And then I’ve always had a day dream of being a light-house keeper, absolutely alone, with no one to interrupt my reading or just sitting… Elizabeth Bishop

You may have read a recent post where I reprinted a recently published essay, The Solitary Watcher. If you did, you no doubt understand why the above quote from Elizabeth Bishop rings true to me. Regardless of the solitary moments reflected in the essay, there’s not been a lot of quiet solitary this year.

You may also have read the past couple of essays of the death of my old television and the death of an old writer friend. After my twelve-year-old PC died a week ago, I considered writing another death post, but I was so consumed with setting up the new PC, writing about the task seemed just one more thing to do, lost as I was between a 1T hard drive (1T? insane) where I’d downloaded all files from our backup service and the new cloud drive which wanted me to buy more space. Thankfully, our 30-year-old associate pastor and his husband came for dinner Monday evening and Josh sorted it out in no time by deleting the cloud drive. Oh. Thank you. Didn’t know one could do that. So anyway. PC is up and running again.

I’m sitting still, looking out at a rainy day and looking back at a rather chaotic year.

It began on a frigid cold weekend in January when our furnace died. With one thing and another it took two days to get new furnace installed and working. Thankfully, we have a gas stove and I’m a farmer, so I turned on the oven and set big pots of water on the top burners to simmer some warm humidity into the house.  We also had a couple of space heaters. And we received a new NEST magic thermometer which somehow knows when we aren’t home.

In late winter/early spring more or less, a water main burst in the street in front of our house and the city came, twice, to dig up defective spot and replace it. Along the way, they also dug up parts of our front sidewalk, which was in pretty bad shape, and by the time it was all done, we had a completely new sidewalk. There’s a post about that, too, if you care to search for it.

In the midst of spring downpours, we discovered there was a leak in our screened-in back porch and water was dripping through the ceiling light. Not a good omen for safety. So on a dry day, my son and I re-tarred the flat roof and it still dripped. We discovered the foam gutter pieces, which we’d installed to block leaves from filling up our second story gutters, were blocking the flow of water down the intended gutters, and, instead, overflowing down the wall and running into the porch ceiling. A relatively easy fix. We took them out. My son and I also replaced torn screens and repainted the porch.

In early June, we flew to Las Vegas for grandson’s graduation from nursing school and in early July we drove to Colorado Springs for a huge family reunion. When we returned, we found the toilet in the big bathroom had a leak and we, meaning my son and I, replaced the innards of the toilet. Thankfully, regardless of what it seems from this paragraph, it only started leaking after we were home. And then an electrical outlet in the kitchen went bad, and once again, son, who at one time was an electrician, replaced it.

In case you were wondering where my husband was in all of this, he’s a city boy and does the cooking and the laundry and most of the house cleaning. Steve and I do the fixing. Cliff did help me on the farm, where we went to stop for a week, but there’s no just stopping on the farm, regardless, and we pulled and chopped the weeds that had grown up around the little house.

And then the PC, which neither Steve or I could figure out, ergo, bribing young friends with dinner in exchange for setting it up.

Other than saying I spent some time today cleaning the floor in my writing room, I can’t even begin to describe the chaos and piles of papers and books. I stopped querying agents for the first memoir sometime in June because…well, I’ve already detailed the “because,” more or less, and both the book of essays and the book about Mexico are waiting with copious amounts of research to do. Steve also, today, rehung a painting that had fallen from the wall, and which had waited a couple of weeks for re-hanging.

And why did I have to write all this today? I’ve no idea, except fresh ideas are not exactly bursting into my consciousness at the moment and I needed to feel my fingers on a keyboard.

I also needed to sit quietly at my second story window looking out on the world. Thankfully, the laptop did not succumb to the year’s craziness and has continued to do what it does. Rain has splashed onto the window and it’s possible to pretend I’m looking out the top lighthouse windows, spray from the ocean dusting the glass.

Cliff and Stephen are back in school and the NEST thermostat thinks no one is home. That’s fine. I’m also aware that much of the world is in chaos, and so, grateful for the fact that we’re all still alive and well and back at what we like doing, I’ll sign off hoping you are doing reasonably well, too.



12 thoughts on “Stopping

    1. Reasonably well is slowly slipping into obscurity. Yesterday afternoon, as husband was working on PC, we heard a bang – or more like a wham, like a heavy book falling to the floor, and the electricity upstairs went out. One more fixing in this almost century old house. You can no doubt imagine what the wiring, draping hither and yon in basement, in this old house looks like.Electrician is coming Monday and it’s a good company and all, but ….mercy. I’d really like to get to WELL! over reasonably well.

      1. Oh. That is your house, right? not the farm? I’m afraid there might only be one solution. Re-do the entire wiring. (Money, money…) When we bought the “new” house we are now living in in, 2 years ago, the first thing we decided was to re-do the wiring and part of the plumbing.
        That went a long way to WELL.
        Hopefully the electrician has fixed the problem. 🙂

  1. I enjoyed this post, Janet. sometimes our minds need to be de-fragged & repaired, much like a computer hard drive. By George, I think you made it.

    Best of luck this fall and take some time to rethink the topic of burning leaves when it arises.

    1. Burning leaves…well, we bag them rather than burn. Just what I’d need at this time in my life is a pile of burning leaves sending embers onto the roof! LOL! With the kind of year it’s been, that’s entirely too likely to happen. Thankfully, we put our bags out and the city comes by and picks them up.

  2. Wow. Janet, you have had an avalanche of mishaps, rather the objects around you have. To me the most devastating one is your computer. Nothing makes me more anxious than my computer acting up because I don’t understand it and live in a building with friends who know even less than I do about technology. I’m glad you had your quiet day at last. I hope your Autumn is lovely.

    1. Thanks Vivian. Thankfully, I have a newish laptop that kept functioning while the battle of the PC went on. The Autumn is looking okay. I don’t want to speak too soon, given that this was a year of house fixes, but so far, so good.

    1. Thanks, Janet. Things have finally calmed down; I have no house fixes on my to-do list, actually, I don’t have a to-do list at the moment. I’m about ready to go back to being a solitary writer. Both son and husband went back to teaching this week, so I’m counting on some lighthouse days. 🙂

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