gulls screaming, and the occasional dim whisper–but, nothing more. The subtitles were valiantly doing their part, so I knew what people were saying but couldn’t hear it. Somewhat unsatisfying, don’t you know.

Was it the speakers? Was it the receiver? Was it the punishment of an angry God? No time to find out, getting so late. So, I went to bed, feeling ill used. The next evening I tested the speakers and the receivers–which all worked–and tested the other device–which worked. Eh? So, I did what I should have done first, asked Mr. Google. “WHY can’t I hear dialog on Game of Thrones?” Well well, what do you know. OTHER people had this problem. It was a setting on Roku–change it from, uh, [original setting that worked perfectly until now] to ‘Stereo’. BINGO! My $14.99 not wasted after all.

Betrayed by Browser
You’ll be thinking, HOW can this poor woman be doomed to more suffering! And yet, so it is. See, after my lovely trip to NY and Maine, I came home and put together a wondrous web page documenting all the charming times we’d had. HOURS I spent on it, making everything just so. Then with all the pride of a master artist, I set it winging up to the cloud, and made ready to unveil it to my adoring public–but first, prudently checking it out to make sure all was ship shape. WELL. Chrome refused to load my updated styles. Chrome liked my OLD styles and would NOT change, not if it were ever so. My every effort in vain. Other browsers–Edge, Safari–blithely displayed the updated look, but not Chrome.

Well, well it could be worse. It could be EVERY browser hating on me, instead of just Chrome.

New neighbors

I looked out into the yard–and there was a raccoon looking back at me. No– not looking at me–looking at her 3 babies who were trotting towards her, along the garden path right under my window. I RUSHED to get the phone, but too late, they had all gone when I returned.

Bertie indicated that he would like to go out and welcome these interesting new neighbors, but I forbade it.
Image result for raccoon
Because, rabies.
Also because I am cruel to cats, or at least, that is what Bertie says.

Allan and Rebecca graciously invited me to take part the charming Washington Grove July 4 festivities–how grand to attend this splendid patriotic event! We assembled in the park, the band marched in and took their places–then came the Raising of the Flag, The Musket Volley Salute, a stirring rendition of O Say Can You See, and then The Parade. After all the excitement, we recuperated on Allan’s elegant back porch, and Allan and Rebecca served up a delicious lunch.
I chatted with one of their neighbors, also a new grandmother. We engaged in Granny PhotoBragging. She showed me a pic of her grandson eating ice cream, and I said my grandson is not allowed sugary foods.
Allan sagely murmured, “ah, the Malvolio Diet'” When questioned he explained: “No more cakes and ale.”

Ha HA! Such a wag!

Netflix sent me the next movie in my queue–The Mill on the Floss, which I contemplated without any great enthusiasm–yes, yes, love George Eliot, but really, these passionate Victorians, one loses patience with them. However, time passed and I eventually peeled off its red robe and set it onto the little DVD turntable.
BUT–mais qu’est-ce c’est? EH? Here was a whole lot of medieval imagery–Madonnas, peasants, and Rutger Hauer in robes and a black toque.
Where were Tom and Maggie Tulliver?
AH.
This was a movie called the Mill AND THE CROSS, a very different movie indeed. I sat bemused. This was not at all what I expected.
Though it was, it turned out, a very interesting movie indeed: a brilliant bringing to life of Breugal’s painting, The Way to Calgary. Really, like being inside the painting, with the magical scenery, odd stormy skies, and horsemen riding over the green fields dressed in bright red tunics.

The details of life in the 1500’s seemed very well observed to me, and how powerful the vision of the man crowned with thorns, staggering under the weight of the cross he dragged–the anguish of his mother, the dumb sorrow of the peasants. Moving, very.
However–NOT, as I said, quite the entertainment I had expected.

Metro Coffee

In a humble attempt to win back the esteem of their customers–disheartened and alienated after months of terrible commutes–the Washington Metro had minions handing out coupons for a Free (Medium size) Mc’Coffee yesterday. Each coupon bore a breezy message about much our support was appreciated, and how during the SafeTrackSurge they did THREE YEARS WORK IN ONE YEAR!

I, uh—well, very nice, Metro! Good try, at least.
I gave the coupon (and the usual dollar) to the the beggar lady who stands on the corner every Friday, and she gave me her blessing, as she does every week.
And as always, I figure I’m safe for another week at least.

Every summer I struggle with the Water Features that so enhance my garden–the gentle sound of gurgling water bestows such peace, is so very pleasing.
Related image
[NOTE: image may differ from actual garden experience]
So very displeasing however is the process to set it a-gurgling. The pipes, the pumps, the hours squatting in the grass ensuring not only a day of subsequent backache but also affording the mosquitoes excellent access to all parts of my body.
This year I was mightily tempted to hire a stout fellow to assail the larger fountain and DIG IT OUT OF THE GROUND, removing it from my sight forever.
However, I resisted, cleaned out the horrid sludge it had accumulated over the winter, bought a new pump, and set it to work. Success!

Instantly visited by a pair of youthful cardinals, agog to test it out.

The little lion fountain was quite another case, however. The inner piping had become almost solid with mold/grunge/dead insects, and refused my every effort to ream it out. SURGERY was required.
This involves a sharp blade and WATER PROOF CEMENT, comrades. But do I quail? Well, yes, a bit.

PROCEDURE

  • Cut square(ish)hole in fountain back, retaining cut piece.
    • (NOTE: this exposes the little inner reservoir where the water gathers so that it wells out of the lion’s jaws and does not spurt in an unseemly manner.]
    • [NOTE 2: This delicate artistry is why one cannot simply ream a pipe cleaner down its throat.]
  • Give the now exposed piping what for, until it is clean like whistle.
  • Open can of cement. MY, it is well sealed. Use crowbar if necessary.
    • HA! You thought it was a ready-to-use paste! Not so. It is a powder.
      • A toxic powder, btw
    • Get out the vacuum cleaner and clean the spilled heaps of toxic cement powder off the table and rug.
    • [NOTE: cement powder is not that poisonous to cats or humans, at least not in small amounts]

Assembling Tools and Materials

  • Carefully mix cement powder and water .
  • Throw out the mixture and start again, this time with 3 parts of cement to 1 of water, rather than the reverse, you idiot. Reading the instructions, such a good idea.
  • Glue carefully retained cut out piece back onto fountain with the cement. Then cover all the gaps with cement.

FountainRepair

You are a genius! Hurrah! Now, put it back on the wall outside, fill it with water, set the pump going and enjoy the delightful burbling fountain. Success!

In other news, when I sat down to watch a movie last night, there was a fizzling sound and suddenly only the front speakers were working, the rest silent as the grave.
Oh, I am FORTUNE’S FOOL.

Metro does it again!

This morning there looked to be standing room only in the train as it surged into the station, so I darted towards the end of the train, where seats are often available when all the other cars are crammed end to end–and found a seat! Hurrah!
Which was such a blessing, as the train abruptly stopped in a dark tunnel enroute, and stayed there for half an hour. Half an hour is nothing much when you are seated comfortably–as I was–with a charming book to read–as I did.
NOT the case for hundreds of other people, who promptly took to Twitter to vent their rage and frustration. They had PLENTY of time to choose the most venomous language and the most apropos images.

Image result for sloth crossing road
“Tuesday morning commute on the Redline”

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